MEDICAL MARIJUANA EXHIBIT A
Confessions Of An Old Hippie Pothead
Story & Photos by Ed Heffelfinger (a.k.a. Pot Ed)
Fifty seven percent and you lose? How is that possible? I've been following Florida's Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical marijuana for sometime. I really thought it had a great chance of passing but it's hard to overcome that super majority rule. I was hoping and praying. I've got friends in Florida that would benefit greatly from passage. But you sure came close and I'll betcha medical marijuana is coming to Florida sooner than later. The door is open. It's only a matter of time. Maybe the Florida State Legislature will see the light and...nah, never mind. Do it again in 2016 and it'll pass.
We Californians were the first to legalize medical marijuana with Proposition 215 back in 1996. It too was a tough fight, won by a slim margin after failing on the ballot in 1994. I was very active working in the Prop. 215 campaign. I collected signatures to get it on the state ballot. I put up signs, handed out fliers, made several campaign videos and TV spots and worked to get out the vote. I cried with tears of joy when Prop. 215 passed and became the law of the land. Medical marijuana is an issue that's very close to my heart. I care deeply for the movement. You see, I'm a pothead.
Yeah, that's me (and if you've read my stuff, you already knew). I've been called a pothead by so many folks over the years that I'm starting to like the label. Kinda like a badge of honor or something. I don't make any bones about it with folks. I don't care who knows. I consume marijuana. I smoke it, vape it, eat it and use it topically on my skin. Marijuana is my medicine and it has been for a good part of my life.
No handcuffs in this house though. Nope, I'm totally legal. Harvest season in Northern California's Emerald Triangle just concluded. So, I've got just over a pound of fresh buds sitting on the shelf in my pantry. I've got six different strains I use for various things. I've got some homemade oil and tincture I take internally and use topically. I've got keef for cooking. All legal in the state of California with my handy dandy Compassionate Health Medical Cannabis ID card issued by my doctor. Yeah, I know, blows my mind too. I never thought I'd live to see the day. But, there it is and it's been a Godsend for me.
Once a year, I go to a specialized marijuana doctor who checks me out and goes over my medical history. Once he determines that I'm qualified to use marijuana for medicine, we discuss how I should use it. He then signs a doctor's recommendation, I pay my $95, get my new pot ID card and I'm off. It hasn't always been this easy. I should know, I've been using marijuana as serious, real deal medicine for much of the last twenty five years.
I smoked my first joint when I was 16 or maybe 17. My girlfriend's girlfriend handed me my very first joint and I was off and running. At 19, I was a soldier stationed in Europe and the hash was good. But, by the time I was in my early 20's, I had slowed way down and finally quit. Oh, I was a bit of a social toker at times, for sure. Come on...You go to a Neil Young concert or a Springsteen show and you just have to light up. However, I did finally quit for good. It might have had something to do with living in Texas and five years in prison for one joint...there's a word for that, paranoia. Didn't smoke for years.
In 1986, I was back home in Cali. I was the manager of a Radio Shack store in Sacramento. I got the snot beat out of me one morning during an armed robbery gone bad. I came THAT close to eating a bullet but fought them off and saved my butt, but at the expense of a massive bump on my head and a serious spinal injury. A few months, several doctors and a nine hour surgery later, I was flat on my back in bed popping pain pills every four hours. For the first couple of months after the surgery it was Oxycodone. Then they switched me to massive amounts of ibuprofen for the pain and Soma muscle relaxers. After a month or so, the ibuprofen was burning my stomach lining so they switched me back to the Oxy. After six months or so, I'm in physical rehab and healing. The pain is better but not gone. Not by a long shot. The doctor puts me back on Vicodin (my pain killer of choice BEFORE the surgery). At the one year mark, I'm as healed as I'm ever going to be. The pain's moderate and I'm down to just a couple of Vicodin a day. It's time to go see my doctor for our final followup appointment.
Now, I've gotta tell you. I had the utmost respect for my doctor. He was a leading neurosurgeon with many years of experience. Radio Shack paid for everything and they got the best. He knew his stuff.
