Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jun 2005
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2005 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Pamela A. Pappas, M.D.
Bookmark: (Raich v Gonzales)


The June 7 wire-service story ("Medicinal weed is illegal") about the U.S. 
Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana included the following: 
"Anti-cancer drugs such as Marinol, which is available by prescription, can 
cause nausea and vomiting." The story also said marijuana is being studied 
to reduce this side effect from this drug. Marinol is the trade name for 
the drug Dronabinol, a synthetic oral preparation of one of 66 active 
compounds in Cannabis sativa, the marijuana plant. It itself has been 
studied to relieve symptoms of nausea, vomiting and poor appetite in cancer 
patients, rather than causing these symptoms itself.

Unfortunately, it works less well clinically than the herb from which it 
comes (the marijuana plant). This is a case where patients get better 
results from the herb itself --a complex mixture of many compounds -- 
rather than a synthetic compound of only one supposed "active ingredient." 
This principle often carries throughout the world of botanical medicine.

Pamela A. Pappas, M.D.

Chapel Hill
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