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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 6:49 pm    Post subject: Weed Science Reply with quote

Weed Science
Posted by CN Staff on April 20, 2004 at 08:05:58 PT
By Jeyling Chou and Joie Guner, DB Senior Staff
Source: Daily Bruin

Dr. Jay Cavanaugh's first dose of marijuana was given to him by his mother – who had obtained it through a member of her bridge club. Clearly not your usual drug trade.
In 1995, Cavanaugh lost the use of both arms because of a nerve disorder. He was literally wasting away, going from 180 pounds to 120 due to pancreatitis. He needed something that would calm the nausea and allow him to eat again.

He said, "My mom brought it home and said, 'You go upstairs and smoke, and I'll start cooking.'"

Cavanaugh – the national director of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, an organization formed to educate the public about marijuana's medicinal properties – has been smoking his medicine for seven years.

"Medical cannabis got me off all the drugs they were giving me for years," he said.

"It's been almost four years since I've used any narcotic pain medication, sedative or anti-depressant."

Before falling ill, Cavanaugh was on the California Board of Pharmacy, running drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers for 20 years.

Now, as an active supporter of the use of medical cannabis, he has shifted his scientific and personal missions.

"I'm one of those 'normal' people. I hadn't smoked pot since I was in college back in the '60s," Cavanaugh said.

"I became a convert from my own personal experience. I turned my background in the biological sciences around to investigating this," he added.

With the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, physicians in California could legally prescribe cannabis and oversee their patients' use.

"I'm not a doctor, but I believe Prop. 215 is a step in the right direction," said Allen Weinberg, a Los Angeles attorney who has represented individuals prosecuted for their use of medical cannabis.

"If there's anything that can provide a sick person with some relief, the doctor should be able to give it to them," he added.

The fight is far from over for Cavanaugh and the estimated 100,000 other Californians that use medicinal marijuana.

Proposition 215 does not specify how the marijuana is to be obtained or what is considered a legal amount for a patient to possess.

These ambiguities have brought clashes with law enforcement.

"I have friends in exile in Canada; I have friends right now in federal prison; I have friends ... who live under fear of arrest for this simple act of treating themselves with a substance that's not approved by some," Cavanaugh said.

"That's not a good way to live. It's bad enough to be sick."

Marijuana contains the toxin delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, which causes the "high" when smoking the drug.

Other components of marijuana have also been shown to decrease nausea, suppress inflammatory immune responses and increase appetite.

But medicinal cannabis also comes with its share of potentially dangerous side effects.

Source: Daily Bruin (CA)
Author: Jeyling Chou and Joie Guner, DB Senior Staff
Published: April 20, 2004
Copyright: 2004 ASUCLA Student Media

American Alliance for Medical Cannabis

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