He sat me down and told me this would be our last get together. He said we needed to have a little heart to heart chat about pain. My concern was all the narcotics I was taking. I didn't want to end up in the Betty Ford Clinic or something. He told me he had fixed me, not healed me. He said the pain would never go away totally and I would probably be on SOME KIND of pain killers for the rest of my life (man oh man, was he right on). He explained the how's and the why's and the dos and the don'ts of my chronic pain. Eat better, exercise more and be careful of the narcotics. Oh, and one more thing. He asked me if I smoked pot. I'm sure my jaw dropped. I was a bit shocked at the question. I'd known him for a couple of years and the subject had never come up. I told him I used to, a long time ago. He said I should think about smoking pot again.
The doctor was laughing a bit as he watched me pick my jaw up, off the floor. Now I was laughing when I asked him if I heard him right. Over the next hour or so, my renowned neurosurgeon, a pillar of the medical community, straighter than straight, went on and on about the benefits of medical pot. I was totally astonished. Blown away is more like it. He explained to me that cannabis was the number one medicine in the world in the early 20th Century. His Grandfather had been a doctor and prescribed cannabis for most everything, especially pain. It was the pharmaceutical companies that demonized marijuana so they could push their opioid pain relievers. He told me my pain level would level off for ten years or so, but with age would worsen (so right on). He said I could do Vicodin forever or use marijuana for much of the same effect. It was an epiphany for me. No, he didn't open up his desk and hand me samples. He just handed me some solid advice and info that I know now, probably saved my life. Doc and I said our goodbyes and I went on my enlightened way. I should note here that years later I found out that some of his colleagues called him The Pot Doctor and he lost his license over it a year before California legalized his actions.
It didn't take me long to realize there were some major problems with all this new enlightenment. First and foremost, marijuana, medical or otherwise was still very much illegal. We were years away from new laws. The medical marijuana movement in America was in its infancy. I had a wife and a kid and was starting a new video business. I had to be cool. I had to find the RIGHT kind of pot for my condition. Green, with high THC content was necessary for pain relief. That was somewhat hard to find back in those early days. The Mex, brown pressed crud most folks had was zero percent effective as medicine. And when you could find the good stuff, the price was sky high. A couple of weeks after my chat with the doc, I found the right stuff and paid $400 for an ounce. It did a pretty good job on my pain, almost as good as the Vicodin and a helluva lot better for me. I was sold on marijuana as medicine but I wasn't sold on the cost. That ounce lasted me a month, maybe five weeks. $400 a month? I can't afford that! The insurance company made sure I always had Vicodin and they were free. Sooooo...
My Momma didn't raise no fool. I knew then that Vicodin was bad news if I ever got into it too much and I was real real careful (this was years before there was House M.D. On TV). As luck would have it, that better diet and more exercise seemed to do the trick and my pain levels went way down. My need for pain relief subsided. I let my Vicodin prescription expire. I smoked an occasional joint or took an occasional over the counter pill if I was hurting. Overall, I was doing pretty good. I was pretty healthy again. I was busy as my video business took off and the bucks were coming in again. Every once and a while the back pain would flare up, but now I could afford to keep a little bit of the good stuff around. A couple of hits on my pipe and the flare up would almost immediately die down.
When I wasn't busy with my video, I kept myself busy learning everything I could about medical marijuana. I was a sponge for info about all things medical pot. This was the early 90's. No internet, so it was newspapers and magazines and books. At the same time, the medical marijuana movement was beginning in California. All of a sudden, lots of folks were talking about it. It wasn't in the shadows anymore. The information was starting to trickle out. I started taking my camera with me when I talked to the experts and producing my MMJ videos. I was part of the movement.
Sure enough, in the late 90's, ten years or so after the surgery, Doc's prophecy came true. My pain levels went thru the roof at times, again. Something was going on with my back. Sure enough, my new doctor ran his tests and found scar tissue around a nerve bundle in my lower back. The location of the scar tissue made surgery impossible, so they sent me on my way with a life time subscription for Vicodin and physical therapy and etc, etc, etc. Frig! I'm doing the pill thing again! And I did, for awhile. I had a thriving business doing incredible video and TV in Nashville and all over the West Coast. I had to keep working and bringing in the bucks. But pain sucks and the pills were easy.
