The Myth of Medical Marijuana
Patients don't need it for pain, but boosters want it for recreation
When last I saw a medical marijuana advocate, he'd just jumped the back fence of the condos and was booking up Market Street with two popo in pursuit. We were evicting said advocate because both he and the condo's owner had forgotten to pay rent, condo fees and the mortgage for several years and the condo association, the association's president (me) and CitiMortgage Inc. were peeved.
During the trash-out, (being a condo association president is similar to being a janitor), I discovered, as expected, brochures about the wondrousness of marijuana as a medicine and the cruel injustice of a state that allows — nay, encourages — the consumption of alcohol but bans the magic herb. I also found methamphetamine, crack cocaine, baggies, bongs big and bongs small, bongs with water and hubble-bubble hoses and two electronic scales as cute as lace pants.
This mope was using the condo as a dope hole, which is cop-talk for a combination drug office and storeroom. Anyone whose IQ tops three digits knows not to live near the stuff. That can be hazardous for your freedom and problematical for your existence. On the desk were wrappers for $20,000 in C-notes and fifties, lists of customers running tabs, with accounts receivable, and lists of suppliers with whom he was running tabs, with accounts payable. There were bank statements from Grand Cayman, which didn't surprise me, and parts for a .38 revolver, which did. That's not much gun for the dope biz.
This guy, who was a beach boy from Ponte Vedra, was challenging, unwisely, the exclusive franchise of The Brothers to sell Schedule I narcotics in Springfield. By now, I'm sure he's duly dead and has been duly dumped into Hogans Creek to float therefrom into the vastness of the St. Johns.
What is truly surprising is the astonishment, possibly unfeigned, of elected officials in legal marijuana states like Colorado and Oregon. According to the Nov. 30 issue of the Wall Street Journal, they're shocked to discover that the felons to whom they entrusted the marijuana dispensary business continue to trade in machine guns, semi-auto pistols, the levorotatory enantiomer of methamphetamine and — gasp — the more portable forms of cocaine chloride.
Of course, the entire argument in favor of medical marijuana is specious for a simple reason: Marijuana, per se, is not medicinal. Its active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is. THC ameliorates nausea and vomiting and stimulates appetite in patients suffering from AIDS, end-stage cancer and the effects of chemotherapy. It is useful in the relief of neuropathic pain.
What nobody mentions is that pharmaceutically pure isomers of THC are available by prescription, either in pill form or injectable liquid, under the trade name Marinol. Synthetic versions, trade named dronabinol and nabilone, are also manufactured. You can buy all this stuff at Walmart.
There's no medical need to smoke marijuana to get THC, just as it's not necessary to gnaw willow bark to get aspirin or to drink nasty, gray mold to get penicillin. Those friendly guys at Big Pharma have been selling these plant-based drugs, in dosages of enviable purity, for decades. The price of Marinol is surprisingly modest, about the same as buying weed from your Glock-toting neighborhood dope dealer.
Interestingly, THC is not the front-line medication for any of the illnesses for which it is approved. There are newer, better and more powerful drugs. For example, THC's ability to relieve pain is modest. I can tell you from personal experience that when your kidneys are exploding from stones, or when an orthopedic surgeon has hammered the spikes of an artificial knee into your leg bones, you don't, between screams, call for marijuana. You howl for morphine, or Dilaudid, mainlined into the nearest vein. Hell, you'd drill a hole into your own head if shooting those drugs into your brain would make them work any faster.
Medical marijuana is merely a fairy tale told to the credulous. It has to be sold in dispensaries by former dope dealers because, even though legal under state laws, marijuana is illegal under federal law, so doctors can't prescribe it and pharmacists can't sell it.
What medical marijuana advocates really want is legal marijuana. They want to buy the stuff without fear, and smoke it publicly without consequences, any time day or night. If sick people find it useful, goody for them. What the legal dope crowd doesn't have, yet, is enough political clout to persuade Congress to pass a law and the Choomster-in-Chief to sign it. ("Choom" is Hawaiian slang for dope. During a misguided period of his youth, the president, like the author, inhaled industrial quantities of the stuff.)
I oppose legalized marijuana for two reasons. First, it has the unenviable quality of producing, during combustion, even more carcinogenic alkaloids than tobacco. That's why Willie Nelson sings "sotto voce," with one lobe of one lung. It also accelerates tumor growth, which is why a black speck of melanoma under Bob Marley's toenail in short order turned his brain and liver to mush and his body into a corpse.
Second, marijuana has a pernicious effect that alcohol does not. It snuffs out goals and ambitions. It makes you not care, so you drift through life aimlessly and painlessly. Nothing could be more inadvisable, or more dangerous,
In Crime City.