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Dear Editor:

Last spring, I was deeply moved listening intently as a father shared with me the last moments of his 59-year-old daughter's life.

She had been screaming in pain for quite some time in spite of efforts by the expert medical staff.

Finally her heart gave out, he said.

Watching one's child lose the battle with terminal cancer is hard enough for any parent.

There is something worse yet, in my opinion, and that’s finding out she could have been spared the unbearable pain.

Yes, all along there may have been another viable relief option.

Medical marijuana immediately comes to mind.

For centuries, there has been an abundance of reports on the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant. But these have been largely discounted as anecdotal.

Scientific evidence, however, has been accumulating for decades, both in the United States and internationally.

Some states insisted on doing more research to protect their residents from the dangerous possibility marijuana might make them feel good.

So, their legislators favored bills which only allowed the use of one compound of marijuana, namely "cannabidiol" or CBD. 

The compound has medical properties, especially useful for people with epilepsy.

The United Kingdom, meanwhile, GW Pharmaceuticals, has researched and marketed a drug named Sativex. It is one-half cannabidiol and one-half THC, the medicinal compound that produces a high.

Sativex came on the market around 2005 and has been accepted in 24 countries. It targets the needs of multiple sclerosis patients who experience extreme muscle spasms. Canadian citizens have been benefiting from this medication for years. It is also used for nerve pain.

The United States, despite some states okaying marijuana use, is still way behind other countries when it comes to using marijuana to control pain.

I can't wait to find out if South Dakota State Legislature initiative SB 171 will eventually prove successful.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

/s/ Marie McCloud

Salt Lake City, Utah

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