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Thread: Should marijuana be legalized/decriminalized

  1. #65
    Copper's Avatar
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    From a Physician

    As a physician with more than 20 years of experience dealing with patients who are addicted to drugs, I am often asked my professional opinion about a contentious public health question: What is the medical basis for smoking marijuana? The answer needs some context.

    Americans today have the world's safest, most effective system of medical practice, built on a process of scientific research, testing and oversight that is unequaled.

    Before the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1907, Americans were exposed to a host of patent medicine "cure-alls," everything from vegetable "folk remedies" to dangerous mixtures with morphine. The major component of most "cures" was alcohol, which probably explained why people reported that they "felt better."

    Needless to say, claimed benefits were erratic and irreproducible.

    Marijuana, whatever its value, is intoxicating, and it's not surprising that sincere people will report relief of their symptoms when they smoke it. The important point is that there is a difference between feeling better and actually getting better. It is the job of modern medicine to establish this distinction.

    The debate over drug use generates a great deal of media attention—including the focus on the administration's appeal this month to the U.S. Supreme Court against medical marijuana—and frequent misinformation. Some will have read, for instance, that the medicinal value of smoking marijuana represents "mainstream medical opinion." It is time to set the record straight.

    Simply put, there is no scientific evidence that qualifies smoked marijuana to be called medicine. Further, there is no support in the medical literature that marijuana, or indeed any medicine, should be smoked as the preferred form of administration. The harms to health are simply too great.

    Marijuana advocates often cite the 1999 National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine report as justifying the drug's medical use. But, in fact, the verdict of that report was "marijuana is not a modern medicine." The institute was particularly troubled by the notion that crude marijuana might be smoked by patients, which it termed "a harmful drug-delivery system."

    These concerns are echoed by the Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with approving all medicines. As the FDA recently noted: "While there are no proven benefits to [smoked] marijuana use, there are many short- and long-term risks associated with marijuana use."

    Compounds in the marijuana plant do potentially have a medical value. For instance, a synthetic version of an ingredient in marijuana has been approved for treating nausea for chemotherapy patients, as well as for treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS.

    Admittedly, these medications have limitations, including the relatively slow onset of relief. Researchers are exploring drug-delivery systems that allow rapid relief—perhaps an oral inhalator like those used by asthma patients—as a response to patient needs.

    But these medications are a far cry from burning the crude weed and gulping down the smoke. Every American is familiar with aspirin, and some know that it was first found in willow bark, from which the therapeutic agent acetylsalicylic acid was eventually synthesized. Surely no one today would chew willow bark, much less smoke a piece of tree, to cure a headache.

    Medical science does not fear any compound, even those with a potential for abuse. If a substance has the proven capacity to serve a medical purpose, then it will be accepted. We have done so with substances as dangerous as opium, allowing the medical use of many of its derivatives, including morphine, Demerol and OxyContin. The key term is "proven capacity." Only if compounds from marijuana pass the same tests of research scrutiny that any other drug must undergo will they become part of the modern medical arsenal.

    Our investment in medical science is at risk if we do not defend the proven process by which medicines are brought to the market. All drugs must undergo rigorous clinical trials before a drug can be released for public use.

    The overarching charge to any physician is: "First, do no harm." That is the test smoked marijuana cannot pass.

    If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives/

    Last Updated: July 23, 2003
    I am just like a Super Hero, but without the power or motivation.................and the funky suit.

  2. #66

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    all im saying is that, I hope noone taht young uses pot, and I know i will never!
    \"Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?\"

    \"If vegans love animals so much, why do they eat all thier food?\" - Brandonk

  3. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Marijuana, whatever its value, is intoxicating, and it's not surprising that sincere people will report relief of their symptoms when they smoke it. The important point is that there is a difference between feeling better and actually getting better. It is the job of modern medicine to establish this distinction.
    When I take any over the counter cold pill, I am treating the symptons, not the ill. I "feel" better. What's the difference? Why are these acceptable drugs? No one EVER said marajuana "cured" anything. They just said it eased the sympptoms. Period.

    Also, you don't have to choose to smoke weed. Ever hear of "special brownies?"

