Pubdate: Wed, 30 Jul 2003
Source: Union-News (MA)
Copyright: 2003 Union-News
Author: Bruce Mirken


The letter-writer who thinks it is irresponsible to say that marijuana is a 
safer drug than aspirin (Let's not compare aspirin with drug like 
marijuana, July 26) is wrong. Let's do a quick comparison:

Aspirin: Used in medicine for over 100 years.

Marijuana: 5,000 years of documented use in medicine.

Aspirin: Can cause peptic ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and other 
life-threatening side effects. Causes fatal overdoses every year (in 2001, 
according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 82 
poisoning deaths were caused by either aspirin or acetaminophen - the 
active ingredient in Tylenol - with no other substances involved).

Marijuana: No fatal overdose has ever been recorded in the medical literature.

In 1988, Drug Enforcement Administration Administrative Law Judge Francis 
Young, after a thorough examination of the evidence, found marijuana to be 
"one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." More 
recently, the esteemed medical journal The Lancet declared, "Moderate 
indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect on health."

True, marijuana can cause intoxication or drowsiness, and so must be used 
with caution and care. But the same can be said of literally thousands of 
prescription and over-the-counter drugs used by hundreds of millions of 
people every day.

Bruce Mirken
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