Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing “alleged” about cannabis’s medicinal benefits (“Weed Whacked,” 2/21). Studies done over the last 150 years repeatedly demonstrate its efficaciousness as a medicine.

In 1942, Drs. S. Allentuck and K.M. Bowman showed that cannabis-derivative substitution was a more effective means of opiate addiction interruption than either gradual or sudden withdrawal. In 1949, J.P. Davis and H.H. Ramsey studied the anti-convulsant properties of cannabis, using five children who were subject to grand mal seizures. Of those five, three responded as well to cannabis as to other therapies (e.g., phenobarbitol, Dilantin, and Mesantoin). The fourth child became almost entirely free of seizures. The fifth became entirely free of seizures.

In 1959, Z. Krejci, M. Horak and F. Santavy wrote in the Czechoslovakian journal Pharmazie that cannabis extracts (tinctures, etc.) containing cannabidiolic acid had considerable antibacterial effects upon many gram positive microorganisms, including some strains of Staphylococcus aureas. There is also considerable evidence—albeit anecdotal—that cannabis is an anti-emetic, which is why it is so useful in stopping the nausea that results from chemotherapy and the “wasting syndrome” in AIDS patients. Much of that evidence can be found in Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine by Lester Grinspoon, M.D., and James B. Bakalar.

I also take issue with the statement that “(Cannabis) is far stronger than it was 20 years ago.” Says who? I’ve heard this so-called statistic a dozen times in the last month alone, and it’s never sourced. The most recent example was CBS News correspondent Susan Spencer’s appearance on Channel 9 News on Thursday, Feb. 20 (timed to coincide with a 48 Hours special on “the dangers of marijuana”). She said “we were told” that today’s marijuana is far stronger than it was in the 1960s. Well, who told her? Where does this information come from? Until that question is answered, the so-called “supergrass” is still a myth. Nothing more.

Rockville, Md.

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