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Jan. 3, 2013 11:22

Truth or Consequences

As you might guess, I spend quite a bit of time reading and looking for information about medical cannabis. Many times, I come across things that catch my eyes (President Obama’s “We’ve got bigger fish to fry” comments); things that really make me think (I recently interviewed a family that says a concentrated, non-psychoactive form of the plant saved their father from brain cancer) . . . and sometimes I read about things that really make my blood boil.

It was an article with the dramatic headline of “Legal drugs, deadly outcomes.” It’s a startling, frame-by-frame account of doctors who knowingly prescribed legal (I can’t stress that enough) pharmaceutical drugs to addicts and junkies who were addicted to painkillers. In many cases, the doctors were clearly aware that their patients were addicts and/or were lying about injuries and pains so that they could get their prescriptions filled.

The result? People died. Many, many people died. And we’re not talking about Tylenol with codeine here, folks. We’re talking about an epidemic of OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax. Out of a total of 3,733 overdose deaths between 2006 and 2011, nearly half (47 percent, or 1,762) were from drugs for which the victim had a legal prescription. At one point, prescriptions from 71 doctors caused or contributed to nearly 300 deaths.

And yet the Drug Warriors and those that fight medical cannabis “tooth and nail” would lead us to believe that a green plant is the true scourge of society.

Our patients suffer from real-deal illnesses, diseases and ailments. I’ve interviewed people suffering from Stage 4 cancer. I’ve made friends with people whose lives are crippled by pain and severe injuries. I know with people with Crohn’s disease who say a plant that grows out of the ground provides them with precious relief.

Do our patients OD? Let’s check the body count . . . nope.

And yet those who oppose MMJ would like us to think that cannabis is the source of addiction, health problems . . . and death. Maybe those people need to pop a “reality” pill because the truth is, the real drug danger—like it or not—lies inside the medical cabinet. Prescription painkiller abuse led to a 129 percent increase in emergency room visits between 2004 and 2009, and a more than 500 percent increase in the number of people seeking treatment for addictions to opioids.

And yet we have people who still think the biggest enemy to Western civilization is a plant that has been cultivated by the Chinese since Neolithic times.

Make no mistake—medical cannabis is real. Our patients our real. Our industry is truly compassionate. And we have the facts and studies to back us up.

And if you, President Obama, really have “bigger fish to fry,” then I’ve got just the “reality” pill for you. Don’t worry—it’s legal where I live.

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