Pubdate: Mon, 22 Nov 2004
Source: Sidelines, The (TN Edu)
Copyright: 2004 Middle Tennessee State University
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Chronic Pain)


Sen. Steve Cohen's attempt to authorize the use of marijuana for
medical use should be viewed with open minds, and we hope that our
legislators are willing to listen to all sides of the argument
concerning this issue. While the general consensus is that there is
not enough knowledge on the subject to make a conclusive decision
either way, the National Institute of Medicine concluded

While there are certainly other pain medications on the market that
alleviate suffering associated with cancer and other chronic or simply
painful conditions, some have responded well to these medicines, and
some have not. The same is true with marijuana. Both have side effects
that are considered undesirable by some, such as disorientation.

Marijuana and other substances, such as opiates, both have potential
for dependency. However, the general conclusion amongst medical
professionals is that adverse marijuana withdrawal symptoms are
generally short-lived and has milder side effects than those of
opiates (such as Oxycontin), benzodiazepines (such as Valium) and
stimulants (such as Ritalin) - all of which are legal for prescription

By this logic, the government had better get busy outlawing most
benzodiazepines, nearly all opiates and every stimulant currently on
the prescription market, from Ritalin at the school house to cocaine
at the dentist's office.

The greater problem is the way that this issue often becomes a debate
on full legalization, which should be separated from this dispute.
People will lean one way or the other based on how they feel about
marijuana as a recreational substance instead of discussing its
medicinal use. We need the most concrete answers we can get.
Therefore, more research conducted by an unbiased group of medical
professionals should be funded, and legislators need to take a
non-partisan look at the issue and decide for themselves.

If marijuana can alleviate the physical suffering of any sick person
who cannot find relief otherwise without severe side effects, our
state legislators - who are, above all, charged with the duty of
looking out for the well-being of Tennessee citizens - should be
willing to consider the issue openly without regard for what the
party's press office has to say about the matter.
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