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Mar 29, 2005 7:53 pm

Medical Marijuana Research

Today’s New York Times contains a very poor and biased article on medical marijuana by one Dan Hurley. There is considerable information on a site called Medical Marijuana, which backs up my above assertion. However, I do not wish to focus so much on the article but rather on a quotation from the piece.

The article describes marijuana research done at the University of Alberta on 136 epilepsy patients where over two thirds of the patients reported a decrease in the severity of seizures and more than half experienced a decrease in their number. Yet, Dr. Donald W. Gross, director of the University of Alberta's adult epilepsy program and lead author of the study seemingly tries to minimize the results of his own work by stating "There's not been a randomized, controlled trial demonstrating that marijuana or any cannabinoid is any more effective in controlled seizures than a placebo," and goes on to say "It's terribly complicated from a physician's standpoint, and somewhat frustrating, we have a product that has been legitimized without any evidence of efficacy."

I hope that author Hurley has used Dr. Gross’s words out of context for the reason that the thought of doctors who would wish to subject patients to unnecessary severe seizures just because the government does not approve of a particular medicine is disturbing. Someone might respond, but the doctor is correct, the official approved data that exists for other drugs is not there for marijuana. Nevertheless, that fact does not mean that marijuana is ineffective. What the absence of such studies demonstrates is the success of the government’s long term efforts to distort and limit information on marijuana. In the Ottawa Citizen Dan Gardner provides some recent examples of these labors.

Dr. William B. O'Shaughnessy who reintroduced Cannabis Hemp (marijuana) to western medicine in 1839 got it right when he called the drug a "powerful and valuable substance" and an anti-convulsive of greatest merit. Of one invalid he said, "I never treated a case from which I derived so much satisfaction, or used a medicine I felt so much indebted to for my patient's recovery.” Today physicians live by the credo first do no harm. Any doctor who helps the government carry out its systematic campaign to deny people the relief from pain and numerous other symtoms, of real not metaphorical diseases, to be had by the use of a medicine that even healers using the limited research means of the 1840s could recognize as important and effective, is violating their oath.

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