Marijuana is one of the most benign drugs known, with active ingredients that even resemble substances found in mother's milk, provincial court heard Thursday.
"There is no doubt in my mind there are very few health risks," said James Geiwitz, an experimental psychologist whose expertise lies in risk analysis and the assessment of research design. "It's one of the most benevolent drugs we have discovered in nature," Geiwitz told Judge Loretta Chaperon.

He was testifying for the defence in the trial of longtime marijuana activist, Ted Smith, 34, and Colby Budda, 30. Both are charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

The charges arise from an operation, known commonly as a "compassion club," where marijuana is distributed to people with long-term chronic illnesses. Smith and Budda were working out of a Johnson Street storefront formerly known as Ted's Books, raided on Jan. 3, 2002.

Geiwitz said marijuana's benefits as a pain reliever, anti-nausea agent and appetite stimulant are well known. Its appetite-stimulating component even resembles something found in mother's milk, he told the court. Studies with monkeys and rats have indicated their babies die when that marijuana-like substance is removed from the mother's milk, he said.

Geiwitz testified he has reviewed studies -- anywhere from 150 to 200 of them -- as well as read panel reviews of studies into the health risks and benefits of marijuana



Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Author: Richard Watts, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, June 04, 2004
Copyright: 2004 Times Colonist
Contact: letters@tc.canwest.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/victoria/timescolonist/