I recently wrote an article where I talked about how I’ve switched my stance from being against the legalization of marijuana to for its legalization. For me it was more about using common sense when I changed my mind about the substance, since I have absolutely no current plans to use it if it were to ever become legal here in Texas.
There’s undoubtedly benefits from using marijuana for some people, and we’ve hit a point now where the cost benefit of legalizing is just worth it. The money we save by avoiding pointless legal prosecution, along with the revenue we earn from taxing it, for me far outweighs any downside of its legalization.
But beyond full legalization, the fact that medical marijuana isn’t legal at the federal level is absurd. Just look at the phenomenon that’s occurring in Colorado with parents who are moving there for a particular strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web.
This strain has shown to be extremely effective at helping those who suffer from severe seizures.
Charlotte’s Web is named after Charlotte Figi. Two years ago, she was the first child to try the strain. At the age of 5 she was suffering around 60 seizures a day. Now, her parents say, she has none.
What makes this strain unique is that it’s high in cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is an ingredient in marijuana considered to have medical purposes. It’s also low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the substance that causes people to get “high” when using it.
Heather Jackson, the executive director of Realm of Caring which grows Charlotte’s Web, says they have 100 patients whose families have moved to Colorado from 43 states and two countries. She also claims that they have a waiting list of more than 2,000 people.
Sharon Levy, a pediatrician who directs the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, warns against children using marijuana for any purpose. She said it’s been proven that marijuana use in children has had long-term impacts on brain function and has shown to be addictive. Though she admits that cannabidiol has shown some success in suppressing seizures. The issue now is that there’s really no research for parents to use that shows what long-term impact it might have on children.
Though, in my humble opinion, parents whose children are suffering multiple seizures every day are probably worried more about keeping their children alive now rather than the possible long-term impact. Because the reality is, without this strain of marijuana, there won’t be any long-term impact to worry about – because these children could die.
But you can’t discount the stories of folks like Anna and Biagio Burriesci, who left everything in Queens, New York trying to save their 2-year-old daughter Grace.
At the time of their move, Grace was suffering from upwards of 300 seizures per day.
Since moving to Colorado, Grace has been taking 0.7 milliliters of liquid marijuana three times a day. Her father said her seizures are now down to five a day. She’s also beginning to learn to walk better and talk.
Though this comes at a cost of about $600 per month. An expense not covered by health insurance – which is an absolute travesty.
It’s stories like this which led me to my belief that legalization of marijuana is just common sense. While there are downsides to legalization, you’re lying to yourself if you ignore the reality that there are a lot of benefits as well. It’s why I back legalization with tight regulation. Let’s create an environment where the benefits of marijuana use are our primary focus and we do out best to combat the negatives that might arise.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not discrediting those who are concerned about the long-term impact using marijuana might have on children. It’s clear there’s a lot of research that still needs to be done on the matter.
That being said, I can’t discount the seemingly overwhelming evidence showing that (like in these instances of children suffering from severe seizures showing a massive decrease in frequency of seizures) using marijuana to treat certain medical conditions has had a profound impact on the quality of life for many people.
And let’s be real here, it isn’t as if our “legal drugs” we’re peddling to Americans are all that safe either. I often joke that these ads I see on television for a particular “doctor recommended drug” have worse side effects than whatever ailment it’s supposedly helping to alleviate.
“Use YourHeartMightExplode to help that pesky running nose. Possible side effects could include anal leakage, impotence, possible stroke, migraines, heart attack, vomiting or permanent blindness. Have a family member contact a doctor if you happen to die a horrific death after using YourHeartMightExplode as you won’t be able to – because you’ll be dead.”
So when someone implies that we have to be careful of some of the possible side effects of using marijuana for medical purposes, I usually just laugh a little.
But one thing this story does highlight is that there are obviously medical benefits to using marijuana and we need to invest far more money and research into finding out why, what exactly it could treat and what possible negative side effects could occur.
It’s time we stop living in the dark ages when it comes to discussing marijuana and embrace the possibility that many of our original perceptions about the substance have been based off of ignorant stereotypes instead of actual facts.