There was a huge difference this time around, though. Medical marijuana was now legal in California, sort of. The law said you could use pot if you had a doctor's recommendation. But, it was hard to find a doctor who would sign a piece of paper saying it was okay to use an herb outlawed by federal law. You see, the Feds were pretty pissed off that California had gone ahead and thrown a giant wrench in the gears of their tremendously successful War On Drugs and were busting California doctors, left and right. Not only that, but local law enforcement types wouldn't follow the new law. Most California cop shops said they'd only follow Federal law. Arrests continued (courts have overturned much of that and things have really changed, but more about that later).
But things WERE looser and different. There was much more information available about MMJ. Attitudes and minds were changing. Reefer madness was becoming a joke. There was valuable research being done in the field. There were brand new kinds of marijuana, new strains being developed for specific medicine. Europe, Israel and Canada were and still are leading the way in incredible discoveries about the healing powers of marijuana. All of this knowledge was now being harvested in California and the movement was spreading all over the country.
Hey, pot was cheaper too. That $400 ounce of bud was now $200 and you had a variety to serve your needs. It still wasn't cool for me to talk to my doctor about MMJ. So when I started refusing his Vicodin scripts, he was a bit puzzled. The pain was still there and it was a real mofo at times, but I was off the pills. A tote here, a tote there for the little pains and a cookie or brownie for the five alarm agony. That's all I needed anymore.
What drove that point home for me was a gig I did back around that time. I got a call hiring me to fly out to Louisville and produce a video shoot at the annual Farm Aid Concert. Five person crew. Me shooting hand held video of Willie and Neil Young and a stage full of stars. Doing interviews and somebody's paying me to do this. Holy cow, what a huge gig. I was jazzed.
So, I fly out to Louisville and meet up with my crew, who are all old friends. I packed a couple of ounces of some rather incredible bud in my suitcase. I was planning on having a fabulous, pain free time and my buddies would dig it too (this was before TSA and the massive security, Thank God). I flew in a day early. We had to be on location the next morning at 8 am. That evening I was playing with my friend's grandkids. I was screwing around and fell hard on my right shoulder. I felt the raging pain immediately and knew I had done something drastic. I was in a state of agony and my friends were freaking out. It was 9 pm and everybody's thinking was to get me to the emergency room, fast.
No friggin' way, oh, hell no! I'm not going to the ER and take the chance of missing this gig, missing Farm Aid. No way that's gonna happen. This was the gig of a lifetime, screw that and the crew knew they had to agree. If I'm done, they're done. The pain subsided a bit in a few minutes but it still hurt bad when I moved my arm. I filled a pipe and smoked some medicine and that gave me some relief. I put my arm in a sling, sat down, caught my breath and gave it some thought. The next day started at 8 am and it would be well after midnight before we'd be done. No pharmaceuticals, only a couple of ounces of bud. How was I going to pull this off? I was the shooter, the cameraman, as well as the producer. How could I carry a 22 pound camera on THAT shoulder for sixteen hours that next day? Why am I the idiot that did this to himself? Why am I talking to myself?
It WAS really good pot. The best medicine I'd had in ages and I was feeling better. I had a pretty good idea what to do. I sent one of my buddies to the grocery store to pick up a couple of boxes of brownie mix and a pound of pure butter. We cooked by committee. I took most of the two ounces of bud and put it in a blender, turning it to powder. I melted the butter, added the powdered pot and a bit of water and let it simmer till midnight. I'm sure many of you know the drill. We whipped up a killer, double batch of incredibly potent pot brownies. That was my medicine at Farm Aid. Ate most of them during the course of the day and long story short, (yeah, yeah I know, but I love telling this story) I made it thru the day and got incredible stuff. Sure, I was totally, incredibly, criminally loaded all day and I don't really remember all that much. But I have the pictures and the video and the kickass digital soundtrack I did that came out awesome. The crew and I were on cloud 9. The client was elated with our work and we got paid with bonus as I recall. So I guess I was okay. I went to the doctor when I got back home and I had a hairline fracture on my collarbone and strained this and that. He offered me Oxy and was surprised when I told him no. Stuff works, nuff said.
I stayed pill free for several years. Oh, the pain was still there. Getting worse, as a matter of fact. I went to a couple of doctors who ran their tests and told me the same thing. Your insurance is slow paying us, we take cash and here, have some pills. Pain pills. muscle relaxer pills. stomach pills.
