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Poitical abuses in national research authority

Dr E. Buxbaum EB15 at le.ac.uk
Wed Oct 16 06:01:55 EST 1996

welshwytch <violette at vasilisa.com> wrote:
>I am pretty aggravated by the breakdown of scientific decision
>making in this country regarding the medical uses of marijuana.

>They are pushing massive trials of their favorite candidate for
>anti-emetic and anti-wasting therapy.
>It is a medicine familiar to Americans, it is called THALIDOMIDE
>and in their rush to get thalidomide-based trials going,
>they have short-circuited all normal regulations for using
>this horrifically dangerous substance.

some other rather emotional material deleted

Thalidomide is not a "horrifically dangerous" substance. It is actually rather harmless, if not 
given to pregnant women (and AIDS patients should not become pregnant for a variety of 
reasons). Additionally, it is only one stereoisomer of Thalidomide that causes birth defects, 
and that is the medically ineffective one. If only the effective stereoisomer is produced (and 
chemists are able to do that nowadays) it could, at least in theory, be given even to pregnant 
women. By the way, this substance has been in use for some time now, for example for the 
treatment of Mycobacterium leprae infections. 

On the other hand we have considerable problems in our society with addictive drugs. Amplifying 
those by creating a legal market for jet another one of them should be considered only in dire 
emergency, if all other options are exausted. Opiates and benzodiazepines show how easy it is 
to divert such substances from legal to illegal use. And cannabis IS an addictive drug, 
contrary to the long disproved claims of its proponents. It can cause psychological dependency 
in "normal", and physical dependency in very high doses. 

I realise of course that the neurological effects of cannabis may make it subjectively easier 
for the AIDS patient to cope with his/her disease. However, I think it better to help them to 
cope with their problems without the use of such drugs, rather then just cover them up.

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