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Malicious Markup on Medicinal Marijuana

PFlynn

New Member
The anti-marijuana crowd will be latching on to a new study published in last week's edition of the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, which suggests that even occasional pot use could raise the risk of psychosis.

Based on a meta-analysis of 35 previous studies, researchers determined that pot-smokers were 41 per cent more likely to develop a psychotic illness than persons who had never used the drug, and contend that governments should now work to dispel the misconception that marijuana is a benign drug.

Yikes! Sounds scary if you're a pot-smoker - which 16 per cent of Canadians reportedly are - but alarmism needs to be tempered by the fact that the overall risk for all marijuana smokers remains very low, a point the study's authors concede.

They also acknowledge that they can't prove marijuana itself increases the risk of psychosis. It may be that persons inclined to smoke marijuana are just likely to have those certain personality traits that predispose them to developing psychosis.

The Associated Press reported that two of the study's authors were invited to sit as experts on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Cannabis Review in 2005, and that several also reported being paid to attend corporate-sponsored meetings related to marijuana, one receiving consulting fees from companies that make anti-psychotic medications.

Big pharmaceutical interests are notoriously hostile to legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, since it is believed by many to be a ( potentially at least ) cheap, non-patentable, and effective substitute for a variety of proprietary drugs.

It's more than a little disingenuous to be sowing fear and doubt about what is acknowledged to be a remote possibility of increased mental health risk, when the damaging side-effect risk of so many prescription pharmaceuticals is so much greater and more severe than anything that's ever been associated with pot, especially when marijuana has the potential to be a safer replacement for some of those drugs.

Indeed, just last month, the State of New Mexico enacted a new medical marijuana law that not only protects medical marijuana users from prosecution, as 11 other states do, but requires the state to oversee a production and distribution system for the drug, which is exactly the sort of thing big pharmabiz interests and their fellow-travellers are afraid of.

Unfortunately, Stephen Harper's Conservative government is in the camp hostile to medical marijuana.

The previous Liberal government was bad enough on this file, only grudgingly agreeing to set up a supply infrastructure for medical weed after being obliged to by a 2003 Supreme Court ruling.

But the Harperistas have been quietly doing what they can to undermine medical marijuana use, not least by pricing government-grown pot at street-dealer levels that will prove a major hardship to many seriously ill patients who need the pot.

Last fall, the Tories also cut $4 million in funding from medical marijuana research, effectively killing the program, a move that borders on malicious ideological spitefulness.

The Canadian Press reports that Health Canada now adds a punishing 1,500 per cent markup on what they pay for certified medical marijuana in bulk from the $328.75 per kilogram paid to the official supplier, Prairie Plant Systems Inc., reselling it in 30-gram bags to licensed users for $150 a pop, plus GST. That works out to $5,000 per kilogram.

According to the Canadian Press report, 1,742 patients are authorized by Health Canada to possess dried marijuana as a medication.

The perverseness of this amounts to willful ignorance at best, with people suffering from horrible illnesses like MS or cancer being arbitrarily denied access to a natural substance that, at the barest minimum, would ease their distress, and which is safer in terms of side-effects than vast numbers of standard prescription pharmaceuticals.

A 150-pound person would reportedly have to chain-smoke about 900 marijuana cigarettes in order to induce a lethal dose. In 20-odd years of researching medical marijuana, I have never encountered a single report of a death caused by marijuana poisoning. Literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of legal prescription pharmaceuticals in wide distribution can't boast likewise.

The government's grudging, peevish compliance with the court ruling that they supply legal pot to licensed patients is sadistic and cruel. People struggling to get through the day with painful, debilitating illnesses shouldn't have to battle the government and pay criminal drug-dealer prices for access to a medicine that provides relief.

Study after study indicates that cannabis is effective for pain relief in cases of chronic pain, depression, neuropathy, persistent nausea and weight loss.

The studies also show that marijuana is subjectively perceived, by an overwhelming majority of users, as providing relief superior to that of other medications.

I'm willing to wager that most would happily accept a remotely increased risk of developing psychosis for some immediate relief.

Source: Daily News,The (CN NS)
Copyright: 2007 The Daily News
Contact: mailto:letterstoeditor@hfxnews.ca
Website: Halifax, The Daily News: Proudly Serving the Greater Halifax Communities
 
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Herb Fellow

New Member
Very positive article! :31: . . . but it is sad to see the government being so damn capitalistic on their margin of profit.
 
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