by Nathan McGill
A friend of mine, who asked to remain unknown, had an incredibly bright future in front of him. He was a guy who stood well over six feet and weighed a healthy 250 pounds. As a freshman he was starting in three varsity sports, involved in show choir, and was on the honor roll. He continued with his involvement in school programs and continued his success in sports. As a sophomore this athletic, gigantic, sweet heart of a guy was being recruited to play football at some of the big name universities across the nation, as a junior college coaches in both basketball and football were visiting him regularly. Just as he was about to embark on his senior year and have a final chance to prove himself on the field and in the classroom he had his whole world turned upside down. The winter of 2010 proved to be the most challenging year of this young mans life.
At a walk through practice before their first basketball game, the always smiling and seemingly invincible 18 year old was not his normal self. About half way through the practice he went up for a lay-up, which I have seen him complete hundreds of times, and lost his balance and fell over. No big deal right? Well the scary part about it was he couldn’t get up, and he wouldn’t respond to his coaches and teammates. The athletic trainer came rushing over and by the look on her face I knew something was wrong. The ambulance was called and we were huddled around him with nothing but concern on all of our faces. He then began to thrash violently on the ground and was spitting up fluids that I have never seen before. The ambulance arrived and took him away on a stretcher in a hurry. We later got word that he was stable but still unresponsive, and to this day doctors are still baffled about what happen. He lost all strength in the left side of his body and sadly his ability to compete in any sort of physical activity, and just like that his hopes and dreams of competing at the college level were gone. Countless medicines were prescribed and test after test was conducted on him in hopes to get an answer on what happened. Still nothing. Specialist gave no clear answers and he was told the same thing by just about everyone. To this day he is still having seizures and has been diagnosed with depression. So what can be done to help him? Modern medicine has had no effect on him, test still show up inconclusive, and this poor guy is still suffering everyday of his life, but there is a leafy green plant that has been scientifically proven to help, and even in some cases completely, reduce seizures and the side effects that come with them. That leafy green plant/medicine is called marijuana.
With all of the prescription medication he was taking the once energetic and youthful young man now had a hard time doing everyday activities on his on. This was due for the most part because of the side effects of some of the medications he was taking. One of the greatest qualities marijuana has to offer is there are no harmful side effects from using marijuana. According to Anne Harding, a journalist for webmd.com, marijuana can be prescribed to patients who are suffering from a large array of medical conditions including epilepsy (Harding par. 4). But if you’re like me I need a little more reassurance then just a post on webmd.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s medical correspondent, had gone on record saying that he did not believe that marijuana could be used as an applicable medicine for patients. A few months later he was on record again retracting his previous statements. In Dr. Gupta’s article “Why I changed my mind on weed” Gupta talks about the prescription of pharmaceuticals to patients with problems from chronic pain to epilepsy and how ineffective and addictive they can be. He goes on to talk about a three-year-old girl who, just like our example in the previous paragraphs, suffered from multiple seizures a day, but with the help of marijuana her seizures were reduced dramatically (Gupta par. 6). So with this known remedy for epilepsy why is this medicine still deemed illegal in the United States?
Pete Guither, Assistant Dean at Illinois State University and an active member of the marijuana community, talks about how marijuana was deemed illegal in the United States, “Those who voted on the legal fate of this plant never had the facts, but were dependent on information supplied by those who had a specific agenda to deceive lawmakers” (Guither par. 2).
With this clearly unfair and biased court decision marijuana was now illegal across the nation. For year’s people have been fighting to have the plant made legal but their voices were scarcely heard but law making officials and were shut down time after time. The once ever-present marijuana plant was now seen as a substance that “made white females seek relationships with black men” (Guither par. 25).
While researching this controversial topic I couldn’t help but become interested in the matter. Throughout my research I found myself baffled with all of the personal testimonies on how marijuana saved their lives. What if our medical mystery of a man had been prescribed marijuana to help combat these seizures that he is continuing to have today? Would his once bright and promising future become a reality for him? It seems wrong that our federal government is denying citizens and patients alike the medicine that could potentially save their lives. I hope to see one day, that our nation has finally come to their senses and finally accept marijuana as a proven medicine and has made it available to people across the nation.
Guither, Pete. “Why is Marijuana Illegal?.”drugwarrant.com. 2014 Drug WarRant, n.d. Web. 17 Feb 2014.
Gupta, Sanjay. “Why I changed mymind on weed.”cnn.com. CNN, 8 Aug 2013. Web. 10 Mar 2014.
Harding, Anne. “Medical Marijuana .” webmd.com. 2005-2014 WebMD, LLC, 4 Nov 2013. Web. 13 Feb 2014.