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May-04-2007 20:30printcommentsVideo

Medical Marijuana Doctor Responds to Comments Part 2 (VIDEO)

Dr. responds to written comments in this continuing segment with Salem-News.com's Bonnie King and Dr. Phillip Leveque, Oregon's leading expert in the field of medical marijuana.

Dr. Phillip Leveque
Dr. Phillip Leveque
Photo and video by: Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - Legal or illegal, countless numbers of Americans use marijuana, and they have for a long time. There is virtually no one who does not at least know someone who smokes it. But few people know or understand the potential consequences marijuana can have when it comes to their health, and for that reason, and because many people wonder if medical marijuana might help their ailments, we present the first question and answer segment with Dr. Phillip Leveque, Oregon's top expert on medical marijuana.

The weed that the federal government still considers illegal, regardless of the passage of state medical marijuana laws all over the country, has been the subject of countless false statements. Long before this country was founded, people used marijuana for medicinal purposes. Dr. Leveque's intention is to bring clarity to the subject as it affects us today.

Because of previous laws and false information, the related healthcare aspects of this largely illegal, yet widely used substance, have gone almost totally unaddressed by the nation's medical community.

In Oregon, however, and in many other states, people now use the product from the Cannabis plant medicinally AND legally. Still, most doctors are uncomfortable with the subject, and some won't touch it with a ten foot pole. Dr. Leveque has treated upwards of 4,000 patients, and signed more medical marijuana permit applications in Oregon than any other doctor. Dr. Leveque is totally unique as he is not a regular MD, but an Osteopath. He is also a Toxicologist and he has testified in court as an expert more than 400 times throughout his career.

He also taught for the University of London, among several others, and he trained the first medical doctors ever in Tanzania and other parts of Africa.

Yet all his wisdom and all the years of serving people, which began when he was a young soldier in Europe fighting the Nazis during World War Two, were crossed out in in 1986, when the Board of Medical Examiners suspended him for ten years for "taking care of too many chronic pain patients," he says they made claims that were largely unsupported. Leveque is a doctor whose practice did attract many chronic pain patients; he was especially qualified as a toxicologist to help them more than some doctors could - or would. In the height of his practice after returning to Oregon, he suddenly had to stop practicing medicine.

But the board's decision did not prevent Dr. Phillip Leveque from helping alleviate his patients' pain. Since medical marijuana was given the nod by voters in Oregon, he has signed more than 4,000 patient applications. While he clearly advocates the medical use of marijuana, Leveque is also clear about the adverse side of marijuana use as well, and he will tell you that marijuana only works with specific ailments.

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR DR. LEVEQUE? Email: newsroom@salem-news.com
or simply write a comment at the bottom of the page. You do not have to use your real name if you are not comfortable doing so. We will do our best to have your questions addressed in upcoming segments.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Salem-News.com does not advocate any illegal activity. This special segment is geared completely toward exploring the legal use of marijuana as a medical treatment. Dr. Phillip Leveque's opinions and advice are intended only as such, and his statements are strictly his own, and do not represent the opinions or policies of Salem-News.com.

This is the full transcript from the video. You will see the video screen when you scroll to the bottom of the page.


Bonnie: We're here with Dr. Leveque, the leading expert on medical marijuana in the state of Oregon. He's going to be answering questions for our regular readers here on Salem-News.com. Dr. Leveque we would like to just start right off with a question about the propaganda from the last several years. Now, why does marijuana have the reputation that it has?

Dr. Leveque: Well, OK, first of all the pharmaceutical industry does not want a person to grow their own marijuana so if you grow your own it must be bad. The petroleum industry doesn't want you to grow your own hemp seed oil, because hemp seed oil was the first fuel for the diesel engine. The timber industry doesn't want you to raise hemp because they can make fiber board out of it and a whole bunch of stuff like that. The pharmaceutical industry doesn't want you to grow your own medicine in the backyard, which is probably better than that you can get as a prescription. The alcohol industry doesn't want you to use marijuana, they'd rather you use alcohol and get cirhosis of the liver or destroy your pancreas. And even doctors are against a person growing their own medicine and using it in a rational fashion. They would rather prescribe morphine, Oxycontan or some of the anti-depressants that are causing people to commit suicide nowadays. So it's very interesting to note that Cannabis as a medicine has never killed anybody, never in 4,000 years of use.

