Pubdate: Mon, 28 May 2001
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Copyright: 2001 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Gary Storck


Regarding the Wisconsin State Journal's recent story, "Supreme Court Nixes 
Medicinal Marijuana", 15 May 2001. Dr. Mark Andrew, president-elect of the 
State Medical Society of Wisconsin, is quoted as saying that research has 
not proven that the benefits of medical marijuana outweigh the risks of 
drug addiction or of cancer, and that there are other forms of marijuana 
such as pills and aerosols.

The fact is the 1999 Institute of Medicine Report not only found smoked 
marijuana an effective therapy, but also concluded the addictive potential 
was very low. In contrast many conventional drugs in use today are 
addictive, from Valium to Prozac to opiates such as morphine and Oxycontin. 
Yet no one would suggest prohibiting their medical use. Furthermore, while 
a synthetic form of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) Marinol, 
exists, it is only one of many medicinal compounds found in the whole plant.

Andrew also failed to note or is unaware that Marinol does not work for 
many patients. Jacki Rickert, the patient quoted at the beginning of the 
article, testified at an Assembly committee hearing on medical marijuana 
that Marinol caused her to have a life-threatening allergic reaction, 
something she has never experienced using the natural form.

In addition, the aerosol delivery system referred to by Dr. Andrew is still 
in the developmental stages and may not be available for years. Would 
Andrew and the medical society prefer patients suffer needlessly while 
science struggles to replicate the benefits of an herb available today?

Gary Storck, Madison
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