The American Medical Marijuana Association on its website declares that it “recently received official recognition by the United States government as one of the top organization websites promoting medical marijuana law reform. This recommendation appears in a briefing by the White House and is available online at the official web site for the White House Drug Policy.”
I think that would be wonderful but why, I wonder, am I plagued by doubts of the validity of this assertion? But that is the reason for the link on “website.” Check it out.
This is one of those stories which, in America, should not be touched with that stick I have been missing… a 10 or longer foot pole.
It is similar to Steven Hart’s article here on Blogcritics, Politics Kills: Clean Needle Exchange Blocked in NJ. The answers seem simple: allow people to be safe and free of disease, allow freedom of choice, and provide access to medical needs. Oddly, there are those who disagree.
Imagine this: you have been told that you are dying of cancer. It is rotting away one of your organs – perhaps your brain. They will try valiantly to save your life. You will try chemotherapy and radiation treatment and some new drugs that interfere with the immune system. The physicians mention that you may see some side-effects. Nothing much. Nausea, fatigue, vomiting. They don’t explain how bad it will be.
Mostly they don’t explain that there is a drug to make it more tolerable. It doesn’t matter. You aren’t allowed to take it.
Imagine you suffer chronic, unbearable pain from this or that cause. It hurts. Now imagine that they have a drug to help ameliorate the agony. It doesn’t matter. You aren’t allowed to take it.
Imagine you were a photographer or a painter and you have developed glaucoma. While you wait for high-tech treatments terrified for your sight there is a drug that might help the disease and the fear. Don’t worry. You aren’t allowed to have it.
Imagine one of those digestive ailments that leave people wasting away and unable to eat, lacking appetite. There is something that might save your life by giving you the munchies. Don’t worry. It is illegal.
Better yet: In those sovereign states that have democratically voted to allow the use of marijuana for medical use, the federal government — your government — is ready to arrest those who do what the state allows them to do to help ameliorate their suffering. This was understandable when some states insisted on enslavement of human beings. Studying the action of an herb and its medical uses is not quite the same thing.
Canada, at least, is far more civilized and maintains a site The Medical Use of Marijuana. They have shown up America by allowing medical testing and prescription use of the needed substance. There are other ways of looking at drugs, medications and the need for compassion in the law. America needs to look elsewhere for a model of drug control, investigation of medicinal herbs and plants, and the overwhelming importance of caring for people rather than concentrating on castigation.
The American Medical Marijuana Association also declares that,
Scientists now say that Cannabis, the third most popular recreational drug after alcohol and tobacco, could boost brain power.
Canadian researchers found that experiments on rats which were given a potent cannabinoid, showed the drug stimulates the growth of new brain cells. It appears that the drug caused neurons to regenerate in the hippocampus, an area that controls mood and emotions, after one month of treatment.
You can take that one with a grain of salt or, better yet, surf on over and take a look. That is the whole idea. The Internet offers a wealth of information and arguments on both sides of the question. American media appears cowed into avoiding the subject when possible to avoid the wrath of the central government.
Researchers are probably ready to initiate research projects and there is little question that there will be those ready and willing to volunteer for the studies. The missing link is a vengeful and wrathful government still held enthralled by the specter of Reefer Madness and the nameless, racist fears of drug-maddened perverts waiting to ravage our womenfolk.
There are exceptions. Drug War Facts notes that there are important organizations that have endorsed medical access to marijuana. These include,
the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians; American Bar Association; American Public Health Association; American Society of Addiction Medicine; AIDS Action Council; British Medical Association; California Academy of Family Physicians; California Legislative Council for Older Americans; California Medical Association; California Nurses Association; California Pharmacists Association; California Society of Addiction Medicine; California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; Colorado Nurses Association; Consumer Reports Magazine; Kaiser Permanente; Lymphoma Foundation of America; Multiple Sclerosis California Action Network; National Association of Attorneys General; National Association of People with AIDS; National Nurses Society on Addictions; New Mexico Nurses Association; New York State Nurses Association; New England Journal of Medicine; and Virginia Nurses Association.
They mention editorial boards that endorse medical access: “The Boston Globe; Chicago Tribune; Miami Herald; New York Times; Orange County Register; and USA Today.”
Other groups have “favorable opinions” on accessible research “(e.g., unimpeded research) on medical marijuana. These groups include: The Institute of Medicine, The American Cancer Society; American Medical Association; Australian Commonwealth Department of Human Services and Health; California Medical Association; Federation of American Scientists; Florida Medical Association; and the National Academy of Sciences.
The F.D.A. is not in agreement and cannot be ignored completely. Their website makes the report available: “Inter-Agency Advisory Regarding Claims That Smoked Marijuana Is a Medicine”. Yahoo News also links to an article “FDA Opposition to Medical Marijuana Fuels Controversy” Don’t ignore the opposition.
The President was recently quoted in a press conference now disseminated by The White House that he is against legalization of Marijuana even for medicinal use. At least it is one of the things on which he seems quite clear. There is no hemming and hawing about the amelioration of suffering or the need to learn as much as possible. In a press conference where he was represented by Ari Fleischer the subject was covered,
Q Did you ever find out if President Bush supports medical marijuana?
MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, let me — I have something on that. You remind me of the campaign. The President is opposed to the legalization of marijuana, including for medicinal purposes and he strongly supports the current federal law that’s in place.
Q Why not trust the people?
Q Give us a reason as to why.
MR. FLEISCHER: I’ve not discussed it at length with him about his reasons why, so I can only tell you that is his position.
Q Ari, on medical marijuana, several times during the campaign early on he said he was in favor of letting states decide for themselves about marijuana. Has he changed that position?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, the President’s position is always on state referenda and things like that. That is a process question where the states have the right to follow their own processes. But as the President has said, and as you know — as discussed by campaign spokespeople with you directly during the campaign — the President opposes it, he supports federal law. On the personal level, he opposes medical marijuana, but he supports the federal law.
In Hawaii the group Patients Without Time discusses and counsels those who need marijuana for medical use in the Hawaii how to proceed at their website.
If you, or someone you love has a qualifying medical condition and you want to find out about the benefits from using marijuana, an ancient herbal medicine that has been badly maligned and criminalized, contact PatientsWithoutTime to explain how marijuana can help.
I have not read or heard that marijuana is or might be good for severe congestive hear failure or coronary artery disease. Except for making one high, which might have some positive points, smoking is, of course, deadly in such cases and brownies are too fattening. Maybe tea but probably count me out of the party. The recent joke, after all, about cardiac diets is “If it tastes good don’t eat it.”
However, when my mother, who is now dead from cancer or from the cure for it, was suffering desperately from the side effects of chemo- and radiation- therapies and complaining of the horrible nausea; I tried to convince her to try marijuana which could help her feel better. The massive propaganda campaign in America against marijuana totally negated the possibility that she would even try it let alone be able to get it in her blue-haired-lady social set.
One Blogcritic who has written about his fight against chronic pain might be helped. He is wise enough to live in a more civilized country and, hopefully, is able to take advantage of any substance that might help.
Keep abreast of the controversy. One day instead of wanting a joint to watch Harry Potter; you might need it to make it through the night.
More importantly, support study and testing with controlled use rather than investigation and castigation.