Q: Isn’t it true that “Medical Marijuana” is an oxymoron at best and a joke at worst? — Skeptical In Seattle

Frankly, common sense and life experience seem to agree that a “weed that gets you high” has nothing to do with medicine or healing sick people. I must admit, that was my reaction when I first heard the phrase “medical marijuana” myself…and I started smoking marijuana almost 45 years ago!

But in the 15 years since the people of California voted to make medical marijuana in that state legal, there’s been ample time for patients, researchers, and medical professionals to get some real-world results. Cannabis can – and does – relieve symptoms of cancermultiple sclerosis, and AIDS. It also shows proven potential in totally relieving the symptoms or outright curing of Crohn’s Diseasedepression, and glaucoma, and it has helped people with arthritisobesity, and even Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In fact, according to the Marijuana Medical Handbook, there are 40 million Americans who could be helped by medical marijuana.

It’s just as unfair to run around saying that “marijuana can cure everything”, as some critics like to claim medical marijuana supporters do, in their letters to newspaper editors and blog comments. The thing is, I have yet to hear of any legitimate marijuana doctor, researcher, or organization actually saying that. This claim is essentially a bit of hyperbole, based on the fact that cannabis is indeed proving effective for a wide variety of ailments.

There’s no better source of information about this than the legendary Granny Storm Crow’s List (which you can download right here in PDF form). Granny Storm Crow updates this compilation of links to medical studies, abstracts, and news articles about medical marijuana every 6 months or so, and it currently weighs in at just under 550 pages.

A complete list of the diseases and medical conditions she covers would be redundant, but just for an example, the “A”s include ADD/ADHD, Addiction, Aging, AIDS, Alcoholism, Allergies, ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Amotivational Syndrome, Anorexia, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Anti-Anxiety, Appetite Stimulation, Arthritis, Asthma, Atherosclerosis, and Autism. There are 25 letters to go.

Old Hippie is a MMJ patient living somewhere in the wilds of California whose only link with the real world is a 420 MHz radio. He blogs on BeyondChronic.com and vapes on Sour Diesel.

Got a question for Old Hippie? Send in your questions to him at: oldhippie@the420times.com or post a comment below.

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15 Responses

  1. sanyars

    Old Hippie-

    Isn’t having an exhaustive list with countless ailments that can be treated by Marijuana akin to saying it is a panacea?

    Also, how can MJ be helpful to amotivational syndrome when it is reported to cause it? Certainly I remember becoming a slacker/bum with no motivation when I was using it.

    And finally, do you know how it can help with alzheimer’s disease? That’s counterintuitive, you know?

    • Old Hippie

      Sanyars –

      1. Ha ha ha! Yes, it might seem that way, but this is a list of serious research studies, not just claims by anonymous old hippies 🙂 The fact is that our bodies have an endocannabinoid system, and marijuana mimics a lot of the chemicals already in our bodies, which explains why it does work for so many ailments.
      2. Remember, we’re talking about medical vs. recreational doses here. You were undoubtedly abusing it with much higher doses than necessary. If you take one Vicodin for pain, you can function, but if you take two or three to get high, you will be on the couch same as if you smoked too much.
      3. As far as Alzheimer’s, it’s only counterintuitive if you believe the propaganda about marijuana killing brain cells and destroying your memory. Also there’s a problem getting human research subjects, at least in this country, for legal reasons. But I remember hearing of some animal studies that showed promise in actual neurogenesis.

      — Old Hippie

  2. sanyars

    Old Hippie-

    Yeah my doses were high and frequent toward the end of my use. It was a runaway train. It was always so relaxing I lost my motivation to do anything! I am not so familiar with moderately small deliberate use for specific medical benefit. So, I imagine it must be different. Some of those medical expert opinions against its use in alzheimer’s seem to be on par with the arguments for it. What are the facts? I see this so often with cannabis “research data” and “expert opinions.” I wish it was simple and clear cut. For instance, some state that their depression is relieved by MJ while some scientists say it can cause depression! Since I cannot use it personally maybe I’ll never know the real truth for myself.

  3. sanyars

    Old Hippie-

    my point was this… with so many reported uses of medical marijuana it IS being touted as a “cure all” -exactly what you said proponents are not saying.

  4. Tomas Estrada-Palma

    If marijuana were legal then millions of Americans would be in better health and live longer. Since the government has spent ALL the money they stole supposedly for our old age they cannot afford to have anything that allows us to live longer.

  5. Mike D

    A recent article I read quoted one of the top 3 Pharm Co. CEOs readily admitting that ALL drugs(presumed Parms Drugs) are only effective, for what they are prescribed for, 30-50% on a per person basis.
    Heck of a miss rate!
    It’s also common knowledge each “New” platform of drugs are sold at higher an higher prices, while becoming more and more toxic.
    This creates a huge Paradigm or catch-22 for Pharma companies if,
    A-Paradigm- Pharma can lock up MJ benifits
    B-catch-22- if legalized, MJ would be competition for many many current and future Drug Plarforms.
    A. Drug companies cannot lockup a “plant”
    B. destroyes a major portion off a trillion dollar industry(Taking everything into account, IPO, Bondings, CDSs, advertising,FDA fees and employees,Preferred shares ect.

