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Marijuana Just Another Pain Reliever

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April 25,00
Source: Newspress
Young Voices by Jonny Black
Editor's Note: In 1996, California voters legalized medical marijuana clubs. There is a movement in Santa Barbara to create such a club.
What are people supposed to do if they are deathly ill and the pain relievers their doctors have prescribed do not seem to be effective? What if the pain they suffer is hindering their lifestyle and making life unbearable?
I believe that under these circumstances a person should not be denied relief. Some doctors have a simple solution: marijuana.
For years, pot has been placed in the same category as cocaine and other narcotics, but these days people are starting to look at it from a different point of view. They see the drug as a medicine. I see it just as another pain reliever. I believe that if I were in a great deal of pain, I would most likely want to use marijuana if I knew it would ease the pain.
Some people have tried other remedies and found them ineffective, so I believe that if marijuana works, then they should be allowed to use it for medical purposes.
Marijuana has been used for treating these diseases: glaucoma, AIDS, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, Crohn's Disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. A report from the Institute of Medicine says that there is a "potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs, particularly for .Ê.Ê. pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation."
There are more than 30 medical conditions that are helped by marijuana, and some people even see its use as an alternative to assisted suicide.
An alternative that some doctors use is a drug called Marinol. It has marijuana's basic psychoactive components, but it is hard to keep down for nauseous patients; some find it ineffective, while others find it too strong. Doctors, as well as patients, have found that it is harder to regulate the dosage, and the medicine is also very expensive at $10 a tablet. In addition, Marinol is not covered by health insurance.
I don't think that it should be the government's decision to tell people they can't use marijuana for medical purposes. So far, only seven other states -- Maine, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington -- have passed laws, by ballot initiatives, to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, in 28 other states measures have been considered.
Though marijuana causes dizziness, mild withdrawal symptoms and the potential for lung damage, it still doesn't have the harmful effects of heavy drug use, which often takes people's lives. Yet, for some reason, the government believes that marijuana is a dangerous drug.
Even though my friends and I do not use marijuana, I do not see why governments should have the right to ban a substance that could help the pain very sick people experience. They think that they have the right to tell an ill person that he cannot use an actual medicine that works, just because government officials consider marijuana too dangerous.
Jonny Black, 14, is a ninth-grader at Santa Barbara High School.

Be Heard:
Young Voices is a column written by Santa Barbara County young people, ages 21 and under.
Columns should be typed and 500 to 700 words long. Submissions, with a school photo, can be mailed to City Editor Jesse Chavarria at 715 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara 93102, or faxed to 966-6258.

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