By Christine (Arnold) Walton
Have you smoked marijuana? I have not. I will not smoke marijuana ever. I never have smoked a cigarette.
I have taken OxyContin, Percocet, Tylenol with Codeine (ty-3), Darvacet, Soma (muscle relaxer) Savella, Lyrica, Indomethison, Ultram, Tramadol and probably some other drugs I don’t remember. Some of these are sitting on my counter right now. All of these drugs are man-made and all are tools that I use or have used to manage myriad pain and inflammation. We also have a selection of potassium, diuretics, anti-seizure drugs, migraine drugs, blood pressure drugs, asthma drugs and my personal favorite, Verced — this one is for my 6-year-old girl.
I am the mother of four children, ages 21, 17, 10 and 6. I will not bore you with emotional stories of my family; we all have them. My 10-year-old son is the only person in our family who does not have a significant health struggle. I have the time to research and read and take notes on the daily symptoms of those in my family. What I have found is there are tools available that we as a state are not yet allowed to use.
Medicine’s SIDE EFFECTS
Can you imagine trying to change a 1-inch nut with a 3/4-inch wrench? It won’t work. You have to have the right tool! Medicine with side effects that some patients cannot handle are tools that don’t work. Illnesses that don’t respond to certain medicines are really tight nuts. Try another tool.
Medical cannabis oil or the medicinal qualities that can be extracted from the cannabis plant can and are being made into tools for those people who need them.
It’s disconcerting that on every bottle of pain medicine it says “do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.” One of the arguments against cannabis is the potential for people to drive while on it. My 6-year-old does not drive and won’t for nine years. People receiving chemo most likely are not in any shape to drive; most seizure patients can’t drive because of their situation. I won’t go on.
People are afraid that by giving doctors legal permission to prescribe medical cannabis that everyone is going to be running around high as a kite. Medical cannabis is a tool. It is not a party enhancer or a social appetizer. Any tool in the medicine cabinet can become addictive, including all the pain medicine I listed above. Almost anything we consume has that potential. Did you have coffee today or a scotch and water, or a glass of wine? I did. I had coffee. Am I addicted, yes I am. Those things are even legal.
Can I get my hands on marijuana? Yes I can. I can place one phone call and have more marijuana than I can carry. I do not hang around people who smoke marijuana. It’s a deal breaker for me. My point is, it’s much easier to get than the above mentioned prescriptions. By making medical cannabis legal and accessible under a doctor’s care, you are putting another tool in doctor’s toolbox. You are helping crack those tough-nut medical problems or side effects from illnesses or other drugs.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
I encourage you to ask some Yes or No questions to the people you meet concerning this topic. I most certainly expect you to ask yourself these questions.
1) Have you smoked marijuana?
2) Would you smoke marijuana?
3) Would you use, if needed, medical cannabis for a documented medical condition?
4) Would you give your child medical cannabis in pill, oil or liquid form for a life-threatening illness?
5) Would you give your child medical cannabis to manage symptoms from other lifesaving treatments?
6) Do you consider medicine a tool to manage health?
Please consider the motivation, intent and spirit with which advocates, parents and doctors are requesting that medical cannabis be legal to patients. I am confident that with regulations and rules, just like with everything else we are prescribed, that it will be a good tool. Will you stand in the way of helping patients? Will you allow a much-needed tool? These are Yes or No questions.
Christine (Arnold) Walton of Cedar Rapids is a 1987 graduate of LaSalle Catholic High school. She has been married for 23 years to Rodney and has four children. Comments: email@example.com