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June 10, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 24

 

Letters to the editor

Chemiluminescence

The “Let It Glow” section of the sponsored article on page E of the May 28 issue failed to acknowledge the principal contribution of American Cyanamid. In 1960, the U.S. Navy contacted the company to develop a waterproof chemical light that could be used by a downed flier or sailor at sea. The project was led by Michael Rauhut (now deceased), and the chemical light that is now used both for safety and a novelty all over the world was a direct result of this several-year contract.

Robert Rabinowitz
Stamford, Conn.

Cannabis

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Credit: Shutterstock

It is with great dismay that I read your recent article suggesting that there’s a science associated with growing marijuana (“cannabis”) (May 21, page 28). For an agency of the American Chemical Society (C&EN) to green-light (pardon the pun) this article suggests there’s a legitimate purpose to growing marijuana.

The article doubles down on this thesis in quoting someone who uses the term “medical marijuana.” As a scientific journal, it would be best to use the phrase “allegedly medical marijuana” until medical benefits can be properly established by clinical trials. This would be a proper application of the “real scientific method” the last paragraph of the article suggests to researchers in this field.

While certain components of cannabis have medically useful properties—for example, cannabidiol (CBD)—it does not legitimize the use of the entire marijuana plant for medicinal purposes. Proper clinical trial procedures must be followed to establish an alleged medical use. Recall that even hemlock has components that have medicinal properties, though no one suggests ingesting hemlock as a medicine (unless you want to recite a Socratic soliloquy).

Ryan Smith
San Diego

Correction:

▸  June 4, page 40: In a Newscripts about graduation traditions, the name of Auburn University professor Anne Gorden was misspelled both in the story and in a photo caption

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