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Letter to the Editor: Support Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Nurses Do

A local nurse weighs in on medical marijuana dispensaries.

I find the language of any warrant that prohibits the use of medical marijuana or its distribution both personally and professional offensive. To even put it in the same language that prohibits Adult Entertainment insulting. My father died of ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and my 28-year-old niece has MS, both disorders that medical marijuana has shown to be effective in reducing the pain of spasticity. As a Brigham and Women's RN working in both the MICU and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit I have dispensed synthetically prepared marijuana, also known as Dronabinol or Marinal, and can tell you first hand that it is not as effective as marijuana administrated by vapor. Marinal is only available in a pill form.

If you known anyone suffering from the depilating nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy you can understand how difficult it is to not only swallow a pill but keep it down for the 50 minutes needed to absorb the medication. Countless patients will tell you that they do not receive the same analgesic benefit from Marinol as medical marijuana. It is like comparing Sam Adams to an O'Douls, the good stuff that helps pain has been removed.

To compare medical marijuana and it's use among patients suffering from debilitating or terminal illnesses to recreation marijuana is reckless. The people who actually treat substance abuse have no problem with medical marijuana and not for profit clinics that treat patients. Why do you think the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) or the National Nurses Association of Addictions supports them? Do not be mislead by empty rhetoric. I am curious, where does The Board of Health get its data?

Do you really think a couple of town officials actually know better than 2.9 million nurses? Yes, 2.9 million RNs support the use and distribution of medical marijuana.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes that patients should have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis. (Most of the state chapters, including the Massachusetts Nurses Association do too.)

"Cannabis or marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries. It has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms and conditions." 
-Position Statement: Providing Patients Safe Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," American Nurses Association (ANA) website, Mar. 19, 2004

Where is the data to support the suppression of a not for profit clinic to dispense medical marijuana? Does the Board of Health or town officials know something that the American Cancer Society does not? The Lymphoma Society? The NE Journal Of Medicine? The American Public Health Association? The American Academy of Family Physicians? Who (World Health Association)? AIDS Action Committee? Even the ultra conservative AMA (American Medical Association) can't come out against the use and distribution of medical marijuana, they let their junior association, American Medical Student Association, provide full support and they say they support "further research."

If you read the Massachusetts regulations on not for profit medical marijuana clinics, it is clear that this is not California, folks. I don't understand why people didn't raise such outrage when the Sawtewelle Hospice opened in Reading... don't you get it? It is the same thing: providing comfort and compassionate medical care to those who are suffering. I plan on supporting any not for profit clinics that want to open anywhere to help ease the suffering of any medical patient and suggest you do the same.

Nancy Docktor

Michelle Kramer September 18, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Nancy, thank you for sharing this information. I was taken back when I read the news piece last week regarding prohibiting the clinics but I am not in the medical field and had begin to research the issue. Your information supports some that I have found on the internet and after speaking with only 3 people. Like you, I support clinic that helps to ease the suffering.
Joe Veno September 19, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Nancy you make some good points.

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