Tuesday, February 18, 2014

TO POT OR NOT: THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA DEBATE

When I disclosed my various health issues in THE BEAST WITHIN ME or when I revealed my angst regarding the pain I experience in THE TRUTH IS A VIRUS , I should have taken those opportunities to start a discussion regarding medical marijuana. As they always say..."better late than never!"

Twenty states now have laws making the use of medicinal marijuana legal as long as it's prescribed by a licensed physician. Unfortunately I don't live in any of those states so I can't try it out unless I do it illegally at the present time.  At my age, risky behavior has lost its appeal. Florida and a few other states have medical marijuana amendments on their November 2014 ballots.  Since I reside in Florida, I thought it's time to become better informed.  I've read many articles about all the studies and research done regarding medical marijuana and its uses, but I think I need more than that.  I need the personal touch of having an actual discussion/debate to be able to better weigh its possible benefits.  

I know the opposition still regards marijuana as nothing more than gateway drug and sees it as having no real value to treat any medical condition, but from what I've read lately the majority of the medical community considers medical marijuana as a viable option to treat many health problems. Perhaps, after going down the road of trying various types of narcotic pain killers, having several surgeries and trying alternative methods of pain management (massage therapy, aquatic therapy, internal and external neurostimulators and chiropractors) to help ease my chronic pain and to help improve the quality of my life by making it easier for me to function, I'm more than ready to try something I can benefit from for the long haul! 

Yes, medical marijuana is becoming a hot topic, but I know many people are hesitant to discuss it and whether it should be legal or not, but let's face it, the times they are a changing! For those of you who aren't afraid to speak out, I'd really like to read your opinions on the subject both pro and con.  Do you know anyone who lives in a state where medical marijuana is legal and benefits from its use?  If so, what's the medical condition that it's used to treat?  And if you had one of the many conditions medical marijuana is supposed to help, would you consider using it as a viable treatment rather than taking a man made pharmaceutical with potential harmful side effects or subjecting yourself to repeated surgeries that don't help?  Is medical marijuana just a stoner's ultimate pipe dream or should I look into this treatment if it becomes legal?

18 comments:

  1. I think the argument is too broadly divided just now. It's like comparing mild modern sedatives like lorazepam to laudanum of centuries past. There is an educational initiative that must progress publicly much farther than it has. Therapeutic benefits of marijuana are undeniable --pain/anxiety reliever, appetite stimulator etc.--but it has been a political chestnut trotted out for many decades in opposition to a bygone counterculture. My take is, yes, look into it if it becomes medically available, but follow doctor's guidelines on dosage --different amounts of the drug have very different effects.

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    1. I agree with you about marijuana being a political chestnut. I hope those days are in the past and that it can be looked at objectively now. People really do need to know if they can benefit from it or not.

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  2. Ontario has passed a law allowing the use of medical marijuana in the following cases:
    category one
    spinal cord injury pain
    pain, nausea, anoriexia, cachexia, weight loss from cancer or hiv/aids, pain from arthritis or epileptic seizures....WITH medical practioners declaration
    category two
    for those experiencing incapacitating medical symtoms not listed in category one with medical practitioners declaration stating all other methods of remedy have failed.
    I do not know anyone who takes marijuana for medical purposes but I believe that if someone is in misery and there is something out there that could help they should be allowed to take it.

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    1. I totally agree with you and I guess I won't know if it works unless I try it as I would try any other medication.

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  3. Many years ago, the show CSI Miami aired a whole show around this topic - marijuana being used for treatment of physical problems with success - yet still being illegal. At that time, I was a card-carrying member of the BadGatewayDrug Community. That show succeeded in making me question that value - and I began to talk to people who used it regularly and do some of my own research on the internet. Being a reasonably intelligent person, I read articles from many sites including NIMH, MayoClinic, WebMd, Norml, GrassCity, MADD, etc in order to have data from both opposing viewpoints. I also looked into the history of hemp/marijuana to attempt to find the REAL reason that it was classified as a Schedule 1 drug (during the Nixon regime). Being fairly old and crabby, I tend to believe that the answers for things can be found by 'following the money'.
    The results of all this research, as well as (deep breath) my own personal research was that I resigned from the BadGatewayDrug Community.
    I am a Chinese Kick Boxer extraordinaire when I sleep - in other words, I have RLS (Restless leg syndrome) and ADHD. Both of which I currently take prescription (prescribed FOR me by a licensed physician) medications for.
    Both of which I have been able to stop as I researched this subject.
    I have seen first-hand the effects of marijuana on bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder.
    The clincher was this article by a physician well-respected within the Yale community, Dr. Sanjay Gupta:
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana/
    In my opinion, medical marijuana is a safe, viable, medical option for the treatment of MANY physical AND mental ailments - and most importantly - there are few - if any - known detrimental side effects of long term use. This includes effects on the lungs: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23802821 and http://www.procon.org/headline.php?headlineID=005057
    For you, I strongly believe that medical marijuana would help - with FAR fewer side-effects than many (most) of the prescription drugs available to you!