No, thanks. Don't need them. By this time, I was connected to folks in the MMJ field and always had access to my kind of medicine. I also found if I kept busy, I didn't notice the pain as much. If I sat on my butt, my body would tell me about it. So I stayed busy building up my business. It hurt like the Dickens everyday but regardless, I could fix it. I could effectively control my chronic pain on my own. It ceased to be a big problem. That is until I got the call to go work in China.
In 2002, my China odyssey began. A producer from Carmel hired me to travel to China to film a documentary for PBS. He needed me on the plane in two weeks time. So, I had to hustle up and get a new passport and then go to the Chinese embassy in San Francisco and get the first of what would be many visas to enter China. I also had to go see my doctor and get a script for pain pills. I had no choice. I had to take some kind of medicine with me and I certainly wasn't going to bring pot along, not to China. They have a whole different attitude on pot. An ounce will get you ten years. Two ounces will get you executed (it's changed a wee bit in the past few years but in 2002 it was a toughie).
It was an amazing journey and the project was a great success. It was a tough three weeks with sixteen hour days and a lot of miles on our bodies. The jet lag was a mother. I was popping a lot of pills so my body could keep up, three or four a day and I didn't dig it.
As soon as we got home, I put the Vicodin in the drawer and pulled out the pipe. All was back to normal, almost. Our film was so successful, they asked us to do it again. We were going back to China in a couple of months and make another one.
Same routine again this time except it was a much tougher shoot. We followed a group of twenty five young dancers as they traveled around China on tour doing nightly shows. This time I was directing as well and shooting the gig. It was go go go, city after city. It went like this. Wake up at 5:30 am for an 8 am flight to a new city. Arrive and by 11, we're on a tour bus and they're showing us the sights. At the hotel by 5 pm to get ready for the big show. Leave for the concert hall at 6:30 for an 8 o clock performance. Great show, VIP party till 11. Then back in your hotel room maybe by midnight. Film it all. Charge batteries, go to bed and repeat in the morning. Yep, pain level ten, popped a lot of pills on that gig. Now you know why rock stars do drugs.
In spite of all that, both trips were life changing experiences for me. I fell in love with China. I made some wonderful connections that were going to open doors for me. I began to toy with the idea of returning to China on my own, on my terms. It was time to slow down the pace a bit. I was getting older. Recovery time was getting longer. No more chasing rock stars and dance kids around on tour with cameras around my neck and on my shoulder. I'd done it for thirty years. It's a young man's game. A young man with a good back. It was time for a change.
It took almost a year to brew. One of my new found Chinese friends called me to see if I'd be interested in moving to China, to live and work there. His friend was a Dean of Cultural Studies at a major Chinese university in Zhengzhou and was looking for an American to teach American Culture. Four months later, I'm standing in a classroom with fifty Chinese teenagers listening to my lecture about The Beatles and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
I jumped right into it. It was a monstrous decision to say goodbye and move lock, stock and barrel to a new world. A major issue in that decision was my back and my pain management. No pot in China. Are you kidding? No way that's happening. So, if I do move to China, I'm back on pain pills for good. That was a huge issue in my mind. But the opportunity to explore a new world and culture, cameras in hand was too much to resist. My doc gave me a script for one year's supply of Vicodin (they could do that in those days), and right after New Year's Day, 2004, I was off in search of new adventures.
I settled into China and my new teaching gig at the university pretty well. My job and life on campus was much easier than the stress of running my own business and hustling for bucks back in the States. My pain wasn't a major issue and the times it was, I'd just pop a pill. Then I lived thru my first miserable, Chinese Winter. Cold like I'd never felt before. I quickly learned the meaning of bone-chilling. Took a few more pills. I didn't like it at all but didn't see much choice. A few months later, I met a gentleman who offered me an alternative. It was a game changer. He was a fascinating young man from France backpacking his way across Asia.
That Spring, I went back to Beijing for a week to just play, see the sights and get a little camera action in. I was standing in the middle of Tiananmen Square on my last day, shooting video and the guy walks up to me and starts asking about my camera. He says he was in film school back in France and that's a big conversation starter. His hotel is just a couple of blocks from mine, just down the street, so we walk back together. He was a slow walker. Walked with a slight limp, just like me. He explained on the way that he just arrived in Beijing after a month on the back roads of Old Tibet and South China. He'd been on holiday and was going to fly home to France in a couple of days. He said he was kinda tired of Chinese food at the moment and as we passed a KFC, he offered to buy me a chicken dinner. I liked this guy's style.
