Thursday, August 12, 2004

Mary Jane: That Naughty Nurse

I’d like to pose a question to you: If there were a drug that treated many different symptoms, was safe, effective, and inexpensive to reproduce, would you be interested? There is such a drug. It’s called medical marijuana.

One of the main uses of this drug is in easing the pain and suffering of cancer patients. According to the American Cancer Society website this year alone over 1,300,000 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. Chances are likely that this disease will affect someone in your life. If it does affect someone you know, it’s nice to know that you have options.

Although I am not an expert on the subject, I have done extensive research and believe strongly in the mental and physical therapeutic value of this drug. I am not trying to change your political leanings on this topic, simply inform you of the benefits. Medical marijuana is safe, has proven to be very effective, and is gaining credibility in the medical community and society at large.
First, let’s talk about safety. According to the U.S. Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) a group that records instances of drug mentions in medical examiners reports, marijuana alone has not been shown to cause an overdose death. According to medical experts, there has never been one case of death due to marijuana; it is physically impossible to overdose on THC, the active ingredient.

The only really negative aspect you hear about is addiction. However, according to research compiled by the Marijuana Policy Project, “few marijuana users become dependent.” And those few who do experience very mild dependence, less severe than even alcohol or nicotine.

Next, let’s discuss medical marijuana’s effectiveness. In use as an antiemetic (drugs for nausea and vomiting) the New York State Journal of Medicine, the Annals of Internal Medicine vol. 91, and Psychopharmacology vol. 49 all show medical marijuana is effective in reducing nausea and vomiting, and increases appetite and food intake.The Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol. 9 showed that a random survey of oncologists showed that 44% of respondents report recommending the use of marijuana for the control of emesis and 48% would prescribe it regularly if it were legal. Doctors know it medical marijuana works.

These same symptoms need to be treated in AIDS patients, and medical marijuana has found to be just as effective in this situation. Also, there have been published studies that consistently show that marijuana is effective in lowering intraocular eye pressure. Heightened intraocular eye pressure is the cause of glaucoma. Thus published evidence indicates marijuana preserves the vision of people with glaucoma.

Finally, regarding control of muscle spasm there is published literature demonstrating marijuana to be effective in controlling convulsions. The control of muscle spasm is important to patients with Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, spinal cord injury, paraplegia and quadriplegia. (Common Sense for Drug Policy)

Lastly, let’s talk about the growing acceptance of this treatment. There are currently 8 states that have laws that protect patients who possess and grow their own medical marijuana with their doctor’ approval: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii and Maine. In addition, the State Health Departments of New Mexico, Michigan, Tennessee, New York and Georgia have released reports showing medical marijuana to be beneficial.On the larger world stage, both the House of Lords in the U.K. and the House of Commons in Canada have passed legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana is safe. Not only are instances of addiction and side effects rare and mild, but there has never been one case of death by overdose in annals of medical history. Medical marijuana is effective: the studies and literature show time and again that it is effective in treating the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and muscle spasm due to diseases like Parkinsons. Medical marijuana is gaining acceptance, not just in the U.S. but around the world. This is a good thing.


Post a Comment

<< Home