Bonnie: Now some readers have asked too about, what does this mean when it comes to carcinogens? We know most people will smoke it, so does this mean most people are not having any side effects from smoking?

Dr. Leveque: When cannabis or marijuana is burned, it does create some carcinogens, true. Carcinogens produced by tobacco kill maybe 100,000 people a year? So nicotine in tobacco is the active substance but nicotine does not cause cancer, it's the burning of the plant material, same way for marijuana or cannabis. But we recommend that people use a vaporizer, which vaporizes the medical constituents of marijuana but does not burn the marijuana when you smoke it.

Bonnie: Now doctor we know there are a lot of different ways for people to... they can inhale it, they can ingest it, what are the doses that are recommended for using cannabis?

Dr. Leveque: There is no dose, no specific dose, for Cannabis Marijuana for this reason; that there are probably 200 various sub-species of marijuana plant and each one has different constituents and some of them might be good for pain, some of them might be good for spasms, etc. And a person has to try on a trial and error basis to find out which one works the best for whatever their is. Now in saying that it is interesting to remember that in California, over 200,000 people have permits to use Cannabis, and certainly they are using different kinds of it. visited a Cannabis dispensary a year ago and they had 3 different varieties of Cannabis; one variety was $300 an ounce, one was $400 an ounce and one was $600 an ounce, and so obviously there is some difference. And the person who uses marijuana can very easily tell the difference between $300 an ounce and $600 an ounce, and the thing of it is that some marijuana contains up to 20% of the medical ingredients and the stuff that was 15-20 years ago was maybe 5% at the most. So in other words, you have to, if you're getting a new batch, of marijuana/cannabis, you have to be very careful about how much you inhale, or whatever way you take it. And in addition to that particular thing, Marinol is pure synthetic THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol and one of the main adverse side effects of ten milligrams of THC/Marinol, is panic attacks and Marinol is a prescription item! So it's really strange and the thing of it is that, THC is not the only active substance in marijuana, there are CBD and (CBN) but they all, and there are other substances that modulate the effect of the so-called Cannabinoids

Bonnie: You just mentioned Marinol and a lot of people have brought that up as well; that there are ways for people to do this through their doctor without having to become a medical marijuana patient. So what is Marinol?

Dr. Leveque: Marinol is pure, synthetic Tetrahydrocannabinol which was for many years considered to be the main ingredient or the only ingredient or whatever the right word is, in medicine produced by the Cannabis or marijuana plant. But there are several other related structures which modulate the effect of the THC. And Marinol, a person who, a new patient I should say, who gets a prescription for ten milligrams of Marinol; it is likely that he's going to have a panic attack from it, and the worst thing of it is if you eat it, swallow it, it sticks with you for four hours. So the people, they don't make that mistake twice. Once is plenty

Bonnie: So do people use Marinol for the same reasons that they use medical marijuana?

Dr. Leveque: It's primarily used for nausea and vomiting of chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS. But at the same time patients will, out of fear, will not use marijuana because they could be arrested. So they will say to their doctor, 'will you please give me some Marinol?' But there are very few people who are using it and I think one of the worst features is that a Marinol pill costs about $15 and you can buy a marijuana cigarette for a lot less than that.

Bonnie: I know there are a lot reasons that people become medical marijuana patients and that number of patients is growing every day, every month in the state of Oregon. What are the main reasons that people use medical marijuana and what is legal for them as patients, as they become patients?

Dr. Leveque: In order to get a medical marijuana permit, and that's what it is; a permit, to grow, carry and use marijuana, they have to have a medical report which states that they either have glaucoma, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's Rage, chronic pain, chronic nausea, spasms, epilepsy or multiple sclerosis. Most patients have a combination of chronic pain and muscle spasms, and it is usually bad backs. And a combination of pain and muscle spasms represents probably 70% of the permits in the state of Oregon and at the present time, this is May, 2007, there are about 15,000 marijuana permit holders in the state of Oregon and it's increasing at a rate of probably no less than about 100 a month. So by this end of this year we will probably have, I would guess we'll have 16,000, maybe 18,000 permits out.

