Marijuana, Pain And Cruelty

Marijuana, Pain And Cruelty
Posted by FoM on January 24, 2000 at 18:49:53 PT
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Misplaced hysteria over the medical use of marijuana has prompted the American Cancer Society to give a $361,000 grant to the Albany College of Pharmacy to conduct research on whether a marijuana patch on the skin could help ease the nausea and pain of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.A 1991 report by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the active ingredients in marijuana can ease pain, nausea and vomiting, especially in chemotherapy patients.
But since then, medical use of marijuana has become a political casualty.While patients suffer or resort to illegal street purchases of unregulated substances that could contain other drugs, the most vehement anti-drug crusaders have prevailed in preserving baseless fears.In 1998, Dr. Jerome Kassier, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, endorsed the medical use of marijuana, saying, "the argument that it would be a signal to the young that using marijuana would be OK is false." But with Congress finally showing small signs that it may listen to reason, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told a congressional hearing last summer that a "carefully camouflaged, well-funded, tightly knit core of people" is using public sympathy for cancer patients to advance a stealth agenda for legalizing all drugs.Marijuana remains classified by Congress as a Schedule I controlled substance, in the same category as heroin and LSD. Only a few states have voted to legalize medical marijuana. Marijuana is still banned by federal law -- discouraging scientists from studying it and doctors from prescribing it even in states where it is legal.Studying a patch method of dispersal has several advantages. Removing smoking from the procedure may assuage opponents by making it look more like medicine and less like the illegal activity. Dr. Audra Stinchcomb, the assistant professor who will conduct the research, noted that a patch method will give a more accurate, steady dose, making it easier to test in clinical trials. Smoking marijuana, Dr. Stinchcomb said, produces a hard-hitting peak and makes it difficult to tell how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have been absorbed. Smoking can also have side effects such as dizziness and lung problems. But some advocates of medical marijuana say that smoking is the most efficient method precisely because it is absorbed so quickly into the bloodstream.Studying a patch method should not signal any retreat from current methods of medical use, nor preclude the study of smoking the substance. The cruel battle to stifle the use of medical marijuana has gone on far too long, and for no reason other than political posturing by those who deliberately draw false connections between suffering patients and street-corner drug abusers. Let the healing begin. News Article Courtesy Of MapInc.URL: Published: January 24, 2000 Copyright: 2000 St. Louis Post-DispatchContact: letters Forum: Articles & Web Site:The IOM Report Resident Does Marijuana Patch Research - 1/24/2000 Patch Research For Cancer Patients - 1/19/2000 Researchers Test Marijuana Patch - 1/20/2000 
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