So- my first experience with medical marijuana was in the mid 80’s- a good decade before the first medical marijuana law was passed in our country.
I was probably 15 or 16 at the time. One of my friends younger brothers had a rare childhood cancer. He was undergoing Chemotherapy, and would be violently ill and unable to eat for days afterwards.
So one day my friends older brother was visiting his brother at the hospital, and the doctor stopped in and closed the door. “The chemo is killing him as surely as the cancer. No medicine has worked. But their are studies that show that marijuana can help with the nausea and wasting. And while we can’t condone it- we will look the other way,”
So after the next chemo treatment I was at my friends house waiting with him for his father to bring his brother home from his chemo. And his father walked in with tears in his eyes- and for a moment our hearts dropped. And then his little brother walked in.
And his father said: “I walked in and your older brother was there- and the room reeked of weed. And I was just about to kill him, when your little brother looked at me and said ‘Can we go get some icecream?'”
I, as is is father and his doctor, have no doubt that marijuana allowed his little brother to survive the ravages of chemo, and allow it to save his life. I don’t think any of us can, or would want to say, if it had any benefit for the cancer itself. But without cannabis- the combination of chemo and cancer was going to kill him.
This was, in many ways, a defining moment of my life. And why am am at a loss for words when states like south dakota in the last election voted down a medical marijuana bill, and a bill that was the most restricitive ever created, allowing it only for a few terminal conditions, and only after all available traditional medicines had failed to produce results (with no exemption for debillitating side-effects if a drug “worked” for the disease)
How can we be so scared of a plant that is safer then alcohol or tobacco, and so indifferent to the suffering of others because of this fear?