Gallery B

Medical Marijuana
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Cannabis; God’s Great Gift To Humanity

By James Donahue

There are days when the joints in my aging body ache so bad I find myself reaching for the pain pills prescribed by my doctor rather than rely on ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain relievers.

As I gulp down the pills and wait patiently for the relief they will bring, I am fully aware that the "medicine" in them is also attacking my liver, my kidneys, and other vital organs and that continued use at this level threatens an early and painful death.

I am also aware that there is a simple and inexpensive alternative to this pain problem, and that it is probably growing secretly in a basement, house or farm nearby. But to get my hands on it could subject me to assault by agents for the United States Government.

That’s because the substance I want. . . the substance that would east my pain quickly and without doing harm to my body . . . is cannabis, better known as marijuana, a plant the police in Michigan where I live, and police all over the United States are spending billions of dollars every year hunting and destroying and arresting those who dare to defy laws making it a federal crime to produce and sell this plant.

Largely because of the Internet, the circulation of health news is no longer controlled by the corporate-owned American media as it once was and news about the amazing health, social and other surprising benefits the cannabis plant offers is getting around. And this has caused a silent and spreading rebellion among the youth, who are voting for legalization of marijuana at the polls.

But while 16 states, to date, have voted to legalize marijuana possession, mostly for medical use, the federal law remains unbroken and overshadowing state laws. Thus federal agents and many local law enforcement groups, still feeding on the financial gains under the guise of local "drug task force" squads, continue to harass growers, sellers and users of marijuana.

So many people, organizations and corporations have made so much money on the old "war on drugs" and especially the war against marijuana, that forcing a relaxation of the hard-line police stance against anyone caught just possessing a partially smoked "joint" has been a slow and uphill battle.

Fortunately the pro-marijuana side is gaining strides. The false stigma attached to this amazing plant is gradually disappearing. But this old man still doesn't find easy access to the type of cannibus he needs to help him walk about with comfort.

The irony of my story is that the type of cannibus that will ease my pain isn't linked to "getting high" or "being stoned" as users like to call it. A 2011 report in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology told of an 18-trial study that revealed that Cannabinoids not only served as a powerful treatment for chronic pain, but provided a noticeable improvement in sleep.

Another important discovery is that, in spite of government warnings about the dangers of smoking or consuming the leaves, berries, or juices from the stems of cannibus, British researchers found that in truth, there are no adverse effects.

Researchers from the McGill University Health Center report that cannabis can be used as an effective way of improving pain, mood and sleep in some patients suffering chronic pain.

A lot of people don't realize that there are two types of cannabis. One is the plant cultivated to contain high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which provides a pleasant psychoactive effect when smoked or consumed. The other is known as hemp, which is low in THC but contains a high level of cannabidiol ir CBD. This is the pain killer ingredient. CBD is found in all of the cannabis varieties, but is more readily available in hemp, a plant once grown for its fiber used to make high quality paper, fabric and rope.

Nobody grows hemp to get high. But because of the government's insane war on drugs, hemp has been added to a list of allegedly dangerous drugs that are illegal to grow, possess or use. Thus my consumption of a few hemp leaves to ease my joint pain could land me in jail. And how crazy is that?

In researching this story I found links to numerous other studies by notable scientists and researchers, mostly operating in Europe where the stigma against marijuana is not as severe, who are discovering just how amazing the cannabis plant really is. It heals and relieves the effects of numerous other medical problems, from cancer to muscular spasms, and its fiberous stalks can be used to make not only high grade paper but cloth.

Best of all this plant grows anywhere. Farmers should be growing it instead of allowing the police to burn it. I will have more reports on this amazing plant later.