Monday, October 24, 2005

Medical Marijuana

Yo Savage, missed Spoken Word tonight because just now getting home from the final interview. I'll find out about this one by eod Wednesday. It's a $30,000 raise over the last job, which is exactly what I demanded from the last job or I told them I'd walk. Well, walk I did because they couldn't meet that. I'm really mad at the last company now. Long story though, maybe another day.

Anyways, on the ride home, picked up a hitchhiker named "Billy Ray." Contrary to popular opinion, the average American is smarter than people realize if you're willing to give him or her a chance.

Billy Ray does landscaping. We talked about the woes of being working class and how The Man uses illegals to undercut us. (It's not fair for the illegals either because companies don't have to follow worker safety laws - that's why you had the grape deaths this summer).

What I really got out of it though was how callously he mentioned he had throat cancer. He's just now getting it worked on and he says how much the treatment sucks. He's losing weight and throwing up all the time. He has no appetite either.

So we discussed options. Chinese medicine is great for colds, allergies, and torn ligaments, but ineffective against cancer. We have the most awesome Chinese medicine guru in town. The guy is a wizard. Any ailment, he'll get rid of for under $20 without the harmful side effects of Western medicine. Of course, as I said, not cancer though.

One of the drugs doctors have prescribed Billy Ray is Vicadin, to deal with his broken rib. The problem with Vicadin is it makes him throw up occasionally, adding to his weight loss.

So we discussed medical marijuana. I'm not very fond of pot, seeing that it makes good folks lazy. One of my former roommates became a pothead and it sickens me to see his high I.Q. wasted as he lives in the slums and occasionally bums money off his mother for food instead of programming at a well-known cell-phone company where he worked back when he was clean.

But for Billy Ray, what could be better? The guy has already been given a 65% chance of living. He has a broken rib. He barely has an appetitie. Give the guy some medical pot, I say. That would help alleviate the pain, give the guy his appetite back, and have less side effects than Vicadin, besides being lazy. Well, forget I mentioned the lazy thing because he's going to be at home recovering anyways, so that's not even an issue.

The other thing he and I discussed was State's Rights and the 10th Amendment. We think the Feds coming in and muscling California for its medical marijuana laws is a gross violation of the 10th.

I know there are other problems with marijuana, like it impairs judgement and shouldn't be done when operating a vehicle. Well, for the record, Billy Ray owns a bike. As much as I walk, I'm really not worried about some stoned guy on a bike hitting me. I doubt I'd even lose a hit point, considering that a stoned guy on a bike is not going to be going very fast.

Regardless, I thought the whole discussion was funny. Here was a hippie looking fellow talking about The Man screwing over working class Americans, the 10th Amendment, and medical marijuana to a guy in a suit and tie (I had just finished my interview). That's just so Northern California though.


Blogger Slade said...

Z, i miss you too sweetie!

About the marijuana...wouldn't it hurt him more to smoke it because the cancer is in his throat?

do they have a marijuana pill?
I am definitely FOR the use of medicinal marijuana.

10/25/2005 6:19 AM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

This isn't a popular belief among Christians but I think the government has it backwards concerning marijuana and alcohol.
I think there should be harsher restrictions against alcohol and less on marijuana.
It wouldn't effect me as I don't have anything to do with either one (I might have a beer or glass of wine but I really don't enjoy alcohol).
I honestly believe with a strong conviction that our prisons are filled with too many pot smokers/dealers and not enough abusive, mean, violent, deadly drunks. The statistics are overwhelming with accidents involving alcohol vs. marijuana.

10/25/2005 9:29 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"I know there are other problems with marijuana, like it impairs judgement and shouldn't be done when operating a vehicle. "

Technically this statement applies to most legal drugs as well. Painkillers, alcohol, some psychoactives too.

SLade: They don't currently have a THC pill in the US, but I believe they're working on one in Europe. But it won't be approved in the US. The reason why is that Nixon placed Marijuana in the same class of drugs as Cocaine and Heroin, and there it stays, until Congress decides otherwise. Why is this important? Because that particular class of drugs legally has "no medical value". That means the FDA cannot conduct clinical trials, federal (and state) money cannot be used for research.

I know a woman with MS and she's in a wheelchair. She takes marijuana in brownies (illegally of course) and it gives her just enough muscle control where she can actually walk on her own. No medical value? what a crock.

