Marijuana Helps 1 Man Despite Doctor's Verdict

Marijuana Helps 1 Man Despite Doctor's Verdict
Posted by CN Staff on October 25, 2008 at 08:53:55 PT
By Jeff Karoub, Associated Press Writer
Source: Detroit Free Press
Michigan -- Andre Perry used to smoke marijuana for recreation. Now, he uses it for medication. The 51-year-old retired auto worker thinks the drug should be legalized for medicinal use."It made my eyes ... better," says Perry, nearly blind from the effects of glaucoma. "And losing your sight, you are depressed a lot. It helps a lot with that, too. ... They should go and legalize it for people with medical conditions."
He could get his way if voters approve a state ballot proposal Nov. 4. Proposal 1 would let severely ill patients in Michigan use marijuana to relieve pain, nausea and other symptoms. Twelve states have similar provisions.Opponents argue there's no scientific evidence that marijuana is an effective treatment for glaucoma, cancer, AIDS and other conditions. But supporters argue federal officials have stymied medical research into marijuana's benefits despite evidence that it can relieve suffering.If Proposal 1 passes, patients would register with the state and could legally buy, grow and use small amounts of marijuana to relieve pain, nausea, appetite loss and other symptoms.While the measure would remove state-level penalties for registered patients using marijuana, it wouldn't create legal dispensaries for the drug. Nor would it affect the federal ban on marijuana, which makes possessing marijuana for any purpose illegal.Perry, who must rely on his wife for help with many daily tasks and is taking classes for the blind, says marijuana complements his multiple surgeries and medications.He had given up smoking marijuana, but reconsidered it a few years ago after hearing that it could relieve pressure in his eyes, a condition of glaucoma. He first posed a question about using it to Dr. Mark Juzych, his glaucoma specialist at Detroit Medical Center's Kresge Eye Institute."Medically speaking, he doesn't recommend it," Perry says. "He said it may help a little bit, but there's no long-term benefits."I figured, well, my eyes are pretty much shot ... It's not going to restore my sight. It's going to help keep pressure down and give me some relief."Dr. Joshua Stein, assistant professor at University of Michigan's Kellogg Eye Center, says prescribing marijuana "is not even in our list of options right now." Instead, eye doctors draw on at least five safe and effective medications, as well as surgical procedures."In terms of comparing all of those different options to marijuana, I think there are issues with the safety ... (and) efficacy," he says. Besides, he adds, marijuana "is presently considered illegal."Like Juzych, Stein says he knows of marijuana's pressure-lowering effect, but he describes it "very transient.""To achieve constant pressure lowering, which is what glaucoma patients need, they would need to smoke 8 to 10 (marijuana) cigarettes a day," Stein says. "Since smoking marijuana can affect cognition, memory, heart rate, blood pressure ... the thought of asking a patient to smoke continuously just to (lower) pressure just doesn't make sense from our perspective."Proposal 1 advocates began running ads this week urging voters to support the measure. They feature Rochelle Lampkin of Detroit, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and experiences blindness from optic neuritis, and George Wagoner, a retired physician from Manistee who helped his wife of 51 years by procuring medical marijuana to ease her symptoms of chemotherapy as she underwent treatment for ovarian cancer.In campaign finance reports for the period through Oct. 19, proponents reported raising $1.5 million, most of which came from the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. The opposition group raised $125,500 for the same period.Opponents have not run any ads, but have held news conferences warning that passing the proposal could lead to increases in the number of people driving under the influence of marijuana and in the availability of illicit drugs.John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, traveled to Michigan recently to explain that medical marijuana initiatives are "a clear strategy to ... legalize drugs."But Dianne Byrum, spokeswoman for the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, says Walters and other opponents of medical marijuana are using "rhetoric and scare tactics that have no basis in fact.""This is about a compassionate law to protect seriously ill patients," she says.Juzych and others say drugs and minimally invasive laser surgeries have made great strides in treating glaucoma.While Perry's glaucoma specialist doesn't recommend marijuana, he understands his patients' interest in trying it and other alternative therapies."People are always trying to search," Juzych says. "They're trying to stretch themselves to find hope. A lot of people put hope to marijuana, at least in the treatment for glaucoma."He says medicine simply can't match that hope."The bottom line in ophthalmology is, it (marijuana) doesn't really have a significant place  it has not worked out research-wise and science-wise as a treatment for glaucoma," he says.Perry says he has smoked "off and on" for the past two or three years to relieve the pressure. His pressure readings are low when he just uses eye drop medication, but it's often "a little lower" when he adds marijuana to the mix."I probably benefited from the combination of the two," he says. "I think (researchers) need to do more studies with someone who smokes and someone who smokes and takes eye drops."Stein says potential side effects among those who combine conventional and unconventional treatments haven't been well studied."Even some of the eye drops we prescribe have certain systemic side effects," he says. "Certainly agents like marijuana have systemic side effects as well."Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)Author: Jeff Karoub, Associated Press WriterPublished: October 25, 2008Copyright: 2008 Detroit Free PressWebsite: letters freepress.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Stop Arresting Patients Marijuana Good Medicine? Doesn't Contain Enough Safeguards
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on October 26, 2008 at 17:17:17 PT
EDITORIAL: Yes Proposition 1
As a Christian, I believe every citizens should support Proposition 1.Colorado legalized medical cannabis (marijuana) use and it has worked properly protecting sick citizens from confrontation with government.Colorado law enforcement groups alleged what Michigan law enforcement groups are claiming, however the claims have proven false. 
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Comment #2 posted by user123 on October 25, 2008 at 10:17:43 PT:
Y Always Require a Subject?
Opponents argue there's no scientific evidence that marijuana is an effective treatment for glaucoma, cancer, AIDS...................Are the opponents also atheists? Because there's no scientific evidence that an invisible man lives up in the clouds. But I'll betcha they believe it, no questions asked. But everything else? They gotta have proof & even then, they wouldn't be for legalization. It's just who they are. Clueless.
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Comment #1 posted by Storm Crow on October 25, 2008 at 10:13:28 PT
I don't seem to find any dearth of studies of cannabis and glaucoma and from reading them, cannabis seems to have a beneficial influence on interocular pressure. Marijuana Smoking vs Cannabinoids for Glaucoma Therapy	Dronabinol and retinal hemodynamics in humans.	Effect of Sublingual Application of Cannabinoids on Intraocular Pressure		Effect of marihuana on intraocular and blood pressure in glaucoma.	
Effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on intraocular pressure in humans.	Marihuana smoking and intraocular pressure.	
Neuroprotective and Intraocular Pressure-Lowering Effects of (-)Delta-Tetrahydrocannabinol effect of (-)Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol	
Effects of tetrahydrocannabinol on arterial and intraocular hypertension.
 (may need free registration)		Therapeutic Aspects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids Patent 4189491 - Tetrahydrocannabinol in a method of treating glaucoma! There's even a patent on treating glaucoma with cannabis!)"Opponents argue there's no scientific evidence that marijuana is an effective treatment for glaucoma, cancer, AIDS and other conditions."I beg to differ! Take a peek at this!
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