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A lot of blah blah blah about marijuana

So recently the LA Times has had some columns about medical marijuana. It started with this one when the columnist decided to see how easy it was to get after hearing how "getting a cannabis card at 18 has become a rite of passage in some quarters" and seeing fliers advertising quick consultations. Of course, she easily got a prescription for her arthritis, and gave a good argument: She'd tried pharmaceutical drugs in the past but stopped because of the side effects, but still had bad days with stiff, painful hands that didn't work. The thing is, after she gets the prescription filled, she drives home with it in the trunk paranoid about cops, and even though her arthritis is so bad she can't even open the bottle, she has already decided not to try it, because the DEA raided some dispensaries and she was sure they were going to come barging into her house to arrest her. The next day she goes to work and flushes it down the toilet, and apparently has a lot to think about, because it was so crazy! As usual, whenever the LA Times has an article about acquiring medical marijuana, it instantly shot to the top of the most-read and most-emailed lists. It was a stupid article in which she presented her valid reasons for qualifying, was surprised that she did qualify, and then decided it was too crazy and illegal to even give it a chance. Fortunately, her next column was about how everyone called her stupid for not even trying it, but she had apparently "accomplished her journalistic mission" by seeing how easy it was to acquire. (This column was, of course, at the top of the most-read and most-emailed lists.) She goes on to write about all the kids she's talked to who got their cards easily after turning 18, and notes that many are law-abiding, school-succeeding, smart people who choose to get their weed the "smart" way. Still, later in the article she says that marijuana shouldn't be used by people that young, because it can so easily sap their energy and "turn a motivated kid into a slacker." Even though she didn't seem to come across any criminal threats to society, but rather kids who recognized a way to legally do what they think is a benign recreational drug. But she also presented cases of patients who truly needed it and whose lives have improved greatly. I guess she was presenting the medical marijuana system as it is: easy for those who qualify and those who don't really qualify, but it was a weird way - she herself felt like a criminal, and it's obvious she doesn't think it's a safe drug for the general public. That's ok, I guess, but I still felt in the end that she still didn't see it as a viable and effective treatment for almost everyone. I don't know.
The thing about California's system is that the law allows marijuana treatment for "cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis,migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief." It's the any other illness part that makes it easy, but if someone comes to a doctor and says that marijuana is their effective treatment of choice for whatever, who can say that they're shouldn't be allowed it? And I think the general consensus among medical users is that it should be absolutely legal anyway, which is why questionable patients are accepted among the general community of those possessing prescriptions. But it does threaten the validity of those with serious cases when anyone can get a card. And it is concerning when everyone reading the LA Times finds out how easy it is, because legal backlash is a threat that could endanger any user, even the most valid ones.
Am I a valid patient? California and my recommending doctor think so, and I know I was last fall. If I were to keep my use of it valid it would only be for panic attacks now, but no one is stopping me from getting high just to watch South Park. And I think anyone should be able to get high before South Park; it's the same as getting drunk before South Park. And don't even get me started on marijuana vs alcohol.

In other marijuana news, the government put out its regular report that teen use of pot can lead to mental illness. This is accepted as fact among most people in the health field, even though the data (which, coming from the government, is suspect anyway) doesn't differentiate between pot use leading to mental illness and mental illness predisposing marijuana addiction. I personally think it's the latter, even though no one seems to ever stop to consider it, because hellooo, drugs are bad.
"Using marijuana increases the risk of developing mental disorders by 40 percent, the report said. And teens who smoke pot at least once a month over a yearlong period are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than nonusers, it said. The report also cited research that showed that teens who smoke marijuana when feeling depressed were more than twice as likely as their peers to abuse or become addicted to pot — 8 percent compared with 3 percent."
This is how they based their findings - not with actual scientific evidence that getting high changes your brain and gives you mental illness, but that kids who smoke pot "acquire" mental illness. I have a very strong suspicion that mental illness predisposes teenagers to heavier pot use (and they even say it!), and frankly it makes much more sense to me when they can't even cite physical scientific evidence. Mental illness can manifest itself in many subtle ways long before it's diagnosed, and often it's just plain there long before being diagnosed. However, because the drug war against marijuana was started before almost anyone in America knew about it personally, 80 years later most doctors and scientists still can't look at it objectively. Maybe the study is right and it does make you crazy, but the source is suspect and the conclusion basically biased. Besides, many parents don't know if they're kids are depressed or mentally ill unless the kids bring it up, and there are a lot who aren't diagnosed until the parents take them to the doctor for smoking too much pot. When I was hospitalized at least 30% of the patients were there because their parents thought they smoked too much pot. Yep, we had suicide attempt victims, self-harmers, heroin addicts, hallucinating schizophrenics, and kids who got high after school, all being treated as if they were on the same level of crazy. And it was the doctors who sent them to the in-patient program before therapy or regular psychiatric treatment. Most likely doctors like my psychiatrist, who told me that everything I thought while high was wrong and fucked up and that I would be developing schizophrenia shortly. Nevermind the fact that the American Psychiatric Association unanimously supports medical marijuana. The thing that gets me the most is that the psychiatric world turns a blind eye to the dangers of pharmaceuticals, which they are paid commission to prescribe, despite the fact that they actually DO increase the risk of suicide, not to mention the crazy, unstudied side effects and long-term risks. (Note: not saying pharmaceuticals are completely bad, just that hypocrisy is prevalent.) Ugh, it's such a shame that the government seeks out as many ways as possible to demonize one of the most benign and effective drugs in existence (especially when tobacco and alcohol are taken for granted as acceptable drugs we all have the right to use). If only it was looked at objectively we could find out the REAL risks and benefits.


Trembled blossoms
There is no sin except stupidity.

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