Dear Dr. Grinspoon by Edwin Arthur

The following letter was written to Lester Grinspoon by Edwin Arthur…

Dear Dr. Grinspoon,

I would very much like to thank you for your contribution to the ongoing success of my wife’s breast cancer treatments. I will spare you all the details but, suffice it to say, she has been fighting a battle with stage IV, metastatic, breast cancer since 1995. She is currently under the care of the good folks at Dana-Farber and is participating in a phase I clinical trial.

For the last two years she has been constantly nauseous as a side effect of the clinical trial and after seeing an interview you participated in on television, along with the encouragement of the staff at Dana-Farber and my constant peer pressure, she has found your insight to be true. Cannabia has helped her to be able to feel less nauseous, have more appetite and seems to help somewhat with the neuropathy she experiences from past treatments. It works within minutes!

Having been a federal law enforcement officer in my youth I know first hand the Government’s opinion of the drug. I now find myself campaigning to get the State of New Hampshire to come to more reasonable terms with the issue.

With that having been said, I would like to contribute to your quest for more information about the plant’s use.

I am male, in my fifties, live in New Hampshire and am a licensed professional.

I have had an ongoing affinity for marijuana since high school and can give you the following information based on my experiences:

Just to give you some background, I have tried other illicit drugs in the past. My first drug was alcohol. Tobacco was a close second. When I was still in my teens, I had to have a serious operation and, it being before the days of the morphine pump, I ended up with an addiction that gave me some insight to the pitfalls of narcotics. As a result, I follow(ed) the mantra “everything in moderation”. I experimented with other drugs as well. I shied away from opiates but was somewhat enlightened with LSD. Barbiturates put me to sleep and amphetamines would help when I needed to stay awake. I realized that they all had limited and specific uses and gave them up some thirty years ago accept when guided by my physician (I’ll admit, she doesn’t prescribe LSD very often though :¬). Psilocybin mushrooms were of the same class as LSD and I outgrew their use as well. Cocaine was popular but I was aware of its addictive properties early on and keep it at a safe distance.

I prefer marijuana to alcohol. It helps me relax and I use it in the same manner that I would alcohol with less “intoxicating” effect. The combination of the two drugs has some kind of synergy and I try to avoid using the two together when I do use them. I would likely reduce my use of alcohol to almost nothing more than a glass of wine with supper if marijuana was more readily accepted.

My consumption level has gone down over the years. I would attribute this to the higher quality of the herb that is available today. I would hazard a guess that an ounce of it will last me some six to eight months. I can enjoy it at any time of the day so long as it does not coincide with my work, political interaction or complicated tasks. I find it makes me more gregarious. It makes me more responsive to humor. I discovered that it helps me to meditate. Several years ago I began to use this therapy and as a result I have been able to reduce my dependence on high blood pressure medication. My high blood pressure has always been a direct result of stress. It also helps to relieve the effects of anxiety, pain and depression. (I just wish it worked for gout!)

Complex math problems and detail oriented tasks are more likely to take longer and as a result I shy away from its use when I expect to have to concentrate on them. On the other hand, when working on tedious or creative tasks I find it to be more appropriate. It allows me to think freely yet remain on task.

Contrary to popular belief, I find it allows me to concentrate when driving long distances and I find that I am a more defensive and careful driver as a result. That, I expect, will be a difficult concept for some people to accept. Also contrary to popular belief, I find it inspiring or motivating. I am less likely to be found sitting on the couch and will tackle those menial tasks or do some personal research while using the herb.

I can’t concentrate when reading a long book while using it. My thoughts tend to wander and I sub-vocalize when doing so but, I find I can concentrate better on projects that require multi tasking. Go figure! I can often be found on the weekends working on a hobby, watching TV (with the sound turned off) and listening to classical music all at the same time.

