Pubdate: Tue, 4 Aug 2009
Source: Modesto Bee, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Modesto Bee
Author: Dan Bernath


Interim police chief Michael Harden is entitled to his opinions
regarding medical marijuana, but not his own facts. The 1999 Institute
of Medicine report Harden cites, which I'm guessing he has never read,
is a careful, nuanced document. But its conclusion regarding whether
or not marijuana has medical value is clear: "Nausea, appetite loss,
pain, and anxiety ... all can be mitigated by marijuana."

During the press conference releasing the report, lead author Dr. John
Benson said, "[W]e concluded that there are some limited circumstances
in which we recommend smoking marijuana for medical uses."

Harden is also wrong that no double-blind clinical research exist
verifying medical marijuana's safety and efficacy. I'll name two:
"Vaporization as a Smokeless Cannabis Delivery System: A Pilot Study,"
by HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of
California at San Francisco and published in 2007 in "Clinical
Pharmacology & Therapeutics," and "Cannabis for Treatment of HIV-
Related Peripheral Neuropathy," also by Abrams and published in 2007
in "Neurology."

Once Harden gets his facts squared away, we can then address how his
conclusions regarding medical marijuana are just as wrong.

Dan Bernath

Marijuana Policy Project

Washington, D.C.
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