By Vivian McPeak | Published in Seattle City Brights
Today, all over Washington State, thousands of medical marijuana patients will be consuming their marijuana medicine. Most will be smoking their cannabis; others will be using a vaporizer or taking it in edibles or tinctures.
They will go about their day just a little more functional than they were before. Some will be taking it for nausea, others to quell the twitching and tremors from a spasticity disorder.
Many of the state’s medical marijuana patients have a form of cancer, in which case the cannabis is reported by patients to help lesson both the pain from the cancer and cancer surgeries, and also the wasting syndrome and nausea from chemotherapy treatments.
There are folks (not covered by Washington’s medical marijuana law) who suffer terribly from insomnia who find that a few tokes of the herb assists them in obtaining a deep and restful sleep. I’m talking about thousands of people going about their lives, while using cannabis daily and without incident.
The one thing that all of these Washington State medical marijuana patients have in common is that they will not be suffering a host of potentially harmful, life threatening side-effects. The medication they use to manage and treat their symptoms will likely not cause health threats beyond issues associated with smoking anything. There will be few emergency room visits, no overdoses, no toxic blood levels or organ damage. More importantly there will be zero deaths.
If, in fact, they skip a dose there will be no threat of seizure or withdrawal. If, God forbid, their child accidentally gets access to their medicine, that child could consume the entire stash with zero danger of dying or having organ damage from an overdose.
The worst thing that could happen is that the child could vomit, and get very sleepy and non-responsive until the effect wears off. Nobody wants this to happen, but when it does it is nothing near the medical tragedy the authorities and media make it out to be because pot is, simply put, non-toxic.
This is the deadly, dangerous, illicit contraband that we all have been so endlessly warned against. This is the substance that has posed such an imagined threat to society that our government has spent billions of our tax dollars locating, prosecuting and incarcerating millions of Americans over it.
There are few drive-by shootings over cannabis. Pot does not cause the majority of traffic fatalities. It is not the generator of violence in our society or the leading cause of cancer. It is, however, according to the D.E.A., the number one U.S. priority for interdiction and eradication.
Now let’s look at another medicinal substance used to treat illness that is in the marketplace. Many Washington State medical marijuana patients have crippling arthritis, and they report that cannabis helps with them manage both their pain and their inflammation. Patients can use cannabis for the effects of arthritis or they can use a leading pharmaceutical drug.
Now, I am not going to suggest that medical marijuana will have the exact same effects on symptoms as a chemical drug. I do suggest, however, that medical marijuana is about a hundred times safer.
This leading pharma-drug alternative was conceived through advances in modern cell biology, and is a protein-based medicine created using biotechnology. With powerful anti-inflammatory properties, this drug is used to treat people who suffer from auto-immune deficiencies such as ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
You can learn a lot about the safety of this pharmaceutical drug by reading the list of possible side effects the makers are required by law to present to the consumer. The makers of the drug say that it can cause serious side effects including “serious infections” like tuberculosis, and it can activate hepatitis B in people already infected.
Using the drug correctly poses risk of “nervous system problems” such as multiple sclerosis seizures or irritation of the nerves of the eyes. People who choose to treat their symptoms with this drug can develop blood problems, some that are fatal, the maker says.
Patients on this medication can develop “new or worsening heart failure.” It can also worsen psoriasis, allergic reactions, autoimmune reactions, including a “lupus like syndrome and auto-immune hepatitis.”
Headache. Vomiting. Depression and personality disorder. I could go on. After all of this and more they go on to say “these are not all of the side effects associated” with its use. If this is what they are telling us, what else could there be?
Here is a medication that, if used correctly, can kill you or make you catastrophically ill. It is all over the television in nice ads with models and sunny backdrops. The dealers of this substance don’t get their houses raided or their children taken away. They are neither fined nor imprisoned.
Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells, D-Seattle, a great representative for our community, is advancing legislation that could correct many aspects of this state’s terribly vague and incomplete medical marijuana law. Her legislation is supported by Seattle’s city attorney. Our current mayor supports full legalization. Life is good. No?
As great as it is to be making the kind of progress we are in cannabis reform in this region, deep inside I know something that keeps me from smiling. Even if all of this stuff actually passes in this toxic, dysfunctional political environment we are living through, cannabis will still be treated as if it were plutonium. instead of the benevolent, healing and friendly herb that it is, cannabis is going be highly over-regulated.
All of the personal threat and sacrifice that the risk-takers and history makers in the cannabis reform community have contributed has made a huge impact. However, as long as cannabis is still treated by society as if it were some dangerous, toxic substance, our work will not be done.
That is why I support the Sensible Washington campaign to repeal all penalties for cannabis in Washington State. If you are tired of prohibition, so will you.