The federal government, in its attempt to keep marijuana illegal and misunderstood, recently sponsored a study which was conducted by the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis. The goal of the study was to disprove the many other studies that show cannabis to be safe and effective in treating symptoms, side-effects and diseases. Guess what? The CMCR came to the same conclusion as those other studies: marijuana is medically useful and effective. Oops. That’s rather inconvenient, isn’t it?
As published in the Open Neurology Journal, this new study showed that cannabis treats many conditions including chronic pain, peripheral neuropathy and the side-effects of chemo therapy, among other things. The study also showed that other delivery systems besides smoking – vaporizing, tincture, ingestion – work almost as well as lighting up. But smoking is the best way to take cannabis. Good thing another recent study showed that marijuana does not cause lung cancer.
In its conclusion, the study recommends that marijuana be re-classified by the DEA:
The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress in this area. Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking. It is true cannabis has some abuse potential, but its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol are listed). The continuing conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology will hopefully be reconciled in a judicious manner.
Despite studies like these the federal government, specifically the DEA, has refused to re-classify marijuana. As it stands right now, cannabis is listed as a Class I drug, right up there with heroin, LSD and Ecstasy. Even though it causes less harm than alcohol and tobacco, which are not classified at all, the DEA keeps digging in its heels, sticking to their story in the face of more and more facts which refute it.
When I was younger – just 19 – I worked for an oncologist in Las Vegas. We saw about 25 patients a day and my job was to do lab tests. Each patient would come sit in my lab while I drew some blood and ran a test on their red & white cell counts and platelet count. This took about 15 minutes and we would often pass the time chatting. Though I didn’t realize it at first, this was not a good thing for my psyche. When I lost the first patient with whom I was on a first-name basis, it was a terrible blow. At that age, I hadn’t built the survival skills that any cancer nurse or doctor needs. I only lasted a year. The doctor, taking a terrible chance in 1980s Nevada, where even possessing a seed was a felony with a 20-year sentence, would talk to his patients about getting marijuana for the chemo symptoms. Sure, he could prescribe Marinol, a synthetic THC, but it doesn’t work and the paperwork and time involved was prohibitive. By the time the ‘scrip could be filled, most patients were, sadly, beyond its use.
Hasn’t this farce gone on long enough? Our government spends upwards of $20 billion a year on marijuana prohibition. Despite a majority of Americans opposing it, around 6,000 people are jailed every year for using, growing or possessing marijuana. These people, the vast majority of whom are non-violent first-offenders, stay in prison for an average of 3 years. Some of them are medical marijuana patients. Imagine being arrested, tried and jailed for taking your blood pressure, heart or pain meds. It’s hard to wrap your head around, isn’t it? That a perfectly fine medicine, legally prescribed and effective could land a dying patient in prison is simply unacceptable. Current policy is based on nothing more than yellow journalism, stupidity and stubbornness. It’s time we had a compassionate and sensible marijuana policy in this country. Come on, DEA – the facts are there and they contradict your backwards views: get over it. Can we please, at the very least, stop persecuting sick people and those who try to help them? Mr. President, you can change this in an instant – please make it stop.
This is a video of the presentation: