I heard this report on the internet radio today on NPR and it just got under my skin. I found myself listening to a recent war Vet with PTSD, asking for help by being allowed to relieve intense anxiety from a very unpleasant war induced, condition. And we (yes, us, fellow citizen, via the Government by which we are represented) are making him and many others like him, miserable.
It would seem that some of our Vets who have PTSD are requesting to legally smoke (or be prescribed) what we will here call, Marijuana. Rather incorrectly referring to it as such, too; calling it cannabis would be better. Typically before the end of prohibition, it was called, Cannabis Indica. "Marijuana" came to be called that in the US around the turn of the last century, just after prohibition. It was, really a rather racist attempt, to link it with Mexicans that were claimed to be sowing danger and harm to a fearful American populace.
This is not a history of Marijuana article, but for the sake of clarity, reality, apparently, was buried by FBI "Special" Agent (and please read that as, "short bus special") Harry J. Anslinger, our first drug Czar and a total lying nut case. He needed to find work for his FBI agents who were suddenly out of work from lack of prohibition work and well, that brings us up to the mess we have now. To be fair, the stage was set for Anslinger by the Great Depression when many Mexicans migrated to the US bringing Marijuana and crime with them. Prior to this, cannabis had never been much of a problem and was frequently sold at apothecaries in bottled tinctures.
The campaign against marijuana 1930-1937, is an interesting read in wikipedia. Or, check out "The Emperor Wears No Clothes", by Jack Herer.
Anyway, I find it ludicrous that there are those who put these Vets down for their requests. But then we have historically not taken very good care of our Vets after a war. Eventually we do, we're not monsters, not really, but we usually need to be embarrassed into it.
I mean, REALLY?
You (we) send them to get blown up, die, become anxiety ridden because of a constant and real fear of being severally damaged, experiencing horrific things, or dying possibly horribly, and people are questioning that they want something to relieve their discomfort? Stand the Hell up, salute and hand them a damn baggy, for God's sake!
I have to wonder who in the Hell these people think they are? What right do they have to do this to them. I don't mean, what LEGAL right, I mean, what MORAL or ETHICAL right (remember that all you Doctors out there?).
The therapy they want to give Vets is good, they obviously need that. But then what do they get? Prescription drugs? Isn't it funny that expensive drugs are "warranted" while cheap or free substances are considered "dangerous" or illegal? And something that's been used for decades and decades and back to the beginning of our Country.
They say we need more research on this. REALLY? Haven't we been studying it for quite some time now? For God's sake man, watch a documentary! Don't we have millions of at least anecdotal information on it and its effects? I mean, who do you know that has smoked it all their life? How are THEY doing? Use your eyes, use your mind.
Yes, some people ARE just a waste of space, but that is there personality showing through. I know many who are brilliant individuals and are still productive, intelligent and doing good for our society. What happened to this country allow people their choice to live their life as they see fit. How is their pursuit in this manner damaging to our society? Because its illegal? Do you really want to examine THAT? Because, you should.
NPR had an interview on a Vet who claimed it helped his anxiety levels for PTSD. Well, considering how paranoid it can make you, I wonder about that; but if he says it helps him, hey, let him have it. His wife, stating that they were headed to a divorce ("Sorry, honey, but its true."), said that after he stared putting marijuana in his hot chocolate (rather than smoking it), she saw a dramatic and immediate positive affect.
I find it interesting that "they" want to give us prescription drugs, but not allow us a natural substance; one that in fact grows wild. Why, is it considered so horrible and dangerous and "unknown"? REALLY? Unknown substance? Amazing! Really.
Prescription drugs ARE rather harsh on one's system. In comparison, marijuana is pretty mild. Alas, the drug companies and the government, make no money on it. Uh, oh. Warning sign. However, they do on alcohol and well, that's legal.
But how much do they make on marijuana being illegal? What are the side effects of the "legal" drugs, such as Paroxetine, Sold As Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat in comparison to marijuana (in brackets)?
