Pubdate: Thu, 16 Feb 2006
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2006 Gold Country Media
Author: Dale Gieringer


Travis Bailey, Your Views, Feb. 10, may be an addiction specialist, 
but he does not understand the facts about medical marijuana.

Marijuana's efficacy does not depend on hypothetical FDA studies. 
Cannabis was used as a medicine from its first introduction into the 
U.S. pharmacopoeia in the 1850s. It was forced off the market by the 
1937 Marijuana Tax Act despite the opposition of the American Medical 
Association, which recommended its continued medical availability.

In the 1980s, marijuana was shown effective as an anti-nauseant in 
several state-sponsored FDA studies, but research was stopped by 
federal drug bureaucrats.

Instead, the government expedited approval of Marinol, an expensive 
synthetic substitute consisting of pure THC, the chemical chiefly 
responsible for producing the high in marijuana. Many patients report 
superior efficacy from natural cannabis, which includes 
pharmacologically active components not found in Marinol.

In a free country, the burden should not be on patients to prove that 
medicines work for them, but on the government to prove they are 
harmful. If Mr. Kubby finds marijuana makes him feel better, it is a 
misuse of the criminal justice system to deny him access to it.

As for sending messages to children, drug use by California youth has 
declined continually since Proposition 215 passed. Fortunately, 
California's kids, unlike Mr. Bailey, understand that the fact that a 
drug is legal for medicine does not mean that they should use it 
casually, any more than legal liquor, guns, gambling, or sex.

Dale Gieringer, Ph.D

Director, California NORML; Co-author, Proposition 215
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