Pubdate: Fri, 08 Feb 2002
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2002 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc.
Author: Chris Donald


As a chronic-pain patient who has been forced to suffer the debilitating 
side effects of the pharmaceutical industry's only answer to serious pain - 
opiate-based pills - for over a decade, I was outraged by the badly 
researched hatchet job that The Gazette chose to print about medical 
cannabis (Column, Feb. 5, "Hands up if you puff").

I can personally attest that the opiates are called junk on the street for 
good reason, and Brian Kappler's call to keep patients on junk instead of 
allowing access to what are now researched alternatives like cannabis is an 
insult to every patient in the country.

Clinical trials in Britain by GW Pharmaceuticals have already proven that 
cannabis sativa provided significant pain relief to the vast majority of MS 
and spinal-chord-injury patients who were tested and that a significant 
number of patients reported needing far less, or no, analgesic pills while 
using it.

The most stunning hole in Mr. Kappler's knowledge of the issue is that well 
over a year ago, GW announced that extensive clinical trials had proven 
patients consistently found cannabis sativa to be far superior to cannabis 
indica for pain relief, and that "the street" he refers to has not seen any 
sativa in over a decade. Because indica grows well indoors, and sativa does 
not, indica is the only type of cannabis available to most patients from 
any source except the government, especially as even those patients with 
exemptions to grow their own cannot usually grow sativa indoors unless they 
are professional gardeners to begin with. So much for the "street corner" 
that offers marijuana to patients at "popular prices."

Pill companies are well aware of these studies, and Mr. Kappler's baseless 
attack on medical cannabis and the compassionate-use program could only 
have been inspired by a sleazy industry attempt to protect the bottom line 
of pill-makers who already know that clinical tests planned in Canada with 
government sativa will eventually result in patients taking less, or none, 
of their expensive, debilitating pills, with resulting savings to the taxpayer.

Chris Donald

Dartmouth, N.S.
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