Is Medical Marijuana The Answer?
One Woman’s Opinion
By – Sheri de Grom
Medical marijuana may be the only hope for chronic nerve pain.
I hadn’t thought much about chronic pain until it moved in. My doctors offered opiates and other addictive narcotics for pain management. My answer is still no even as I count the hours to my pending surgery in hopes it will repair multiple pinched nerves in my elbow, wrist, hand and fingers brought on by an old hand injury and carpel tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, the diabetic neuropathy in the palm of my right hand will continue regardless.
In what seemed a nano-second, I went from a happy, fully-functioning adult to one who schedules all activities around her pain level. I’m not a nice person when I’ve reached my pain threshold.
Anti-social isn’t a word I’d have used in describing myself before chronic nerve pain arrived. But since then, I’ve experienced stretches where I haven’t wanted to leave the house for days or even weeks.
The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association, and even The New England Journal of Medicine endorses the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of severe chronic pain.
Unfortunately, I live in a state that defeated the legalization of medical marijuana on the November ballot 51% – 49%. Our state is ultra-conservative and I’m still surprised we came so close to passing the law. I was more surprised when Oregon voters failed to implement the new limited recreational use law for marijuana.
I recently read that medical marijuana is available in ointment form. At the moment, I long for multiple tubes or jars or however it’s packaged. My entire right hand, arm and shoulder would be covered in the ointment right now!
Aside from the medical benefits of marijuana for individuals with chronic neuropathy (nerve pain) like myself, there are also proven benefits for arthritis, cancer and chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, nausea and a host of other applications
Statistics compiled by the Colorado Department of Revenue note that medical marijuana generated nearly $50 million in taxes and fees for Colorado in two and one-half years. Brian Vicente, a backer of the Colorado law, quoted in the December 24, 2012 issue of Time that, “broad legalization will push that number far higher.”
The idea that our country is in a financial melt- down should be enough to open the harshest critic’s eye.
Our infrastructure is one of the poorest of all civilized nations. Gas lines explode in populated areas, Amtrak bridges are barely standing in many locations along with other railway bridges that we still use. We’re horrified when a heavily-traveled auto bridge collapses and money has never been allocated for repairs.
Public hospitals are understaffed. City and state mental health clinics and hospitals are gone. We’ve priced our state university system tuition rates out-of-range for the average family. There are many other examples of financial need but all could be put on a path to recovery with the revenues gained from taxing medical marijuana.
Although some of the eroding or defunct infrastructures have been the responsibility of the federal government, why should they remain that way? The trickle-down approach for allocation of monies hasn’t worked since WWII. A recent example: the lack of Hurricane Sandy relief for New York and New Jersey dismissed once again for a congressional recess called by John Boehner, Speaker of the House.
When Congress reconvened, tax-payers discovered the legislation passed in the new year to aid the hurricane victims was packed with hidden, unrelated spending.
At the present time, the suggested excise tax for every ounce of marijuana is fifteen percent or forty dollars. I have a high need for my country to remain strong and for our infrastructure to be the safest in the world. For that to happen, we must have a new source of revenue. Why not take marijuana sales off the streets and put them into a controlled tax arena?
I need relief from my chronic pain. I am fortunate, though. Surgery hopefully will take away my pain and rehabilitation will restore function to my right hand. Perhaps even more important, I have insurance that will pay one-hundred percent of the cost.
But what about everyone else’s pain? They need relief and we have the ability to provide it for them.
If marijuana is taxed at the consumer level as a luxury tax, we just might see improvements in public schools, medical research, municipal police and fire departments. Services cut to the bone may return to former staffing levels, and our severely lacking infrastructure may be made strong once again, along with many other improvements.
The on-set of chronic pain has provided me a new cause for advocacy. I don’t want another medication building up in my liver and destroying organs. Pain medication is the leading cause of accidental death in suburbia today.
Responsibly used, medically managed marijuana is the safest of all pain management resources.
The FDA has approved Dronabinol, a synthetic THC. This medication lacks several of the therapeutic compounds available in natural cannabis.
Unfortunately, Dronabinol must build-up in the liver before pain relief is achieved. If the medication is used irresponsibility, the negatives include seizures, fast or pounding heartbeat, hallucinations, confusion, and many others.
How do you feel about the legalization of marijuana for medical and/or recreational use?