In Search of the Holy Grail

In popular culture, the term “the holy grail” is often used to describe the ultimate object of desire. You might consider the idea of a non-addictive pain-killer that could be used after surgery or to quell arthritis pain as one ‘holy grail’ of medicine. The drug companies have been more than willing to take part in this particular quest—oxycontin was one example of a failed quest for the holy grail of medicine. Now marijuana is being touted as the new solution to chronic pain and a number of other medical conditions. However, some doctors and researchers are not yet convinced.

The May Issue of the AARP Bulletin includes an article on medical marijuana. The article notes that medical marijuana is legal in 38 states. The market for marijuana gummies has exploded. The article cites one example of an 89-year-old woman in Maryland who started a cannabis club at Leisure World, her retirement community. She sells edibles and gummies. In the article she notes that gummies can be dangerous in older adults.

The article notes that last year the percentage of people purchasing chewable marijuana surpassed the percentage of people buying smokable marijuana. Since smoking tobacco has become socially unacceptable, it makes sense that marijuana gummies would become more popular than smoking marijuana.

The article mentions that marijuana can help with chronic pain and sleep and anxiety problems. However, the article also notes that marijuana does not seem to help with short-term pain.

There is also the danger of the delayed effect of eating gummies—it takes two or three hours to feel the full effect, so it is easy to take too many. In 2023 a study found that emergency room visits for marijuana-related problems increased 1,808 percent among people 65 and over in California from 2005 to 2019. It has also been discovered that mental problems and heart problems were more common among those who used marijuana edibles than those who smoked or vaped marijuana.

The article in the AARP Bulletin concludes, “…at Leisure World Cannabis 101 Club, Carminetta Verner is very cautious about spreading the gummy gospel. She recommends that new users keep a detailed journal of what they take, as well as the results, to see whether a gummy, or anything else, helps or has side effects. “Each person’s metabolism is different, and you have to learn how your body reacts,” she says. “The cannabis mantra is ‘start low and go slow.’””

The May 2024 issue of Newsmax Magazine also included an article about marijuana. The article cited a Danish study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Psychiatry (JAMA) last year.

The article in Newsmax states that between 1995 and 2010 the percentage of Danish schizophrenia diagnoses associated with marijuana usage had nearly quadrupled, and the combination of greater usage with stronger pot is bringing down the age of first onset of mental illness. Someone who might have gotten into their late 20’s without a psychotic episode could now be faced with their first break with reality while still in their teens. The article at Newsmax concludes by stating that marijuana can make treating mental illness more difficult and can throw a person’s life off course before it has a chance to get on course. It also mentions that the marijuana of today is stronger and more addictive than the marijuana than the marijuana of the 1960’s. Neither article referenced above is willing to describe marijuana as a harmless drug.

 

Those Who Fail To Learn The Lessons Of History…

The North Carolina legislature is currently debating the legalization of medical marijuana. There are some medical benefits to marijuana, but we also need to consider the downside. There are some medical benefits to Oxycontin, but we know how that worked out. Remember, we were told that Oxycontin was the answer to pain that was non-addictive and safe. We are being told the same thing about marijuana. One problem with medical marijuana is the regulation (or lack of regulation). During a visit to California many years ago, when medical marijuana was legal and recreational marijuana was not, the last five pages of the Sunday paper were ads by doctors who would prescribe medical marijuana for anything from ingrown toenails to broken bones. We should also be aware that laws permitting recreational marijuana use are a small step from laws permitting medical use.

A member of the Craven County Sheriff’s office informed me that a recent event in the County brought the perils of legal marijuana to the attention of our Sheriff’s Office. A package was intercepted in the Craven County mail that contained marijuana. The package came from Josephine County, Oregon, where recreational marijuana is legal. Josephine County in 2021 had a population of approximately 88,000 people.

A website called crimegrade.org reported the following about Josephine County:

Another site comments that the crime rate in Josephine County is steadily rising. So, what has been the impact of legalized marijuana on this county? The cartels have come in to buy the land to grow more marijuana. Sixty-six percent of the land is forest, and that land is being viewed as a potential source of revenue as marijuana fields. People are being forced to sell their land to the cartels or face dire consequences. There has also been an increase in arrests for driving while impaired and an increase in automobile accidents. I have heard from various law and order sources that marijuana is indeed a gateway drug. Addicts begin experimenting with other drugs in order to find a ‘higher high.’

