Pubdate: Sun, 18 Dec 2011
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2011 David Evans
Author: David Evans

Sunday Dialogue


The Writer Responds

The responses focus on denying the dangers of marijuana use (that it 
is addictive and causes car crashes), personal anecdotes about 
marijuana as "medicine," and justifications for bypassing the 
approval process of the Food and Drug Administration.

I point Mr. Anton to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health 
showing that marijuana users have the highest rate of dependence of 
all those classified with illicit drug dependence. Higher potency 
marijuana is a major factor in the increasing number of Americans 
being treated for dependence.

Common sense and studies confirm that marijuana-related driving 
problems include decreased handling performance, slower reaction 
times and lack of motor coordination.

Studies in recent years have linked marijuana to many health 
problems, including birth defects, respiratory system damage, cancer, 
brain damage, strokes, immune system damage, mental illness, violence 
and infertility.

Although many people like Mr. Sikov report that marijuana benefited 
them, anecdotal reports are not reliable scientific evidence and can 
be influenced by the emotional expectations of the person, the 
sedative-hallucinogenic effect of marijuana, and politics. Public 
health must be protected based on unbiased science and objective 
clinical testing.

The F.D.A. did a comprehensive study and found that "no sound 
scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana." Its 
sophisticated drug approval process is our best defense against 
marketing unsafe and ineffective drugs.

That is true compassion for the ill.


Belvidere, N.J., Dec. 15, 2011
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