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As Long as We Remember...

February 5, 2010

Maryjane at the Bar

Joe Charlebois

When the smoke clears, one thing remains clear; the use of marijuana remains illegal for those intent on lighting up for their personal enjoyment.


The Ehrlich Administration in 2003 passed legislation to allow for the use of “medical marijuana” for undefined medical necessity. Fortunately it has not led to outright physical abuse or abuse in the legal system – yet.


Since the national criminalization of marijuana 40 years ago, users of this cannabin have extolled the virtues of smoked marijuana as holding incredible medicinal value. It may have anecdotally helped those suffering from issues related to pain, cancer, AIDS and glaucoma, but science has yet to prove any value.


No clinical trials have proven the efficacy of “smoked” marijuana for any illness or malady. On the contrary smoking marijuana has shown to be a harmful and dangerous delivery system with little benefit.


In Maryland it is illegal to possess marijuana for any use. Even for those who have cancer, or suffer from the devastating effects of AIDS, or look to relieve the pressure of glaucoma. If they are found to be in possession of marijuana, these patients will be arrested. In court they may be let off with a slap on the wrist (a $100 fine). But they must present medical rational for its use.


One thing is certain! It is illegal for those who are healthy and want to smoke it for mere enjoyment.


The major medical associations have fought against legalizing marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational use. They realize the affect that decriminalizing this drug would have on society. When it comes to medicinal value they have found no credible evidence that smoked marijuana provides consistent and healthy doses of the active component that increases appetite or reduces nausea in the patients affected.


The fact that patients have no alternative and are subject to living secretly as criminals is a false starter.


For those who are ravaged by cancer or AIDS, there is an alternative that is legal.


Patients who are under the care and supervision of a licensed physician can obtain Marinol or dronabinol, as it is known generically. It has proven to be an effective agent in combating the anorexia associated with weight loss in AIDS patients, as well as an effective agent in controlling cancer chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.


The dronabinol capsules are the only legal FDA approved cannabinoid. This means that every time a patient needs to find relief from the symptoms of disease, he or she can rely on the fact that they are under the supervision and care of a caring physician with a clinically proven pharmaceutical that delivers a precise and consistent level of delta-9-THC, the same component that naturally occurs in Cannabis sativa L. (marijuana).


The fact that no one in the “legalization” community discusses this alternative means that they have been effective in creating a crisis of need where one doesn’t exist. The general public just does not know about the alternatives.

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