Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jul 2003
Source: Press and Journal, The (UK)
Copyright: 2003: Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd.
Author: Pete Harris
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


SIR, - With reference to Ian Oliver's column headed "Let science settle the 
great cannabis controversy" (July 23), I agree with proper scientific 
investigation into the benefits and otherwise concerning cannabis, but this 
has been used far too often as an excuse to do nothing.

I have just had to restart using natural cannabis again because the ninth 
different painkiller I've been prescribed makes me feel so awful.

Cannabis is the only thing I've found that completely gets rid of the pain 
associated with the incurable neurological disease I have, multiple system 
atrophy (MSA), and lets me function nearly like a normal human being.

Two years ago, I hadn't smoked marijuana regularly for more than 20 years. 
I remembered that football injuries that still hurt when I was drunk didn't 
hurt after a cannabis cigarette. That memory, suggestions from friends and 
acquaintances and anecdotes of cannabis's painkilling qualities meant that 
when methods I've had prescribed couldn't keep the pain in check any more, 
I was very willing to try cannabis.

I'll try virtually anything to get rid of or just control the pain.

I know from personal experience that cannabis works and I have tremendous 
respect and admiration for people such as Biz Ivol, who have helped others 
when they've found something that works.

At the beginning of this letter, I stated that I welcomed scientific 
research into the medical benefits of cannabis. However, I won't concede 
the argument about tests needing to be completed to guarantee its safety 
for people who are ill now. It's a risk I (and many others) are more than 
willing to take.

Let's have the scientific investigation, but let's not deny the experience 
of many of us.

Those who use cannabis as a medicine shouldn't be persecuted for doing the 
only thing that helps.

Pete Harris, Flat 8, Broadgate House, Barking Road, Plaistow, London.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jackl