    I beleive there is also something called a steamer, or something like that, that allows you to "smoke" something (tobacco can be inhaled this way also) without there being any actual smoke. The doctor does not address these methods of delivery.

    Everyone knows smoke is bad for you. But that gets back to one of the original points: If I harm no one but myself, what right do you (or the government) have to prevent me from said activity?
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    Sorry, I don't buy that one little bit. I could go and pull up a MD opinion that contradicts this in a heartbeat. Where does anyone get off saying that a sick person that obtains relief doesn't know what they are talking about? Frankly, this is the sort of hand in hand relationship physicians have with pharmaceutical dealers that I find despicable. I have KNOWN people who were on Chemo that had the pill and it did nothing. It was the smoke that was effective and the synergistic effects of the compounds. The fact is, unless the pharmaceutical pill pushers can have a slice of the pie, then they will flood the media in attempts like this to descredit. It is propaganda.

    This is another example of trying to tell people that because they aren't MD's they are incapable of assessing what is of value in their own health care regime. The AMA virtually wiped out the midwives and herbalists that were the sole recourse for healing BEFORE the AMA persecuted them and legislated them out of existence in the early 20th century. SO, before MD's was healing just an illusion? There were no valid cures until the compounds got put into a synthetic form mass marketed by Big Business, or before there were MD's to decide what was best?

    I agree with Schloaty - just as the Pill Pushers treat symptoms more often than the disease, so do MJ users. What does it matter if relief is to be had, and suffering lessened? MAybe it is illusory, but if it works, it works!

    As to the route of delivery being harmful it is not the place of Big Brother (even if in a white lab coat) to tell me what I can and cannot do with MY body! I am not a slave to any ones opinion, I am A FREE MAN. I am a big boy and can make my own decisions, and I resent my choice of healing protocol being deliniated or restricted by anyone, especially organized interests focused on profit motives.

    Again regarding the health risks: I started smoking MJ at 18, and I am now 53. How can I regard this as a toxic deadly substance when I feel fine? Short term deficits....and what would these be, red eyes and an appetite? Am I going to grow breasts as some studies indicated? My brain is a fried egg? Then how did I hold a responsible and complex clerical position requiring attention to where the decmil point went? Sorry, I really don't care what these studies say - I am self aware and can think for myself. Give me enough money and I will conduct a study that shows marijuana is less harmful than tea, coffee or dark beer. All such studies have an axe to grind, and especially in this case where the majority want it and are denied it. There has to be a reason to deny it, so the rest follows.

    As to the "First, do no harm" are you going to try to tell me that the warnings in the PDR regarding possible kidney disease, addiction potential, withrdawl potential, blood clotting, are any less harmful than the smoking of a natural unprocessed herb? This is spurious rhetoric that a child could see through.
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  5. #69
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    This is not my statement, but one of a doctor. What I am showing is that you can show statments of medical benefits and I can show statments of the reverse. I can show medical studies on my side of it. You will show the opposite.

    Also, the doctor does state that there is relief of pain. They're getting high, of course there is and if there is nothing else that will help, I still see that should be allowed and is.

    What you want is total freedom to smoke a substance that is harmful to you and everyone around you because you want to. I know it does not matter to you what the studies say. I know it does not matter what the experts say. I posted it because you said to stay in the topic. I took it to show the opposite view points, but this last one seemed a little testy. I made a promise a long time ago and I will stick to it.
    I am just like a Super Hero, but without the power or motivation.................and the funky suit.

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    i said in the begining i would rather have a plate of "special brownies" rather than smoking it. i know it doesnt cure anything but niether do the narcotics such as Tyelonal 3 and percocet that im perscribed. they help with the pain but do nothing for the cause. i have had 2 surgeries, one on each knee. it helped for about 6 weeks after i got off the crutches but then i was right back to the same old problem. the cartilage spurs grow back and im right back where i started. even with insurance that covers 80% of costs of surgery, that would be dang expencive 6 week relief. i realize the THC and other compounds in MJ doesnt cure anything but niether does morphine and it is used how often? like i also said ive had plenty of experiance with OTC opiates that i have been perscribed and i REALLY dont like them, in order to work they also knock me loopy.

