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Legalizing 'medical' marijuana one big unscientific experiment

By ELLEN WALSH Paducah

EDITOR:

On the front page of Sunday's paper on Feb. 23 was an article about a family thinking of moving elsewhere so their daughter can have medical marijuana to treat her child irritable bowel syndrome. The pro-medical marijuana lobbying professionals have been very good at "tugging at the heartstrings" of us all in an effort to get medical marijuana passed in our Commonwealth.

I certainly don't want to see a child suffer from severe diaper rash. I also don't want to seem uncaring because I don't think medical marijuana should be legalized. However, I do have several concerns when it comes to "medical" marijuana.

I put quotes around "medical" because every other medication that is legal in this country has gone through a rigorous set of studies and tests before the Federal Drug Administration has allowed it to be prescribed. Why is marijuana different? How do you know what amount of medication you are getting when you smoke, eat or vaporize marijuana? What other substances and pesticides are in the plant? What other drug do you "smoke" to deliver its effects? What are its long-term effects? One study in New Zealand found that people who started using marijuana in their teens lost 8 IQ points by the time they were in their 30s. Shouldn't we find out if there are other problems with long-term marijuana use?

There is evidence that some cannabinoids from the marijuana plant do have medicinal properties. But further study is needed. According to the American Medical Association "the patchwork of state-based systems that have been established for "medical marijuana" is woefully inadequate in establishing even rudimentary safeguards that normally would be applied to the appropriate clinical use of psychoactive substances." In fact the AMA policy statement on cannabis reads in part "Our AMA believes that (1) cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern; (2) sale of cannabis should not be legalized."

Across the board, medical associations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American Psychiatric Association support scientific research regarding the use of cannabinoids for the relief of symptoms not currently relieved by existing legal drugs. They do not support legalizing "medical" marijuana.

Wouldn't our Commonwealth be better served by waiting until that testing has been done? Wouldn't our children be better served also? Wouldn't Lola be also?

ELLEN WALSH

Paducah

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