My heart rate suddenly increased, the casual conversation with my uncle had just crossed the line into politics. Not knowing exactly how I got here but deeply aware of one startling fact; I just breeched the topic of medical marijuana with a religious conservative.
Shaking his head, my uncle expressed his grievances over the recently passed medical marijuana bill in the Pennsylvania Senate. He had an impressive grasp on the cannabis jargon, citing low-level THC strains, edibles, cannabinoids and more.
After he explained to me how creating cannabis oil is similarly dangerous as cooking meth, I knew I had to respond. We have all heard the anti-pot talking points so I won’t restate them. Being trained in medicine, I want to point out the relationship of recreational drugs with modern medicine.Narcotic (opioid) pain killers are
When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, the first line of pharmacological treatment is Adderall or Ritalin, compounds similar to crystal meth. The CDC reports that 6.1 percent of children between the ages of 4 to 17 years old are on these medications.
Despite the routine medicinal use of these drugs, never once have I heard a plea to outlaw the use of medical heroin or medical meth. Do people believe that marijuana is more dangerous than heroin or meth; so dangerous that no medicinal use is possible?
There seems to be an anti-pot obsession that particularly infects those of the conservative persuasion. This obsession is blocking medical progress by preventing medical research, clinical trials, and denying patients access to low cost effective medication.
Many of these same opponents, including my uncle, claim to want the government out of health care. However, the pot prohibition arguments put Uncle Sam between the patient and the medical provider.
Drug abuse is a commonly cited concern for prohibition and I understand this fully. The abuse of narcotic pain killers, Adderall, and Ritalin are common. However, the life-giving elements of these drugs far outweigh the cases of abuse. A world without these drugs is a world with an increase of pain and suffering.
It is time that we also recognize that cannabis will improve the lives of countless patients. Attempting to keep medical marijuana illegal is an act of oppression against every patient that suffers from chronic pain, epilepsy, poor appetite, nausea, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and much more. This is not a controversy; it is medicine.
Must we throw medical patients into cages because they seek treatment for their illness? Should individuals with no medical training be participating in a debate over medical therapies?