    Rattler
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  7. #71
    Whats it to ya? Finch's Avatar
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    i hgopw all of you preaching about freedom really know the history of it. Freedom as we experiance it today is a reletevlty rare occurance in human history. Most ancent civilizations had drafts, wich is in many veiws a total opposite from fredom. Demonic dictators like saddam are so common in human history that many ancent historians consider it the norm of human rule.

    Freedom as you know it is a rare thing.
    that makes no logic

  8. #72
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    A day late and a dollar short.

    I have never understood why "society" deems one drug "ok" (socially acceptable and legal) and another not. The largest drug scourge in the WORLD by FAR is **alcohol**. Yet it is legal, socially accepted and even encouraged. I mean...after all, what is a party without kegs, jello shooters and beer bongs? Alcohol IS classified as a drug but people seem to conveniently overlook that fact. And I'll be willing to betcha that almost anyone who has experimented with weed, had already started drinking alcohol. Yet for some reason no one says "Alcohol is a 'starter drug' to marijuana!" To say weed sets someone on a path to harder drugs is ridiculous. Its normally a first try (after sneakin' your first beer) simply because its usually easier to obtain than some of the harder stuff. If someone chooses to explore the harder stuff...that's a personal choice and is not driven by the fact that they used pot before. Nicotine and caffeine are drugs too...but again "somebody" decided those drugs are "ok." I'm just not sure who is making these decisions for society..."Hmmm...alcohol, nicotine and caffeine-- gooood...marijuana--baaaaaaad!". Read some statistics on the billions of dollars spent annually in alcohol-related problems (highway accidents and deaths, insurance costs, health industry costs, rehab costs, spousal/child abuse, etc.)

    Like everyone else here, I don't advocate the use of harmful drugs. It is healthier to live without so better never to start...that includes alcohol and cigarettes. And I hope all the youngsters here take that to heart. Its a lesson easier to swallow now than after smoking cigs for 30 years....

    Legalizing marijuana will remove the criminal element. Weed should be treated just like alcohol where you can buy it legally for an affordable price, it can be taxed and the tax proceeds funneled into drug-related needs such a good rehab centers for those who want to kick their habits. Once its legal, there is no longer a need for dealers and pushers doing deals on streetcorners, drive-by shootings for drug deals gone bad and the strain on our prison systems would be greatly relieved. It really pretty ridiculous to have a man in jail for 15 years for enjoying a joint in his living room while real, hardened criminals are given early release because the prisons just can't hold all the REAL criminals. I've heard of people getting harder pot sentences than some murderers. Now....REALLY! Does that make any sense? (Pardon the pun for anyone who gets that...hehe)

    This country spends billions of dollars every year on the "war on drugs"...with no success whatsoever. They cannot stem the tide. They never will. Drugs of all types will flow into this country as long as the demand is there AND...the ***MONEY*** is there. Remove the profitability and you remove the criminal element. Why buy a bag of high-priced weed on a streetcorner when you can go buy safely and cheaply at a store? No more relaliation killings for drug deals gone bad. The "drug deals" are taking place in a controlled and legal environment.

    I would be happy to see alcohol wiped off the face of the planet personally. I have seen much suffering because of it. BUT there are people who know how to use alcohol and can enjoy it with moderation. But I think the definition of "social drinker" is not understood by very many. If my child, upon becoming an adult, chose to use pot instead of alcohol, I'd rejoice!

    The key word here is "USE" as opposed to "ABUSE." No matter what the drug, abuse will bring misery for sure. You just can't legislate people into doing what is right and healthy ALL the time. You can abuse food...but you don't see anyone making overeating against the law. "Throw all the fat people in jail!--they ate too much!: [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_k_ani_32.gif[/img] ANYTHING abused is harmful--too much TV, too much food, too much shopping... So...again, who is it that is deciding what should be legal and what is not?

    I say...put it up for referendum. Let the people decide what they want. If the drug alcohol is legal and accepted, so it should be for pot.

    Shoot...I'll bet three-quarters of the people who legislated laws against marijuana enjoyed a little doobie now and then themselves. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]
    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

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