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The War On Drugs Takes Wrong Aim

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
The debate on the use of medical marijuana has been written so many times before. It's a battle that will never be won until more research is done.

Right now 12 states have legalized medical marijuana, but Florida is not one of them. The latest state to pass the law is New Mexico this past March and it went into effect on July 1. The state will now register users and give permits to distributors.

That's 12 states down and 38 more to go.

To us, the use of medical marijuana is apparent and has helped many people deal with their sicknesses.

By making medical marijuana illegal the government is automatically criminalizing patients who need it to ease their pains and criminalizing the doctors who prescribe it.

There are two sides to the issue. There are those who have found positive results from its medical use and those who oppose that use because they have found negative results.

The use of marijuana as a medicine can be traced back 5,000 or so years ago according to USMarijuanaLaws.com. Here in the U.S., hemp became a major crop in Kentucky. In 1860 it produced 40,000 tons of hemp.

Eventually, the use of marijuana became taboo and now here we are debating on where the legal line should be drawn.

In 2005 the Supreme Court ruled in Gonzalez vs. Raich that the federal government can prosecute patients who process, grow or consume medical marijuana in medical marijuana states.

Believe it or not, public opinion actually rules in favor of medical marijuana. A 2001 poll, conducted by The Pew Research Center, asked people about their attitudes toward doctors prescribing marijuana for medical purposes. Seventy-three percent said doctors should prescribe it if necessary.

The Institute of Medicine released a report titled, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base" in 1999 that found that the accumulated data suggested that marijuana helps with pain relief, antiemesis and appetite stimulation.

"For patients such as those with AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy, and who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad-spectrum relief not found in any other single medication," the report states.

The Drug Enforcement Agency's former chief administrative law judge said in 1988 that marijuana is one of the safest "therapeutically active substances known" and that "it would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance."

Obviously the DEA didn't implement his ruling.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is a British Lung Foundation report titled, "A Smoking Gun? The Impact of Cannabis Smoking on Respiratory Health," which listed the cons of smoking marijuana.

The Foundation found that three to four marijuana cigarettes a day have the same effect as 20 tobacco cigarettes a day. It also claims that marijuana weakens the immune system.

The report states that lung infections are more common because the smoke causes damage to the cell lining of the bronchial passage and impairs the principal immune cells in the small air sacs, which transfers gases. It also reports that the tar in marijuana cigarettes contains much of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke. The concentrations can even be up to 50 percent higher in the marijuana smoke.

Seven patients are receiving marijuana from the government for their medical conditions.

Irvin Rosenfeld, one of the patients, who has been to the UCF campus a few times to speak, has been receiving 11 ounces of marijuana every three weeks for 25 years.

Rosenfeld has multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis, a rare bone disease which causes tumor growth. It causes pain, muscle tears, muscle spasms, hemorrhaging and inflammation of his joints.

Rosenfeld was prescribed painkillers including morphine and Valium. He wasn't expected to live into his teen years. Marijuana changed that.

"The cannabis keeps the tumors in check. I have not had a new one or one grow in 30 years," Rosenfeld said.

Patients like Rosenfeld are being helped by an herb that reduces their pain better than any pill.

Shouldn't we be rejoicing in a drug that does wonders for such patients? We should, but we're not.

The country is ready but the government is not. Maybe they figure if they give us an inch we'll run a mile.

These patients should be given that inch and maybe 11 ounces of help.

Source: Central Florida Future (Orlando, FL Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Central Florida Future
Contact: http://www.ucffuture.com/main.cfm?include=submit
Website: http://www.ucffuture.com/
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