June 21, 1995 in Nation/World

Doctors Call Marijuana ‘Wonder Drug’

Knight-Ridder Newspapers
 

Once the embodiment of all things anti-establishment, marijuana gets a warm embrace today in a very establishment magazine.

Writing in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, two professors from the Harvard Medical School strongly urge the federal government to let doctors begin prescribing marijuana as medicine.

“It is cruel, ignorant and arrogant to deprive patients of this medicine,” Dr. Lester Grinspoon said Tuesday. “Eventually, people are going to come full turn on this substance and recognize within the decade that it’s a wonder drug.”

The article by Grinspoon and colleague James Bakalar appears at the same time thousands of physicians flocked to Chicago for the AMA’s annual convention. And all were reading - and talking - about it.

The often-stodgy AMA is showing a new willingness to consider treatments that organized medicine in the past labeled as alternative, shunting them into the shadows of conventional medicine.

In their commentary, the professors argue that overwhelming evidence proves that marijuana eases the suffering of patients betrayed by more conventional medication.

People with AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis all have benefited from using marijuana, the authors write. It has restored appetite, reduced pressure and quieted spasms.

But they acknowledge one legitimate medical concern: the danger marijuana smoke can pose to the lungs. A separate 1993 study by University of Miami researchers suggested marijuana smoking was causing cases of lung cancer, and head and neck cancer in patients at an alarmingly young age.


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