Pubdate: Thu, 13 Jan 2005
Source: Los Angeles City Beat (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Southland Publishing
Author: Bruce Mirken


Space does not allow me to refute all the distortions, misstatements and
flat-out lies spouted by Stuart Hoffman in his January 6 interview [Re:
3rd Degree], so I will confine myself to one: Regarding Marinol, the
prescription THC pill, Hoffman says, "Your body can't tell the
difference if you take it in that form or whether you smoke a joint."

That is simply false. Marinol must be taken orally, and the medical
journal The Lancet Neurology has noted, "Oral administration is
probably the least satisfactory route for cannabis," due to slow and
uneven absorption and the inability of patients to control dosing. The
1999 White House-commissioned Institute of Medicine report on medical
marijuana made the same point.

It is also well documented in the scientific literature that THC taken
orally is processed differently than THC which is inhaled (either by
smoking or through a vaporizer), and some of it is converted into a
more psychoactive byproduct. In other words, patients taking Marinol
are more likely to be "stoned" and have difficulty functioning.

Finally, there is abundant research showing that THC is not the sole
source of marijuana's medical benefits. It is just one of 60 related
chemicals in the plant, called cannabinoids, and several others
clearly play a role in marijuana's therapeutic activity.

All of this is well known and clearly documented in the scientific
literature. Hoffman should be ashamed for spouting such nonsense, but
in fact he is typical of medical marijuana opponents in his complete
disregard for science.

Bruce Mirken,

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

Washington, D.C.
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