Harry Patrick asked in a Public Forum letter, “If in fact people who are terminal would find comfort in using marijuana, then why not use heroin, which results in a far higher euphoria?”

I urge him to pause and consider whether terminal users of marijuana are, in fact, seeking “comfort” and “euphoria.” Possibly, they simply seek pain relief that leaves them neither nauseated nor incapable of conversation. Perhaps we should survey the painfully dying before we assume their intentions and problems.

By Patrick’s logic, we might ask, “If anxious people can find relief from a cup of chamomile, then why don’t they drink an ounce of valerian root tincture, which results in far deeper relaxation?”

I think the answers to his question and my hypothetical are quite obvious. But I have met and talked to terminally ill people unhappy with the side effects of prescription pain pills. Someone very close to me died last year who, in the process, at times refused to take her (legal) pain pills because of how foggy they made her feel. I wish she had had the option of medicinal marijuana. I emphatically do not wish she had had heroin.

Matthew Ivan Bennett, Midvale