Serious side effects:
* seizure (convulsions) [no]
* tremors, shivering, muscle stiffness or twitching [no]
* problems with balance or coordination [no]
* agitation, confusion, sweating, fast heartbeat; or [no, unless massive dose]
* easy bruising or bleeding (such as a nosebleed) [no]
* asthenia (weakness) [nope]
* sweating [nope]
* nausea [nope, just the opposite]
* decreased appetite [LOL]
* somnolence (drowsiness) [OK, granted, sometimes]
* dizziness [again, just the oppisite as it helps with this]
* insomnia [absolutely not]
* tremor [No]
* nervousness [no, unless you count paranoia, but depends on strain]
* ejaculatory disturbance [no]
* other male genital disorders [no]
* female genital disorders [no other than possibly dryness at times]
* dry mouth [again, at times, but nothing a drink or beer can't fix]
* constipation [quite the contrary]
* decreased libido [absolutely not]
* yawn [OK, I'll grant you that one, sometimes]
Less common side effects of Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat) include:
* paresthesia (skin sensations) [no]
* blurred vision [no, unless you're really into massive doses]
* flatulence [hmmm, not that I've heard of]
What about cost? Marijuana, esp. in legal to grow states, can be free after initial set up costs which are minimal at the lower end (hey, it takes a pot (no pun intended) some seeds, water, sunlight, the love and care comes naturally after that).
Doses of 20 and 40 mg/day of paroxetine are effective and well tolerated in the treatment of adults with chronic PTSD. Prices vary from what I found around $4.50 a pill, take or leave a dollar.
One online article compared placebo, with the new-generation antidepressants, saying they do not produce clinically significant improvements in depression in patients who initially have moderate or even very severe depression. That’s according to a new meta-analysis of clinical trials research. A triumph for the placebo effect?
So these prescription drugs may not even be that effective; at least, in some cases. With breakthroughs like the Craig Venter team has had, with a bacteria controlled by a man-made, complete collection of genes, we will one day soon maybe, have safer more specific drugs that make all this a moot point. Or, maybe something better than drugs. Ending all this nonsense. Think about all the money that will be saved not spending it on drugs, law enforcement related to drug abuse and the War on Drugs ridiculous pursuits of citizens minding their own business. But for now, well, its not.
Also, how long a drug takes to produce its different effects, is often different for each effect. The side-effects may hit immediately and the main effect only develop after several weeks! Most anti-depressants reach the brain quickly, but take several weeks to have an anti-depressant effect. Let's not even get into here how anti-depressants can lead to suicide. Suicide?
Marijuana? Its cheap, or free, unless you buy outright and don't grow it yourself. Relief? Instant. It wears off soon. Its not harsh to the system, esp., depending on how it is administered. It has no effect like Alcohol or cocaine. Two drugs that have many similar affects like numbness, anxiety, paranoia, even violent behavior; ask any cop on a late Saturday night, if he'd rather deal with a pot-head, or a coked up partier or a drunk).
So. What IS the deal? Why IS this such a big deal?
Who, is getting rich off this deal? And I don't just mean in the way of money, but in resources for government offices and departments who are given license (sometimes too much so) to deal with it. We don't even need to get into the racial aspects of how many ethnic people are in jail due only to marijuana charges; or simply how many in our jails are there for marijuana charges, non violent crimes and put in with violent criminals, leading them to more serious crimes once they are realized. In some cases, we are creating our own worse problems.
This all seems to bring us back around to the "War on Drugs"; doesn't it? This "War" concept, really, that needs to be rooted out of our government and our mentality. Its certainly about time.
So, let's get back to the basics.
The PTSD suffers. I don't advocate giving them whatever they want. I remember the opium or Heroin that Vietnam soldiers got into and what a nightmare that was. But marijuana is not a gateway drug. That argument indicates milk as the culprit. Look it up. All heroin uses once took milk as a child.
These heroes of wars we sent them to, aren't asking for narcotics. And Pot, my friends, is not a narcotic; its just labeled as such by the government. Ask any doctor for a clinical or technical description and they will say calling it a narcotic is ludicrous and at very least, totally inaccurate. Just because you give something a name, does that really make it what it whatever you want to call it?
Let's call a rose a rose and be done with it.
In the end, let's stop thinking about our incorrect historical understandings and consider these people as people. Let's look at things with a critical mind. Look around the world and see what actually is and go forth with that in mind.
Stop being the problem and start being part of the solution.