See MPP for more info.

10/25/2005 9:30 AM  
Blogger jenbeauty said...

I agree with Sadie...I think alcohol is far more harmful than weed.

As for you picking up hitchhikers, was that really safe?

10/25/2005 10:50 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Slade - I'm pretty sure it could be put into food as well. I take that back. I just read Laura's comments. She has the answer.

Sadie - Very well said. No arguments from me. I drink (it's official, I have a job so I'm drinking again), but I fully realize that at a party, two guys get in a fight. We all know they're drunk and not stoned.

Alcohol gives one a delusion of valor too ("I could driiive") which marijuana doesn't do.

Laura - It really bothers me how people will immediately shut off a concept. I'd mention that maybe we should research medical benefits and immediately, someone will just start ranting how "evil" pot is.

From high school and college experience, I've known drunks and stoners. None of the stoners got in fights at parties, but plenty of the drunks did.

The other thing is, it's a naturally occuring plant. A lot more naturally occuring plants than we realize have some medicinal value. I really wish we'd take what the Native Americans said about plants more seriously. I know a lot of Chinese medicine is just a mixture of different plants.

I've heard some studies that report it's helpful to glaucoma patients. And I've seen other studies that show that folks on chemo are actually eating because of marijuana, which of course helps their chances of living.

Jenbeauty - I've always had a sixth sense about hitchhikers. Been doing it for years and never had a problem, but I've passed up some hitchhikers in the past who looked like trouble.

10/25/2005 12:48 PM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I've known several hard-core pot users that became aimless and useless to society. I also agree that a lot of hard-core, irresponsible, mean drunks need to be locked up. They're a THREAT to society!
Pot definitely needs to be researched and legalized for medical purposes. As you said, a LOT of herbal remedies work better, with fewer side effects. After all, people made willow bark tea for centuries before they refined it into aspirin!
Congrats on the new job. I bet your family is thrilled!

10/25/2005 1:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Another interesting fact for you Zombie: A friend of mine does drug policy research and she's found studies that link the criminalization of certain substances (including pot) with the influx of certain types of immigrant populations and the desire to protect middle-class white women from them. I can find citations if you want them. It goes like this:

Upper/Middle class white women used opium for PMS and headaches. Influx of Chinese immigrants - uhoh.. better make it illegal or our white women will be defiled in Opium dens by the dirty Chinese.

Same thing with Mexican immigrants in the 30's and Reefer Madness...

10/25/2005 1:56 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Laura - Your friend may be right about opium. As for pot, I've heard that hemp (which is not pot, but a cousin plant) was a threat (in capitalistic terms) to wood pulp manufacturers, so they drummed up the reefer madness scare. Not sure which one, if any, are correct, but an interesting statement nonetheless.

Tshsmom - Very good analogy between "useless" and "threat." I'd rather have someone useless than a threat.

It's funny how a lot more people every year are starting to take a look at herbal remedies as medicinal solutions. I hope this trend continues. As for pot, I really would like to see more research done with it as a medicinal drug.

10/25/2005 2:18 PM  
Blogger clothosfate said...

Good to see you back Zombieslayer definitly wondered if you had disapeared into the mountains or something...

I am in agreement with most of the comments here about marijuana being less dangerous then alcohol. It makes me think of the stand-up comic, Bill Hicks, talking about how many people have been killed by marijuana... he's says emphatically "Exactly.... Zero!" Considering how many have been killed from alcohol related issues, even if the number of marijuana deaths had been some small percent, which it may be, the difference is staggering considering which one is illegal.

I have way less tolerance for someone who is drunk, then for someone who is stoned, but thats me personally. As for operating a motor vehicle... well sure marijuana will slow down your refelxes, but it will also slow down your driving, so the only danger is making the people behind you late and pissed off.

One more point, I am well aquainted with some pot smokers who are absolutly NOT lazy or unmotivated. People who have kept good, steady jobs for 25 or more years and supported a family and still managed to have a musical career as well, and I'm not talking about an occasional smoker either, but a 'chronic'. Can the same be said for alcoholics?

Overall being a pot smoker can help make a person less stressed or agitated (depending on the emotional state of the smoker that is) and not take away so much of your sense that you think you can drive when you can't even stand strait. The bigger issue about marijuana is political, not physical.

Bravo for once again bringing up tricky issues. Keep it coming my friend.