  6. Mike D

    As far as Alchol, the same bottom line #’s apply as far as what consumption and dollar involvement means in our economy,, 800-1,000 billion dollars..
    Between Alchol and Pharma =10% of the American Economy.

    While no, MJ will not replace either, even replacing 10% of the two Industries presenting some serious losses to certain participants.

  7. denbee

    There are those who believe that life is meant to be rough and unforgiving. That we should just quit bitching and get to work. That our fathers, and their fathers needed only a stiff drink to dull life’s pains and frustrations. Get shitfaced, wake up and do it all over again…whoopee
    Everyday here in America a small group of about 30 million people do something a little different. What they do is smoke, vaporize, bake and eat marijuana. They do this and they, are able to read books, watch movies, speak without slurring their speech, walk a straight line and say their ABC’s. They don’t pee or vomit on themselves or others, they don’t hit their wife or children or drive on the wrong side of the expressway. They seem to be as motivated as the rest of us. They are fathers, wifes, teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, actors… The effects of using marijuana generally are a brief uphoria, a sense of fulfullment, purpose and contentment and an enhancement of your senses (taste,sight,smell). Very, very, unlike alcohol. Marijuana is not manufactured, it is of the earth and has been with us for eons. Every cell in our bodies have receptors for the cannibinoids that marijuana produce. We are hardwired by nature to be able to respond to marijuana. Some would say that biologically we share such a long history with the plant that we have formed a natural bond with it. The use of marijuana is said to be protective to many bodily functions. In any case, I doubt that we should be putting people in jail for using it.

  8. peaceful granny

    Old Hippy: I make MMJ tinctures from my home grown organic garden. I’m disabled -can’t work, and get a lot of benefit from this medicine. I have tried to get the pot shops in No. CA to carry my tinctures and after tasting them, they all tell me their testers ‘can’t feel anything’. I can feel the effects, but then I don’t smoke it. My research shows that the THC part -flowers- have the psycho-active properties and the CBD’s from small resin coated leaves, made into oil can cure skin cancer, etc. Anyway I really enjoy growing and making the tinctures. It keeps me busy since I can’t work & I’d also like to pay back my expenses by providing medicine to people who need it. Helping people who are ill is fulfilling to me. But if the shops won’t carry it, because their customers are expecting to get ‘high’and the testers do not have any of the illnesses my medicine works for….How can I convince them to market my medicine? and how do I make it stronger? Do you think I should just make it for people who want to get high and not worry about what the ill folks want? I have also given it to several people who are ill, who currently smoke but want to switch to tincture & save their lungs – they also say they can’t feel it because they are used to the high associated with smoking. People I’ve tested the tinctures on, who also seldom smoke it can ‘feel’ it.
    I’m stumped about what to do next. I DO NOT want to deal my pot – most in this area grow their own anyway, but I end up with a lot more than I can personally use. and I could really use more income.

    • Old Hippie

      Dear PG,

      I feel your quandary, but I’ve never heard of a successful business that didn’t listen to what their customers wanted. I don’t go for the ‘high’ myself as a medical user, but if the effects are so subtle that I have to use a lot of tincture to feel anything, I’m not going to go back because those little bottles are expensive.

      My personal belief is that things like tinctures and butter and oil should be made strong, so that people who need higher concentrations can take a reasonable amount, and people who need less can take less, or even dilute it if necessary. But if something is too weak, there’s really not much you can do to help it.

      I’ve also never heard anyone in a dispensary complaining that a tincture was too strong.

      Nugs and hugs,
      Old Hippie

  9. Goofstr

    First, I believe Everybody needs to read “The Pot Book”. It would really help answer alot of these questions. With the DEA’s and NIDA’s agenda of only looking for bad things about cannabis, they have set us back decades of meaningful studies,this is no coinsidence.

    People have been cultivating cannabis for almost 10,000 yrs. The people in power(not the Goverment)have a huge stake in keeping not just medical marijuana, but hemp. Hemp can make not just bio-diesel, but gasoline. Ford had large hemp farms, and made a car almost entirly out of hemp, until the DuPont’s decided they would lose to much money because it would easily out perform there petroleum product’s.

    Cannabis is so versitile, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the things it is good for, including the medicinal benefit’s.

    As a fun, or sad, fact. Ford’s hemp door panel’s were stronger then steel.

  10. sanyars

    The Abuse of the Medical Marijuana System in California

    I am a supporter of medical marijuana use by legitimate patients in need who actually benefit from cannabis use. However, the system is being abused by recreational users who fake ailments to unscrupulous so called doctors who are quick to make a buck prescribing cannabis for their use.

    I recently spoke to a staff member at my school ( a middle aged recreational cannabis user) who told me that he has a friend in California who along with many of his fellow cannabis using friends went to a fly by night hippy doctor on Venice beach faking medical conditions so they could get legal prescriptions for medical marijuana even though they were recreational users only. He laughed and said “of course the system is being abused. What did you expect?” The is a shameful outcome of a social condition that is criminal. This gives a bad name to legitimate medical patients and threatens the system that is supposed to be helping people not feeding people’s addiction.

    The US Justice Department estimates that only 6-10% of medical marijuana card holders in California are legitimate real patients in need. The other 90+% are recreational users just taking advantage of the system to get high. This is terrible and sick.

    Our country is sliding into an abyss because of these kind of things.

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