Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jan 2003
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2003 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Author: Charles W. Cranford


Editor, Times-Dispatch: I would like to take this opportunity to reply to 
Lawrence Lanberg's comments regarding the medicinal use of marijuana for 
treating a variety of illnesses. Lanberg concludes his first paragraph by 
stating that "I'm actually quite surprised I haven't heard resounding 
laughter from the current medical community." Perhaps that is because many 
physicians and studies support the use of legalized medicinal marijuana in 
the treatment of patients suffering from AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple 
sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Marijuana is one of the safest 
therapeutically active substances known. No one has ever died from an 
overdose, and it has a wide variety of therapeutic applications: relief 
from nausea and increase of appetite, reduction of intraocular (within the 
eye) pressure, reduction of muscle spasms, and relief from chronic pain.

Medicinal applications have been deemed legitimate by at least one court, 
legislature, and/or government agency in the United States. Many patients 
also report that marijuana is useful for treating arthritis, migraine, 
menstrual cramps, alcohol and opiate addiction, and depression and other 
debilitating mood disorders.

Lanberg is confused between the medicinal application of marijuana 
(prescribed) and recreational use. True, medicinal marijuana could be 
abused by its user, just as prescribed drugs such as Percocet, Vicodin, and 
others are at times. He concludes, "Pot smoking gives one even more harm 
per puff," having linked it to tobacco use in his final paragraph. I would 
rather provide the patient who is dying from AIDS, the patient suffering 
through chemotherapy, glaucoma, and MS, with what could be the best form of 
relief from their agony and suffering than to drug them up with pills.

Charles W. Cranford

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