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Paper Discounts Medical Marijuana Use


July 1997

While small doses of pure THC may be useful for nausea and appetite stimulation, smoking marijuana has no significant medical advantages, says a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The paper was written by Eric A. Voth, M.D., and Richard H. Schwartz, M.D., two anti-marijuana crusaders from the International Drug Strategy Institute, an anti-drug group based in Topeka, Kansas (Eric A. Voth and Richard H. Schwartz, "Medicinal applications of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and marijuana," Annals of Internal Medicine, May 15, 1997, p. 791-798; David Perlman, "Regular Pot Smoking Won't Kill, Kaiser Researchers Determine," San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 1997, p. A2).

The authors examined a sample of the literature on the medical applications of marijuana. They eliminated all trials that did not involve humans, and included case reports and summaries of work done on glaucoma, enhancement of appetite, and multiple sclerosis. They specifically identified studies that would "illustrate potential complications related to different modes of THC delivery" and the studies were "organized to illustrate risks associated with short- or long-term exposure."

Voth and Schwartz concluded that smoking marijuana worsened the condition of many patients and caused the deterioration of mental functions. They also noted that "long-term and repetitive use of THC derivatives, especially by young persons, poses the problem of addiction." Voth told the Associated Press, "I don't see any advantage of smoking pot, any more than I would suggest there's an advantage of smoking tobacco for weight control or anxiety."

In the final analysis, this paper concluded that "both marijuana and pure THC may have toxic effects, and the therapeutic benefits of these substances must be carefully weighed against these effects." [All anecdotal evidence from the studies was omitted. No study that concluded the effects of smoking marijuana were positive was deemed scientifically fit by the researchers -- SYR.]

The study is located on-line at:

The authors can be reached at the following addresses:
Dr. Eric Voth: International Drug Strategy Institute, 901 Garfield, Topeka, KS 66606
Dr. Richard Schwartz: 410 Maple Avenue, Vienna, VA 22180