Medical Cannabis

I think the decision to receive this medication should be between a patient, his or her family, and the physician. If they think it’s the right choice, who are we to say otherwise? Doctors swear an oath to “first, do no harm.” Can any of us say the same? I think it’s interesting that we don’t dictate who can and cannot receive opioids, anti-seizure, stimulant, or anti-anxiety medications, yet these medications can have serious long-term effects and can be highly addictive.

I have personally worked with children who had seizure disorders and witnessed some terrifying seizures. I saw the lasting damage that each seizure caused. I have volunteered with a veteran-focused organization and I’m sure you are familiar with the statistic that we have 22 veteran suicides occurring each day. We have thousands of patients at the end of their lives receiving hospice care for various diagnoses, meaning that they do not want any heroic efforts made to sustain their lives – they just want to be kept as comfortable as possible during the time they have left.

Who are we to tell them “No”?

Who are we to tell one person they can’t even try this medication while others here in the same state can? Are some not worthy of relief while others are? Should we make people fight for options for their kids, parents, or spouses one diagnostic group at a time? No. They should be spending that time caring for their loved ones – not fighting their own state for relief. Medical cannabis should be available to all when the physician, patient, and family so choose. While I do not agree with the annual battle in Atlanta to add a few more conditions to the list while excluding others, if this is the only option for more people to get access to this medication, I would not stand in the way of adding more diagnostic categories to the list.

Medical Cannabis: In-State Cultivation

Currently, if you or your loved one is lucky enough to have an approved diagnosis, your next problem is how to obtain the medication. Since in-state cultivation is not currently legal, someone will have to go to a great deal of expense and effort AND commit a crime in order to get relief. This is just wrong on every level.

Many years ago when I was in graduate school, I volunteered at a summer camp for kids with disabilities. Each volunteer was assigned a child and we volunteers were solely responsible for meeting all of our child’s needs for the week. Twenty-four hours a day, all week – bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, medication, and safety; managing wheelchairs, splints, braces, crutches, walkers, and communication devices, all while facilitating the child’s participation in camp activities and having FUN! It was EXHAUSTING. And it was only for a few days. Meeting any child’s needs is a lot of work. When you add all of the additional needs a child with disabilities has, it is completely overwhelming.

Why would we add to these families’ distress by making it illegal, expensive, and extremely difficult to get relief for their kids?

If your mama is in pain, or your husband is struggling with PTSD, or your daddy is suffering with ALS but isn’t yet considered severe enough to qualify, the last thing you need is to have to search out a back-channel way to get a medication that could help, and risk arrest while doing so. Medical cannabis should be grown and produced here in Georgia and should be readily and consistently available just like any other medication.

We should not make life harder for people who are already enduring so much. We can’t make their many problems go away, but we can at the very least make it easier for them to get medication that can help make their loved ones’ lives a little better.