Why medicinal cannabis for Idaho?

September 29, 2004

Tim Teater, Arbiter Online

A flood of emerging research and an avalanche of anecdotal evidence is showing medicinal cannabis’ efficacy in the treatment of many diseases and conditions such as “wasting syndrome” secondary to AIDS, and cancer therapy, severe nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, and narcotic pain therapy, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and other neurological and neuromuscular diseases as well as spinal cord injury, neuropathic and other pain, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, glaucoma, anorexia and recurrent migraines and menstrual pain.

In addition, research reveals that cannabinoids (the active compounds in cannabis) are neuroprotective, slowing the advance of neuromuscular diseases.

Major studies published between 2001 and 2003 show cannabinoids have a significant effect in fighting cancer cells. Cannabinoids appear to arrest many kinds of cancer growths such as brain, breast, leukemias, and melanoma, through promotion of programmed cell death that is lost in tumors, and by arresting increased blood vessel production that feed tumors.

Cannabis is one of the safest medications known. There is essentially no known toxic dose and it is not addictive. Numerous health-related organizations have endorsed immediate patient access. A few of these organizations are: The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the America Public Health Association, the California Medical Association, the Institute of Medicine, the Lymphoma Foundation, the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Medical Student Association, the American Preventive Medical Association, the Society of Addiction Medicine, and many more.

The American Medical Association has recognized the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis in calling for “… adequate and well-controlled studies of smoked marijuana can be conducted in patients who have serious conditions for which preclinical, anecdotal, or controlled evidence suggests possible efficacy in including AIDS wasting syndrome, sever acute or delayed emesis induced by chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, dystonia, and neuropathic pain.”

Reliable polling has shown more than 70 percent support of the American public for access to medicinal cannabis.

A federal (OMB) study revealed that in states with medicinal cannabis laws there are no significant diversion to the black market or increased law enforcement problems related to cannabis.

The federal government distributes cannabis under its “Compassionate Use Program. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have all passed medicinal cannabis statutes. Movements to provide for patient access are currently active in many other states including Idaho.

Patients in Idaho deserve the same access to medicinal cannabis as millions of Americans now enjoy in other states. Medicinal cannabis has the potential to save and prolong the lives of Idahoans as well as significantly improve the quality of life for many sick and suffering patients. Besides good, compassionate medicine, this issue is at the heart of individual liberty and states’ rights. There is every reason to allow this safe effective and compassionate modality and no legitimate reason not to do so. Call or write your legislators and legislative delegation and sign a petition currently circulating around Idaho.

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