We were finishing up pigging out on a bucket of chicken and I was on my ninth or tenth napkin trying to mop the grease out of my beard when I asked him why he dropped out of film school and ended up in Tibet. He smiled real big and said he was doing research. He got up and refilled his Coke and said let's go.
As we're walking back to our hotels, he decides to duck down this dark alley. Now I'm wondering what the frig's going on. He suddenly stops and reaches into his jacket and whips out a joint. He asks me if I smoke ganja. I tell him we have an old saying in America. Does a bear shit in the woods?
My common sense kicked in and I told him I could really get into smoking a joint but not there. I don't give a rat's ass if it is a dark alley. It's a dark alley smack dab in the middle of Beijing, Communist friggin' China. We went to his hotel room and litup.
Now if you look up the word PARANOIA in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of an old guy in a hotel room in Communist China smoking dope. But it didn't take too long for me to relax. Half a joint and I was calm as a kitten.
I explained to him that I used MMJ back in the states but had never seen or heard of it while I'd been in China. He said I'd been looking in the wrong place and then proceeded to tell me his life story. He was also into medical marijuana. He had been seriously injured in an automobile accident a few years back and really got into the hash his friends would bring him from Amsterdam, rather than the meds they were pumping him full of. The accident had changed his life and was the reason he had quit film school. He'd finally received a hefty insurance settlement and was spending a bit of it on this trip.
He knew a lot about the science of MMJ. He had done his homework. He got his laptop out and started showing me websites and information about medical pot I didn't know existed. Old Tibet is the birthplace of marijuana as medicine. They've been using it for six thousand years. To this day, cannabis is a main ingredient in Tibetan Traditional Medicine. I didn't realize that. He did. He had traveled to China and Tibet on a healing quest. He spent a month in Old Tibet learning all he could about their traditional medicine. I was fascinated by all this new found knowledge and sent myself an email with the links to all these pages he was showing me. It was getting late, so he opened up his backpack and took out the stash he'd picked up in Tibet. He rolled a couple of joints then gave me the rest. Nice guy! I told him to have a safe journey and as soon as he got home to get his butt back in film school (he did). We've stayed in touch over the years and I've never been able to thank him enough for what he did for me that day. A few months later, I was standing in Shangri-La, on my own quest.
I'd been wanting to go there ANYWAY. I loved James Hilton's book, Lost Horizon and had always fantasized about going to Shangri-La. I did my homework. Checked out all those websites my friend had turned me onto. When Summer vacation came along, I was on a plane to Old Tibet. Well actually, a plane to Kunming, then a twelve hour train ride to Dali, then a ten hour bus ride on narrow mountain roads to Shangri-La.
I hired an English speaking, Tibetan guide and driver. He was waiting when my bus pulled in. It was easy to pick me out of the crowd as I was the only foreigner on the bus. He took me to my hotel nearby and I got checked in. He wanted to go out and start showing me the sights but I was feeling lousy. I had a splitting headache. My back felt pretty good but the rest of my body felt like crap, felt like the flu. My guide said I had a touch of Altitude Sickness. It was common in tourists just arriving on the high Tibetan Plain. He said he knew something that would help and led me down the street to a restaurant. I told him there was no way I could eat anything. He laughed as he ordered something from the hostess. A few minutes later, the hostess returned with a glass of red tea. My guide said it was medicine. I put it up to my lips and immediately recognized the aroma and then the taste of marijuana. It was lukewarm and I drank it right down. I smiled and told my guide I knew what it was. He seemed surprised and told me it was red tea with a few drops of pot tincture, a common Tibetan remedy. How well did it work? Thirty minutes later, the throbbing in my head had stopped, I was ready to take on Tibet head first and was chowing down on a big dinner of some local yak and mushroom dish. Yeah, I was feeling pretty good.
