Last updated on: 2/2/2009 | Author: ProCon.org

Donald P. Tashkin, MD Biography

Title:
Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratories at the University of California, Los Angeles
Position:
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"
Reasoning:

“To the Editor: You point to largely experiential evidence of the medicinal benefits of marijuana and the apparent absence of serious short-term toxicity. However, a note of caution is warranted. Although it is true that smoking marijuana carries no immediate risk of death, there may be serious adverse effects in the very patients for whom medicinal marijuana is most commonly considered (i.e., those whose immune defenses are already compromised by AIDS or cancer plus chemotherapy). For example, in patients with AIDS, marijuana use has been associated with the development of both fungal and bacterial pneumonias. Moreover, among HIV-positive persons, marijuana use has been shown to be a risk factor for rapid progression from HIV infection to AIDS and the acquisition of opportunistic infections or Kaposi’s sarcoma, or both. Cellular studies and studies in animals lend support to these potential health consequences of marijuana.”

Letter to the Editor, New England Journal of Medicine, Apr. 17, 1997

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
     Key Experts
Physicians [Physicians are the "key experts" in the medical marijuana debate because the issue is thought by many to be ultimately based on the medical value and risks of marijuana, and Physicians, with their training and clinical work, should (at least in theory) have the best knowledge of marijuana's medical value and risks.] [Note: Key Experts definition varies by sites that have this designation.]
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Medical Director, Pulmonary Function Laboratory, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
  • Physician, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, UCLA Medical Center
  • Co-Director, Asthma and Cough Center, UCLA Exercise Physiology Laboratory
  • Physician, Heartburn Treatment Center, UCLA Heartburn Treatment Center
  • Researched the effects of marijuana on the pulmonary system for 30+ years
Education:
  • Fellowship: Chest Disease & Pulmonary Physiology, UCLA School of Medicine, 1967-1969
  • Residency: Internal Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, 1962-1965
  • Internship: Rotating (Internship), Albert Einstein Medical Center, 1961-1962
  • MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1961
Other:
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Can Marijuana Help People with Asthma or Other Breathing Disorders?
  2. Does the Regular Smoking of Marijuana Cause Lung Cancer or in Any Way Permanently Injure the Lungs?
  3. What Chemicals Are in Marijuana and Its Byproducts?
  4. Does the Regular Smoking of Marijuana Cause Lung Cancer or in Any Way Permanently Injure the Lungs?
  5. Is Marijuana Bad for the Immune System?
  6. Can Marijuana Help People with Asthma or Other Breathing Disorders?
  7. Does the Regular Smoking of Marijuana Cause Lung Cancer or in Any Way Permanently Injure the Lungs?