The first comprehensive analysis of research on the benefits of medical marijuana has shown the drug is not proven to work for many illnesses, despite states approving it to treat those illnesses. There is strong evidence that marijuana can alleviate chronic pain and muscle stiffness in multiple sclerosis, but there is weak evidence for positive effects on anxiety, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome.
I stopped reading before I got to the end. I had to go back and finish it later. When I read, “There is strong evidence that marijuana can alleviate chronic pain …”, that was all I wanted to know. Well, not really. I am concerned about other diseases, too. And safety. But chronic pain affects me directly. You see, I’m 75 years old; and I’ve been hurting for more than 60 of those years. I hate hurting.
I commented once before in this blog that if marijuana were legal, I would have tried it long ago to see if it would alleviate my pain. But it’s not legal in Texas; and it’s still against federal law everywhere in the country, although the federal law is not currently being enforced in states that have legalized it.
My pain isn’t constant. I actually have some relatively pain-free days. But right now, it’s hard to remember that. My legs have been hurting like hell for about 40 hours.
I see my pain doctor in a few hours, and I’ll probably feel a little better by tomorrow. Maybe. I also take pain meds that dull the pain a little.
There are literally tens of millions of Americans who suffer chronic pain. I read the figure recently. I think the most recent estimate was 30 million; but I didn’t know I was going to be writing about it, so I didn’t save the reference. Some hurt worse than I do.
I’m not in favor of legalizing all drugs, by any means; but legalization of some of them would make things better for all of us. Not just for those of us who can’t get the relief we need legally.
I’ve thought for a long time there would be a lot less crime on the streets if certain drugs were legal. The abominable “War on Drugs” makes it dangerous and difficult to set up shop as a supplier. That drives up prices, and makes the stuff profitable enough to be worth fighting over. Can you imagine how much safer our streets would be if marijuana were as cheap as lettuce? It could be, you know. It grew wild here until our government decided to wipe it out. If it were any other plant, it would now be on the endangered species list!
Besides that, about half the prisoners in our jails and prisons could be freed. Certainly not the dangerous ones. Just the ones who are there only because they either used or sold marijuana and got caught doing it. It’s criminal the way we lock people up for almost nothing. Not only is there no good reason for it, but it breaks up families and leaves children with no father (usually) or mother at home. And I wonder how much money it costs us to keep 600 thousand non-violent prisoners locked up? A couple of billion dollars a year maybe that could be spent a lot better? Three billion?
Note: Nope, not even close. It’s a lot more. Just since I published this a couple of hours ago, I ran across this statement on Alternet. “… we spend more than $80 billion each year on prisons.” Approximately half our prisoners are incarcerated on non-violent drug charges, so that’s about $40 billion annually we should be spending on something more useful. In rough figures, of course. Or maybe we could use it to cut your income taxes, but of course no politician would ever think of that.
It’s time our federal government stopped trying to destroy all marijuana and lock up users and dealers alike. They’re supposed to be helping us. Not hurting us.