By Galen Fisher March 9th, 2017
There was a time when I was ashamed of my use of the plant(s) classified into "genus cannabis". Part of my shame, I now have come to realize was based largely in part to my ignorance of this remarkable herbaceous plant.
However, before I go any further it is extremely important for me to emphasize to readers that my knowledge is still incomplete. In fact, just an odd number of years ago, you may not have heard me making a clear distinction about the name of the plant. Instead, I would have referred to it as every known, as well as unknown moniker, except it's proper name.
I can attribute my ignorance in large part to the national policy on "genus cannabis". There undoubtedly is substantial evidence from multiple sources which indicate that prior to 1932, cannabis was used throughout the nation as a known, and plentiful remedy for a bevy of symptoms from various ailments and disease. Incidentally, around the same time period there were a number of purported remedies on the market ranging from cocaine toothpaste to the practice of lobotomy. Altough some horrible medications are still on the market this day that originated from that time period,"genus cannabis has to date never caused a single reported death in the U.S. yet somehow is scheduled as a dangerous narcotic with no known health benefits, and is highly addictive. The contradiction is beyond evident, and contrast with normal reasoning.
For years, my shame for using the herbacious plant I've come only to reffer to as cannabis, prevented me along with countless others from achieving complete health which by the way, the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION or (W.H.O.) defines as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Detterred by the legal status of the plant, there still to date unfortunatly, has been little to no research at all preformed to substantiate the U.S policy on Cannabis and the subsequential enforcement.
"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the "unalienable rights" which the Declaration says have been given to all human beings by their Creator, and which governments are created to protect. Considering one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence to be a hemp farmer himself, it's hard to discern the course of action taken now in regards to cannabis prohibition on the federal level.
I myself, have ingested cannabis for over 22 years of my life, and because I come from a household that suffered from extreme poverty during my upbringing, doctor visits were usually limited to the emergency room of the local hospital for matters my guardian(s) were incapable of handling themselves. The first time I had a seizure was when I was 15 or 16 years of age. Prior to this initial episode there was no indication that I was epileptic or otherwise prone to having siezures of any kind. However after a sustained injury to the head while out riding on my new "mountain bike", resulted in bleeding between my brain
and the skull, which is called a subdural hematoma, I would come to know the torment that over 3 million Americans, and 65 million world wide suffer from daily.
Treating my condition through conventional medicine resulted in unwanted side effects including obsessive weight gain, swollen and irritated gums, a general sense of aloofness, and low moral. Not to mention that I was attempting to conceal my condition for fear of being perceived as weak or problematic to my guardian(s) as well as peers;(teenagers can be quite in-compassionate). After my initial episode, I experienced several seizures that I failed to report to anyone. In fact, the only way my family knew my condition was on-going was when I had a Grand -mal seizure at a family gathering in which EMT's were dispatched . I still remember feeling shamed and embarrassed because of my condition. Shortly after being released from the hospital the same day, I returned home and apologized for causing a scene at the Family gathering which I was sure I had ruined. After being reassured that I did nothing wrong, I went back to concealing my condition and attempted to live a normal life. Which would prove more difficult then I could've ever imagined.
My condition ultimately caused extreme anxiety in my teenage years which lead to social anxiety. I became distant and reclusive from my peers and had thoughts that some now might say border lined suicidal. I however, can attest that no matter what life has thrown at me, I never once considered that other option seriously. In fact, it was the use of cannabis during this time in my life that I attributed my will to live.
It might be hard for the average mind to imagine my reality. Likewise it has been equally hard for me to convey my dilemma to those who have a preconceived bias to cannabis use for whatever reasoning. My ignorance prevented me from properly educating anyone to the merits, and health benefits of Cannabis. I feared ridicule, along with disdain from my peers, not to mention the constant threat of imprisonment from authorities due to my use of cannabis. However the option was a clear choice to me then as it is now. However, now 38 years old, and a compliant participant in the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, the fear has subsided somewhat. I have seen many of my peers fall victim to prescription drug abuse and the subsequent troubles that ensue. Futhermore, I have witnessed in my lifetime, the epidemic of crack, heroine, and now methamphetamine abuse taking the lives of so many.
Whereas I once was ashamed of my use of cannabis, I know possess the will and insight to speak not only from a position of experience, but also from an educated standpoint. Whereas before I lacked any understanding of my condition, and how my very own body worked, I now have considerable more knowledge on the subject of cannabis as therapy as it correlates to my specific condition, and treatment. Although I still see a conventional Doctor who's professional advice and expertise I value deeply, I still refuse to take any known prescription drug for any of my ailments including ,but not limited to tonic and a tonic seizures. The reason being because I live in a State where medical cannabis use is allowed for those with chronic or debilitating health conditions. *Nevada also approved the recreational use of cannabis along with (7) other States in the U.S. back in November.
In fact, Nevada State Constitution, Article 4, Section 38; makes it clear
"The use by a patient, upon the advice of his physician, of a plant of the genus Cannabis for the treatment or alleviation of cancer, glaucoma, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; severe, persistent nausea of cachexia resulting from these or other chronic or debilitating medical conditions; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizure; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscular spasticity; or other conditions approved pursuant to law for such treatment."
For many just like myself, quality of life to often is hinged on a choice or decision based on access to the right treatment. In my case, I could treat my symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs however at what cost to the rest of my health? I mean the side effects generally associated from taking pharmaceutical drugs to alleviate a single condition, leaves one's body susceptible to a multitude of other. Nausea, dizziness, depression, liver failure, kidney failure and in some cases death! I don't have an advanced degree in medicine, however I can gather that any reasonable layman, or woman would consider an option that caused 0 known deaths, and the side effects are generally cottonmouth, munchies, and uncontrollable laughter.
In conclusion, if you suffer from a chronic and, or, debilitating medical condition(s), talk with your Doctor and find out if there is a non Poly pharmacology approach to mitigate your symptoms. Express your concern that pharmaceutical drugs are consistently being pulled from the market due to toxic repercussions after prolonged usage. You have a choice, a responsibility to the ones you love, and a right to choose what medical approach works best for you. Just remember that CANNABIS is the name of the plant. The medicinal qualities that are attributed to the plant occur naturally as the plant grows. Some of the compounds known as cannibinoids work in concert with the human endocannbinoid system. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.