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Pot Saved My Life

 
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, which is defined by three criteria:
1.    A substance with high potential for abuse.
2.    A substance with no accepted medical value.
3.    A substance unsafe to use – even under medical supervision.
But the public perception of marijuana has shifted drastically over the years. In a 1969 Gallup opinion poll, only 12 percent of Americans were in favor of legalizing cannabis. Today, that number is closer to 58 percent, while a whopping 80 percent support it’s medicinal use.
For the first time since cannabis prohibition began, a clear majority of people believe in legalization. But for most of us, it’s just an opinion. We may feel strongly about it, or we may not.
Let me introduce you to some folks who do feel strongly about it. Very strongly, indeed.
Joy Williams is a 50 year old woman from Gladstone, MI who believes she owes her life to marijuana. A few years ago she weighed more than 400 pounds, and she was taking 42 prescription pills per day to manage her pain, anxiety and COPD. The drugs were slowly killing her – her liver and kidneys were failing, and her energy was non-existent. She spent nearly all day lying in bed.
In October of 2012, she replaced her prescriptions with medical marijuana, as part of an complete lifestyle overhaul (she also switched to a vegan diet). Since then she has lost 270 pounds. Her liver and kidneys are functioning normally. She is cured of COPD.
Most importantly, she is able to play with  her grand daughter, and enjoy her life and her time with her family.
And then there’s Jim Gilliam. In March of 2009, Jim published an open letter to President Obama on the Huffington Post, entitled “Pot Saved My Life, Mr. President.” Written in response to the President’s comments about marijuana policy, the letter describes Gilliam’s battle with cancer and radiation treatments, which left his lungs so scarred that he had to undergo a double lung transplant.
In the process, he nearly wasted away. His doctor diagnosed his weight loss as life-threatening, and wrote him a prescription for Marinol (a synthetic form of THC). Marinol enabled Jim to put on weight and get out of the danger zone. He concludes his letter by saying:

“Pot saved my life. It’s a miracle drug, even the crappy, non-organic kind made in a lab.”

Greg Scott of Ft. Lauderdale, FL was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987, at a time when there was nothing that doctors could do for him. He turned to marijuana to manage his symptoms and strengthen his appetite, and credits cannabis with keeping him alive long enough to benefit from more modern medical treatments. As he testified before a Florida commission:

“Because I smoked pot, I lived.”

If you live in or near Los Angeles, CA then you have probably heard the story of Bill Rosendahl, the city councilman who was the first elected official to openly use pot while in office. Bill first used medical cannabis to help relieve the stinging pain of neuropathy in his feet. He continued to use it when late stage cancer began affecting the nerves in his back, causing debilitating pain. But with the help of marijuana, Rosendahl is sleeping through the night, sitting and walking without pain, and feeling more like his old self again.
Oh, yeah – and his cancer has gone into remission. He gives credit to cannabis, saying in an interview with Huff Post Live:

“Medical marijuana saved my life.”

Mr. Rosendahl isn’t the only one who has found pot to be an effective anti-cancer agent. There’s also Mike Cutler of the UK, a 63 year old grandfather who was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2009. He received a transplant, only to find out that cancer had attacked his new liver, too. Doctors told him there was nothing else they could do. He turned to cannabis oil, and his symptoms disappeared. In May of this year, doctors told him the cancer cells had also disappeared.
Rick Simpson was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2003. He applied cannabis oil bandages to his skin spots and they cleared up in just days. He was so convinced by his own experience that he became something of a crusader, doing everything he can to spread the word about hemp oil and make it available to those in need – even to the point of facing criminal charges.
Dennis Hill is a biochemist who used cannabis butter and hemp oil to successfully treat malignant tumors. Dusty Frank used it to cure his prostate cancer. VICE magazine did a story about “Brave Mykayla” Comstock whose parents are treating her leukemia with cannabis oil. Dr. William Courtney told Huff Post Live about  an 8 month old infant whose inoperable brain tumor was drastically reduced by hemp oil – administered via pacifier.
I may not know the name of the baby Dr. Courtney is referring to, I do know the name Jayden David. 8 year old Jayden has a very rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, which is unresponsive to all forms of “conventional” treatment. But two years ago he found relief from his debilitating seizures through CBD-rich hemp oil, and is now living a normal and active life.
Jayden’s case is very similar to that of Charlotte Figi, who suffers from the same condition. Her case was in the national spotlight last year, after being referenced by Dr. Sanjay Gupta in his public statement coming out in favor of medical marijuana. Cannabis oil has also helped kids with autism and muscular dystrophy, like Joey Hester-Perez, and also Smith-Magenis Syndrome, like Colin Ulrick.
These are lives saved by pot. These are children who are alive and healthy because of cannabis, and it’s incredible medicinal properties – which we are only beginning to explore and understand. These are men and women of all ages, who have been healed and found new hope, new strength and new life through marijuana.
Everyone has an opinion about marijuana, and most of us are in favor. But for these people and their families, it’s not just an opinion. It’s a conviction. Cannabis is not a Schedule 1 drug – it’s a medicine.
Pot saves lives. It saved their lives. And it can save thousands more, if we just give it a chance.

