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    Melissa Etheridge Supports Legalizing Pot: Medical Marijuana Eased "Excruciating Side Effects" of Chemo

    Melissa Etheridge Jemal Countess/Getty Images

    Melissa Etheridge thinks it's high time lawmakers set aside their "old Reefer Madness fears."

    The Grammy and Oscar winner has whole-heartedly thrown her support behind the responsible legalization of marijuana in the United States, writing in a CNN.com op-ed that pot helped ease the "excruciating side effects" of chemotherapy back when she was battling breast cancer.

    "People use marijuana for different reasons, and I needed it to get me through tough times," wrote Etheridge, who first revealed that she went the "natural route" back in 2005. "I used it every day during chemo: It gave me an appetite so I was able to eat and keep my strength up. It also helped with the depression, and it eased the gastrointestinal pain."

    READ: Angelina's double mastectomy and 5 more headline-making celeb op-eds

    And, nine years later, she continues to smoke medicinal marijuana, writing that it helps her "find relief from the gastrointestinal effects of chemo even now.

    "I find it helps with regulating my sleep," Etherdige continued. "I also enjoy it before I watch Game of Thrones." (Here's hoping she smoked a lot before Sunday's Red Wedding shocker.)

    "The state of fear in which these laws were created has changed," she wrote, noting that pot is still lumped by the federeal government into a drug group that "has no current medical use" and "Educated people have experienced pot or they understand that research has shown that while marijuana use is not entirely safe, its dangers have been grossly overstated."

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    As a mother, Etheridge added, she admits that "common sense tells me that kids smoking pot is not a good idea. Just like sex, you can handle it when you are mature enough to respect it."

    "Let's legitimize cannabis sales so that our youth are as protected from illegal pot as they are from illegal alcohol and tobacco sales," the "I Need to Wake Up" artist wrote. "Legitimize the growers so that pot can have regulations and I know I am supporting American businesses and not outlaws when I purchase it."

    "The legalization of pot is making sense. It will create a real business form and take the lawlessness out of its sale and distribution...Our great Constitution challenges us to grow constantly Let's put an end to marijuana prohibition and get clear regulations on the legal sale of pot. The benefits might surprise us."

    PHOTOS: Melissa Etheridge and more celeb cancer survivors

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