Pubdate: Thu, 21 Sep 2006
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2006 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Bruce Mirken, Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project


Editor -- Debra J. Saunders made a number of important points in her 
latest column about medical marijuana ("Waiting To Inhale," Sept. 
19). Two facts are worth adding:

First, the evidence of marijuana's medical benefit continues to 
accumulate. Just last week, a new study from UCSF showed that 
marijuana use tripled the cure rate of patients being treated for the 
hepatitis C virus (HCV) -- apparently by relieving nausea and other 
side effects of anti-HCV drugs, thus allowing patients to complete 
their arduous treatment regimens.

Second, the advantages of smoking -- instantaneous relief and ease of 
dose adjustment -- are available without smoking, using fairly simple 
devices called vaporizers. If the government really objected to 
smoking, as officials claim, it would be promoting the use of these 
devices, which allow inhalation of the active components, 
cannabinoids, without the tars and other irritants in smoke. Oddly, 
officials, such as David Murray of the drug czar's office, never seem 
to acknowledge that this technology exists.

Bruce Mirken

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

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