Years ago Richard Pryor had this joke in which someone was talking to him and he really didn’t want to hear it. His reply was “have a coke and a smile and shut the f—-k up. I thought what a great tee shirt this would make. Have a toke and a smile and shut the f___k up. Of course someone else already thought of this, so I can’t do the tee shirt thing.
I don’t think I need the tee shirt because I don’t think there is any secret that I am pro legalization of marijuana. In fact I would gladly lobby for legalization simply because I am a black woman who is getting increasingly sick of seeing the statistics of young black people going to jail for less than two ounces of weed. I am also really tired of the state of Illinois being broke and cutting programs designed as stop gaps to keep honest but financially embarrassed folks afloat. By afloat I mean eating healthy meals, living with a roof over their heads and being able to support their children. I don’t mean people sitting on their butts and unwilling to try to fend for themselves. The bottom line is if you ain’t got no boots, you ain’t got boot straps to pull yourself up.
So, when I started doing research about two years ago into why both cannabis sativa (the get high stuff) and its relatives like industrial hemp were Schedule I drugs (Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4 methaqualone, and peyote, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy). justice.gov, I really was puzzled. Why are bourbon scotch, vodka, rum. tequila, gin and Colt 45 not on the schedule? Simple..no matter how many people die from diseases associated with alcohol abuse, we already figured out that prohibition doesn’t work. Been there; done that. Besides the alcohol lobby is pretty busy keeping itself flush (excuse the pun). And how’s that war on drugs working out? We think we know the answer to that. It’s not working but for a couple of groups it is working just fine, the private prisons and the big pharmaceutical companies. I’m not going to talk about the former at the moment but let me jump on the pharmaceutical industry for a paragraph or two.
Those corporate big shots sitting around in conference rooms are worried and spending lots of money to assure that marijuana stays a very controlled substance. In fact they want to make it super criminal and have the feds bust every grower, seller and prescriber. The reason is profit margins.
Big pharma can’t capitalize by getting a patent on the psychoactive components nor the antioxidants. The federal government already did that. Pharmaceutical companies do have a cornucopia of drugs from which they are making a mint, namely pain relievers and some unsatisfactory drugs to stimulate appetite.
This chart points out some of the medications that might actually be in danger if marijuana is legalized and a list of the common side effects associated with those “legal” medications. In fact, there were so many diseases and treatments and associated side effects that I concentrated on two disorders, seizures which affect a lot of kids and HIV which also affects children. Face it, I’m a sucker for little people and because I am quickly approaching old person , I threw in Alzheimer agitation.
I listed a bunch of other disease and by all means feel free to research them for yourself.
|DRUG||USED FOR||SIDE EFFECTS|
|Tegretol or Carbatrol (carbamazepine)||Epilepsy||fatigue, vision changes, nausea, dizziness, rash.|
|Zarontin (ethosuximide)||nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and weight loss|
|Anti-retrovirals||HIV||nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and weight loss, Dizziness, mood changes, depression, anxiety, paranoia - See more at: http://www.avert.org/antiretroviral-drugs-side-effects.htm#sthash.ZovbABYh.dpuf|
|benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), neuroleptics and diphenhydramine Haldol,benzodiazepines||agitation of Alzheimer’s disease||The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medication for the treatment of behavioral agitation in dementia but there are a few in use and the side effects:dry mouth, constipation, postural hypotension, extrapyramidal side effects (especially akathisia), tardive dyskinesia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome -sedation, amnesia, confusion and a paradoxical response. They can intensify cognitive slowing, cause dependence and produce changes in equilibrium that can contribute to increased risk of falls and fractures -|
|No drug therapy||Tourette’s|
Just a glance will tell you that there are a bunch of side effects that seemed to be countered by medical marijuana, especially the lack of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV drugs and many others.
Tourette’s syndrome is another interesting case. Currently, there isn’t a satisfactory drug to combat the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome.
The New York Times had a heart warming article about Louis Centanni a 24 year old with Tourette Syndrome. He reported in Patient Voices: Tourette’s Syndrome that marijuana helps more than anything else. Other medications had caused him to weigh in at over 300 pounds. One of the medications stopped his twitching but caused cardiac problems.
So, if the pharmacology industry is worrying about losing a few multi-millions because patients like Charlotte Fiji who at five years old was saved from chronic and nearly constant seizures by a strain of marijuana and Louis who is living a somewhat normal life because his tics have all but disappeared even though he smokes pot, I say to them. Have a toke and a smile and shut the F___k up.
I’m sure the pain reliever market won’t die off completely because a few really sick people will be able to eat cannabis infused cookies or smoke a joint. Let me go on record right now. If I become a combative, agitated old bat, please make me some brownies or slip me some cannabis infused mints. I'd rather that than constipation, disorientation, drug dependance and falling on my butt and breaking a hip.