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Words, May 13

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“WASHINGTON – The D.C. Council has passed a measure to legalize medical marijuana, sending the bill to Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, a Democrat. Under the measure passed Tuesday, the nation's capital would join 14 other states that allow medical marijuana.”

Both medical marijuana and medicinal marijuana appear in print, the former more often. I once thought that medicinal was preferable, because it was more closely related to medicine, and what we're talking about here is the use of marijuana as a medicine. But after checking the dictionary, I've come around. Medical is a broader term (“curative; medicinal; therapeutic”), but it covers medicinal. And medical marijuana is clearly the people's choice. It's also shorter, a consideration always important to newspaper editors. Not that there are many of those left.

Medicine
itself is not nearly so common as it used to be. The word, that is. The thing is more popular than ever. Medication originally meant “the use or application of medicine,” but it's come to mean also “a medicinal substance; medicament.”

Increasingly, we speak of being on medication, and taking my medication(s) – or meds, informally. Old expressions like Take your medicine (“Accept what you've got coming, you rascal”) and strong medicine (“might cure, might kill”) may be fading away.

Medicament is long gone.


From Extra!, a media review:

“The head of PBS's flagship New York station, WNET's Neal Shapiro, defended the choice of Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and former MTV and NPR host Alison Stewart to co-host PBS's forthcoming program ‘Need to Know,' which is replacing ‘Now' and the ‘Bill Moyers Journal': ‘They are both incredibly smart,' he told Broadcasting & Cable. ‘And I think, given their intellect, neither are people you can pigeonhole left or right.'

“Right, anyone who's smart is a centrist – not one of those pigeonhole-able dummies like Noam Chomsky or Milton Friedman.”

But are they smart enough to know that neither takes a singular verb?

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