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04.28.10

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Vicodin-Free

I am writing in response to your article "A Green Education" (April 21). Being a Sonoma County native, I often look to the Bohemian for an unbiased view. But I am saddened by this article.

I myself am a patient of medical marijuana. Since having surgery done in June 2004 for kyphosis, I have suffered from constant back pain. While medication like morphine, as mentioned in the article, did alleviate pain, the after-effects were very far from manageable. Other medications, such as Vicodin, also had numerous side effects but were often prescribed and recommended by physicians, even given my young age (20 at the time). I am now 25 and have thankfully been able to manage the pain from the surgery. Were it not for the recommendation of a family member, I would have never tried marijuana. It is because of a wonderful plant like marijuana that I am still able to participate in activities I enjoyed before, and has promoted a positive and healthy lifestyle, something which I found pharmaceutical drugs did not take into consideration.

I am amazed at the lack of compassion presented by your reporter throughout the article. The lack of consideration for people who do not have a visible illness was rather shocking and disgusting.

Furthermore, the reader was never informed that products such as Marinol lack many of CBDs found in marijuana, thus resulting in different effects, let alone the side effects of a synthetic drug. Synthetics also often lack properties present in nonsynthetic versions.

I look forward to more positive articles from the Bohemian in the future. You really are my favorite paper!

Ryan Connelly

Santa Rosa


Lifesaver

This is in response to "A Green Education" which proclaimed that the Compassionate Use Act and medical cannabis are not to be taken seriously. I served as an emergency medical technician in Minnesota, a state that does not allow the use of medicinal cannabis, for seven years. During that time I witnessed the needless suffering of countless patients whose conditions could have been ameliorated with the use of medical cannabis.

Had the reporter done even a brief review of the history of cannabis, she would have found out the following facts:

1. Cannabis has been used medicinally for several thousand years for conditions ranging from bruises and swelling (it is an anti-inflammatory)to pain and insomnia. Currently, it's also a lifesaver for patients on HIV drugs or for those undergoing chemotherapy. Scientific research is burgeoning and showing even more medical uses for cannabis, in particular for those suffering from Parkinson's, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and digestive disorders, and it is useful as adjunct therapy in opiate rehab.

2. Marinol is a very expensive synthetic derivative of the cannabis plant that contains only synthetic THC, only one of the many therapeutic compounds which the plant contains. Because of this, and the fact that it is far more expensive than the plant, it is not a suitable alternative to using the naturally occurring plant.

By the way, I am so impressed that the author can determine illness just by looking at a person. She states that she saw people in the dispensary who did not look sick. In my medical training, we relied on lab tests and examinations to determine illness. Often the terminally ill look "normal."

Kitty Ballard

Santa Rosa

We must protest a misreading of the piece and its intent. We sent a strappingly healthy young reporter out to try to get her card, and were surprised and generally quite pleased that it was much harder than we thought and much more in line with getting a prescription for any controlled substance. We did not knock medical marijuana, the story had a humorous tone that evidently didn't engage you and we are fully cognizant of the many healing properties cannabis contains.


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