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WISCONSIN NURSES ASSOCIATION     
Reference #4

Subject: Access To Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis Introduced

By: Carol Graham, RN, Milwaukee District

Summary: A small number of persons would have an opportunity to gain access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis as a form of treatment for their health problems when all other forms of treatment fail. Rationale for making cannabis a legally prescribed medicine includes:

Cannabis/marijuana, etc. has been used medicinally for centuries and that cannabis was widely prescribed by physicians in the United States until 1937.

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 completely prohibited all medicinal use of marijuana by placing it in the most restrictive category of Schedule I. Drugs must meet three criteria for placement in this category: 1) have no therapeutic value, 2) are not safe for medical use, and 3) have a high abuse potential.

Thirty-six states have passed legislation recognizing marijuana's therapeutic value.

Marijuana has been reported to be effective in: a) reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma, b) reducing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, c)stimulating the appetite for patients living with AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and suffering from the wasting syndrome, d)controlling spasticity associated with spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.

Marijuana seems to work differently from many conventional medications for the above problems, making it a possible option for persons resistant to conventional medications.

Patients not helped by conventional medications and treatments may find relief from their suffering with the use of marijuana if their primary care providers were able to prescribe this as a treatment medication for specific diseases such as those cited above. Recommendations: The Wisconsin Nurses Association

1. Urges the Governor of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Legislature to move expeditiously to make cannabis available as a legally prescribed medicine where shown to be safe and effective.

WNA Goal #1: Collectively and collaboratively advocates for access to comprehensive quality health care services for all people.

Fiscal Note: $20.00 for correspondence to Governor and Wisconsin Legislators.

References:

1. Abel EA.Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1982.

2. Mikuriya TH, ed. Marijuana: Medical Papers 1839-1972. Oakland, CA: Medic-Comp Press, 1973.

3. Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (Pub. L. 91-513, October 27, 1970, 21USC801 et seq.).

4. Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics. No accepted medical value?? ACT News. Spring, 1995.

5. Grinspoon L, Bakalar JB, Marihuana as Medicine: A plea for reconsideration. JAMA. 1995; 273 (23:1875-1876).

6. Colasanti BK. Review: Ocular hypotensive effect of marihuana cannabinoids: Correlate of central action or separate phenomenon. J. Ocular Pharmacol. 1986;2(3):295-304.

7. Sallan Se, Zinberg NE, Frei III E. Antiemetic effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabionol in cancer chemotherapy. New Engl J. Med. 1975;293(16):795-797.

8. Nelson K, Walsh E. Deeter P, et al. A phase II study of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabionol for appetite stimulation in cancer-associated anorexia. J. Palliative Care. 1994;10(1):14-18.

9. Clifford DB. Tetrahydrocannabinol for tremor in multiple sclerosis. Ann Neurol. 983:13:669-671.

10. Mechoulam R, ed. Cannabinoids as Therapeutic Agents, Boca Raton, FL; CRC Press, 1986.

Adopted 10/29/99 Wisconsin Nurses Association Annual Meeting

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