Pubdate: Sun,  3 Aug 2003
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2003 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Author: Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Note: To read about the "ice epidemic" in Hawaii, go to .


Lee Cataluna equates cannabis with methamphetamine ("loaded is loaded").
This is a dangerous simplification. Speed produces paranoia, impulsive
violence, suicidality, profound addiction and rapid physical deterioration.
Cannabis does none of these.

Further, Cataluna seems to think that medical cannabis is only for the
treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea. That's nonsense. The largest group
of cannabis patients are those suffering from chronic conditions,
particularly those in chronic pain.

A significant group of patients are those who are successfully treating
their addiction to alcohol, sedatives, narcotics, cocaine or amphetamines by
engaging in what is termed "harm reduction."

The use of cannabis to treat addictive disorders is not simply substituting
one drug for another but is using an effective medicine to reduce
self-destructive behavior. With abstinence programs having a success rate of
less than 20 percent, we'd all be better served to consider harm reduction
in an objective manner.

Finally, Cataluna stereotypes users of cannabis in ways that no responsible
person would ever refer to any other group of individuals.

Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.

West Hills, Calif.
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