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Medical Marijuana For Dummies: No Insult Intended

Herb Fellow

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MOLALLA, Ore. - As the only medical marijuana physician in the world who takes questions on the subject on an ongoing basis, Dr. Phil Leveque of Salem-News.com provided this latest round of answers for a college student in California who is doing a term report on medical marijuana.

We thought many of the questions however general, are good examples of the wide-ranging curiosity of Americans when it comes to this medical treatment that is emerging and historic at the same time. It is especially interesting to note that until the 1930's, cannabis based medicines were dominant in the U.S. and abroad. It took a couple of well backed American businesses, one staunch politician, and a media group to cast a spell on marijuana use through the press and one memorable movie that was extremely effective called "Reefer Madness."

It is important to realize that laws on medical marijuana vary from state to state and that at this point in time, the federal government still fails to recognize its legitimacy as a medical treatment. The real truth is that the federal government has recognized medical marijuana in the past and there are still a handful of federal medical marijuana patients who were grandfathered into the new federal position. Their marijuana is grown for them at the University of Mississippi.

Here is the question and answer segment:

1) Dr. Leveque why do you feel that Marijuana (cannabis) should be legalized for medicinal purposes?

Dr. Leveque: Medical Marijuana has been legalized in blue states but not in red scotch drinking states. It really doesn't make much difference. SAMSHA, a U.S. government agency, reports 77 million people have used marijuana at least once and probably ten million use it occasionally when they can get it. Probably about two million use it daily.

2) Are there certain times that you feel that it should be used for medicinal purposes?

Dr. Leveque: Marijuana has been legalized in Oregon and most other states for chronic/severe pain, spasm diseases, cancer and chemo, HIV/AIDs and chemo, multiple scleroses, epilepsy, Alzheimer's rage, glaucoma, PMS, endometriosis, diabetic neuropathy and gastropareses. My stories on Salem-News.com give a much wider list.

3) What/if there are the prescribing guidelines for marijuana? ex. every 6 hours

Dr. Leveque: There are no capitalized prescribing guidelines: every disease condition is on a scale of 1 to 10 and patients also have variable mindsets. They learn quickly what is enough and how often.

4) Are there guidelines and steps that should be folowed prior to marijuana being used?

Dr. Leveque: In my experience, 99% of patients have found how much and how often to use. Also, marijuana medical constituents are extremely variable, therefore there is NO DOSE or Regimen for everybody.

5) I have checked and there are 10 states that marijuana is allowed to be used along with District of Columbia what are their guidelines to the use of marijuana in Oregon?

Dr. Leveque: Oregon appears to be the most successful marijuana state but it also has the strictest regulations.

The regulations are?

1. Patient must have a precise diagnosis of acceptable disease. This doctor can sign the application. Most are afraid to, or sign only one or two applications. Of the 8,000 doctors in Oregon, only 2500 have signed. 10 doctors have signed 70% of the applications. We now have 20 thousand legal users but the U.S. government estimates that 3oo thousand in Oregon use marijuana.

2. The signing doctor must review diagnosing doctor's chart notes.

6) What are some of the medical diagnoses that marijuana has been found to be used to assist patients?

Dr. Leveque: For Question 6 See Question 2.

7) Is there a possibility of becoming addicted to medicinal Marijuana and are there any studies on this?

Dr. Leveque: It is possible to become addicted to marijuana but the cost is prohibitive. It is less addictive than a Starbucks latte and far less than tobacco or alcohol. When a person runs out of marijuana, withdrawal is mild. This indicates slight addiction potential.

8) Can you overdose on medicinal marijuana or have any side effects of prolonged use of medicinal marijuana?

Dr. Leveque: A physician friend told me of a hashish oil smuggler in Morocco who swallowed a filled condom which broke. He slept for three days. Marijuana causes a high or euphoria which some people seem to enjoy. This high can lead to anxiety or panic attacks. After this, patients will be more careful. Cannabis has never in 5000 years of use caused death.

9)Is there a difference between "POT" Marijuana which anyone can grow illegally and medicinal marijuana?

Dr. Leveque: By definition, ALL marijuana is POT. Commercial growers have worked to increase the medicinal chemicals; THC, CBC and CBN to high levels. This is grown mostly in the Vancouver, Canada area and smuggled into the U.S. The value is almost 20 BILLION dollars per year.

10) What are the side effects of medicinal marijuana?

Dr. Leveque: The main adverse effect (NOT SIDE EFFECT) is euphoria or high.

11) Are there any contradictions when using medicinal marijuana with any other drugs?

Dr. Leveque: There do not seem to be any contradictions. Patients are usually able to reduce prescribed drug dosage.

12) For the states that do not have marijuana legalized or have a procedure put in place for medicinal marijuana to be used, can you give us some good reasons (pros) as to why you think it should be legalized in other states? Basically what would your argument be?

Dr. Leveque: At one time, before 1937 when cannabis drugs were made illegal, cannabis drugs were the most prescribed and most used drugs in the U.S. and elsewhere. Harry Anslinger through Congress and the Hearst Newspapers decided that if Mexicans and blacks were using marijuana it must be bad for white folks. 750 thousand people are arrested each year for using marijuana. Possibly ten times that number are using it mostly for medical purposes.

Source: The Salem News
Copyright: 2008, The Salem News
Contact: Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
Website: Medical Marijuana for Dummies: No Insult Intended - Salem-News.Com
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