Gerald Turetsky's recent commentary, "Medical marijuana too dangerous, costly" (June 30), contains substantial misinformation that could lead New Yorkers to make unethical decisions about helping fellow citizens.
He confuses the impact of marijuana with the impact of marijuana prohibition, and perpetuates myths that have been summarily disproved for decades. Contaminants in the plant arise because cultivation has been forced into an underground market, not because the plant is inherently problematic.
As data from my own laboratory show, marijuana need not cause lung problems. The plant does not change brain structure in adults, create dependence on hard drugs, or weaken human immune function.
More than 150 studies confirm the therapeutic value of the plant's active compounds for treating nausea, vomiting, weight loss, multiple sclerosis, pain, and a variety of other ailments.
Physicians prescribe medicines that are markedly more dangerous than marijuana every single day.
We cannot turn our backs on sick New Yorkers whose only relief comes from a plant with a 5,000 year record of medical efficacy and safety. New marijuana bills are not about generating revenue. No one wants to balance the budget by squeezing money from our sick.
The new bills are about doing what is right -- helping to relieve the suffering of those who are ill.
Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D.
University at Albany
Monday, July 5, 2010
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