A member of the K-9 Unit in Craven County shared some information about the impact of legalizing marijuana on the unit’s drug dogs. If marijuana becomes legal, the dogs have to be retrained not to sniff it out and/or be retired. That is expensive, time-consuming, and a difficult process. It could also have legal ramifications–a defense attorney could claim that the dog smelled marijuana, not an opiate, and the search of the vehicle or person that followed was not legal. The result of this is that police departments and sheriff’s offices that have dogs trained to sniff out marijuana are generally retiring the dogs. Since the cost of replacing a dog is between $9,000 and $15,000 per dog, they are rarely replaced. That alone will increase the amount of drug traffic in an area. It is also highly unlikely that the increased tax money from marijuana will be used to replace the dogs (as we have learned from the other states with the same issues that legalizing marijuana has caused).

When we talk about legalizing marijuana, we also need to think about the people we are ‘competing’ with for the money involved–the cartels. In California and Colorado, the state taxes on marijuana increased so rapidly that the cartels moved back into the picture. In June 2020 I posted an article at rightwinggranny about the cartels moving back into California because the state taxes on marijuana had increased so dramatically (article here:  https://www.rightwinggranny.com/?p=39161). The cartels are not nice people. They bring more crime into an area. We also need to think about the risks to police when cartels are active in an area. Consider the fact that a small amount of drugs may be worth thousands of dollars. The mule carrying those drugs knows that if he does not give the money for those drugs to his boss, he may lose his life. The stakes are high, and police and others lose their lives in the process. This is one of the more serious results of legal marijuana and the tax policies that follow.

Medical marijuana sounds like a reasonable solution, but it is actually the beginning of many more problems.

A Man Who Is Making A Difference

Worcester County Massachusetts Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelides was elected to office in 2010. After learning that roughly 90 percent of the 1,100 inmates at the Worcester County Jail got there because of drug and alcohol addiction, Sheriff Evangelides began the Face2Face program to help prevent substance abuse. Over the past three years this program has allowed 100,000 students in Central Massachusetts  to see the physical effects and hear a debunking of the myths of opioids, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs.

The Telegram & Gazette posted an article yesterday about the Face2Face program.

The article reports:

Mr. Evangelides told the students that they were members of “Generation Rx,” reflecting the rapid growth in abuse of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin over the last decade. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2010 nearly as many youths tried prescription painkillers for the first time as tried marijuana.

Instead of the bring-your-own-bottle drinking parties of many middle-aged parents’ youth, high school and middle school students today go to “Skittle parties,” where they bring pills they’ve procured from medicine cabinets, Mr. Evangelides said. The practice is also known as “pharming” or “trail mixing.”

“Young people don’t even think they’re real drugs and they’ll send you to places you wouldn’t dream you’d go,” Mr. Evangelides said, as he showed video footage of the 24/7 monitoring and lack of amenities such as toilet seats that jail inmates live with.

“None of you are thinking that if you pop a Perc or an Oxy or Vicodin, you’d end up addicted,” he continued. “No one is going to offer you that Oxy and tell you, after a while you’re going to need three, six, 10 (pills), and 80 milligrams of Oxy costs $80 … and a bag of heroin is cheaper than a six-pack. You go right from that pill to that needle.”

He also exploded myths about popular club drugs such as “Molly,” a supposedly pure form of Ecstasy. Citing two deaths in one week last year of New Hampshire students who overdosed on the drug, Mr. Evangelides said, “There is no such thing as a safe dose of Molly.”

Even marijuana, which many baby boomer parents consider relatively safe, causes brain, behavioral and physical damage similar to that caused by alcohol and other drugs.

Police Chief Alan Gordon said before the program: “We have a heroin problem. We have opiates. We just did a drug search here last week and had two hits of marijuana. We’ve had overdoses.

The medical benefits of marijuana can be obtained in ways other than smoking it. The move toward legalization is a smokescreen and will have a seriously negative impact on our children and teenagers. If you believe that we need to legalize medical marijuana, take a look at the advertisements in the Sunday papers in California which promote doctors who will write prescriptions for the drug for anything from headaches to lack of appetite.

Thank God for public servants such as Sheriff Evangelides who are willing to tell our children the truth about marijuana and other seemingly harmless drugs and to show them the results of recreational drug use.

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