In the seventies, I was nonplussed by the misinformation of both the authorities and my parents about the ill effects of drug use. When I discovered, by trying pot, that they were wrong I was left with the impression that they were purposely lying to me and as a result I continued experimenting with the other drugs I mentioned.

I feel that we need to take a careful look at how we teach our children about the use of all drugs in our culture. To this day I mistrust the authorities who decry the use of marijuana for legitimate purposes and will continue to vote accordingly. If they are so uninformed about a simple plant how can they be on track with other issues?

I am now committed to help get the issue resolved and hope to see marijuana legalized, if not in general, at least for those individuals who can benefit from it medically.

Thank you for affording me the opportunity to impart my feelings about marijuana.


Ed Arthur


3 Responses to “Dear Dr. Grinspoon by Edwin Arthur”

  1. DUI says:

    Cannabis impairs your reaction time, no matter how concentrated you are. Driving under the influence of cannabis is, to me, inexcusable. I hope this letter will not encourage anyone to try it. Cannabis-related accidents are most definitely detrimental to the efforts of legalizing it.

  2. A man with no name says:

    UK cops are persisting in introducing a series of roadside tests for stoned drivers, despite a study released by the UK Transport Research Laboratory in August 2000, which found that pot-smoking has a minimal if not beneficial effect on driving performance.
    The government-funded study was launched under pressure from anti-drug and driving groups, and was an embarassment to the British Ministers who had expected it to support their anti-stoned-driving campaigns.

    The British study confirmed the results of a wide variety of research into stoned driving from around the world:

    A 1983 study by the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) used stoned drivers on simulators, and concluded that the only statistically significant effect associated with marijuana use was slower driving.

    A comprehensive 1992 study by the NHTSA found that marijuana is rarely involved in driving accidents, except when combined with alcohol. It concluded that “the THC-only drivers had an [accident] responsibility rate below that of the drug free driversS While the difference was not statistically significant, there was no indication that cannabis by itself was a cause of fatal crashes.” This study was buried for six years and not released until 1998.

    Another NHTSA study performed in 1993 dosed Dutch drivers with THC and tested them on real Dutch roads. It concluded that “THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small.”

    A massive 1998 study by the University of Adelaide and Transport South Australia analyzed blood samples from 2,500 accidents, and found that drivers with cannabis in their system were actually slightly less likely to cause accidents than those without.

    A University of Toronto study released in March 1999 found that moderate pot users typically refrained from passing cars and drove at a more consistent speed than non-users.

    An important consideration when considering the effects of cannabis and driving is whether the smoker is an experienced user. Novice tokers typically experience more difficulty driving than regular users.

    The British study also found that tiredness caused 10% of all fatal accidents, compared with 6% for alcohol.

  3. Ken H says:

    I think DUI’s comments are based solely on fear, not on any science or statistics. DUI sites no studies or research to prove his or her point. The negative propaganda on the subject of marijuana has been pervasive and proved successful in creating the unjust laws that exist in this country and throughout the world. We are finding out now that none of it has any basis in fact.

    The lobbying effort to make marijuana illegal in the 30’s was more about protecting lumber interests of the captains of industry, especially William Randolph Hearst. Hemp as it turns out is an excellent fiber and has many uses, including paper production. The law was enacted under the guise of harmful effects, but had a purely economical intent. This was the reason marijuana was made illegal. The lobbying effort of those against legalization still have an economic reason to keep it illegal. If you can cultivate your own effective medicine, big pharma can’t sell it to you and make a profit.

    The negative propaganda we have all been bombarded with all these years is just that, propaganda. People on the side of the issue that DUI is on continue to live in fear, based on the effective propaganda promoted by our government for 70 plus years. Prior to that time, it was viewed as an effective medicine for thousands of years.

    It is very interesting that here in the US, prior to the marijuana tax act, doctors prescribed cannabis for many illnesses, and were clearly against making it illegal. By a clever trick, the lawmakers used the Spanish name for cannabis, and hence made an end around run to get the law enacted.

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