Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Being Humane

Have you ever watched someone suffer in chronic or terminal pain?  Have you ever seen a young patient with tremors that just would not stop?  Have you ever witnessed someone not wanting to eat, losing weight, their bodies wasting away because of the side effects of other medicines meant to save their lives?  If you could wave a magic wand over the patient, to make any of these or other symptoms, just magically disappear, would you do it?

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Then many states will have that opportunity for voters to wave their “magic wand”, AKA the right to vote, to approve legalizing medical marijuana, joining 20 other states who have decided that it is a humane need to provide comfort and relief to patients suffering debilitating diseases who cannot find relief otherwise.  Even if six more states approve medical marijuana use, still, almost half of the United States has no plans to legalize medical marijuana.

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Alzheimers, Cancer, ALS (Lou Gehrigs Disease), HIV, Osteoporosis, Multiple Sclerosis… we all know at least one person who has suffered with one or more of these diseases.  And we all have to agree, it is definitely suffering.  Suffering triumphs over quality of life, but it does not have to.  The fact is, and cannot be denied, marijuana would help every patient deal with the chronic side effects and pains of nearly every malady known to man.

At least three times in my life, had medical marijuana been available during my multiple medical crisis, I would have done much better.  I could never control my nausea with the prescription meds given during my cancer treatments.  The unbelievable pain I endured following my open heart surgery from having my breast bone cracked in half only controlled by a narcotic powerful to knock my unconscious… great way to deal with pain, huh?  Life-long chronic pain for late developing side effects when at its worst, taking up to 4 different drugs to just touch the pain, and give slight opportunity to sleep.  I can only wish I had the opportunity to have been able to use medicinal marijuana.

My father, who recently died from lung cancer, prior to his death, had been dealing with a lack of hunger issue.  Well, as we all know, one of marijuana’s awful side effects is causing hunger.  But fortunately, he was prescribed Marinol, to help boost his appetite, which it did.  Do you know what it did not do?  It did not make him a stoner.  He did not get high.  He ate.  It helped to improve his life.

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With all the benefits that medical marijuana has to offer, how could anyone be against helping a patient live a more humane quality of life?  There is absolutely no reason at all for anyone to be against this treatment option.  Yet they exist.  And their reasons are just as confusing and contradictory as their beliefs about the drug and its influences.

As a teenager back in the 1970’s, well after marijuana was mainstream, we were constantly taught, that cigarette smoking was bad.  Not just because of causing cancer, and heart problems, but because teen smoking was a “gateway” to smoking pot, which of course was a “gateway” to harder drugs and alcohol.  But was teen smoking made illegal?  Eventually.  Were teen smoking laws enforced?  There is not going to be an answer to this because enforcement of teen smoking is a joke, especially since many parent provide the cigarettes themselves.  But over time, we have gotten away from the “gateway to pot”, forgotten about the lethalness of cigarette smoking, and instead have now made the main “gateway” label, applied to marijuana.

That is right, several want you to believe that medical marijuana is going to be the gateway to harder drugs.  Alright, I know I am not being fair.  Of course those few actually mean “recreational marijuana”, not medical marijuana.  But they do believe the legalization of medical marijuana will lead to the legalization of recreational use.  And this is what the anti-medical marijuana people want to prevent.  They want patients who are suffering, to continue to do so, so that some day, other people who just want to smoke pot for the giggles of it, which still would not effect them because they were neither patient or user, to continue to suffer.

This is the only argument that those against medical use of marijuana can state.  They do not want recreational use of marijuana legalized and they are afraid that will be the next step if medicinal use of marijuana is legalized.  And this is a stupid thought process.  And for that selfishness people will continue to suffer needlessly.

Cigarettes are known to kill people.  They definitely killed my dad and grandfather just to name two people I knew.  Have we made them illegal?

Alcohol is known to kill people.  I have buried too many to count.  Have we made that illegal?  Oh yes, we tried that.  It did not work.

Marijuana to my knowledge has not killed anyone.  I definitely do not know anyone who died from marijuana usage, medical or recreational.  Why is it illegal to this day?

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My state of Florida is one of the latest states to finally consider the humanity of access to medicinal marijuana.  On November 4th, voters will finally be to help patients deal with chronic pain, side effects, and terminal illnesses.  Spearheading the movement in Florida is attorney John Morgan who advertises his campaign with the loss of a loved one who needlessly suffered not having access to a drug that definitely would have improved the quality of life.

The sad thing is, in anticipation of approval of Amendment 2, the legalization of medicinal marijuana in Florida, many Florida communities have already taken steps to prevent accessibility to prescription marijuana.  In Naples, a very conservative community, their city council just banned any dispensaries within city limits.  In other words, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).  Again, the only argument given is that medicinal marijuana will lead to recreational, and Naples does not want that.  So if you have chronic health and pain issues, perhaps Naples is not going to be the place you want to rest and convalesce, especially if you need the convenience of a dispensary for something although hopefully legal, just will not be available there.

Another unusual comment as to the denial of using medicinal marijuana came from an unusual source.  The president and CEO of the Naples Community Hospital Healthcare System, Dr. Allen Weiss offered an op-ed piece in a recent Florida Weekly…

“I believe medical marijuana is a solution to a problem that does not exist.  The danger in allowance of ‘medical’ marijuana is that it could act as a starter drug in our nation.  There are already existing, safe, easy-to-take medications readily available and prescribed by oncologists and physicians (this sentence was shortened for content, but this was the gist of the comment).”

Do you see this?  Is this really the reason a major health leader is against something that would make a difference to the quality of someone’s life?  Worried about gateway usage from someone chronic or terminal?  Or is the real reason that the pharmaceutical industry stands to take a huge loss from loss of addicting prescriptions for pain and depression for a plant we all know would cost 1/100 of what many generic drugs actually cost?

I am not a pothead, or stoner.  And I do not care if someone else uses the drug for recreational use.  But having been on opioids and other prescription medications for chronic and acute pain, all having various side effects of their own, three times in my life, the odds are in my favor that I will some day face that need again.  And I am hoping that the voters of Florida do the right thing on November 4th, and vote yes on Amendment 2, and legalize the human use of medicinal marijuana.

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One thought on “Being Humane

  1. You dont get marijuana users going home and beating up their spouses after a night at the bong, or fighting in the streets after a couple of joints.
    Alcohol is a far bigger hazard in my opinion.
    I completely agree with you.
    I was given opiate based drugs for pain here in the uk. The natural morphine caused more violent headaches than the pain it was supposed to ease, the synthetic morphine knocked me out cold and one – dihydrocodeine (?) caused me to lose hours with no memory or awareness of what happened for those hours. And they were prescribed drugs!! I doubt if medical marijuana would have done that!

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