Pot Is Medicine: Let The Ill Use It 4/16/09|Union Leader| Editorial Manchester, NH -- Marijuana use can produce lots of outcomes that are not socially desirable. It also can alleviate horrible symptoms of numerous chronic illnesses and, recent research is showing, actually fight some types of cancer. The psychological effects of marijuana use have been well-documented for decades. Its medical effects have been revealed more recently. They show without a doubt that smoking marijuana has significant benefits for some seriously sick people. With the growing body of evidence revealing just how helpful marijuana can be for some of the chronically ill, the case against making it available to them has gone up in smoke. New Hampshire's House of Representatives has passed a bill, House Bill 648, to make the medicinal use of marijuana legal under tightly controlled circumstances. The bill would require a doctor's prescription and a state-issued permit for legal marijuana use. The amount a patient or his caregiver could possess would be limited to two ounces, six seeds and six plants. As medical marijuana bills go, this one is narrowly crafted to alleviate the suffering of people with debilitating illnesses while avoiding a dangerous increase in the illicit drug trade. It might need some more tweaks before final passage, but overall it is well written. Marijuana has been proven highly effective at alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy and other treatments for a long list of chronic illnesses, including cancer and glaucoma. It can even stimulate the appetites of cancer patients on chemotherapy, which notoriously weakens appetite. The National Cancer Institute confirms that inhaling smoked marijuana delivers these therapeutic benefits more effectively than taking pills that contain the same active ingredient. New research even suggests that although smoking pot while young increases the odds of testicular cancer in men, marijuana can kill lung and brain cancer cells. We understand the concerns of law enforcement officials who oppose this bill. But at this point, withholding the proven medical benefits of smoked marijuana from those extremely ill patients who cannot be helped by any other treatment would amount to a cruel deprivation of necessary medical care. The Senate should pass the bill.