Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jun 2004
Source: Warwick Beacon (RI)
Copyright: 2004 Warwick Beacon
Author: Bruce Mirken


To the Editor:

The story of Rhonda O'Donnell's battle with multiple sclerosis and for
legal access to medical marijuana was inspiring ("In pain, RN seeks
legal relief from marijuana," June 17). The evidence that marijuana
provides meaningful relief from the suffering caused by MS continues
to grow.

Last December, a British study showed that a marijuana extract
provided relief from MS-related pain and muscle spasticity. A survey
of Canadian MS patients reported in this month's issue of the journal
"Neurology" found that one out of seven used marijuana for treatment
of symptoms. Patients reported relief of pain, muscle spasms,
stiffness and sleep disturbances.

The Canadian researchers reported, "Access to cannabis [marijuana]
emerged as an important obstacle in the use of this drug for medical
purposes." Rhode Island legislators can help solve this problem by
passing the medical marijuana bill now before them. People like Rhonda
O'Donnell should not have to risk jail for trying to relieve some of
their pain.

Bruce Mirken, Director of Communication, Marijuana Policy Project

Washington, DC
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