The last ten years have been cannabis’s big moment. Now, 36 states and the District of Columbia allow people to use marijuana for medical reasons. (Now, 15 states and the District of Columbia allow people to use marijuana for fun.) About 5.5 million people in the U.S. have signed up to use marijuana for medical purposes.
Pot’s possible medical uses are a big reason why marijuana laws should be made less strict. Conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana vary from state to state, but chronic pain is almost always one of them.
But there is still a big gap between the medical community at large and the business of cannabis. Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, and a recent survey found that many doctors don’t know enough about medicinal marijuana to recommend it to their patients. This makes people less likely to feel comfortable talking to their doctors about using cannabis to treat medical problems.
We asked our listeners if they had talked to their doctor about medical marijuana and if they had ever used marijuana to treat their medical conditions. In what follows, you might hear a few of the things that were said.
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Illinoisan Dave: I was a passenger in a terrible car crash the year before last. I broke or cracked almost every bone in my arms, legs, and pelvis. Four of the bones in my spine are broken. I was lucky enough to have access to full-spectrum THC drugs, which not only helped me sleep at night but also gave me energy during the day, thanks to the kind people who were taking care of me. When I wasn’t using hard drugs, I never had to deal with the unpleasant side effect of being unable to go to the bathroom. For me, marijuana saved my life. And I’ve seen how many of my friends have been in this situation where the doctor keeps prescribing and over-prescribing any medicine that may have a much worse effect.
Wendy from Chicago, Illinois: When I told my doctor I was going to get medical marijuana, she said, “Good.” Because “you don’t know what you’re doing to your body,” I’ve been telling my patients to switch to medical marijuana instead of the other drugs they’ve been given. With that success under my belt, I felt very good about myself. But I can’t afford it because medical pot is so expensive. If the doctors want to keep their patients healthy, they should tell the insurance companies to pay for this drug.
I started taking medicine as soon as I found out I had HIV in 2003. My name is Tommy, and I’m from Oakland, California. I lost a pound every week, but it took me three months to do it. So, I stopped smoking fake weed and started growing my own. Surprisingly, though, my doctor was reluctant to sign all of the necessary paperwork because he was afraid of legal trouble. California’s law on medical marijuana didn’t come into effect until 1996. I was also shocked to find out that my doctor still wasn’t willing to follow all of its rules in 2003.