Pubdate: Tue, 16 Feb 2010
Source: Victoria Advocate (TX)
Copyright: 2010 Victoria Advocate Publishing Company
Author: Kurt A. Gardinier


Editor, the Advocate:

In a recent medical marijuana story published in the Victoria
Advocate, reporter J.R. Ortega discussed both the pros and cons of the
issue, but ended up doing far greater harm than good by printing false
claims made by grossly misinformed doctors. For instance, Victoria
oncologist Dr. Ahmad Qadri is quoted as saying that he "doubt[s] there
are any pros" to using marijuana. Dr. Qadri, it's not theory that
marijuana is medicine; it's fact, backed by 5,000 years of recorded
history. Research has shown that marijuana relieves symptoms like
nausea, appetite loss, muscle spasms and certain types of pain. This
evidence has been acknowledged by the American College of Physicians,
the American Nurses Association, and many other reputable health

Dr. Qadri goes on to say that there are prescription medications to
control nausea and vomiting. One such medication is Marinol, made from
THC (one of the over 80 components of marijuana), but patients who use
this pill find that it commonly takes an hour or more to work, while
vaporized or smoked marijuana takes effect almost instantaneously.

Furthermore, doesn't acknowledging and prescribing the THC pill prove
that marijuana is medicine? Saying Marinol is medicine, but marijuana
must stay illegal is like saying, "You can have a vitamin C pill, but
we'll throw you in jail for eating an orange."

Qadri also says one of the benefits of using prescription pills is
that "patients won't grow dependent on them like they would with marijuana."

Is this "doctor" really suggesting that marijuana is more addictive
than prescription pills? Marijuana is about as addictive as caffeine
and doctors are currently allowed to prescribe cocaine, morphine and
methamphetamine. Can anyone, doctor or otherwise, honestly say with a
straight face that marijuana is more dangerous than those prescribed

The most outrageous claim is made by another "doctor," Dr. Yusuke
Yahagi, a Victoria cardiothoracic surgeon. Dr. Yusuke suggests that
you can overdose on marijuana, which is simply not true. You can
overdose on Tylenol, countless prescription medicines and you can even
OD on water, but no one has ever overdosed on marijuana.

Medical marijuana laws are not about people getting high, they're
about chronically-ill patients being allowed to use the medicine that
works best for them without having to fear being arrested or being
thrown in jail.

Kurt A. Gardinier

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake