The debate over medical marijuana may never see resolution, but it’s important to point out that the cannabis plant does have its benefits.
A certain status about having a medical marijuana card either elicits euphoria for consumers that suffer from the side effects of a chronic condition or anger because pot can be hazardous.
This diatribe is not about those who truly need and benefit from the weed. Rather, it’s a casual look at marijuana legalization and the system that allows folks to obtain their herb via a doctor’s prescription bereft of a justifiable ailment.
Medical marijuana refers to using the entire marijuana plant or its extracts to treat a disease or symptom. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
Predictions for when the Supreme Court rules in favor of national marijuana legalization range from this year to five years.
A growing number of states already have legalized marijuana for medical use.
In my area, three medical marijuana dispensaries are within a half-hour commute from downtown. The general populace can walk, ride a bike, take a cab or drive to these places.
But just how easy is it to walk into a doctor’s office and get a ‘script for pot?
“Hi, Doc. I have pain that is so bad; I don’t think I can go another day without some serious relief. I need marijuana.”
“Where’s the pain,” the doctor asks.
“Fine. Here’s your prescription.”
Perhaps it’s not quite that easy, but I’ve been told the above example is not too far off the mark.
Medical marijuana doctors should comply with medical marijuana laws when writing medical cannabis recommendations. Plenty of sites exist that can help individuals learn how to spot the red flags associated with unethical practices.
By the way, I drive a ’97 Chevy with a protracted oil leak. Driving this truck causes me pain. I think I’m eligible for a card. Maybe my mechanic can pull some strings.
I’m a strong believer in medicinal weed. Medical cannabis helps with easing nausea and vomiting, stimulates the appetite for chemotherapy and AIDS patients, reduces eye pressure for those with glaucoma, reduces pain and helps with gastrointestinal disorders, to name a few.
Dozens of studies suggest that the compounds in marijuana also help patients with asthma, brain cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
In some states, post-traumatic-stress disorder sufferers already benefit from prescribed marijuana – a treatment preferable to the usual anti-anxiety medications.
In the pharmacy world, opinions may differ.
Some pharmacists have written that marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug with no medical use and the risks far outweigh the benefits. Self-medication can be dangerous for those currently undergoing treatment for an underlying medical condition without the supervision of a physician.
On the law enforcement side, what are the motorist safeguards to ensure card holders are not driving while under the influence of pot? Can a standardized field sobriety test detect cannabis use?
Two years ago, the New York mayor decried that medical pot was, “One of the great hoaxes of all time.”
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact percentage of Americans in favor of allowing doctors to prescribe the drug for their patients. The plethora of cyber space information reveals statistics that range from 75 to 85 percent approval, depending on where you look.
Some proponents for medicinal use cite a lack of evidence that patients who use marijuana become addicted.
Maybe the next question to ask is this: How does public opinion support legalization and why is pot so popular?
In an effort to explore my feelings about the matter, I recently beckoned my inner Spicoli and took a memory trip back to my high school in the Alaskan woods.
In the winter, the numbing cold discouraged a lot of outdoor activities during lunch break, except for playing touch-and-run with the moose. To play, you see how close you can get to the giant animal before he drops his head and asks you to dance (meaning you are going to DIE unless he changes his mind and walks away).
The other lunchtime choice involved smoking dope from Pepsi can bongs. These ingenious devices could be recycled, by the way.
This jaunt down memory lane reminded me that most people have probably smoked a doobie or two in their lifetime. Some people still enjoy a hit every now and should we really care what people do in their private lives?
A Pew survey cites that close to 49 percent of Americans admit to having tried marijuana.
Is it safe?
This question reminds of the demented dentist in the “Marathon Man.” It scares me because I don’t believe anything is totally safe. Especially Laurence Olivier on a revenge bender.
According to WebMD, when you smoke pot, the Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, travels from your bloodstream to your brain and the user gets “high.”
Effects from this high include:
- Trouble thinking and remembering
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
- Slowed coordination
Some of the above side effects also mimic the condition known as waking up in the morning before that first cup of coffee.
A little more research yields some surprising alternative uses for cannabis that happens to be one of the oldest domesticated crops.
Marijuana plants contain high levels of THC while hemp has a low-grade amount of the chemical. Hemp fiber is used for many things including renewable plastics, hydration balms, rope and military grade fabric.
Hemp seeds also seem to be infiltrating the culinary world, as some cooking sites detail how to chop up the nut within the shell for use in salads or health shakes. An entire universe of uses revolving around the hemp seed is out there for anyone with a passing curiosity.
I’m not sure I will jump on the bandwagon once pot becomes legal. And naïve as it sounds, I like to think that lawmakers will impose stricter guidelines to prevent cannabis abuse by healthy people looking for a legal high loophole.