The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Herbal cures can kill you

Patrick Kelly of the Emporia (Kan) Gazette has a sad editorial on the deadly results of a woman who believed that herbal treatments could cure her rectal cancer. Read it here.

Today, it has become accepted talk show fodder to feature snake oil salesmen who sell herbal health treatments and make health claims that aren't supported by research.

The story in the Gazette is a sad one. By the time the patient realized her herbal treatments weren't working, her cancer had advanced and she died a hideous death.

Here in South Dakota we are likely to be faced with an herbal health question on the next ballot. Marijuana has been proven to be effective in the treatment of pain and nausea. It is within the power of congress and state legislatures to decriminalize the use of this natural product to relieve excruciating pain and the debilitating nausea associated with some cancer treatments.

They have failed to do so. And so South Dakota voters will have their chance to be heard if medical marijuana proponents get enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot. Some of those proponents are reasonable spokespeople for the cause. Others are clearly just street-variety potheads who see the medical marijuana issue as a possible loophole for toking up for recreation without legal recourse. If the proponents can rein in those idiots, they have an opportunity to make progress to reduce some sick peoples' suffering.

I expect the vote to be close, because I believe South Dakotans are for the most part compassionate and believe society will be better served if their vote can help reduce someone's suffering.

Of course, this all could have been avoided if the Legislature had taken the matter seriously enough to draft and pass legislation that would have addressed law enforcement concerns and made the plant available to those who need it. But our attorney general, on a Public Radio forum made it clear he had no interest in working with proponents to accomplish that.

And so the suffering continues.


bob newland said...

There is no account in medical history of a frequent marijuana smoker--who did not also smoke cigarettes--having contracted lung cancer. That fact is HUGE, of course, and, for some reason is being suppressed by the gummint.

It means that cannabis suppresses at least lung cancer growth.

There is other evidence that cannabis suppresses other types of cancer growth, as well.

Michael Sanborn said...

I might buy the notion that marijuana does not cause cancer.

Is there a reputable study somewhere that concludes it actually suppresses lung cancer growth?