This is in response to Julia Dostal's column of July 17 about medical marijuana. She is largely misinformed.
The New York medical marijuana bill was introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried in 1997 has been getting voted out of one committee after another since 2002.
There is certainly ample anecdotal evidence that marijuana is medicine, but there is more than that. In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine reported, "nausea, appetite loss, pain anxiety ... all can be mitigated by marijuana."
Three studies since 2007 from the University of California prove the efficacy of cannabis in relieving hard to treat peripheral neuropathy, pain sometimes common with diabetes, multiple sclerosis HIV. Historically, cannabis was part of the U.S. Pharmacopeia for nearly eight decades, until the late 1930s.
Is it reasonable to conclude that marijuana is not medicine after being in the U.S. Pharmacopeia for nearly eight decades? While admitting cannabis is medicine, Dr. Dostal says, "There are other safer medicines for theses conditions." Some of the conditions cannabis is reputedly useful for are some types of pain, nausea, muscle spasm. It is largely effective for these conditions because marijuana relaxes smooth skeletal muscle. What are these safer drugs to treat these conditions? Is morphine safer? Baclofen? Valium? In 1988, Frances Young, chief administrative law judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, ruled after a two-year examination of the literature that "Marijuana, in its natural state, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known."
Dr. Dostal expressed concern about unintended consequences should this bill become law. A study by Mitch Earlywine of the State University at Albany reviewed all public data about teen use of marijuana before after the enactment of the medical marijuana laws in 10 states. In every state, there was a decrease in teen use. An earlier study by the Government Accounting Office found the law in the various states was working as intended with no increase in youthful use or police services. Dr. Dostal irresponsibly claims, "Smoking marijuana causes cancer other health problems."
Smoking marijuana does not cause cancer any health problems arising from its use are neither life-threatening nor life-shortening. From the Institute of Medicine, "Assessing the Science Base," 1999: "There is no conclusive evidence that marijuana causes cancer in humans, including cancers usually related to tobacco use. ... Epidemiological data indicate that in the general population marijuana use is not associated with increased mortality."
The U.S. Food Drug Administration issued its 2006 "this is not safe medicine" statement without conducting any research or even reviewing the literature. It ignored the Institute of Medicine's report, Judge Young's ruling historical data.
The FDA statement was roundly criticized at the time as being political unscientific. Dr. Dostal expresses fear misgivings should a medical marijuana law come to pass in New York. Is it better that medical users now face arrest possible incarceration? Medical marijuana is not new. It is established law in 14 states, as well as in Washington, D.C., several countries. The proposed law is not to be feared.
It builds on the experiences mistakes of 12 other states is based on New York's Controlled Substances Act, the law that regulates the sale use of dangerous drugs. Dispensers of the drug would be licensed by the Board of Health as any pharmacy would be. For patients to access this medicine they would need a doctor's approval have a diagnosis of "severe debilitating or life threatening condition."
The Department of Health would have the name of the person, the condition being treated, dosage, etc. The system proposed would mirror that for prescribing dangerous drugs. Dr. Dostal erroneously claims that the American Academy of Family Physicians, National Multiple Sclerosis Society are opposed to medical marijuana. The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana under medical supervision control for specific medical indications, according to statements in 1989 2001.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society's "Recommendations Regarding the Use of Cannabis in Multiple Sclerosis" expert opinion paper from July 2008 states that "There are sufficient data available to suggest that cannabinoids may have neuroprotective effects that studies in this area should be aggressively pursued. ... Because inhaled smoked cannabis has more favorable pharmacokinetics than administration via oral or other routes, research should focus on the development of an inhaled mode of administration that gives results as close to smoked cannabis as possible."
The American College of Physicians' 2008 position paper, "Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana," "strongly urges protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state law." With 124,000 members, the ACP is second largest medical society in the United States.
The Medical Student section of the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, have also voiced their support for medical marijuana in 2008 2003, respectively. Beyond alleviating suffering, medical marijunana may have other health benefits, according to Dr. Gregory Carter, clinical professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, co-director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Center. "I have spent my entire career in search of more effective treatments for this awful disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease)," Cartrer wrote in 2007.
