The Supreme Court ruling last week that determined federal drug laws banning the medicinal use of marijuana trump state ones allowing them, went almost unnoticed by major evangelical policy groups. Focus on the Family said they had no one to respond to the issue, and Family Research Council said they no longer follow drug issues.

However, Concerned Women for America chief counsel Jan LaRue said she was delighted with the decision. "Marijuana has no legitimate medical use," she said. "That has been demonstrated over and over again."

But marijuana does have medicinal qualities, says Dónal O'Mathúna, a lecturer in health-care ethics at Dublin City University and co-author of Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook (Zondervan, 2001). "Some people, such as the women who brought the case that the Supreme Court ruled on, report that they receive great benefit from smoking marijuana," says O'Mathúna. "These benefits are primarily in relieving chronic pain, reducing nausea and vomiting, stimulating appetite in people with diseases that cause weight loss, and lowering intraocular pressure in glaucoma."

Still, whatever benefits smoking marijuana has are limited, O'Mathúna says, who is a fellow at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association. "To prevent nausea and vomiting, smoking marijuana is about as effective as taking tablets made from a purified drug isolated from the plant," O'Mathúna says. "However, both were much less effective than conventional drugs used to treat nausea and vomiting."

"Some people will feel better, or at least feel different, after smoking marijuana. But there are risks associated with this," O'Mathúna says. His Alternative ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueOur July/Aug Issue: The Upside of Disruption
Our July/Aug Issue: The Upside of Disruption
How unwelcome change can lead to a fuller life.
RecommendedCambodia’s Child Sex Industry Is Dwindling—And They Have Christians to Thank
Cambodia’s Child Sex Industry Is Dwindling—And They Have Christians to ThankSubscriber Access Only
From rescues to legal reform, a faithful minority changed the country’s criminal landscape.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickMelvin Banks Had a Dream
Melvin Banks Had a Dream
An interview with the founder of the largest African American Christian publishing house.
Christianity Today
Evangelicals Applaud Supreme Court Ruling on Medical Marijuana
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.