Pubdate: Tue, 22 Sep 2015
Source: Stephenville Empire-Tribune (TX)
Copyright: 2015 Stephenville Empire-Tribune
Author: Suzanne Wills


I commend Colleen McCool for her thoughtful, personal letter 
regarding medical marijuana (cannabis).

In thousands of years of documented use cannabis alone has never been 
shown to cause a serious illness or an overdose death. If cannabis 
were legal it would be the first treatment that should be tried for 
myriad medical conditions including but certainly not limited to 
pain, epilepsy, Crohn's disease, PTSD, nausea, multiple sclerosis and autism.

In a recent issue of National Geographic, Dr. Nolan Kane describes 
what will happen when scientists are finally allowed to study cannabis.

"So much of science is incremental but with this cannabis work, the 
science will not be incremental. It will be transformative. 
Transformative not just in our understanding of the plant but also of 
ourselves, our brains, our neurology, our psychology. Cannabis is an 
embarrassment of riches."

Even without further study the benefits of legalizing medical 
cannabis are evident.

Drug overdoses were the number one cause of accidental deaths in 
America in 2013, the last year for which records are available. These 
were mostly from pharmaceutical painkillers and street heroin. A 
study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 
Baltimore found that in the 13 states that passed laws that legalized 
medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010, 25 percent fewer people die 
from opioid overdoses annually.

Medical marijuana states have also experienced a decrease in traffic 
deaths and the suicide rate of about 5 percent overall and 11 percent 
among young males. Researchers attribute these effects to young 
people, especially males, substituting marijuana for alcohol.

Prohibition of certain drugs benefits people and industries that have 
learned to make money from it. The rest of us allow it to continue at 
our peril.

Suzanne Wills,

Drug Policy Forum of Texas
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