10/25/2005 2:35 PM  
Blogger Moni said...

Now see if we lived in Amsterdam we wouldn't be having this conversation. Let's all move to Amsterdam. lol **I'm kidding**

I agree with Marijuana for people in extreme pain from a debilitating illness.

They say there's no connection but, I have family members who smoked it and it has lead to other drug use. Now maybe that's just an addictive personality, or maybe it's because of the pot. I does need to be researched further.

That was so sweet of you picking up Billy Ray. It's a sad statement today that you can't give someone a ride, but be careful. You might pick up a Zombie or something! ;P

10/25/2005 3:09 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Clothosfate - Heard that same skit by Hicks, who is yet another Houston comedian who died young. What's with Houston comedians dying young?

I too know pot smokers who aren't lazy, but know some that are chronically lazy. However, that's not the point. The point is, it's their body, not mine. None of those pot smokers are robbing banks or trying to steal my VCR. Pot is a huge difference between hard drugs. Plus some studies are showing that pot does have medicinal value, whereas I'm pretty sure meth doesn't.

Moni - The big gateway to harder drugs is poor moral judgement. I strongly believe people have free will.

I believe that if you don't want your kids to do drugs, tell them why. Don't lie to them either, because kids are good at knowing when someone is lying to them.

I tell Junior about drugs by pointing out drug addicts. "See that guy? He's a meth addict. See that guy? He's a heroin junkie." Junior sees them and realizes he doesn't want to end up like that.

Like for instance, when I tell him about STDs, I'm going to have my friend who had two talk to him, not me for I've never had one. He'll hear how much it sucked having them (my friend was lucky, he just had syphillis and the clap, which were both treated, but hurt a lot in the meantime).

Nice post. If I'm not mistaken, Amsterdam has considerably less drug related crime, because it's legal and controlled.

10/25/2005 4:47 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I don't have strong feelings for or against using pot for medicinal purposes. However, as a lady, I am against picking up hitch-hikers. :-P

10/25/2005 5:55 PM  
Blogger bsoholic said...

As an ex-pot head and a current alcoholic I can safely say that even though pot is certainly not a very productive thing for most people, nor is alcohol but if it eases the pain and suffering of a cancer patient then yeah, they should be able to use it.

California is one of the only states in America with medicinal marijuana correct? Just curious on that one.

As far as drugs go pot is the least harmful - when was the last time you heard of a psychotic pot head going on a killing/robbing spree? No way, they are too busy sitting at home laughing at cartoons rather than harming people to get more money for their fix.

All and all no real point here (possibly too much pot in the past), but I thought I'd join in on the conversation. Hehehehehe.

10/25/2005 6:50 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

As far as I'm concerned, pot should be legal period. Some people will abuse it of course, just like some people, ahem, abuse alcohol. I personally like marijuana, and I rarely meet a smoker that I haven't liked, but myriad are the drunks I can't stand. Pot is peace. Simple.

10/25/2005 6:58 PM  
Blogger tenxinchoden said...

Just wanted to tell ya that where i live is totally flooded with Marijuana plants... its just eveywhere and noone really gives a shit about it... the farmers here feed it to the pigs...hawhaw
i guess you guys pay pretty good amount of dough for that.... buts its free and abumdent here... i guess that's what scarcity does... makes people want more of the things that ain't there...
and you know what!!!
"Get FREE not HIGH"

10/25/2005 8:35 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

TC - I had no idea. I bet morale in Bhutan is really high (no pun intended). Thanks for that info.

Scott - If I were an employer, I wouldn't want my employees on pot if it affects their work or the job entails working with machinery. But then again, I wouldn't want them drunk to work either.

From experience, I've never had any conflicts with a pothead. At worst, they're late to paying their share of the rent. But violently agitated, potheads do not get.

Bsoholic - I think there are others. Florida I'm almost sure is one. Not sure about Arizona and Hawaii but I think those are too. There might be a few more as well. It is California though that was first and the most adamant about medical marijuana.

Notta - Maybe it's because we're originally from the mid-west (Illinois/Wisconsin) where people help each other out. I only had a problem with a hitchhiker once. He was mentally gone. So I told him that his friend was waiting for him and dropped him off. I didn't want to deal with him.

From there, I've been more selective of who I pick up. I usually can tell from sight who's safe and who isn't. By the way, did see Billy Ray again and the poor guy had his bike stolen. That's the big crime here in Chico - bike theft.

