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Oregon Medical Marijuana Doctor Answers All

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He's been a fighter since his days in the Army during World War Two, when he captured 26 Nazi officers. These days this veteran physician fights for the rights of patients who use marijuana as a medicine.

The world is changing fast and medical marijuana is a daily reality for thousands of patients in Oregon, and hundreds of thousands of people nationwide who suffer from a variety of illnesses.

But who can pot smokers turn to for medical care? Needless to say, a vast majority of users are hesitant to discuss their use with physicians, and doctors are fearful when it comes to discussing a substance that potentially violates the law.

Federal laws still consider possession of pot illegal, even though states and individual counties have adopted their own standards.

Because of the federal shadow cast on the situation, hundreds of thousands of legal users and millions of illegal users, go without adequate medical advice.

In a unique new segment, Salem-News.com brings viewers the words and wisdom of one of Oregon's most famous doctors, Dr. Phillip Leveque, a man who fought in World War Two and now fights to make access to marijuana a matter of reality. He also was instrumental in the initial changing of Oregon law that allowed medical the use of Medical Marijuana in the first place.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Salem-News.com does not advocate any illegal activity. This special segment is geared completely toward exploring the legal use of marijuana as a medical treatment.

Dr. Phillip Leveque's opinions and advice are intended only as such, and his statements are strictly his own, and do not represent the opinions or policies of Salem-News.com.

The regular email address will be askdoc@salem-news.com. An alternative email address is: newsroom@salem-news.com attention: Dr. Leveque

-- Transcript of interview with Dr. Phillip Leveque --

He's not Jack Kevorkian, but the man who was named Oregon's most dangerous doctor, Dr. Phillip Leveque, is equally notorious in his own right, as an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana legalization.

But who is Dr. Leveque? His story begins long ago, on the battlefields of France and Belgium, during a period in WWII that claimed tens of thousands of his fellow American soldiers.

It was around the time of the Battle of the Bulge, as U.S. soldiers fought ferociously against the armed forces of Hitler's third Reich. Phillip Leveque was 19 years old.

"Well, this was about six weeks before the end of the war. The main attack was down in the bottom of a valley where the main road was but my group was up at the top coming in from the side of the town, and Capt. Otterbine, my captain said Leveque, "you and Branon check out that house over there" which was about fifty yards away or something like that, and fortunately had had quite a few trees, so we went into the trees and we leapfrogged from tree to tree and they were about oh, a foot or so in diameter so you could hide behind them in a manner of speaking.

So, I got up to the last tree and I told Branon. I says 'cover me, I'm gonna' run for the corner of the house.'

I ran past the window and through the window I could see gray uniforms inside and I knew there was a whole bunch but I couldn't count them. So I just stopped there,'What am I gonna' do next'?

Then clump, clump clump and it was German captain. And I had my rifle poked right under his chin, so I asked him in German how many solders there were in there and he said 26, so I asked him in German, "Do they have weapons?"

"No"

And I didn't believe that at all, so whatever.

There were two of us, what was going to do with 26 prisoners, especially depending on whether or not they had weapons? I gotta' take this dude over to the captain and find out what we're gonna do next. And so I marched the captain over with the gun pointed in his back and we got over there and he gave him a heil Hitler salute. And I said to Captain Otterbine, I said, should I give him a rifle butt? He says no, no no what's going on? And I said 'he says there are 26 officers over in that house' and he looked me up and down like, "you lyin' so and so."

So he says I'll send you half a squad to guard them, six people, and I said "that's great."

After World War Two, Phillip Leveque was accepted by the Oregon Medical School and so began his years of education leading to an esteemed medical career that led him around the world.

I got my PHD in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 1954, and I was an instructor at the medical school and an instructor and assistant professor at the dental school, and then my first real job was at the medical college of Georgia which was 3,000 miles away.

When I left Portland in 1955 I told my mother I would be home in two years, it took 22 years to get back home.

Doctor Leveque left behind a legacy, having helped establish some of the first practicing doctors in third world areas.

I was invited by the University of London to teach in Africa, I was in Africa; Uganda and Tanzania, and I helped train the first doctors in Tanzania.

Even the earliest facet of his medical career included an encounter with the natural substance he would later come to advocate.

A plant that's use is legal for tens of thousands of medical patients in the United States alone.

The first job that I had in the department, the doctor says "Leveque, go into the stock room, you can straighten it out and make some kind of order. Well one of the first things that I found was a gallon jog of cannabis cough medicine; It had been 13 years since a law that said it was illegal to have any kind of cannabis anyplace, anywhere, anything and so I said 'well it says cannabis cough medicine, it was manufactured by Park Davis Pharmaceuticals,' and so I poured myself a pint of it and I brought it home and it's probably out in the barn here someplace, I haven't seen it in years but it's probably out there but it worked... and that was a surprise to me."

"I ended up with about 30 severe chronic pain patients that no other doctor wanted to take care of, and so I had in addition to being a physician, I am also a professional toxicologist and I have been in court over 400 times as an expert witness. And I, just like I say, I thought I knew how to treat patients with chronic pain and I'm still convinced that I do and I did and so forth. But, the insurance company lawyer says that I was over diagnosing, over treating and over charging, and so in 1986, the Board of Medical Examiners suspended me for ten years because I was taking care of too many chronic pain patients, which nobody else wanted to take care of, so that was quite an insult to my character because I felt that I knew as much pharmacology and therapeutics as any doctor, any place.

And probably somewhere between ten and twenty million people use it, almost on a daily basis when they can get it. Now, this whole business about it being addictive is crazy, it's not addicting, it's less addicting than Starbucks coffee.

As a new service of Salem-News.com, Dr. Phillip Leveque is going to begin taking questions and providing expert answers about medical marijuana and other toxicology issues, including those that want to learn more about cannabis as a medical treatment.

Most people want to know, "will marijuana help my medical condition." And I think after seeing 6,000 patients I know what condition it will help and ones it probably won't,

But the strange things is, that some of the pharmacology textbooks from 75 years ago, say that marijuana is a euphoriant and is habit forming, euphoriant meaning it makes you feel good, what's wrong with feeling good? And I think that in most instances regarding the pharmacology or therapeutics of cannabis is that it makes them feel good. Now 20 or 30 years ago they used to take amphetamines, or Dexedrine or nowadays they use methamphetamines, which really gives them a euphoria, so it works well for that and anybody that says it is dangerous is crazy, it is not, I mean the worst side affect is if you overdose you will sleep for 24-hours but some time one of my patients said, "I overdosed, and fell asleep in front of the refrigerator". So it's probably the least harmful drug that's ever been used by man, probably so, and that includes alcohol, nicotine, aspirin, aspirin kills several thousand people a year in the United States, and even caffeine can kill a person

If I don't know it nobody else does either, and the fact of the matter is I have written a cannabis pharmacology book, and I read over 400 articles to put my book together, if it's not in my book it ain't no place else either, it just isn't. And I say that on this basis: that I am a physician who has treated between four and six thousand patients but I'm also I believe the only professor of pharmacology who is treating patients. You're either talking about it or you're doing it, I'm doing it.

If you have questions for Dr. Leveque regarding toxicology or medical marijuana, write to: AskDoc@Salem-News.com

In Salem, I'm Bonnie King, reporting for Salem-News.com

Link to Video
Oregon Medical Marijuana Doctor - Google Video


Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: Salem-News.com (OR)
Author: Bonnie King
Contact: newsroom@salem-news.com
Copyright: 2006 Salem-News.com
Website: Salem-News.Com News from Salem Oregon
 
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