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Cannabis: Medicine for the Mind, Body and Soul

Cannabis has been cultivated and consumed by humans for thousands of years. It is one of the most powerful and versatile medicines in history, and has been used to treat everything from depression and anxiety, to cancer and malaria. And yet, at the time of this writing, it is still classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic by the U.S. government, and prohibited and demonized by most nations on earth.
In this article, I’d like to explore the many uses of cannabis as a medicine, not just for physical ailments, but a holistic medicine for the mind, body and soul. I’d like to help dispel the fear and the lies that have surrounded marijuana for more than a hundred years, and to help spread knowledge, understanding and acceptance of this miraculous plant, and the ways that it can contribute to our health and well-being, as individuals and as a society.
Good For the Body
According to legend, the Chinese emperor Shen-Nung penned what might have been the first encyclopedia of medicine around 2700 B.C. It listed hundreds of plants and minerals, along with their known medicinal uses. Among them was cannabis sativa, which was known as “Ma” in ancient China, and used to treat rheumatism, gout, malaria, constipation, stomach and intestinal problems, nutrient deficiencies, and cold symptoms. It was applied to ulcers and sores.
More than four thousand years later, we area still using marijuana to treat bodily illness, and we continue to discover new medicinal uses. Today, marijuana is prescribed as a treatment for glaucoma, epilepsy, inflammation, insomnia and tremors. It is used to relieve chronic pain and stress. It is the most effective way to suppress nausea and vomiting, and stimulate appetite, and it has saved the lives of patients with anorexia, or unable to eat due to cancer treatments and auto-immune disorders.
There is also a growing body of evidence that cannabis has powerful cancer fighting properties. At least twenty studies have been done which concluded that THC and cannabidiol can slow the growth of tumors, encourage apoptosis, and effectively treat many kinds of cancer, including brain, breast and lung cancer, leukemia and lymphoma. These claims have yet to be acknowledged by the medical mainstream, which is funded and largely controlled by profit-driven corporate interests.
A Joint A Day Keeps the Psychiatrist Away
Marijuana has long been associated with schizophrenia and mental illness, not because of scientific evidence, but mainly due to a propaganda campaign that dates back to “public service announcements” circulated by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s, and the hilariously awful film Reefer Madness.
The reality is that no causal link has ever been established between pot and mental illness. Surveys show that mentally ill people tend to use cannabis (and other drugs) more than the general population, but this can largely be explained as an attempt to self-medicate.
What the latest research actually suggests is that marijuana may in fact help treat depression, anxiety, bi-polar, PTSD, OCD, ADD, even addiction to opiates and other drugs, and all that with far less harmful side effects than the commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs. These studies are being proven in practice by people like Dr. Frank Lucido and Dr. Jeremy Spiegel, who are bravely blazing the trail by prescribing cannabis to their own patients.
And then of course you have millions of people around the world, myself included, who have found through our own informal experiments that smoking cannabis relieves boredom, depression and stress, and induces tranquility and happiness. I think I speak for all of us, when I say that we need no research studies, no doctors or scientists, to tell us what we already know firsthand.
Balm For The Soul
As long ago as 2000 B.C., the people of India had discovered the intoxicating properties of cannabis, and were using it as part of their religious worship, to induce visionary states. They would smoke buds or hashish (known as charas) in clay pipes (called chillums) or use it to prepare a bhang, a drink made with milk and spices.
Cannabis was also used as a sacrament by ancient Persians and Egyptians, by the nomadic Scythians and the old Germanic tribes of Europe. The methods and practices differ from culture to culture, but the common theme is this: the marijuana high induces a state of mind in which we are more sensitive to unseen, spiritual forces. It enables the mystic to shift from the ordinary, ego-centric state of consciousness, to a state more in tune with the infinite, and more receptive to inspiration, be it artistic or Divine.
Pot is still used that way today, despite local and international prohibition, most famously by the Rastafari movement in Jamaica, but also by modern fringe churches like the Santo Daime, the Church of the Universe, and the Way of Infinite Harmony. Not to mention millions around the world, myself included, who don’t belong to any of these churches, but who in the privacy of our own homes, or in the timeless temple of the great outdoors, continue to use marijuana as an aid to meditation and finding peace of mind.
Cannabis has played a key role in human culture, religion, medicine and industry from the very beginning. For thousands of years, it was used peacefully to make rope, paper and cloth, to heal the sick, to relax the mind and nourish the soul. Marijuana prohibition is a recent phenomenon, driven by fear and funded by corporate interests, in an effort to enforce the current social and economic order. But not for much longer!
Legalization is at hand. Cannabis is being rediscovered as a cure for many ills, both mental and physical, and being restored to it’s rightful place as a revered sacrament and doorway to the Divine, helping individuals to find and feel a sense of meaning and connection that is so needed in this day and age.
It’s about time.

