Pubdate: Tue, 1 Jan 2008
Source: Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
Copyright: 2008 Battle Creek Enquirer
Author: Jaime Vandenboss


A lot of people that I've discussed this issue with focus more on the
effects of marijuana vs. the effects of alcohol or tobacco. Why don't
we discuss weed vs. the current pain meds on the market instead of
weed vs. tobacco/alcohol, since that would be more relevant.

First off, we have the NSAIDs - Celebrex, Vioxx, Naproxen, etc. How
many have been pulled off the market? As for the rest, we now get to
watch TV commercials (Celebrex, especially) touting that "All NSAIDs
may include the chance of a heart attack or stroke that can lead to
death." These medications are also notorious for causing ulcers and
bleeding in the stomach and intestines.

Now let's look at narcotics: OxyContin, OxyCodone, Vicodin
(hydrocodone), morphine, etc. These drugs are highly addictive, can
get you quite intoxicated (why do you think they're sold on the
street??). If one's in chronic pain and using these medicines, one
will build up a tolerance, requiring higher dosages over time.
Physical addiction?? Believe it. Side effects also can include
constipation and incredible itching! At higher doses (morphine in
particular), people can become delusional and psychotic, having visual
and tactile hallucinations.

With marijuana, granted, there is still much to be studied. But even
with the evidence we have now, we know that "mary jane" isn't going to
give you a heart attack or stroke, cause ulcers and bleeding or have
the side effects of nausea, constipation, diarrhea, etc. - in fact,
marijuana alleviates nausea. There is no evidence of physiological
addiction. Mental addiction is possible, but there are likely external
issues resulting in that dependence. Side effects? Increased appetite,
and with some people, increased paranoia. In a regulated form
(filtered marijuana cigarettes or pill form) the THC causing the high
can be reduced or eliminated.

Perhaps giving marijuana a try for relief to various ailments could be
a safer alternative than our current medications.

Jaime Vandenboss

Battle Creek
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