I told my young Tibetan guide that I knew about marijuana as medicine and had come to Shangri-La to further educate myself. He told me many of the folks that he worked for were “Pot Tourists”, mostly foreigners who traveled to the region to learn more about Tibetan Traditional Medicine, pot in particular. He told me about a recent client, A Chinese woman from Shanghai who had Cancer. All of her doctors told her it was hopeless but a friend took her to Tibet and she had been cured. She came to Shangri-La every six months or so to get more medicine to take home for her maintenance dose. He told me there were many stories like that. He assured me he would do a great job and take me to the places I needed to see.
Over the next several days my guide did exactly that. He showed me mountain sides covered with marijuana, where it had grown wild for thousands of years. As you drove thru the city, you'd see dozens of little medicine shops where they sold thousands of different herbs, roots, animal matter, spices, teas and potions exclusive to Tibet and Tibetan medicine. In many of those shops, the special medicine was under the counter or in the back. He took me to a small Tibetan village where once a week they had a huge flea market type event in the village square. There scattered among the booths selling sides of Yak and hog quarters, household goods and wicker furniture, were the little old ladies dressed in traditional Tibetan garb, selling marijuana seeds. And business was brisk.
I learned about the little old Ganja ladies on my own. Every time I left my hotel and walked around, sure enough, there would be two or three little old ladies asking me if I wanted to buy some pot. In Beijing and Shanghai, it's the young ladies, the hookers that always hit you up. Here in this area of China, it's the old ladies selling pot. I asked my guide about it and he said it's been happening since the dawn of time but now it's the tourists who come looking. In Tibet, Cancer, Heart Disease and all those nasty diseases that kill off most Westerners are almost nonexistent thanks in part to their traditional medicines. He said most Tibetans still smoke pot, cook with it, make potions and oils out of it. It is their medicine. Many stopped after the revolution but most carry on with tradition. He took me to a beautiful city park with a crowd of people, some smoking their pipes and these huge bamboo bongs. I couldn't believe my eyes or my nose. This was a China I had never seen or imagined before.
My final day there I was introduced to an important Ganja lady. At least 80 years old, if she's a day, she'd been at the Ganja game for most of her adult life. She worked for perhaps the largest supplier of medicine in the city. I looked at her samples for sale and didn't like them. She said she would take me to the best medicine. I met the boss lady.
A nice lady too, I might add. Attractive woman, 40ish or so. She greeted me at her home with a big smile and a hearty handshake. Her English was not the best but after five minutes we were chatting it up like old friends, kinda. She sat me down for a cup of tea and asked me the purpose of my visit. I explained that I was an American living in China who needed to use marijuana for medicine. I said that I understood her medicine was the finest. I lifted up my shirt and showed her the scar on my back. I said I needed strong medicine. She smiled big and said that you can't be too careful these days and she had the best, she had what I needed. That nice lady was right, can't be too careful. I was silently freaking out about what I was into here, but she was right too about having exactly what I needed.
Over the following years, I visited that nice lady several times and I never took a pain pill in China again.
When I left China and moved back to California in 2012, the world of medical marijuana had radically changed in the decade I'd been gone. Several other states had legalized medical marijuana. The heat had died down and the feds backed off, more or less. Law enforcement's noncompliance in the law was straightened out by the courts. Reefer madness had died, or at least was in a coma. There were now MMJ doctors everywhere. There were MMJ clinics and information flowed like water. Where it had been difficult to find the exact medicine you needed, there was now dozens of different strains (hundreds now). Designer pot for whatever ails you and it was as close as your local MMJ dispensary where you could go buy whatever you needed. Marijuana supermarkets. Folks advertise their crop on Craig's List and deliver your meds as fast as a pizza. I never in a million years imagined I'd live to see all this. I came home to a wonderland.
One of the first things I did when I got home was do my research and find a good MMJ doctor in Santa Cruz. SC is the place where the whole MMJ movement began in the late 80's and early 90's. Many of the finest doctors in the marijuana field make Santa Cruz their home. Once I had my card and I was official and most importantly, LEGAL, I jumped into that field with both feet (both figuratively and literally).
The most gratifying change for me is the flow of information about MMJ that's out there now. Hey I gotta tell you, you can't imagine how nice it is to have all this legal marijuana at my fingertips, but the big thing is knowing what to do with it. After years of struggle, the curtain is open and The Mighty Oz has been exposed. The truth is out there.
