Herbal marijuana is the best medicine
Lester Grinspoon has an op-ed on the FDA's contradictory stands on medical marijuana. Lester points out, (as I did only much more eloquently), that the FDA has approved medical applications for pharamceutical marijuana already and the reasons to vilify "raw" marijuana are obvious. Read the whole thing, it's short, but here's the money quote.
One of the most important characteristics of cannabis is how fast it acts when it is inhaled, which allows patients to easily determine the right dose for symptom relief. Sativex's sublingual absorption is more efficient than orally administered Marinol (which requires 1 1/2 to two hours to take effect), but it's still not nearly as fast as smoking or inhaling the herb.He further notes that marijuana, even at black market prices, is cheaper than either Sativex or Marinol.
That means "self-titration," or self-dosage, is difficult if not impossible. Further, many patients cannot hold Sativex, which has an unpleasant taste, under the tongue long enough for it to be absorbed. As a consequence, varying amounts trickle down the esophagus. It then behaves like orally administered cannabis, with the consequent delay in the therapeutic effect.
The DEA and the ONDCP regularly trot out their fear inducing, self-commissioned studies claiming harm, but the truth is that herbal cannabis is a reliable cure for many symptoms and is not only the least harmful of any drug on the market, legal or illegal, but in fact has been shown in independent studies to prevent harm. Those are the ones the DEA and the ONDCP are never going to tell you about.