Reader responds to 'Medical perspective on marijuana use'

I found the recent column in your paper titled “Medical perspective on marijuana use” to be both grossly wanting and frustratingly inaccurate. The author, Dr. Anis Ansari, makes several sweeping claims about the plant that are both unsubstantiated and harmful to the larger debate that is currently underway in our country.

For an article that claims to be a “medical perspective on marijuana use” it is shocking that it completely fails to acknowledge the many medical benefits of both the flower and the plant. In and of itself, this is a glaring omission that betrays a political agenda, hostile to well-established facts. The numerous states mentioned have recognized what many suffering patients have long known that this plant has helped thousands with pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, which benefits patients suffering from HIV/AIDS wasting syndrome and dementia.

But the article reaches truly epic levels of misinformation when Dr. Ansari erroneously states that marijuana can cause deaths by overdoses or as he puts it “A sudden rise in high blood pressure can also cause stroke and sudden death.” It is well documented by medical professionals, researchers, and scientists that people do not die from marijuana use. And I challenge Dr. Ansari and the Clinton Herald to produce even a single instance where marijuana is cited as “the” cause of death.

The article then goes on to make insinuations that marijuana smoke “may be” more dangerous than cigarette smoke but of course no supporting evidence is offered to substantiate such a baseless claim. As most of us know, marijuana is a drug about which definitive studies do not exist due to its Schedule I classification, which prevents the study of the drug except in very limited cases.

In Dr. Ansari’s final paragraph, he abandons the central point of his article to focus on the draconian laws governing marijuana’s prohibition. A majority of Americans have now come to realize how incredibly harmful marijuana penal laws have been to their communities. It is so typical for articles like this one to criticize marijuana while completely ignoring the damage done by legal substances such as alcohol and over-the-counter drugs.

Dr. Ansari’s article is deeply misleading which compels me to wonder why the Clinton Herald chose to publish. The Clinton Herald must publish a corrective to Dr. Ansari’s profoundly flawed perspective, which ignores well-established inconvenient facts.

Erik Oas,