Pubdate: Wed, 19 Jun 2002
Source: Philadelphia Weekly (PA)
Copyright: 2002 Philadelphia Weekly
Author: Mark Greene


On our special section about marijuana published two weeks ago:

When I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. 
Ironically, along with being the easiest cancer to beat into submission, it 
carries with it perhaps the harshest treatment--in my case, eight months of 
chemotherapy and another two of radiation.

Six years ago my cancer would have eaten me alive. At the stage I was at 
(4-B, for those who know) I had months and weeks, not years. New treatments 
and drugs researched and approved in the last four years have raised the 
five-year survival rate from 60-to-70 percent to over 90 percent, and 
fortunately, I was the beneficiary.

I had two main drugs available to me to cope with the debilitating side 
effects caused by the intense chemical warfare being pumped into my veins 
on a bi-monthly basis. One, a small white pill (the newest and most 
effective drug on the market) was available for $300 dollars for a week's 
supply, and could be taken only once in the morning. It took two-plus hours 
to kick in, and lasted only about five, after which I was on my own. I 
began to build a tolerance for this drug and it stopped working after seven 

I had another option. It cost me $60 a week, with no limit on dosage. I 
could use it whenever I needed it and it was instantly and completely 

It not only cured my nausea but also relieved my fatigue, lack of appetite, 
dizziness and headaches, and allowed me to sleep for more than two hours at 
a time. Every doctor I had recommended it, and other patients endorsed it, 
too. The only downside was that I became a criminal for seeking relief by 
smoking pot.

Marijuana saved my life. Without it, there was no way I could have coped 
with the effects of my treatment long enough to beat my cancer into 
submission. Anyone who believes this drug to be dangerous should have a 
short conversation with a cancer patient. Complete prohibition, even for 
medicinal use is not only illogical, it's inhuman.


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