There's a truce in the war on drugs and real, actual research and study of the medicinal properties of Pot is happening. In America! And the results are astonishing. There has been extensive study of pot in Europe, Canada, Israel and even China, with promising results going back many years. Until recent times, there seemed to be an embargo on pro-pot information here in the states. For many American corporate interests, it's just not good business for the truth about medical marijuana to be known by the public at large. You mean they've been lying to us about pot all this time? This whole reefer madness thing has been a coordinated propaganda campaign all these years? You trying to tell me those hippie potheads have been right this whole time? Why did the liquor, medical and pharmaceutical industries spend millions to defeat Florida's Amendment 2? Why are you talking to yourself again?
Today, the truth is at your fingertips. If you Google, history of marijuana, you'd find that cannabis was the number one medicine in America and the world up until the 1920's and 30's. Almost every medicine cabinet in America had a bottle of cannabis syrup or tonic. It was “Mother's little remedy” for pain, stomach ailments, toothaches, menstrual cramps, hangovers, respiratory maladies and on and on and on. There wasn't a hundred kinds of pain pills and stomach pills and pills for this disorder or pills for that new disease, didn't need them. There was that fifteen cent bottle of all natural syrup in the medicine chest that did it all, safely. Then modern medicine came to corporate America pushing their pills.
Hemp too became the common enemy of American business interests in the early 20th century. Henry Ford was turning out new cars with tires made from a hemp and rubber blend. Those tires never wore out, never had to be replaced for the life of the car. Can you imagine? Well, the rubber barons couldn't have that. Clothing made from hemp fabric never wore out. Imagine, if you bought a pair of jeans made from a 50/50 blend of hemp and cotton, you could hand it down to your Grandchildren. But the clothing companies would lose money. If you mixed hemp in with the asphalt, that new road surface would last for many years, no more potholes. But that puts many Americans out of work. Not good for business interests. Not good for America, it all must go. Reefer Madness is born.
Today, that madness is going away. Currently, 23 states have passed laws that allow for the use of medical marijuana and four states have legalized recreational use. The Federal government has taken a hands off approach and in fact, many experts predict legalization on a national level by the end of this decade. I'm stoned, right? Can this really be happening? It's all truly amazing to me.
The day after Christmas is my birthday. I'll be 62 years old, an old fart. Most of my friends who are old farts have all the aches and pains and ailments that old age rewards you. Therefore, they also have medicine cabinets full of high blood pressure meds, pills to lower cholesterol, some kind of opioid, some kind of stress relief and something for all day relief from heartburn caused by all the other pills.
And then again, some of my friends are like me. My medicine is sitting in jars on my pantry shelf. I'm not a doctor, not an expert. But I do know my MMJ. I've seen it work. The proof is in the pudding. I cringe to think of where I'd be if I'd taken opioids for the last twenty five years. I saw a dear friend with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, chuck his pharmaceuticals in the trash and rely instead on daily doses of concentrated cannabis oil. He was in total remission a year later and outlived his doctor. I've seen the oil cure Cancer and when used topically, destroy skin Cancer lesions within a week. Tincture is the treatment for Migraine Headaches and three drops will kill them in minutes. Concentrates oxidize the blood, making it a great treatment for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cluster headaches and even infections. Medical marijuana has been a leading treatment for Cancer in Israel since the 1980's. Using MMJ, they have an almost 60% cure rate. You don't read about that in your morning newspaper.
I have a friend that I met thru the MMJ movement that was a leading NFL wide receiver for almost a decade. He finally had to hang it up due to severe neurological damage in his neck and shoulders. He's told me stories about the team doctors shooting them up with injections before the game and handing out Oxy and Vicodin like candy after the game. He wised up after a few years of NFL sanctioned drug abuse and started using medical marijuana. I'm told that 80% of the players are doing the same thing. They tell the doc no and then light up a joint after the game for the same pain killing effect. My buddy told me MMJ saved his life, so there you go. The cat's outta the bag and it's going mainstream.
