Thursday, February 18, 2010

Doin' The Science

Here's today's good news: medical marijuana provides benefits to the patients using it. A center was set up by the California state legislature a decade ago to conduct research into whether marijuana actually has a positive, verifiable effect on people with pain disorders and other calamitous medical conditions. The answer is yes:

Much of the research is still underway or under review, but five studies have been published in scientific journals. Four showed that cannabis can significantly relieve neuropathic pain and one found that vaporizers are an effective way to use marijuana. Another study, submitted for publication, found that marijuana can reduce muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis patients. ...

The center funded a range of research, including six studies of whether marijuana reduces neuropathic pain, which is caused by a damaged or abnormally functioning nervous system. A UC San Francisco study of patients with HIV-related pain found that 52% of those who smoked marijuana experienced significant relief.

"I think that clearly cannabis has benefits," said Dr. Donald I. Abrams, a San Francisco oncologist who led that study. "This substance has been a medicine for 2,700 years; it only hasn't been a medicine for 70."

That's the good news. The bad news is that the funding for the center's research is about to run out and the state clearly doesn't have the money to refund the program. It's about time for the federal government to step up so that the research can continue. It's also about time for the federal government to reclassify marijuana. Now that the benefits of the drug have been shown scientifically, marijuana needs to be removed from the "Class 1" category.

You might want to send your congresscritters the link to the article provided above with a polite request that they get moving on the issue. Point out the health aspect, but don't be afraid to remind them how many people are filling our prisons and depleting our budgets for use and sale of cannabis. It is, after all, the 21st Century.



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