10/25/2005 9:31 PM  
Blogger Bo Salisbury said...

I quit watching commercial television as an adult for the same reason I quit smoking pot when I was 17 or 18... it makes me lethargic, stupid and gives me a voracious appetite.

Now, when I'm in pain I find it amazing how how effective film, television or even doing some art will completely mask it. The minute I stop, the pain returns. This is a relatively new phenomena, since I've only noticed it in the past few years.

Another thing I learned is that some pain I have is constant... I just don't "notice it" any longer. Cancer is different, though.

I thank God I live here and many options.

10/25/2005 10:43 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/25/2005 11:27 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I always wish I wasn't a girl when I see hitch hikers. I would always give them a ride, but I'm too scared.


10/25/2005 11:27 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Actually, if anything, the DARE method of drug education has made pot more of a gateway drug than ever. All drugs are equally bad, kids. They'll all kill you, drive you mad, get you locked up...

[kid tries pot]

That wasn't so bad. It didn't effect me like they said it would, so they must have lied. [kid lured into trying heroin without knowing that it IS different and IS more dangerous]...

Harm reduction is the only real way to teach people about drugs. ABOUT being the operative words. Simply saying "Just say no" isn't enough. That's how you get kids in the Chicago suburbs getting hooked on heroin because they were never given all the facts and a rumor spread that if you smoke it, it's not addictive. Kids aren't stupid, they can handle the information - but they need to know the real facts, not just scare tactics.

10/26/2005 4:43 AM  
Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I agree that this is definately a gray area. But if it's for medical use, I don't see why it can't be an option. There are many more addictive drugs that are legal. If that's all it would take, it would be fine with me. I do think that Slade has a point, though. Smoking might irritate his throat. But smoking it creates the most powerful delivery.

Contrary to what Laura said, I believe that the THC pill is available. I had a friend who was dying of kidney disease who used it.

10/26/2005 5:23 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Zombie - I agree, on the job pot would be an absolute disaster. I tried it once applying cedar siding. I became fascinated with the patterns of age lines through the wood.

10/26/2005 5:56 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

ZS - I grew up in a relatively safe town, too. However, when I was growing up, Fred Coe and Ted Bundy were around WA state and I was scared. When I was not quite a teenager, I read a book about Fred Coe (the south hill rapist), and it scared the shit out of me. That's why I don't pick up hitchhikers. :-P

10/26/2005 6:25 AM  
Blogger Raemius said...

Legal Mary J is a huge debate in Canada right now. Doesn't really matter much to me, I don't even drink. The way I see it, those that are going to abuse something could just as easily abuse alcohol, gasoline fumes, or cough syrup. I'm not convinced that marijuana is more harmful than alcohol.

I snowboard alot, and it always amazes me that guys will smoke a joint on the lift, and then easily traverse a black diamond run. I'm not sure if they could do it drunk.

BTW, good to hear from you.

10/26/2005 6:47 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Raemius - Well said. Some people will get addicted to anything. I just think with addictive personalities, pot is safer for us if our neighbor got addicted to it than something like crank or coke.

Notta - And wasn't the Green River killer in that area too? What's with psychopaths and WA state?

Scott - Funny story. A former co-worker was telling me about how he came to work completely stoned one day. Thought he was coding some awesome work and it took the next few days to clean up the mess he made. This was long before versioning software was commonly in use.

Saurkraut - Yeah, I'm thinking I heard about it in pill form too. Maybe it's not available in some states.

Laura - Well said. When you tell a kid that pot will kill you, he tries it once and lives, how is he going to believe you in the future? Honesty is the best policy. What I do is show Junior real life addicts. We have plenty of them sitting around doing nothing and looking like crap.

I'm honest about it too. He asks why they'd do a drug if it does that to them and I tell him that the first few times were really fun. Then I play him Guns and Roses' "Mr. Brownstone." Remember the lines?

I used to do a little but a little wouldn't do it so a little got more and more.
I just keep trying to get a little better say a little better than before.

It eventually takes more and more until the person is addicted.

Jenn - I really did wish we lived in a safer world. That's reality though. It's too bad.

Bo - As far as medicine is concerned, we're far better off today than any other time in history. It's not common today for folks to die of pneumonia. It happens, but it's rare in countries with money.

