Cannabis Has Medicinal Value

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 13, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Regarding "The Supremes Take a Hit" [News, Dec. 10]. My best friend and co-author George McMahon is one of the patients who receive medical cannabis from the United States government's Investigational New Drug Program. He uses his government marijuana to treat pain, spasms, and nausea related to years of surgical and pharmaceutical maltreatment, multiple injuries and trauma, and a rare genetic condition called Nail Patella Syndrome. Prior to being admitted to the federal marijuana program, George had been through 19 major surgeries and several near-death experiences, and he was taking 17 pharmaceutical substances on a daily basis. For the past 14 years, George has smoked 10 prerolled government joints each day. During this time, he's had no surgeries or hospitalizations, and he no longer takes any pharmaceuticals (aside from the occasional antibiotic).
    Like all the patients in the federal program, George is living proof that cannabis has medicinal value. The program was opened in 1978 under the guise of "research," but officials have not published even a single study on the patients they provide the marijuana to. It's almost as if they are afraid to confirm what they already suspect: Cannabis-based medicines can provide safer relief than many of the pharmaceutical alternatives. But it's too late. The genie is already out of the bottle.
Christopher Largen
Co-author of Prescription Pot and Junk
   [Editor's note: For more on George McMahon, see "A Quarter Ounce a Day," by Andrew Slaton, News, June 20, 2003 (]
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