Poitical abuses in national research authority

Stephan Anagnostaras stephan at psych.ucla.edu
Mon Oct 21 18:18:52 EST 1996



In article <54fhps$pfs at falcon.le.ac.uk>, "Dr E. Buxbaum" <EB15 at le.ac.uk> wrote:
<snip, snip>

> Other than that, you only amplify my point: there are already enough 
> dangerous and addictive substances around, so lets be carefull in 
> introducing new ones. 

I don't agree with Dr. Buxbaum that marijuana is addictive, at all,
but I do feel the issue as to whether or not marijuana should be
legalized is an entirely separate issue.  THC is a psychoactive
substance, can impair driving and judgement, and in the smokable form 
contains many potent carcinogens.  For this reason, I don't feel that
hemp should be available to the general public (nor should cigarettes).
On the other hand, I think the idea that it should be schedule 1 is
indefensible, given the inadequacy of both antiemetics and painkillers
which it has a proven superiority to.  For example, the strong
antihistamines which are prescribed (and only marginally effective)
as antiemetics (e.g., tigan, phenergan) are obviously psychoactive;
anyone in their right mind would prefer a bus driver on marijuana over
one on phenergan, since the latter would be asleep or incoherent.
Second, synthetic THCs are as effective as potent opiates in
pain control (e.g., dilaudid) but certainly have less abuse potential;
indeed, I would argue that THC has less abuse potential than
hydrocodone; even if you believe the literature that suggests that
THC is associated with dependence (all of which does not come
from independent laboratories), it certainly is not in the same
category with highly addictive drugs such as meth-amph or heroin
 (even d-amph is classified as less addictive than THC by the US Govt!).
Certainly if you have ever come across a stimulant psychotic you
can admit that d-amph is far more dangerous than THC.   All this aside,
terminal cancer patients should have access to any drugs which they
feel improve their subjective experience.  Many of these patients are
guaranteed death, and insufferable pain, which is almost always
made worse by chemo/radiotherapy for the benefit of spending a few more
months with their loved ones. These people deserve the relief from
the extreme GI distress experienced as a result of chemo/radiotherapy
(remember, conditioned taste aversion was first discovered in
radiotherapy patients) that THC can provide.  It took the medical community
years to acknowledge that addictive potential is not a reason to
deny cancer patients potent opaites, and they should readily admit the
same for THC -- even if they object to the free (e.g., like alcohol)
use of hemp.

This aside, I should tell you there in a voter iniative in California
legalizing the medical use of marijuana (for cancer, aids, IBD, etc.),
and it has a 2-1 lead in the polls!

Cheers
Stephan



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