TULSA - The jury's out on medical marijuana, according to a Broken Arrow physician and lawmaker, and as for legalization of recreational marijuana, he doesn't see it happening in Oklahoma.
Rep. Mike Ritze does admit there's a possibility that some of the 800 or so chemicals in marijuana may have some therepeutic value.
"There might be some chemicals in there that they can concentrate out for these seizure/epileptic children, things like that, but it's not been studied thoroughly enough yet," he told KRMG.
He also points out that a synthetic form of the drug, called "Maranol," is legal and available in Oklahoma and the rest of the country.
"Look it up," he said. "Maranol is legal, you can prescribe it, they use it for cancer pain, for severe pain, things like that. So it's already legal for medical use in Oklahoma, nationally, every state has the availability."
Ritze also said he's seen studies that show that up to 50 percent of bipolar disorder in teens can be attributed to chronic marijuana use, which he defined as three marijuana cigarettes a week.
But KRMG has uncovered studies that seem to dispute that claim, and some indications that psychiatrists have begun looking into marijuana as a possible way to increase cognitive functioning in bipolar and schizophrenic patients.
Proponents of medical marijuana also point out that the plants cultivated to make medicinal form of the drug can be grown to have less THC, the compound that people smoke to get high, and more CBD, a compound that has been shown to reduce pain and nausea.