Pubdate: Sun, 8 Jun 2008
Source: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Press-Enterprise Company
Author: Mitch Earleywine


The recent op-ed on medical marijuana says science, not politics,
should drive California's drug policy ("Pot propaganda," June 4).

Though the piece suggests otherwise, science reveals that marijuana is
superb for battling nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, insomnia,
muscle spasms and pain. For some people, it can mean the difference
between life and death.

An Institute of Medicine report, the same one mentioned in the op-ed,
actually confirms that marijuana has these medical uses.

The writer suggests that Marinol, a synthetic pill that contains only
one of the many active ingredients in the plant, could suffice for
patients. But research reveals that the pill is impossible to swallow
during bouts of nausea and vomiting, its effects are slow and
unpredictable, and for some patients, it simply doesn't work.

Indeed, science should drive drug policy. Medical marijuana should be
available as needed to end human anguish whenever possible. Standing
idly by while the sickest of the sick suffer is truly inhumane.

Mitch Earleywine

Associate professor,

State University of New York at Albany

Albany, N.Y.
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