Pubdate: Sun, 13 Dec 1998
Date: 12/13/1998
Source: News & Observer (NC)
Author: Jesse Thorn
Section: Sunday Forum

Dr. Linda Bayer argued from emotion and failed to provide hard facts
regarding the controversial subject of medical marijuana

Bayer argues that since an equally effective drug, Marinol, has been
available along with newer drugs such as Ondansetron and Genisetron,
there is no need to legalize "medicinal marijuana." Wrong! These drugs
are used only as anti-emetics and anti-nausea agents. They do not have
anywhere near the wide range of therapeutic uses of marijuana.

Marinol does not provide the same medical value as marijuana. It does
not contain all of the compounds found in marijuana that provide
therapeutic value. Clinical tests show that not only is marijuana more
effective than Marinol in reducing nausea, but when given the choice
between the two, patients opted for marijuana because it is easier for
them to get the proper dose.

Many highly respected medical organizations including the American
Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, Kaiser
Permanente, New England Journal of Medicine, American Cancer Society
and even our state's N.C. Nurses Association advocate the use of
medical marijuana and/or further research into medical marijuana.

I would advise Bayer to consider the following and take the advice to

"Doctors are not the enemy in the 'war' on drugs; ignorance and
hypocrisy are. Research should go on, and while it does, marijuana
should be available to all patients who need it to help them undergo
treatment for life-threatening illnesses. There is certainly
sufficient evidence to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug. . .
. As long as therapy is safe and has not been proven ineffective,
seriously ill patients (and their physicians) should have access to
whatever they need to fight for their lives." - The New England
Journal of Medicine, Aug. 7, 1997

By making medical marijuana unavailable to victims of the illnesses
listed above, the federal government forces patients and their
physicians to substitute a less effective and more expensive
alternative treatment in many cases where the use of marijuana is
indicated. The current policy makes criminals out of otherwise law-
abiding citizens whose only crime is to use marijuana to reduce their

Jesse Thorn