As for cancer, cancer used to be a death sentence. Nowadays, if you find it in time, it's often curable. We are fortunate.

As for pot, yeah, several of my friends who smoke it too much are overweight from eating crap all day, like chips and ice cream. And my former roommate was one of the best programmers I've ever known. Now he has no incentive to do anything because he smokes pot all day.

But like I've always said, adults are adults. I don't believe in policing adults who do harm to themselves. If he were to smoke pot and rob a bank, then I have an issue. But folks on pot rarely do violent things like that, like they do on other drugs (including booze).

10/26/2005 10:33 AM  
Blogger Liquidplastic said...

Zombie you had a most interesting ride. Glad to see you getting what you desire job wise.

But darn it! Once again my personal issues have made me late to join in the discussion, and everyone has said what I wanted to say! Laura especially! Oh well, it feels good to know that I am not alone in these thoughts.

I'll just add this. The old folks in the Mississippi Delta used marijuana all the times (as a tea, salve, etc.) they called it "rabbit grass". It wasn't until 15 years ago that I made the connection. (I felt so stupid) Rabbit grass was and is used for everything from cramps to morning sickness, and no one has killed anyone from its use. Like you said, it tends to slow down your reflects, and for men, it doesn’t help them in the "hard-on" department. If this is the case, we should be testing it out on sex offender!

As you know, anything the government can't control or tax, will not be consider no matter how good it is for us. That’s my 2 cent and I am sticking with it.

10/26/2005 11:13 AM  
Anonymous melanie said...

Zombie and Notta-
Back in the mid-80's my hubby and I lived in a cute little rental with our first-born, (he's 19 now) on the South hill up in Spokane. Funny thing was, it was the home Kevin Coe had lived in while he was doing all his horrible and disgusting deeds with those oven mitts. Being a native of No. Calif., I'd never heard of him up to that point, and wasn't too bothered by it. (After all, the house was pretty nice, and the rent reasonable.) Later I read the biography about him called "Son," and couldn't wait to move. What a sick-o.

10/26/2005 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

My apoligies-that last comment had absolutley nada to do with medical marijuana.

10/26/2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

ZS, yeah, Green River killer was around, but he was on the opposite side of the state from me. Or so I thought. Turns out one of the serial killers was a husband from Spokane. :-/ I blame Hanford and screwball mothers (as in Fred Coe's case).

10/26/2005 11:50 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Melanie, I read "Son" when I was young. My mother let me - I think it was so that I WOULD get scared and be more careful and less trusting. It worked.

ZS - sorry for hijacking the marijuana thread. :-P

10/26/2005 11:53 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Sure weed can be abused.
Coffee, candy, canned air, spray paint, sharpie markers can be abused.

But Weed can be useful. For nausea, glaucoma, etc. Hemp can be useful in even MORE ways.

NOT using marijuana in all its forms is a waste of a perfectly good natural, sustainable resource.

Hell, we should legalize it not for medicinal purposes, but for INDUSTRIAL purposes.

As far as abusing it as a recreational drug goes: It SHOULD be used recreationally. Like alcohol, coffee, viagra etc. Moderation is key.
ABUSE of ANY drug is bad.

Discriminating against stoners is just bad manners. All they want is a freaking glass of water and a damn cookie. ...

10/26/2005 1:05 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Joe - Yup. That's why I say let adults do what they want to do, as long as they're not bothering anyone else.

Hemp is an entirely different issue. Since there is no drug related to it (hemp and pot are just cousins), it really needs to be legalized outright. We'd save a lot of trees by legalizing hemp. Plus, hemp paper uses a lot less processing than wood pulp and takes less land and less water. Actually, I should really do that as a future post.

Notta and Melanie - No problem. Actually, I find the whole thing interesting because I knew very little about them. I'll see what has to say about them. They usually do a good job of writing a good summary.

LP - Interesting to see "old" uses of it. I wouldn't be surprised if the Native Americans had a hand in teaching the American folks as the Mississippi Delta about those medical uses.

As for the gov't, this is a horrible waste of an opportunity to make some tax money. Imagine all the pot consumed and tax money wasted by it being illegal. It really doesn't bother me a bit if adults do it, because as I've said, I've never had problems with pot smokers. But I've had bad problems with meth addicts and remember many times in my childhood of drunk relatives ruining a good family gathering.

10/26/2005 6:08 PM  

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