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Sep-04-2007 03:34printcomments

Medical Marijuana: Intoxication?

Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician, Pharmacologist and Toxicologist.

Marijuana growing in California
Photo courtesy: marijuana.org

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - I am a Toxicologist. I always thought that intoxication meant that the person etc. was being poisoned. A person can be poisoned from slight to severe (death). Some people rate illness or pain on a scale of one to ten. One means mild while ten is severe which includes death.

I guess that anybody who has any interest in cannabis as medicine whether pro or con is probably confused by the schizophrenia of the medical articles about whether it is good or bad, helpful or harmful. It seems like the two opposing camps are each talking or writing about different substances.

There seems to be three schools of thought:

1. Marijuana/ cannabis is addicting and dangerous and has no rational use in medicine.

2. A larger group of advocates (including the general public) say that it is not addicting, not dangerous and has medicinal utility for many disease conditions.

3. A much larger group are the patients who are using it, estimated by the U.S. Government to be as many as 70 million, who don’t care much what the first two groups are slobbering and fighting about and are using as much as they can get their hands on.

Dr. Barry Dworkin writes a medical column for the Ottawa Citizen in Canada, and also has a radio program 580 CFRA on Wednesdays 4-5 pm. He starts out his article with a question from patients who use marijuana for Cancer and chronic pain. He writes, “There is new evidence that marijuana does help alleviate pain and combats nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, weight loss in Cancer and HIV patients, hiccups(?), glaucoma, tremors and multiple sclerosis.” The next paragraph is an example of medical sophistry at its worst. He says, “Intoxication occurs after the first few minutes of smoking marijuana and lasts three or four hours.”

Intoxication, my foot. These indicate beneficial effects of marijuana. Patients avoid overdosing to “intoxication.” The next paragraph is even more fallacious. “Users assume that after their “high” they are no longer under the influence of THC.” He continues, “Body fat accumulates marijuana and will continue to release THC over an extended time.” I guess he really hasn’t been keeping up on the literature. The beneficial medical effects and adverse effects are usually gone in four hours and severely affected patients must light up again to get medical relief.

The next error is that individuals who test positive for THC are more often involved in fatal traffic accidents. Australian studies have shown the opposite. They are more careful.

It gets even worse, “marijuana is physically addicting.” Well maybe it is addicting like Starbucks coffee, but certainly not compared to any other psychically acting drug he can name.

The next is really frightening. He says, “The health risk is akin to tobacco smoking. Marijuana smoke’s tar content is four times greater then tobacco and contains 50 percent more cancer causing chemicals.”

I won’t go on with this foolishness, but cannabis has never killed anybody. Tobacco kills hundreds of thousands ever year. Poor cannabis may be irritating, but it does not cause cancer. Good cannabis requires only a few puffs, maybe every four hours or so. Cigarette smokers usually smoke a pack or more per day and filters do not protect against cancer and death.

He says it causes breast enlargement. Pay attention women! However, it doesn’t. He says it causes depression. The fact is that it is used medically to treat depression. He completely ignores the fact that eleven states have legalized medical marijuana, which 400,000 patients have permits and that even the U.S. Government states that 10 million, probably more, use marijuana regularly in preference to prescribed drugs.

There are no epidemics of bad effects as he suggests. He touts Nabilone, for nausea and vomiting, which is the same as Marinol (pure THC) which most patients don’t like because it takes an hour plus to work and is therefore no use for nausea and vomiting of chemotherapy. Patients throw up the medicine before the drug starts to work.

I don’t have page four of his diatribe but it sounds like he accepted the U.S. Governments malicious propaganda hook, line and garbage. I hope he’s learned something in the past four years, however I doubt it.




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corey February 19, 2009 6:26 am (Pacific time)

thouse plants look good


January 1, 2009 7:38 pm (Pacific time)

Spot on! about time we hear some truth! it´s all about protecting tobacco companies! i think if they legalise it tobacco would lose to marijuana! i quit smoking cigarettes but i´ll die before i quit pot! i grow my own! and i don´t sell! don´t try to frame me as an evil drug dealer! Mac donalds kills more than weed! causes obesity in children! but who cares! they wanna stay rich so they oppress the poor. money overides freedom! thanks America for setting the example! In money we trust!


Ouch September 14, 2007 11:36 am (Pacific time)

I've been reading Dr. Leveque's columns for a couple months now while getting up the courage to ask for a card--Chronic pain has turned my world upside down -I've been home testing the efficacy of marijuana (yes, it does help!). Dr Leveque, your columns are comforting and informative. Your message is reaching people. Thank you.


S.LaMarche; September 5, 2007 12:05 am (Pacific time)

Legalize It! I'm twistin' one now!


Anonymous September 4, 2007 12:37 pm (Pacific time)

To all: For those comparatively few readers who wonder why S-N takes time and uses space for allathis re marijuana, do NOT miss the essential point that its restriction has strong impact on our individual freedoms. More on this soon via Op Ed, but be alert anytime anyone, anyhow, tries to slice off any small part of what the laws of the land permit you to do, on your own decision !


Big Toke September 4, 2007 5:06 am (Pacific time)

right on, you are a Hero in my mind Doc keep up the rant...


Russel Barth September 4, 2007 4:19 am (Pacific time)

Dworkin knows that prohibtion pays for his nice car, so he isn't going to bite the hand that feeds his needs. I am a medical pot licnese holder incidently....

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.