Bonnie: Well Dr. Leveque, I think that was terribly interesting and very helpful to our readership I hope that you've answered a lot of questions for folks out there and I imagine you've probably stirred some up too. If you have any questions for Dr. Leveque, this will be a regular segment on Salem-News.com. Just go ahead and email them to us here, at: newsroom@salem-news.com. In Salem with Dr. Phil Leveque, this is Bonnie King with Salem-News.com.


DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR DR. LEVEQUE? Email: newsroom@salem-news.com


WATCH THE VIDEO NEWS SEGMENT WITH SALEM-NEWS.COM'S BONNIE KING AND DR. PHILLIP LEVEQUE, WHO IS ONE OF THE NATION'S LEADING EXPERTS IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Video


Phillip Leveque is a physician, toxicologist and WWII Combat Infantryman. Watch for his video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King.
You can email your questions to the doctor: newsroom@salem-news.com

Other articles and video segments about medical marijuana on Salem-News.com:




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EgadsNo April 17, 2011 4:32 am (Pacific time)

By the way doc, I really appreciate the courage and compassion it takes to do what you are doing =) now go watch that tashkin video- its from 2008 by the way :)


EgadsNo April 17, 2011 4:33 am (Pacific time)

By the way doc, I really appreciate the courage and compassion it takes to do what you are doing =) now go watch that tashkin video- its from 2008 by the way :)


EgadsNo April 17, 2011 4:28 am (Pacific time)

Dr. Leveque, please watch a video on youtube entitled "Smoked Cannabis' Effect on Lungs, pt. 1, Dr. Tashkin " Dr. Tashkin is a pulmonologist, federal researcher and has studied the effect of smoking marijuana for almost 40 years. His conclusion is that longterm heavy use- does not cause COPD, emphysema, or lung cancer. The video in question is in 3 parts starting here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXKhHv5VuEI

I am certain with your medical backround you will find the information in it invaluable when answering questions about the effect of smoking it.

He presents and disects studies, along with stating why we would expect these life threatening conditions but do not observe them.

Editor: So he is proving the complete opposite of what they are now conclusively discovering?  Sounds highly doubtful, remember that big money is riding on this and doctors can be paid and instructed to say what fits the occasion.  


Sandy February 16, 2009 6:52 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for telling folks about our safe website,patients helping patients,www.oregonmedicalmarijuanaplus.com


karma lodey October 31, 2008 1:20 am (Pacific time)

i've tried different types of drugs and i found out that the more i take weed the more i eat food and the more i take other drugs the less i eat.so i think its better to take weed rather than other drugs.


jj September 11, 2007 12:47 am (Pacific time)

hello doctor leveque, my name is jj and i am a 20 year old schizophrenic. i have used marijuana with some very good results.it seems to idle the bad thoughts. though some doctors claim that marijuana causes schizophrenia...then why does it help me. ive been looking for someone to help me in this matter and potentially thousands of other suffering people. i think you may be the person we have be hoping for. i guess i would like to ask you for your help as i dont know what else i can do. can you help me and other schizophrenics. i will check beck frequently to see your reply..your probably a very busy man..and i just want to say thank you for what you have done for the world and what you are doing still to this day. i hope you can help. sincerely jj


alexandria July 9, 2007 5:23 pm (Pacific time)

Global warming poses a "serious threat to America's national security" with terrorism worsening and the U.S. will likely be dragged into fights over water and other shortages, top retired military leaders warn .. What do you think?


hurting July 1, 2007 5:54 am (Pacific time)

reno nv


The Editor June 30, 2007 8:07 pm (Pacific time)

hurting- can you tell me what state you are in? Also, if you want to keep it private email tim@salem-news.com and I will get the answer for you.


hurting June 30, 2007 8:02 pm (Pacific time)

i was aressed almost 11 years ago for selling meth. i have been clean and sober not breaking any laws sence i was arrested. i have chronic pain and cant even sleep at night i have heard i will never be able to get a medical Marijuana card because of my arrest back 11 years ago is this true?


phillytown May 19, 2007 1:22 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Doctor, Got a brother with Parkinsons. Heard some good things re: cannabis. How does cannabis help Parkinson sufferers and how/when to medicate? Many thanks in advance.


