Pubdate: Fri, 12 Dec 2008
Source: Montgomery Advertiser (AL)
Copyright: 2008 The Advertiser Co.
Author: Frank Winkler
Note: Letters from the newspaper's circulation area receive publishing


Should we legalize marijuana for medical use? ("State should join
marijuana list" by Loretta Nall, and endorsed by Sarah Wires.)
Proponents argue marijuana should be legalized for the chronically and
terminally ill to medicate themselves, and that laws prohibiting sale
for such use are "unjust."

Several states are wrestling with this issue. California legalized
medical marijuana locally and statewide. Why shouldn't we?

First, why and how does marijuana "work" as a medication? The key is
the psychoactive chemical Delta-9 tetrahydrocannibanol or THC. THC
mimics cannabinols produced naturally by the brain -- analgesics that
reduce nausea, stimulate the appetite (the "munchies") but in much
stronger dosage that induces a strong sense of elation (the "high.")
What's wrong with that?

Plenty. Pot also introduces more than 400 toxic chemicals when smoked
into the lungs and bloodstream. Laced with other substances, it can be
even more damaging. THC varies significantly, from mild (3 to 6
percent) to moderate (9 to 11 percent) to powerful (15 to 20
percent-plus and highly addictive.)

What is the "correct" dose? How often and in what quantity? What about
side effects, overdose, addiction? (People do OD and get hooked.)

Isn't there a pharmaceutical? Yes - generic dronabinol, aka Merinol,
is available by prescription. It's pure THC, in predetermined dosage,
and no need to smoke it or put it in brownies, etc.

What about California? In fact, the trend has reversed -- too much
abuse, poor program management, and not enough control. Municipalities
are outlawing medical pot across the state. The grand experiment has

Frank Winkler

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