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Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Monday, December 12, 2005

Advances in Medicine or Government Monoploy?

In a hearing due to start today before an administrative law judge at the Drug Enforcement Administration, professor Lyle Craker and his supporters will argue for a DEA license to grow the research drugs. It is the climax of a decades-long effort to expand research into marijuana and controlled drugs and of Craker's almost five-year effort to become a competing marijuana grower.

In his suit against the DEA for a license to grow marijuana, Craker has backing from 38 members of Congress, the two senators from Massachusetts, numerous medical societies and even Grover Norquist, the president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform.

...for the first time the government's monopoly on research marijuana is under serious legal challenge. The effort is being spearheaded by a group that wants to produce medicines from currently illegal psychedelic drugs and by a professor at the University of Massachusetts who has agreed to grow marijuana for the group if the government lets him.

Marijuana, or cannabis, is now listed as a Schedule I drug -- with no medicinal use -- under the Controlled Substances Act. Its use was initially restricted in 1937 and eliminated from medicinal practice in 1942. On its Web site, the DEA lists marijuana as the most frequently abused illicit drug in America.

...Since the 1970s, however, researchers have found potential uses for marijuana, or its active ingredient THC, in relieving nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and to help with appetite loss in AIDS patients. A synthetic form of marijuana's active ingredient has been made into a prescription drug, Marinol.

Doblin said there are potentially many other medicinal uses of marijuana, including the treatment of multiple sclerosis and AIDS-related neuropathy. He also said researchers believe that if they can perfect a method of "vaporizing" marijuana -- allowing it to be inhaled rather than smoked -- it would be easier to administer as medicine.

If Marinol, the synthetic form of marijuana has already been approved and marketed as a prescription drug, albeit, one that has to be swallowed which can be problematic for some patients, I would say a medical need has already been established. Studies have been done. I would also say the government has a monopoly on marijuana for purely monetary reasons and wants to allow pharmaceutical companies to cash in. I'm weary of government/corporate monopolies. Damn weary.

Oh..and just in case you're interested...the side effects of Marinol are absolutely devastating. No wonder marijuana is illegal. Use and sale of it surely validate the war on drugs and the high cost we, as taxpayers incur. One of our major social programs, the prison systems, are full of people who would grow, use and sell such a subversive, clearly dangerous drug in it's natural form of a seed bearing plant. I love squandering my taxes on this type of law enforcement, don't you?

What are the possible side effects of dronabinol? (Marinol)

Symptoms of a dronabinol overdose include drowsiness, euphoria, disorientation, redness of the eyes, dryness of the mouth, a fast heart rate, memory loss, slurred speech, and poor coordination.

• Stop taking dronabinol and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives).

• Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take dronabinol and talk to your doctor if you experience
· drowsiness or dizziness;
· nausea or vomiting;
· memory loss;
· confusion, hallucinations, abnormal thinking, or intoxication;
· headache;
· anxiety or nervousness; or
· irregular or fast heartbeat.

• Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
posted by Cyndy | link | | |


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