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    1. You say you have seen the effects of marijuana on bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder, but failed to say if those effects were/are positive ones. Also, you talk about having RLS and ADHD, but you didn't clearly state whether or not the prescribed medication you take for them is medical marijuana. Thank you for the links you listed....I definitely will check them out in my pursuit for enlightenment on this subject. I'd love to "chat" with you sometime about this topic via Facebook or some other instant messenger if you're willing to go that route.

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    2. HMU on FB chat anytime. I will respond as soon as I can. (I am guilty of leaving FB running 24X7 but not actually BEING there 24X7). And the effects of marijuana on bipolar and anxiety were VERY positive.

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  4. As a recovered drug addicted alcoholic I'll give you my opinion and it's just that, my opinion. I've always believed in purity in sobriety and though I suffer from chronic pain and have for many years I can count on my hands the amount of times I've actually medicated. I don't know your pain but I have what I call pain flair-ups. They come and go and on the good days I enjoy life and on the bad days I tough it out "one day at a time." That's how I was taught 24 years ago. I can put up with anything for one day. I have many more good than bad days, though while in a flair up it doesn't always seem that way.
    As for pain meds, if a person needs them and they work than by all means take them. That includes Weed. It's just something I personally wouldn't do. Just my opinion.

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    1. You refer to yourself as "recovered", but I was always under the impression that any addiction is a disease in which there is no cure and that sobriety is an ongoing process in which a person has to faithfully adhere to daily behavior modification in order to stay in recovery. With that said...I really do appreciate your opinion. I think someone who has been there often times offers the most sound advice.

      I talked about my health issues in the blog post, THE BEAST WITHIN ME. The link to it is in the first sentence of TO POT OR NOT: THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA DEBATE if you want to read about the sort of things I contend with on an everyday basis. You are fortunate that your pain flair-ups come and go and I certainly understand why you personally wouldn't use marijuana as a painkiller. I admire you for remaining open-minded and nonjudgmental regarding people who do take that avenue and for not discounting marijuana's value as a legitimate medication.

      As for me I guess I'm trying trying to connect with people who use marijuana medicinally so I can talk to them about how effective it really is for their ailments and if like narcotic pain meds, the body requires more over time. What I have found is that I build a quick tolerance to Schedule 2 drugs and that I get minimal relief from them. I can't see taking any medicine if it doesn't do its job and because I have liver issues from autoimmune hepatitis I'm always afraid of doing more damage to my liver via all the medications I have to take.

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    2. Recovered because the big book of AA says we do recover. I cant argue with that.
      As for marijuana I'm for legalization. I don't think it's much of a pain killer however if it will help a sick person eat I'm all for it. A person can't get well without eating.
      The only problem I have with it is that I have never smoked weed that didn't get me high. That means no driving and more problems for law enforcement with OMVI or DUI or whatever driving under the influence is called in your state. If a person is ready to for the chair or to risk a DUI than its fine. Impaired drivers kill more people than guns.

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    3. Just read your "Beast Within." I really feel for you. Makes my problems seem really small. Get second opinions. Smoke weed and see if it helps. Honestly if my pain ever gets real extreme I'll do whatever it takes. Today I don't have to and that's as far ahead as I allow myself to think.

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    4. I try to cope...some days are easier than others. I hope you never are in the position oof having to make that decision.

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    5. that was "of" and not "oof"...although I must say that oof has a nicer sound to it.

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  5. I am very dubious. As a physician NOT ONCE have I seen anyone with a legitimate MJ card. They have all been stoners who got a card to cover their drug habit. What burns my bacon is I have yet to meet a MJ smoker who will admit MJ can be a problem; it is all OK and without any dangers. Fools.

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    1. I greatly value your opinion. I think you know that. My oldest brother who is licensed clinical psychologist suggested that I check into "cannabis", so I'm doing my own research. I recreationally smoked pot in my younger years on a very regular basis, so I'm very familiar with its effects....but I guess what I'm trying to find out is if it has any medical value or not. I'm not a stoner looking to cover a drug habit. I feel like I'm a person who is desperate for answers.

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  6. At this point, we need a honest to goodness debate on the use of medical marijuana. The public has to know its pros and cons. Though some people may still be prejudiced against its use even after hearing out the arguments, at least we have had a thorough and comprehensive debate about it, and that those who did not know that these options are available will now be educated. It's only via an open discussion can the public decide for themselves if they would favor medical MJ use or not.

    Vincent Mehdizadeh @ Canna MedBox

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    1. I totally agree! Bring on the discussion of the pros and cons and let people decide for themselves!

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