Other anti-nausea medicines aren't a substitute for marijuana

February 01, 2010

This comment is in regard to the article "Putting Fences Around Marijuana Use" (Jan. 31).

As someone who is in frequent contact with people suffering from sarcomas (rare, aggressive cancers), I would like to point out that most of the quoted physicians' objections to medicinal marijuana use center on it's ingestion as a smoked product. Perhaps providers of medicinal marijuana should be required to supply edible marijuana products that do not incur these risks.

In regards to pharmaceuticals designed to reduce nausea, many of those have side effects that cause patients real distress. Changing anti-nausea medications in the midst of a nausea-causing event, such as chemotherapy, is a difficult process. It puts patients, their families and caregivers into crisis mode until, by trial and error, a solution is found.

Testing the efficacy of marijuana use is a quick process and if it works, it should be allowed to continue for that patient, legally. This is humane use. It isn't helpful to nitpick what it can and can't be used for at this point, whether for cancer treatment or relief of neurological symptoms, the research just isn't there. If regulated clinics are allowed to operate, statistics can be generated.

I have no problem with the proposed regulations. Maryland isn't California, and I like the fact that the issue is being discussed in a thoughtful manner and appropriate controls considered. I am tired of seeing people in need being pushed into unsafe situations to access a simple product many clinicians don't want to talk about, much less prescribe.

Elizabeth Goldstein-Rice, Columbia

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