Medical Journal Endorses Marijuana as Medicine

In January 1997, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine endorsed the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Dr. Jerome Kassirer, the journal's editor, said marijuana can be useful in treating glaucoma, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and AIDS wasting diseases, and is actually safer than some legal drugs currently used to treat the same conditions.

The journal called the U.S. federal government restrictions on medical marijuana "misguided, heavy-handed and inhumane."

In a response, then-U.S. "drug czar" Barry McCaffery said, "Smoke is not a medicine. Other treatments have been deemed safer and more effective than a psychoactive burning carcinogen self-induced through one's throat."

McCaffery's reaction reflects the moral absolutist mindset of prohibitionists. Smoking is a highly effective mechanism for getting drugs into the bloodstream, safer than alternatives such as injection, and more effective than pills in cases of nausea. Instead of looking at it from a scientific perspective, prohibitionists classify everything in the world as "good" or "bad" with no concern for individual circumstances.