Anonymous May 19, 2007 11:58 am (Pacific time)

How does someone like yourself get into the field of researching, studying and sometimes growing for the benefit of patients? I am a firm believer that cannabis is so much better than worse and will believe that until i'm gone! If people were more open-minded and actually read up on the facts of marijuana then i think a lot of minds would change on the way they view pot in society. I live in Florida where unfortunaely gettin caught means doin punishment..I'm only 18 and about to start college next year but i want to get involved in helping everyone i can.


Brandon Miletta May 9, 2007 4:32 pm (Pacific time)

Very interesting subject. I don't see how there is really a need for it outside of the medical world however. It might be beneficial to have a more widespread use of it for medical reasons, but there isn't a logical reason to use it just to use it and get high. I am not an expert though so maybe some enlightenment might help.

Is it possible to hear viewpoints from someone against medical marijuana, I am interested in that side of the story also.

Great job Salem-news crew!

-BM

To Brandon Miletta: May 9:

Getting high is usually euphoric or good feeling but a bit more marijuana can cause severe anxiety and panic attacks, which are very undesirable.

If you can find somebody who is willing to make a fool of themselves about the harm of marijuana – bring them on. It is estimated that at least 300 million people use it world-wide. I would agree some use it to get high but that is truly an adverse effect.

Dr. Leveue


John Kirkman May 9, 2007 9:28 am (Pacific time)

The Doctor is right on and further more we wouldn't be in this stupid war if cannabis were legal. Also health care cost would plument at least 100 billion a year. We've known cannabis as an anti cancer agent since 1975. How many have to die? To see who's behind this just look to the U.S. Senate, FDA, DEA.. Who keeps paying them off to vote down less expensive drugs. Prohibition is a 360 billion dollar a year industry. Think of the massive savings and revenues gained if Cannabis were legal and government was honest?

John Kirkman
Oakridge, OR

To John Kirkman: May 9:

You are right on! The cannabis war is disgusting and extremely expensive. I do think $360 billion is a bit much. It could be $100 billion, though.

Dr. Leveque


Michael B. May 7, 2007 11:52 pm (Pacific time)

Hey Doc, Was wondering if you could tell me why I can have a joint last me a full week, using nightly, when others sit in awe. Early retirement from epilepsy, high cholesterol, memory been disappearing over the years from who knows what. It seems my mind is on the edge and it just needs a little couple tokes to put me in heaven. My Doctors won't guess for me.

To Michael B.: May 7:

Some people get relief from small amounts of marijuana. Unless you are taking about a “splif”. You are very lucky with marijuana at $400.00 per ounce. Cholesterol in the blood vessels in your brain is decreasing your memory.

Dr. Leveque


Farmer Brown May 7, 2007 11:35 pm (Pacific time)

I would like to be subsidized to start a new 100,000 acre marijuana farm in Oregon. Where do I get the application? Besides, mother's day is coming and I want to do a promo. Screw the roses, MOM wants pot!

To Farmer Brown: May 7:

The Mexican Mafia had a plantation northeast of Boise, Idaho, with 1400 plants, having a street value of $60 million. The cops found the plantation and POOF! 100,000 acres of pot really is a lot. It does grow wild in the Midwest – probably 100,000 acres worth. It’s ditch weed – not worth smoking.

Dr Leveque


= Judy = May 7, 2007 11:05 pm (Pacific time)

Dr. Leveque, I am a menopasal woman of 55 yrs. old and have been diagnosed with open-end Glaucoma about 3 yrs. ago and use Lumigan 0.03% drops, plus I suffer from anxiety/depression and insomnia as well, . . . my question is mostly regarding the Glaucoma and smoking Medical Marijuana (I use Indicas rather than Sativas as Sativas tend to be "too up" or stimulating for me . . . I've had Panic attacks occationally - using Sativas). I am a MMJ Patient in Los Angeles, CA and would like your oppinion about it and perhaps how it can or can not lower eye pressure (also any info. on my other illnesses mentioned here), plus how often would be good to smoke it; morning and evening for example??? Thank-you, IF you answer my questions - as I'm sure it can help others out there like me with the same illnesses. "In_Hollywood"

= Judy =

To Judy: May 7:

Some menopausal women use marijuana with benefit. It will at least make you feel better. Glaucoma is an eye disease in which a canal from the inside to the outside of the eye gets constricted and builds up internal fluid and pressure which causes severe pain and can cause blindness. Cannabis chemicals (some combination of THC, CBD and CBN) relax the walls of the canal allowing the fluid to flow out and reduce the painful swelling. A “hit” of marijuana only lasts about 4 hours, so you’ll have to experiment how often to use it. I would recommend a vaporizer. Marijuana will most likely alleviate all the conditions you mention but I repeat, GET A VAPORIZER.

