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Letter: Reprieve from suffering

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In the fall of 2013, as my mom lay in extreme pain from rectal cancer that was invading her pelvis, she was given a gift: a brief reprieve from intractable suffering.

She’d been diagnosed a year earlier and, given the advanced stage, chose not to undergo treatment. Her final days were unbearable. Of course, there were some options to relieve her pain — opiates, palliative surgery, etc. Ever the herbalist, she wanted to try marijuana. And it worked. It relieved pain, calmed her anxiety and stimulated her appetite. It gave my mom her own source of comfort.

I don’t know where she got the marijuana, but it was difficult. She negotiated a clandestine network of suppliers to obtain it from other states.

As a physician, I could cite studies that show the active ingredient — THC — has many pain-relief benefits. I could also cite studies that show much research needs to be done. Marijuana is likely safer and has fewer side effects than alcohol. It doesn’t cause overdose deaths like opiates such as oxycodone. As a physician, I can state that many patients would benefit from THC therapy.

As a son, I can tell you it can make all the difference in the world.

Scott Allen

Salt Lake City