Pubdate:   Tuesday, March 9, 1999
Source: Nelson Daily News (Canada)
Author: Paul DeFelice
Page: A4


To the editor:

Regarding your March 5th front page story "Jury still out on
medical marijuana." First, I would especially like to comment on a
statement made by Nelson City Police Sgt. Dan Maluta: "I'm hoping that part
of what is driving this is that they are going to find from the clinical
study that no practitioners are going to support actually inhaling raw
marijuana in order to treat illness.

It will refute it and then it could no longer be raised as a defence
in court." This demonstrates quite clearly that officer Maluta is
biased on this point and is only worried about keeping his job and
making it easier for himself to arrest sick and healthy cannabis users.

But that is the attitude I would expect from a cop. Hopefully others
are more compassionate. I would also like to address the concerns
expressed by both Officer Maluta and MP Jim Gouk that "smoke" of any
nature could possibly be considered medicinal.

Most fear of inhaled smoke comes from what we have learned about

However, all smoke was not created equal. Herbs like yerba santa,
coltsfoot, hoarshound, and mullein have traditionally been smoke to
soothe the lungs.

Smoking datura stramonium (Jimson Weed) was the pre-aerosol method
used to halt an asthma attack due to its function as a bronchial dilator.

Cannabis smoke is a bronchial dilator (tobacco smoke is a bronchial
constrictor) that acts to open the lungs' airways and is also an
expectorant that breaks up and expells phlegm (Cohen & Stillman,
Tashkin ). Emphysema sufferers actually benefit from pot smoke
according to Dr. Donald Tashkin. Studies of the airways of heavy
cannabis smokers in Jamaica caused researchers to conclude "either
that marijuana has no harmful effects on such passages or that it
actually offers some slight protection against the harmful effects of
tobacco smoke" (Rubin & Comitas). In fact, it may be the large amounts
of radioactivity (polonium - 210) contained in tobacco that causes so
many cancers in cigarette smokers (Dr. R.T. Ravenholt, Dr. E. Martell,
Surgeon General C.E. Koop). There is no radioactivity in cannabis
tars. One of the reasons that smoking is more efficient than eating
cannabis is because for many types of treatment (i.e. aids,
chemotherapy) it is impossible to keep the medicine down without
vomitting it back up. Also, it is possible to self regulate the dosage
of medicine  by simply stopping to puff when the desired effects are
felt. When ingested, the effects of cannabis can keep coming on past
what is desired. I could go on about cannabis as medicine, but I
mainly wanted to address the smoking issue.

Paul DeFelice,
Holy Smoke Culture Shop Co-Owner
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