Dr. Leveque


Jackson May 7, 2007 10:27 am (Pacific time)

Alice, thanks for your common sense. Since every situation is unique to each person, there are contributing factors that are very different. I just happen to know some people on the wrong course who are not and have never been pot smokers, and hear a lot of people using "drugs" as their excuse for not doing the right thing. I don't like cop outs. And what a scapegoat marijuana has been for decades without good solid facts, it's disturbing.

To Jackson: May 7:

You are correct. Drugs of any kind do not make criminals and it is a cop-out. What did the comedian say “devil made me do it”. Bushwah!

Dr. Leveque


Anonymous in Oregon May 6, 2007 11:58 pm (Pacific time)

I am a legal registered grower in the state of Oregon. I have a legal number of patients, and have to turn away people who need a grower. We are allowed to grow for only a certain number of patients. The individuals I grow for are seriously ill people.

ALS, marijuana will help this individual to eat and hold that food down. MS, this person just feels better after use and is able to get around a little more comfortably. Hep C, this person has been able to continue taking treatment that in the past was so uncomfortable and miserable he discontinued his regiment. Fibromyalgia, this woman says she feels like she can live again.

To Anonymous: May 6:

Thank you so much for agreeing with me. I hope many “doubting Thomases” will read about your patients. Congratulations on you fine work!

Dr. Leveque Medical Marijuana has been and will continue to be a life saver for lots of folks. It might not take away all the pain, but it can make it more tolerable. Marijuana will not be a miracle cure for chronically ill individuals, but it can help people to take their medications or undergo their treatments with less nausea and discomfort. It is useful to those so ill that they have no appetite. The only side effect of ingesting or smoking too much marijuana is a restful snooze. I for one would be so pleased to read positive things about this herb. It has been so wrongly accused of being so many horrible things.


Alice May 6, 2007 5:01 pm (Pacific time)

Jackson May 5, 2007 6:41 pm (Pacific time)

Alice...Do you think that if those people hadn't smoked pot, that they would have led the straight and narrow? Really? You put the blame in the wrong place I think. We are responsible for our actions, and if you're violent, an addict, or live a life of crime, so be it. They'd be that way with or without weed. In fact, if it was legal, we'd have a lot LESS alcoholics and prescription drug addicts.

I definitely agree with you on the point that these people would have found another way to a life of crime. Legalizing pot might help to curb some crimes, but we still have meth, cocaine and other drugs that are too dangerous to have legalized. People are responsible for their own actions. If marijuana hadn't been a contributing factor to that though, it is possible they might have taken a different path in life.

To Alice: May 5:

I really do not think that marijuana use is usually a contributing factor to hard drug use. Even the Institute of Medicine book on the subject gives me that impression. I agree.

Dr. Leveque


Mike May 5, 2007 9:56 pm (Pacific time)

Also, in response to Steve Johnson, when the doctor says that marijuana hasn't killed anyone, he is referring to overdose.

To Mike: May 5:

A friend of mine, a medical pathologist, was visiting Morocco. Some people were caught smuggling in hashish in condoms, which they swallowed. One condom broke. The smuggler slept for 3 days and woke up with a hangover. Even a high dose of hashish is not lethal.

Dr. Leveque


Mike May 5, 2007 9:54 pm (Pacific time)

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana does NOT cause cancer! I don't know if Dr. Leveque is aware of this or not but please read this if you did not know! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729_pf.html