For the last decade or so, there has been tremendous research in the field of PTSD and MMJ. This one's pretty close to my heart. I'm a Veteran and I've seen PTSD up close and personal. It matters to me. Every single study into using marijuana to treat PTSD has shown wonderful results, every one. I know folks that were ravaged by the effects of PTSD only to have the nightmares, night terrors and daily acute anxiety disappear after starting a regimen of MMJ. One of them called me the other night and told me his doctor had taken him off the high blood pressure meds and that he didn't need the antidepressants any longer. He did a half a gram of the concentrated cannabis oil an hour before bedtime and from the very first night, there were no more night terrors, none. The nightmares and terrible visions were gone. He bought a vaporizer and whenever he has a feeling of anxiety, he takes a few totes and that awful feeling melts away. He said his wife wanted to hug and kiss me because he had quit drinking. Threw out the whiskey bottles shortly after starting the pot. Made me cry tears of joy.
You know, the list goes on and on and on and on, as this story does. Some call medical marijuana a miracle. Maybe so, but that word, miracle just reminds me of a joke my care provider and grower told me during the last harvest. This famous doctor dies and is standing at the Pearly Gates. God is not happy with the doctor and asks him why he didn't use his talent to cure the people, wipe out disease and help mankind instead of becoming a media star raking in the big money. The famous doctor replied, “But you are the mighty God, why didn't YOU provide the cure to mankind's diseases?”. This really pissed God off and he shot back, “I DID! I gave you a weed that would cure most of man's ills but you scorned it in the name of greed!” God calmed down and asked the doc, “You still look pretty young. How did you die?”. “Cancer”, the doctor replied. God wailed with laughter and uttered to Himself, “Oh, the irony, the painful irony. Oh, these humans...” as he turned and walked away.
It's just a common weed that's been here the whole time and there's been a concerted effort to scorn it and those who embrace it. However, times are changing. The dam has breached and there's now a flood of information and truth at everyone's fingertips. And that truth may aid you or somebody you know.
About a year ago, I was telling a friend about using concentrated oil, Simpson Tears, to kill cancer cells. The research is there and the results and testimonials are breathtaking. He had a lifelong friend who had Cancer and was starting chemo. He wanted to know if it was cool to have the guy call me to chat about MMJ. I spoke with the gentleman that evening. He was a very straight, CEO, martini lunch kinda guy. He had stage three Cancer and the prognosis wasn't good. He laughed when I mentioned pot and told me in no uncertain terms that he would never smoke dope. It's a gateway drug, he told me. He's never smoked pot in his life and would never start doing drugs now. He doesn't do drugs, he insists. I asked him what pharmaceuticals the doctors had him on. He told me he was on steroids, antivirals, massive doses of Oxy, powerful muscle relaxers and some pills he didn't know what they were for. Oh, and in a few days there would be the powerful radiation cocktails with an antibiotic chaser, three times a week. He doesn't do drugs??? The force of Reefer Madness is strong with this one. Or was, he was dead a few months later.
That's why I do what I do. It's a passion because I've known what I know for years and I've also known that they've gone to extremes to keep it from us. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm not a doctor. The purpose of this article is not to get you to dump your doctor, throw the pills in the trash and buy a bag of pot. You need your doctor.
MMJ is not the know all, cure all, solve all of mankind's disease and problems bag. Marijuana is powerful medicine. That's it, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn't work for every ailment known to man but it works for many. It doesn't work for everybody but it's medicine for millions. It doesn't replace your doctor but allows you more control in the maintenance of your bod. How do you know if it's right for you? The information is out there. The answer is at your fingertips. Truth is the key. Truth is the answer. Like I told you, I'm proud to be a pothead.
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I know, for a lot of you reading this, I'm singing to the choir. But, if I'm not, here are some links to great MMJ information. They're a good place to start on your medical marijuana enlightenment. And too, here's my email address. If you have any questions or comments or wanna call me a damn hippie pothead or if you're law enforcement looking for details or just anything at all, shoot it to, firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a good place to start. Here's the link to Jack Herer's e-book, “The Emperior Wears No Clothes”. This is the Hemp Bible. Incredible read.
Here's Rick Simpson's website. Rick pioneered the use of concentrated oils in combating Cancer. All the info's there.
More about Rick Simpson and his cure.
And finally, here are some great articles about breakthroughs in medical marijuana research. It'll blow your mind.
Well, it's a start... smoke a doobie. It'll make you feel fine. See ya next time...