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Cancer survivor wishes she had had relief at her disposal

As a medical doctor, I take issue with several points in Lawrence Harmon’s Oct. 12 op-ed column “Reefer madness,” about the medical marijuana ballot initiative. Medical marijuana has been studied extensively, and has been clinically proven to be safe and effective for treating nausea, inflammation, muscle spasticity, and pain.

I am not only a doctor, but a breast cancer survivor. To treat my disease, I was given the most aggressive chemotherapy regimen available. For four months, I lay in bed suffering from nausea a thousand times worse than any flu, feeling literally hundreds of times a day like I was going to vomit. Taking a Marinol pill when I was that nauseated didn’t make sense. I didn’t want to take a pill that could be vomited as soon as it was swallowed.

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Because medical marijuana is illegal, I did not use it. It was not until I did my own research on the subject after my brutal struggle with cancer that I discovered medical marijuana provides unique benefits not just for cancer patients, but for those suffering with HIV-AIDS, multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, neuropathic pain, chronic vomiting syndrome, allodynia, ulcerative colitis, and many other debilitating conditions, and it is one of the safest medicines any patient can take.

I hope that voters approve Question 3 so that patients can have the same access to a safe and effective medicine that they have in 17 other states.

Dr. Karen Munkacy

Chestnut Hill

The writer has volunteered in support of the ballot question.

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