Friday, 10 January 2014

Medical Marijuana is Oh So Scary a Prospect-- NOT

The following is my opinion and my opinion only. Because I do not cite any references, it is characterized as a rant rather than an essay. Thanks.

Wednesday night, I participated in #AddictionChat on (tm) Twitter. Addiction Chat begins at nine p.m. eastern and goes for one hour. There is usually a single topic. Participants answer a series of ten questions.

The topic was medical marijuana. It became apparent that the majority of the people who stated that they are in recovery expressed sentiments which indicated that medical marijuana was a bad and evil thing. While I respect the idea that dosages may vary within plants, I do not really understand why a smoke-able treatment for pain relief is any more threatening than say, chemo therapy for cancer patients. Chemo is loaded with painkillers. Cancer is painful. When there is no longer a reasonable hope for a cure, chemo becomes palliative. Palliative treatment is given so that the patient can be kept as comfortable and as pain-free as possible.

A compassionate society would want superior treatment of pain for its' members. To deny a child stricken by leukemia something that alleviates suffering is barbaric. To deny a cancer patient relief from nausea sucks. (Other examples also abound). We people in recovery cannot afford to be the police of the world. If someone in recovery has an illness and is being treated for pain with medical marijuana or chemo or any other pills or procedure, that is between that person and his or her healthcare treatment team. I myself would not be able to comfortable take medical marijuana, however, I certainly would not deny myself chemo because "chemo is loaded with painkillers." These things are individual choices.

Generally, I do subscribe to the thought that someone cannot be stoned on marijuana or another recreational (street) drug and claim sobriety. Likewise, the person who recognizes his or her addiction to alcohol yet abuses prescription medication ought to examine their actions and justifications.

It is a far jump from "someone cannot be sober and stoned" to "someone who is suffering from debilitating pain ought not to take any substance prescribed by his or her medical doctor because I am uncomfortable with that." I am not a physician. Even if I were a physician, I do not have a medical relationship with everyone who enters a recovery meeting.

Another objection was that [unnamed studies are already showing] that people who are legally prescribed pot are giving it to high school kids and thus with increased access there is increased use. I think that if a high school kid wants to get stoned, there are other ways to get it besides from someone who is undergoing pain management. Then there is also the idea that the majority of people who use any specific drug or drugs do not become addicts. Just because marijuana may be available, it does not follow that the rates of addiction will automatically go up. There was also some notion about marijuana interrupting brain development in adolescents. I am also not sure about the veracity of this, having not examined the [unnamed] study or studies. 

Another question referred to how the dialogue may change if marijuana is legalized altogether rather than just when medically indicated. The dialogue does not change for me. The rationalization that if pot is legal, more people in early recovery will justify its' use does not ring true. Sometimes a person may not be willing to give up everything all at once. (Some percentage of people in recovery do not give up tobacco, overeating, or gambling right away if at all). For those who are not willing to give up everything at once, harm reduction may be a viable treatment option.

I believe that marijuana should be legalized (or at the very least its' use ignored). Those of us in recovery cannot use pot safely. It does not follow that no one should be allowed to use pot at all. The drug war is a failure. Crackdowns on trafficking has not appreciably diminished the flow of drugs entering this country. Those who commit criminal offences while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug (and get caught) are subject to laws already on the books. Those who do not commit criminal offences while under the influence of alcohol or drugs should not be penalized legally. If use of any intoxicant interferes with someone's life, that adult is free to seek counseling and/or other treatment options. If not, then I do not 'get' what the problem is.

sapphoq itching for a coffee 

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