As for the gateway theory that many of you are discussing (sorry I know this is only supposed to be about medical marijuana), the 'gateway' only exists BECAUSE MARIJUANA IS ILLEGAL. Every hard drug user really started with alcohol or cigarettes, NOT marijuana. But the reason that some marijuana users get into hard drugs is because the system has misclassified and prohibited marijuana. As a result, people get exposed to drug dealers and criminals, and THAT is why they are more likely to use other drugs. It has nothing to chemically or physiologically with marijuana that makes some people use hard drugs, its simply that they have to go through drug dealers in order to get their weed. Imagine if we were still prohibiting alcohol today, this same 'gateway' theory would now apply to alcohol, and you'd be saying that alcohol makes people use hard drugs. But clearly half of americans drink alcohol and it doesn't CAUSE them to use hard drugs. Alcohol has a moderate-risk overdose(marijuana has none), alcohol causes cancer(marijuana does not), and alcohol has physical addiction(marijuana does not). Alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, and puts people in far more danger than marijuana. The only reason for the gateway effect is because we've placed marijuana in the same group as terrible drugs like heroin and cocaine, and as a result people have to go through drug dealers to get weed(and these drug dealers almost always sell hard drugs). Anyone with any questions about marijuana feel free to ask and I'll post under the comments section.

To Mike: May 5:

Yes, I know marijuana does NOT cause cancer. However, burning the stuff and inhaling the smoke rather than the THC, CBD and CBN could cause cancer, but the medicines are protective. Recent reports indicate THC suppresses or kills lung cancer cells in experiments done on mice. This work was done at Harvard Medical School.
There is some controversy about what is the precursor or the “gateway” drug. I believe it is mother’s milk. Every addict I know of used that first.

Thank you very much for your very fine exposé.

Dr Leveque


Al May 5, 2007 9:28 pm (Pacific time)

Should be legalized for home use. Pure joke that dealers and users overfill our prisons while rapists and murderers walk ! i know the Fast Food Industry is FOR legalization ! Damn, I'm hungry !

To Al: May 5:

Most marijuana is used at home before bedtime. You are correct, marijuana makes most people hungry.

Dr. Leveque


Jackson May 5, 2007 6:41 pm (Pacific time)

Alice...Do you think that if those people hadn't smoked pot, that they would have led the straight and narrow? Really? You put the blame in the wrong place I think. We are responsible for our actions, and if you're violent, an addict, or live a life of crime, so be it. They'd be that way with or without weed. In fact, if it was legal, we'd have a lot LESS alcoholics and prescription drug addicts.

To Jackson: May 5:

Thank you for your concurrence. Some people are born addicts.

Dr. Leveque


Tim King Salem-News.com May 5, 2007 6:23 pm (Pacific time)

Alice,

Thank you for opening up a side of this issue that affects many people when it comes to pot use. We are dealing with a multi-faceted subject that has clear pros and cons, and each point of view is important.

I do want to point out that the context of our Salem-News.com segments with Dr. Leveque is only centered around exploring the legal aspects of medical marijuana use. I believe I am going to stray significantly from that specific subject in addressing your thoughts. Of course I hope other viewers add their thoughts as well.

The first point I want to make is that there is no doubt that each person who refrains from intoxicants is better off than someone who doesn't. Their mind is clearer, their potential greater, etcetera. I do not advocate the initial use of alcohol or marijuana for anyone. I am glad that many people are afforded the luxury of growing up in stable homes with solid families that guide them properly and steer them away from potentially illegal activity. It is a fact however, that large numbers of kids growing up in this country today do not have that luxury called a stable home and bad influences are everywhere.

I wanted to share my thoughts about the so-called Gateway Theory, which seems to be the underlying point you are making. Personally, I have no doubt that marijuana use can indeed lead some people down the wrong road. It can incite people to go on to harder drugs. But which is worse; the obvious possibility that marijuana could led to harder drugs, or the constant message that "kids will go on to use harder drugs after smoking marijuana?" I mean, it seems like it has been ram rodded into their heads for so long that a certain percentage of people progress to the next hardest thing because this society programs them to do so.

Again, the real subject is medical marijuana. I would think that there are some people who are guilty of what you suggest; attaining a Medical Marijuana prescription by feigning an illness. Ultimately in that case, they are marijuana smokers who are trying to avoid the legal consequences of their decision to use something that can land them in jail and see their kids taken away- because they chose to use a 100% natural substance that was put here by our creator. I personally believe that everything in life happens for a reason, and God did not put marijuana on the earth so that the U.S. government could come along millions of years later and brand it as illegal and immoral.

I'll say this much, they would have to be very organized and have the money and determination to go through the permit process, disclose all of their personal information, and have the ability to appear ill over a period of history, with medical documentation. I suspect that most of the Medical Marijuana patients in the United States are indeed using it as a medicine.

