A close family friend of mine, John, had always been the adventurous type. In his spare time, he would go rock climbing, cliff jumping, snowboarding, the works. Anything that included risk was something that John would want to try. Including surfing. With John living by the ocean, surfing was accessible and after a while, he had become quite good at it. However, one day, something went wrong. As he paddled out towards the waves, everything seemed normal. He saw the perfect wave coming towards him so he quickly turned his board around and paddled as hard as he could. John pushed himself up to stand on the white surfboard. Then, he lost his balance. He tumbled over the side and into the water. Apparently, John had paddled out into a rock zone. Getting tossed around underwater in such treacherous territory caused him to hit his head on many of the rocks. He was knocked unconscious and ultimately had to be airlifted from the water to the nearest hospital.
After spending two nights in the hospital and having to wear the infamous neck brace, John was prescribed Percocet. Percocet is a prescription pain killer which can have some pretty serious side effects such as vomiting, nausea, and extreme dizziness. Having to take the medications multiple times a day for weeks on end, he was getting sick of it. Sick of always feeling like he was going to vomit, sick of always spending his nights in the bathroom, all of it. So one day, the thought of Marijuana came to his head.
He went into his doctor’s office complaining of the many annoying side effects that the Percocet was causing him to have and offered up the idea of trying medical marijuana in hopes of replacing the prescription drug. His doctor agreed to write him a medical marijuana prescription in place of the Percocet. After getting his medical card, John visited the local “clinic” to buy his new medication. After getting home and all settled in, he smoked his cannabis. The effects were almost immediate. He was comfortable, the pain in his neck had subsided, he wasn’t having the nausea or dizziness. He was hooked. There are so many cases out there today that relate extremely close to John’s. They may not include the freak surfing accident, but many include patients with illnesses such as cancer or AIDS; both of which cannabis has been proven to help.
I think one of the most important things to know about marijuana is that it does not have the debilitating effects that the other well known medicines carry with them. Unlike most legal drugs used to cure patients that have negative side effects, “Marijuana has been shown to alleviate symptoms of a huge variety of serious medical conditions including cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma, and is often an effective alternative to synthetic painkillers” (“Medical Marijuana” par. 1) as stated by the Drug Policy Alliance group. Marijuana contains THC, tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the main agent within the plant that stimulates the cells in the brain in turn making it an extremely popular drug. This stimulation ultimately releases dopamine that creates a sense of euphoria, hence the state of relaxation your body takes on when ingesting/smoking cannabis. This is why John felt so at ease and pain free immediately after smoking the marijuana.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent for CNN met with multiple patients who have used the drug and has gotten to know the truth about its effects. Gupta stated that “a person dies every 19 minutes in this country from a legal prescription drug overdose, while it is virtually unheard-of to die from a marijuana overdose” (Gupta par. 21) That, to me, screams that marijuana should be legal over these prescription drugs.
Prescription drugs are legal for a reason; they help the patient get better and get over whatever illness their body has taken on. But even though they work, is it really worth all the extra side effects that come with it? Marijuana’s side effects include having a relaxed feeling, sense of euphoria, and has been known to alleviate pain. Yet, it’s illegal.
I’m not saying that marijuana is the sole treatment that can be a cure all for diseases and illnesses. However, it can certainly be a contributing agent when used with “western medicine” especially if that medicine has painful or discomforting effects on the user; effects that can be treated by the use of marijuana to make the consumer much more comfortable. This is supported by the working staff at Norml Magazine when they stated that “Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief – particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage)” (“Medical Use” par. 3); relief that no other drug can accomplish. No, marijuana is not a “miracle drug” that will cure the world of all it’s disease ridden citizens. But, it will help in the process of aiding certain side effects of a prescription drug and the illness it’s meant to cure.
I haven’t had a life changing experience that has caused me to turn to marijuana for help. But someone who I know and love has. Knowing that John got the help he needed from Marijuana rather than the prescription meds makes me a believer and should convert anyone who’s still lagging behind this bandwagon. Facts are facts and it’s been proven that medicinal marijuana will help so many individuals in their recoveries.
Gupta, Dr. Sanjay. “Gupta: “I am doubling down on medical marijuana.” CNN Health. CNN, 6
March 2014. Web. 17 Mar 2014.
“Medical Marijuana Access for Patients.” We Are the Drug Policy Alliance. Drug Policy Alliance, n.d. Web. 8 Feb 2014.
“Medical Use.” NORML. NORML:Working to reform marijuana laws, n.d. Web. 8 Feb 2014.