Got into a heated discussion about medical marijuana with someone today. Their stance was that most people who get access to medical marijuana are just looking to get high, while my position was that he was probably right, but that there are many people who benefit from it.
We ended the discussion agreeing to disagree and each admitting that the other had a point. Afterwards, I continued to think about the issue, and I had an idea.
The main objection I've seen to medical marijuana was what my friend said: A lot of people abuse the possibly legitimate utilization of marijuana as medicine for a discreet set of medical conditions because they want to get high. It's a running joke among people I know in California that going to a doctor and claiming that sometimes life stresses you out is a one way ticket to a prescription for Northern California Bliss. There also seems to be the feeling that these systems of legalized use of marijuana are the camel's nose under the tent flap towards normalization and legalization of other drugs such as cocaine and heroine. If you can use weed to get rid of migraines, can't you use Bolivian marching powder to lose weight or smack to get through those really tough periods in life?
My take on it is that a method of using cannabis to alleviate the suffering of truly sick people needs to be found. Cancer patients, AIDS sufferers, and others can benefit from THC. But I do agree that many people utilize medical marijuana dispensaries as their connection to a good buzz and nothing more.
So to those of you who don't agree with the idea of medical marijuana, would you be OK with pharmacies dispensing THC in some pharmaceutical form such as pills, lozenges, or skin patches? These are already used to dispense opiates to patients for pain control, so why not have them available, with a prescription, for those who currently utilize marijuana for medical conditions. Heck, we gave prescription caffeine and nicotine to Little Bear when he was an infant to keep his heartrate up. Ah, the joys of raising an extremely premature child. People who would scream if we were to give an infant a dip of chewing tobacco and a Mountain Dew didn't bat an eye as we mixed the evil stuff into his morning formula.
My point is that if cannabis has therapeutic uses, then we should exploit them. If the current model of a dispensary selling weed, cookies, and lollipops is distasteful to most people, who not let pharmaceutical companies separate out the active ingredients, find a way to deliver it to patients that is as effective as smoking or eating it, and deliver it through existing pharmacy channels?
I'm not going to debate the legalization of marijuana from a libertarian standpoint. I object to the government telling me I can't do something to my own body so long as I don't harm others while doing it, even if it's something I wouldn't do even if it was legal. I'm looking at the middle ground where a drug like THC could be legally used by those who could be helped by it in a way that doesn't make people have visions of Haight-Ashbury.
Please let me know what y'all think in comments.