I have muscle spasms caused by my spinal cord injury. The primary treatment for these spasms that can be quite painful and debilitating is to take a drug called baclofen or similar drugs. These drugs all have the same affect of reducing the spasms, but causing atrophy in the muscles that the spasms occur in. I have been taking baclofen for 23 years in the same, small dose. My spasms have increased gradually to sometimes becoming quite painful and even violent, like a grand mal seizure. My legs are most affected, but they have retained their muscle tone even without use, thanks to the spasms and the low dose of baclofen I'm taking.
However, some people cannot tolerate the pain and violence of their spasms even with a baclofen pump in their spinal column and need something stronger to control them. I have read that the next treatment beyond baclofen is marijuana, and, if that does not work, opiates. I've also read that those of us that need these drugs do not become addicted like those who use drugs for recreation. I have no proof, one way or another, whether this is true . But it is an interesting concept. I have been told that if I stop taking baclofen without gradually reducing the dose, I could suffer severe consequences as a result (withdrawal?).
I stopped smoking when I was seven and never drank beer after taking swigs from my father when I was five or six. I have found wine and liquor to be tasty, but always drink mixed drinks in moderation with the slight relaxing feeling that it brings. Never saw any point in getting stupid drunk. Because I didn't smoke, I always turned down offers of a toke on a marijuana cigarette passed around. I may have breathed secondhand marijuana smoke in some of the places I was in during the 60s. The only time I recall experiencing the effects of marijuana was when a drug using student came to my wine party with brownies and I felt a strange feeling after eating a couple of them.
Which brings me to my reason for writing this essay. We all know that marijuana is a mind-altering drug. And there are a lot of mind-altering drugs. Most of them are naturally produced in plants and have been used by primitive cultures for medicinal and religious purposes since before recorded history. Some have been chemically synthesized and have become modern prescription medicines and designer drugs.
While many natural substances have been attributed to the influence of the devil, it is only in recent times that laws have been passed to make certain drugs illegal. For example, marijuana and opium wih all of its derivatives were perfectly legal until the 20th century when religious zealots declared them as evil and in need of being made "illegal" by laws. The classic case of this was the prohibition of alcohol and the pain and suffering that brought to the United States of America as a result.
Lawmakers should have learned their lesson from alcohol prohibition, but they haven't. We now have layers of laws regarding substances of all kinds with severe penalties for "dangerous" drugs and the production and selling of them. Like with alcohol, these actions and the so-called "wars on drugs" haven't worked and have caused tremendous pain and suffering, not to mention the cost to the country because of self righteous determination that drugs are "bad for us" and need to be controlled.
As a result, our prisons are filled with people who were trying to make a living through the drug trade because they had no other opportunity. And the drug trade keeps shifting with the times and with the whim of young people who’s tastes drive it, ruining lives and costing a great deal. It is time to learn from prohibition and make all drugs legal, some sold by prescription and all of them taxed at the local drugstore. If that happens we can all have a great big sigh of relief with a horrendous burden out of the way.
I'm not saying that people will not overindulge and ruin their lives. They will. But we cannot legislate morality and should stop trying to do so. We certainly can regulate drugs and make sure that they do not do harm other than their normal effects. But we should at least make them legally available to those that need them for medical purposes.
Which leads me to "medical" marijuana. I understand that it is the latest thing in California with many stores opening up offering medical marijuana. I think of this as the ultimate in hypocrisy. While people like me and perhaps many others with conditions that marijuana can alleviate, may have to do "illegal things" to get our prescribed marijuana doses, the vast majority of recreational users are suddenly claiming that they are in need of their "medicine."
I much prefer the approach taken in Colorado. But even there, I sense an over dependence on the "medical" properties of the weed rather than just plain getting high (or is it getting low and hungry?) while doing your usual thing.
The United States grows the best marijuana. We probably grow the best poppies and mushrooms. Our labs synthesize the best designer drugs. If we make all of these substances legal, regulate them like alcohol, and tax them, our economy would be much better off and, I believe, that usage would decline greatly without the "thrill" of spending way too much for the ‘danger” of illegal activity. The cartels smuggling tons of contraband into the country from who knows where for US dollars would collapse overnight. So it makes me wonder why legalization of drugs is taking so long. Perhaps it is because the "powers that be" who are getting their cut of the action are reluctant to lose it.
So to all of you out there who have your favorite poison (and I know what mine is), if you are yearning to be free, I suggest that you stop lying about your need for your "medicine" and vote for those who will repeal all the laws putting so many people in prison for victimless crimes and find yourself in high heaven.
Copyright 2015 © Ronald W. Hull