Thank you for your report on Dr. Donald Abrams' study of cannabis to treat painful HIV neuropathy ("Medical Marijuana: Good Medicine?" Drug News, April 2007).* This small, randomized, placebo-controlled study should help to remove any questions about the value of marijuana as medicine. Indeed, the American Nurses Association has a position statement on providing patients safe access to therapeutic cannabis/marijuana.
You included a statement from critics of medical marijuana use who argue that "inhaling the (marijuana) smoke is inherently hazardous to someone with a compromised immune system." I'd like your readers to know that marijuana doesn't have to be smoked to be effective. It can be eaten, sprayed sublingually, or vaporized (heated to the point of vaporization and then inhaled in a completely smokeless manner). I believe that the question of risks and benefits of medical marijuana, including the delivery method, is one that's best answered in the privacy of the physician/patient relationship.
Patients have a right to the best possible treatment available, and this includes medical marijuana. There's no question about it.
KEN WOLSKI, RN, MPA
Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey Trenton, N.J.
*Individual subscribers can access this article free online at http://www.nursing2007.com. [Context Link]