As a final thought, I repeat my first statement; that people are better off if they steer clear of alcohol and pot and never drink coffee or use caffeine or many, many other things. For those who don't, marijuana is sometimes a choice. There are hundreds of thousands across the nation who smoke pot but don't drink or take hard drugs. I have a hard time seeing them as villains and I'm glad people who insist on partying have an alternative that does not evoke violence as a general rule, unlike alcohol.


Alice May 5, 2007 5:49 pm (Pacific time)

It might not have killed anyone, but it has helped to lead people into harder drugs. I am not saying this because I heard it or got it from another news source, but just from life in general. I have seen many people, who had no need for pot, smoke it to get high and then proceed to harder drugs. They eventually commit crimes and end up in the prison system. Now I didn't say this happens to everyone, only a few that are susceptible to addiction and don't use pot for medicinal reasons. Their lives are ruined forever because as soon as they are out of prison the cycle begins again! I also know for a fact that quite a large amount of people that have the medical marijuana card get it just so they can get high. They tell the doctor they are in severe pain with their back, or some other part of their body, and then they can grow pot, smoke it and give it to their friends. I've known a number of people that have done that.

To Alice: May 5:

Usually, the same people who sell marijuana, sell cocaine and heroin as well. They give the marijuana users coke or horse and they get addicted and do crime to get money for drugs. In Oregon, a patient must have a bonifide medical diagnosis to get a card/permit. In California, some doctors may cut a few corners just to get the money for the visit. Shame.

Dr. Leveque


The Editor May 5, 2007 5:23 pm (Pacific time)

John Boston Mass- Salem-News.com is a REAL news source, our daily visitor count is well above 10,000 people and approximately 22,000 of our stories are read each day by people primarily from Oregon, but all around the world as well.

Our core news staff has over 50 years of combined broadcast experience. We are journalists who have separated from the network stations and formed this service because we want to see better coverage of stories in regions that corporate newspaper and television ignore.

If you have more specific questions then please forward them; we will make every attempt to answer them. We understand that it is not typical to see such reports in mainstream news, Salem-News.com may indeed be the first. So please utilize the opportunity to seek answers from Dr. Leveque, and give us credit for having the initiative to take on a subject that others fear to discuss.

Thanks,

Tim King
Salem-News.com


Matt Johnson May 5, 2007 5:20 pm (Pacific time)

Sally, that is well said. I want to know what benefits exist for somebody who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Can marijuana help someone with PTSD? Can Salem-News please forward this question to Dr. Phillip Leveque? Thanks, Matt Johnson, the Malibu Crew: live to surf-surf to live

To Matt Johnson: May 5:

I had about 500 Viet Nam vets who said that marijuana was the best medicine they have ever used for PTSD. 15 California doctors agree with them, and me. Surfing will help also.

Dr. Leveque


Sally Keizer May 5, 2007 4:23 pm (Pacific time)

"One of Marijuana's greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions. There is no known case of a lethal overdose; Marijuana is also far less addictive and far less subject to abuse than many drugs now used as muscle relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics. The ostensible indifference of physicians should no longer be used as a justification for keeping this medicine in the shadows." Journal of the American Medical Association, June 21, 1995. Commentary. p. 1874-1875.

To Sally Keizer: May 5:

What a marvelous quote from JAMA. Too bad most doctors don’t read it. Steve Johnson take heed.

Dr Leveque


mark godfrey May 5, 2007 12:37 pm (Pacific time)

To Steve Johnson:

I checked the website you mentioned and you are wrong.

The 279 deaths listed was called "secondary", which just means Cannabis was present. Pepsi-Cola may have been present also, but it didn't cause anything.

Cannabis has no LD50 rating, it is considered a non-toxic substance.

To Mark Godfrey: May5:

Thanks for your confirmation. I really think it was Pepsi-cola.

Dr. Leveque


mark godfrey May 5, 2007 12:33 pm (Pacific time)

Salem-news: Thank you for a very well-written and informative piece of journalism. America needs more news sources such as yourselves.

To Mark Godfrey: May 5:

I’m doing my best to give you guys the straight information. I won’t say I know everything about cannabis but I had about 4000+ patients, I’ve been studying marijuana for 50 years and I wrote a book “Cannabis Pharmacology” – up to date as of 2006. It’s available.