"We have now found that the cannabinoids, the active ingredients in medical marijuana, work remarkably well in controlling the clinical symptoms of ALS. Even more exciting is that we are now discovering that the cannabinoids actually protect nerve cells may prolong the life of people with ALS."
The New York State Association of County Health Officials passed a resolution supporting medical marijuana in 2003, which read, in part, "Marijuana has proven to be effective in the treatment of people with HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, those suffering from severe pain or nausea ... The legalization of medical marijuana would be a step forward for the health of all New Yorkers."
The legal system has also shown support for medical marijunana.
"It would be unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers the benefits of this substance," chief administrative law judge Frances Young of the DEA wrote in 1988. Or ... we could lock them up. Bruce Dunn is a resident of Morris.
This is in response to Julia Dostal's column of July 17 about medical marijuana. She is largely misinformed.
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
There was just no telling about snow days
Winters get harder as we get older. Things change. It snows more. It snows less. It gets colder. It's a lot milder. It all changes as our knees start to creak and the thought of shoveling a foot of snow seems positively daunting.Continued ...
- And the music goes round and round
- When did pranks turn into vandalism?
- Happy and sad memories of Jan. 7, 1966
- Lesser known greats that passed away in 2013
- There was just no telling about snow days
- Cary Brunswick
It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
It has been 55 years since Fidel Castro and his bands of nationalist fighters and supporters took over the government of Cuba. The United States immediately took issue with that regime change, and ever since has had serious problems with the tiny nation just south of the Florida Keys.Continued ...
- Unconventional events changed my outlook
- Keystone XL pipeline is still a terrible idea
- We shouldn't trade privacy for security
- I'm pleasantly surprised by Pope Francis
- It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
State's budget gimmick is hindering schools
Recently, the Margaretville and Roxbury boards of education joined their colleagues across the region and throughout the state in adopting a resolution calling on the state legislature to end the so-called "gap elimination adjustment."Continued ...
- The state Board of Regents deserves a shakeup
- It's no wonder businesses avoid us
- How to bridge a widening wealth gap
- Nimbys, shills and celebs: A morality play for our times
- State's budget gimmick is hindering schools
- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.Continued ...
- Being a parent is a constant learning process
- Healthy doesn't have to mean expensive
- A family era ends with close of Potter series
- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
Natural gas drilling efforts of the 1880s found little locally
There was no such process as hydraulic fracturing. New York didn't have a Department of Environmental Conservation. Lawn signs for or against it weren't seen anywhere. Yet natural gas drilling efforts were going on in our region more 125 years ago. It was an industry still in its infancy. Numerous reports were published in local newspapers during the late 1880s and beyond.Continued ...
- Beauty, grooming took center stage in Oneonta in March 1964
- Local news, opinion often mixed in 1889 newspapers
- Gasoline, demons and baseball were 'trending' locally in 1974
- Early efforts to halt Silver Creek were slow going
- Natural gas drilling efforts of the 1880s found little locally
- Rick Brockway
It's cold, but there's still plenty to do
This has been a tough winter. In fact, it has been one of the coldest winters on record. Now don't get me wrong, I love winter and I always have. I've always believed that people who don't like winter don't have anything to do when the snow flies and temperatures drop below freezing. But I've never had that problem.
- Animals' behavior a sign of wild winter
- Opossum is unique in many ways
- It can be too cold sometimes
- It's tough to say what you really did see
- It's cold, but there's still plenty to do
- Sam Pollak
Religion should be a comfort, not a weapon
Discuss politics or religion in any establishment that specializes in dispensing alcohol, and -- proprietors warn -- the discussion is highly likely to result in you waking up on the tavern floor and spitting out teeth, probably your own.Continued ...
- The world must think we're nuts
- Mistakes easy to take ... if they're not yours
- Celebrate 2013 with the annual 'Sammy Awards'
- The feds still aren't coming for your guns
- Religion should be a comfort, not a weapon
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.
Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner
An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.
Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity
Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.
Romney shows little regard for common man
The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.
Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists
The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.
- Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues