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Oregon Medical Marijuana Doctor Tells All: Q&A Part 3 (VIDEO)Bonnie King & Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
This is the second part of a question and answer segment on medical marijuana with Dr. Leveque and Bonnie King of Salem-News.com.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Oregon Medical Marijuana Doctor Phillip Leveque joins Salem-News.com's Bonnie King for the third video segment in a continuing, interactive look at the relationship between medical marijuana and a person's health.
The number of users in Oregon is steadily growing, there are now more than 15,000 legal, registered patients who have received a doctor's prescription for medical marijuana.
California, the first state in the union to legalize pot for medical purposes, leads the nation with 350,000 patients. While that number grows exponentially, legal and illegal users face potential consequences in regard to their health. Little information has been provided over the years to inform people of the real, pertinent facts.
Below is a written transcript of the third installment of this special series. It is the second part of a question and answer segment that allows people to email a question to Dr. Leveque at and learn the answer to that question in a future segment with Dr. Leveque and Bonnie King of Salem-News.com.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR DR. LEVEQUE? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: There are 15,000 medical marijuana patients in the state of Oregon, almost 400,000 in the United States. With us today is Dr. Phil Leveque, who will answer questions about the issue of medical marijuana. Hello Dr Leveque, so we've been receiving questions online from Salem-News.com in this continuing segment, and I'm going to go ahead and ask some of the questions from our visitors; now the first question comes from a woman named Judy and her question is; Dear Dr. Leveque I'm a menopausal woman of 55-years old, I have been diagnosed with open end glaucoma. She is a medical marijuana patient, but she doesn't understand how it can lower eye pressure, help does it help glaucoma? And how it helps other patients?
Dr: Leveque: OK, In the the outer edge of the eye is called the canal of Schlemm and it goes from the inside of the eye to the outside. In the back of the eye where the retina is, are also blood vessels that also secrete a fluid and it flows out of the canal of Schlemm to the outside of the eye and probably provides some of the lubrication for the eye. In glaucoma, this canal of Schlemm constricts and the solution in the inside of the eye continues to flow all the time so if it is constricted the pressure goes up, and when it continues to go up it can be extremely painful. It can cause blindness and it can also be so painful that a person's eye has to be removed surgically.
Bonnie: Well this gentleman writes; Hey Doc: I wonder wondering if you can tell me why I can have one joint last for a whole week just taking a couple of tokes every night when others site in awe, he has epilepsy, no doctor has been able to tell him why so little does so much good.
Dr: Leveque: For almost every disease condition, you might say, has a gradation from one to ten with one being very slight and ten being the worst possible. Well, obviously this man has maybe a one, two or a three or something like that and so if he gets relief from a couple of tokes, he is very lucky with marijuana at $400 an ounce
Bonnie: Another question is about he actual strains of marijuana. Some people have commented, indicas have different properties from sativas and that kind of thing.
Dr: Leveque: There are probably 200 or more sub strains of marijuana, of both sativa and indica and they're all a little bit different;. So if you're lucky, if a patient is lucky, he's are going to find the right strain pretty quickly, if not they're going to have a lot problems.
Bonnie: So this next gentleman writes; Dear Dr. Leveque: I had my right arm amputated at the shoulder, cup and all removed after having seven surgeries over a ten year period. The phantom pain in my fingers is overpowering, my hand often moves inside my chest (The man explained to Salem-News.com that he can feel the pain from his missing fingers as if the nerves are still connected) which is not easy to deal with and the pain is awful. By the way it is being managed by an anesthesiologist but his question is; would marijuana help him in any without having to deal with the side effects of the narcotics he is taking.
Bonnie: And with fewest side effects?
Dr: Leveque: Yeah, I mean, he mentions his use of narcotics and so forth, well he is going to be able to reduce his amount of his narcotics. One of my patients who had war injuries from Vietnam, was up to 480 milligrams of morphine a day and by using marijuana he was able to drop it down to 60! And he has told me many times, 'doctor, you have saved my life', well I believe I did.
Bonnie: Well here is a different one. Justin asks, for older teens with bi-polar disorder, can you get marijuana from the pharmacy instead of all the pills? This os for somebody's son and they were told that it stabilizes moods.
Dr: Leveque: Absolutely, the doctors in California have found out that marijuana works for many psychiatric problems. One thing that I should mention about this is that marinol, which is the prescription item, probably will not work for a really strange reason; First of all you have to take it orally, which means that it takes an hour or an hour and a half to start working. But when it starts working, the liver converts it into the hydroxy THC or the hydroxy marijuana, which causes the high or the euphoria or whatever. So the person is going to have to... I do not recommend that a person smokes it like a cigarette. But that they use a vaporizer which vaporizes the pure medical chemicals and that is what they should be using.
Bonnie: Several people have written for most basic information about what again, how they can get a card. What is the process in getting a medical marijuana permit in the state of Oregon?
Dr: Leveque: Oregon is considerably different from every other state as far as I know. Oregon has the most successful program but at the same time it's the most restrictive, in this way; first of all there are some nine medical conditions for which you can get a permit. But you have to have medical records, chart notes or a doctor's letter to the effect that you have one of these diseases. You phone up the clinic and what they will do is tell you, 'fax us in your medical records, and somebody in the clinic will look them over, and if you have definite medical records to the effect that you have one of these conditions, they will phone you back in a couple of days and give you an appointment, you go see the doctor, have a physical examination and fill out your medical history and so forth, and usually you can be seen within ten days or so, something like that. The clinic visit is about $160 in Portland, I don't know (about) elsewhere but the state fee I believe is a hundred dollars right now and it is good for one year only. Now the strange thing about it is that people who have a medical condition for which medical marijuana is useful, they're going to have it the rest of their lives. So it should be handled like a drivers license or a dog license or whatever. But this is, and the strange thing about it is that about two or three years ago, the state medical marijuana office had a million dollars in the bank, so the state legislators stole $900,000 worth.
Dr: Leveque: Well, I think that's an interesting comment that you make. What I think is this; that the sick Oregonians are paying an extra tax, the very sick Oregonians are paying an extra tax which the legislature is grabbing onto. This is, outrageous is the right word for this.
Bonnie: So somebody that has a permit, renews it once a year, and they just go through that process every year?
Dr: Leveque: Pretty much so, yes.
Bonnie: Well it does sound a little bit complicated, but it sounds like there are only so many steps to it. So, if people have more questions about medical marijuana, getting a medical marijuana permit, or toxicology questions in general, please send them to Salem-News.com, the email address is Email: email@example.com, and we'll be back with Dr. Leveque for more in our ongoing series.
In Salem, I'm Bonnie King For Salem-News.com
WATCH THE VIDEO WITH SALEM-NEWS.COM'S BONNIE KING AND DR. PHILLIP LEVEQUE
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other articles and video segments about medical marijuana on Salem-News.com:
Articles for May 18, 2007 | Articles for May 19, 2007 | Articles for May 20, 2007
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