Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 2009
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2009 Summit Daily News
Author:  Garrick Abt


RE: "Medical marijuana a joke," Carol James, Letters, Oct.

Dear Ms. James, In response to your letter, I have a few comments on
the issues and information you bring to the table. First of all, as
for children being exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke, I should
hope that a pot user will have the common sense to not smoke near
children, as is the hope with all forms of smoking.

In addition, while you are correct that there are more carcinogens in
marijuana smoke than in cigarettes, take for example the words of
Donald Tashkin, M.D., UCLA, as presented at the American Thoracic
Society 102nd International Conference in 2006: "We know that there
are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke
as in cigarettes, but we did not find any evidence for an increase in
cancer risk for even heavy marijuana smoking." This is because of the
proposed anti-tumor properties of the THC found in marijuana smoke. It
is even suggested that marijuana smoke may be mildly protective
against lung cancer (Salynn Boyles,

Compare this evidence to alcohol, which, according to Jurgen Rehm at
the American Public Health Association annual meeting in 2003, "is the
fifth largest cause of death and morbidity in terms of global burden
of disease." Let me quickly add that alcohol is legal, while marijuana
is illegal. According to the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and
Health, 12 percent of men and 2.2 percent of women in North America
suffer from alcohol related diseases or die prematurely due to
consumption (Schieszer, J.,

Finally, if you believe that the responsible use of alcohol has less
of an intoxicating effect than the responsible use of marijuana, then
you have obviously never used marijuana. Your research is slightly
shorthanded, and your opinions, though respectable, are misguided.

Garrick Abt

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