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I Believe In Cannabis

I believe in cannabis.
I believe that it’s medicinal properties far outweigh those scant few risks that haven’t yet been debunked by scientific research. I believe that, whatever negative side effects there may be from smoking weed, they are far less harmful than those of the pills you see advertised on television every 15 minutes. And I believe that more and more medical applications will be discovered with time.
I believe that cannabis prohibition has done more harm than cannabis itself. Making marijuana illegal creates a black market for a plant which could be grown in anyone’s garden, making it possible for hustlers and gangs to profit from what should be freely available for all. It turns peaceful, law abiding people into “criminals,” who are then harassed and persecuted, handcuffed and thrown in jail. Every day, innocent people have their careers and their finances destroyed, their families torn apart, and their lives turned upside down, just for kicking back and smoking a little grass.
I believe that the urge to get high is normal and natural, felt by all people, and indulged in a variety of different ways. Some people drink beer to feel good, others prefer wine or coffee. Some people go jogging or rock climbing; others go out dancing, or eat a pint of ice cream. Everyone has something that they do to relax and make themselves feel better, whether it’s yoga or television, prayer or rock music, sex or shopping.
I believe that most people who condemn marijuana haven’t even tried it, and are merely afraid of what they don’t understand. Those same folks all probably have their own way of “taking the edge off,” which is likely more harmful and addictive than cannabis, just not against the law.
But I am not afraid to try anything: cigarettes and booze, drugs and pills, yoga and chanting, prayer and meditation, music and dancing, fasting and feasting… I’ve done it all. I have found that compared to many of the “approved” substances – like alcohol, tobacco and anti-depressants – cannabis is a relatively harmless way to catch a buzz. It may not be as healthy as a good work out, or a good fuck, for that matter, but it makes them both more fun. And it’s certainly a lot better for you than compulsive eating or shopping, or zoning out in front of the TV.
Getting high helps me to be a healthy, sane and active member of society. Smoking this herb makes me feel more alive. It makes music sound better, and food taste better, and the tedious routines of everyday life just a little bit more exciting. It helps me to appreciate art and poetry, and the beauty of nature. It energizes my mind and body, and inspires me to think for myself, to ask deep questions, and ponder the wonder and mystery of existence. It stimulates my creativity, and makes my writing more lively and interesting.
I believe that smoking a joint while taking a walk outside is absolutely one of the best and most pleasant things a person can do, anytime, night or day, rain or shine. Your worries and stress just melt away, replaced by a joyous, innocent curiosity about all the little things we tend to overlook. It awakens a sense of awe and gratitude, a sense of connection to and harmony with the natural world.
I believe that the “cannabis state of mind” can contribute to our happiness and well-being, as individuals and as a society. I believe it can inspire great works of art, therapeutic personal insights, and brilliant technical innovations in all fields of human endeavor (both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were pot smokers). I believe that being high shows us the benefits of slowing down and “taking it easy,” and that it can help us find contentment and meaning in a world out of balance.
I believe in cannabis.
I believe that the philosophical ramblings of stoners everywhere (myself included) are worth reading and contemplating. There really might be whole universes within the atoms of our fingernails. The world is much more strange and intricate, more amazing and beautiful than we realize – and I believe that cannabis can help us to see and appreciate it more fully.