Dr. Leveque


Julie May 5, 2007 11:49 am (Pacific time)

I thought there was good reason to look into this further, so I went to that website: procon.org, and this is what it says: "A review of the FDA Adverse Events reports also revealed some deaths where marijuana was at least a concomitant drug (a drug also used at the time of death) in some cases." This means that it was included in the report because it was ONE OF the drugs in someone's system, that doesn't prove that it CAUSED death. Nope. Nothing on that site that proves it. In fact, this is the FDA's own disclaimer: "The information contained in the reports has not been scientifically or otherwise verified. For any given report there is no certainty that the suspected drug caused the reaction. This is because physicians are encouraged to report suspected reactions. The event may have been related to the underlying disease for which the drug was given to concurrent drugs being taken or may have occurred by chance at the same time the suspected drug was taken. Numbers from these data must be carefully interpreted as reported rates and not occurrence rates. True incidence rates cannot be determined from this database. Comparisons of drugs cannot be made from these data." -- 7/18/05 - FDA Office of Pharmacoepidemiology and Statistical Science

To Julie: May 5:

I hope Steve Johnson reads your comments. So there.

Dr. Leveque


The Editor May 5, 2007 11:36 am (Pacific time)

Steve, your source is incorrect, there are no recorded deaths caused directly from marijuana. I would actually go back and check your own source and their political motivations. The article hints at the massive amounts of misinformation that have been brought forward by the government, which bases its own motivations strictly on industry interests. If you can actually locate a real, bona fide death from marijuana, then let us know, because there is a large reward that has been offered for several years to anyone who can actually prove that a death was related to marijuana use. We're looking for that information and we will add it as a comment when we find it. What we have seen over the years in terms of attribution are deaths that involved many factors and "also" marijuana.


tina from iowa May 5, 2007 9:34 am (Pacific time)

I have fibromyalgia,chronic pain, depression,anxiety etc.. pain 24/7 my many doctors over the last 12 years still can not give me pain medicine and I'm not talking about taking pills for many days before they are even effective. I'm sorry put when you are in such pain that all you want to do is die, hell give and take just a few minutes with out pain. I smoke pot illegally but it works and it gives not only my body/stomach a rest from over 7 different med's I take daily but it gives my mind a rest also. I will smoke pot until they find a cure for firbromyalgia etc.. I have been a guinea pig for 12 years with these doctors in oskaloosa,Iowa and surrounding areas. Hell they almost OD me 3 times. Yes, I am tired of doctors only after money instead of taking there DOCTORS OATH and REALLY CARING ABOUT THEIR PATIENTS. SO, I'll KEEP SMOKING ON THE SIDE-DONT DARE TELL MY DOCTORS OR THEY WOULD HAVE ME ARRESTED. I'VE KNOW OF MORE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY HURT OR DIED FROM ALCOHOL THAN FROM SMOKING POT!! PLEASE EVERYONE DO NOT BE SO RIGHTEOUS JUST THINK IF YOU OR YOUR SON/DAUGHTER MOTHER/FATHER WERE IN CONSTANT PAIN 24/7. YOU WOULD DO ANYTHING TO HELP EASE THE PAIN. UNTIL YOU WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES, DO NOT JUDGE ME OR BE MY JURY

To Tina: May 5:

I agree with everything you said. However, doctors are totally afraid of the U.S. Government regarding marijuana. Marijuana will help with all of your ailments.

Dr. Leveque


Steve Johnson May 5, 2007 8:50 am (Pacific time)

In a report from Medical Marijuana ProCon.org Deaths from Marijuana v. 17 FDA-Approved Drugs found 279 Marijuana Deaths in the US from 1/1/97 - 6/30/05. I think your Dr. needs to do a little more research before he speaks.

Deaths from FDA drugs over the same time was 11,687.

To Steve Johnson: May 5:

If a person dies and has marijuana in his system, according to the U.S. Government, that person must have died from marijuana. It isn’t so.

Dr Leveque


John Boston Mass May 5, 2007 8:28 am (Pacific time)

If you are a REAL news source prove this note from your Dr.: So it's very interesting to note that Cannabis as a medicine has never killed anybody, never in 4,000 years of use.

To John Boston: May 5:

Cannabis, by itself, has never killed anybody, whether from medical or recreational use. See later.

Dr. Leveque

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