Medical Marijuana: You don't have to smoke it and it doesn't make you high

By Leslie Khan Chicago Now

I find myself saying this to people on a regular basis when talking about medical marijuana. This still seems to be the biggest misconception about medical marijuana. These days, the most effective and easiest way to get the most benefit from the plant is via oil which you take by mouth. The THC level (ingredient that gets you high) in the oil is very, very low and is often referred to as "hemp or realm oil." In addition, you can vape it, dab it, use it in a vaporizer, drink it in a tea, apply it through a tincture, eat it in a brownie and of course, smoke it, using all sorts of different paraphernalia.

There is lots happening in the world of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, as well. The great state of Delaware has just decriminalized the possession and private use of small amounts of marijuana, up to an ounce, and has signed a bill allowing kids access to marijuana oil. While this is great news, it seems so absurd that each state is having to decide whether or not to legalize and decriminalize medical and recreational marijuana...and going through the lengthy process of doing so.

Wouldn't it make so much more sense to just legalize medical marijuana on a federal level so that there are no more "marijuana refugees" having to uproot and move to a different state in order to gain access, in many cases, to life saving medicine? Of course, I would like to see recreational marijuana legalized or at least decriminalized across the board, but the medical marijuana laws are much more important.

What's happening with individual state medical marijuana laws is kinda like "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Albert Camus, where poor Sisyphus is condemned to ceaselessly push a heavy boulder up a mountain, only to have it roll back down. There truly is no more dreadful punishment than futile labor. A state goes through the lengthy process of legalizing medical marijuana, only to discover that the federal government can swoop into a dispensary and seize all the marijuana, arresting sick people who are quietly buying medicine.

This scenario happened in Santa Ana, California, just last month, but it was not the federal government but the local Santa Ana police doing the raiding. There is now a lawsuit again the mayor of Santa Ana for all kinds of shady dealings regarding the granting of medical marijuana dispensary licenses. This was so egregious, that I wanted people to know what was happening. See what you think.

But, back to the federal laws since DEA agents have been raiding legal medical marijuana dispensaries. This happened at 2 dispensaries in LA last year. Now, law makers have to waste their time writing a bill that stops the federal government from doing this and of course, getting it through all the bureaucratic processes until it comes up for a vote.


The bill was up for a vote and passed at the end of last year; it protects medical marijuana and industrial hemp operations in states where they are legal, from federal interference. Here's the really stupid part of all of this; because it is part of an annual funding bill...don't even get me started on why that has to be approved again by Congress, otherwise it will expire. So, there was a vote just a few weeks ago and it passed in the House. Sisyphus...could this be any more complicated and seemingly unnecessary?

I was very disappointed to hear the findings of 79 studies about the effectiveness of medical marijuana published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It can help some medical conditions, but it is "no wonder drug" and it is not as effective as previously thought to treat several conditions. While it did help those with long-lasting pain, muscle spasms and MS related stiffness, it showed less effectiveness in easing nausea caused by chemotherapy, anxiety, sleep problems, HIV-related weight loss and Tourette's syndrome.

Tell this to the thousands of people who say otherwise. Every day there is another story on my FB feed about a child with life-threatening epilepsy who "woke up" after just one treatment of cannabis oil. Many go from having 300 seizures a week to being seizure free in a few months. Try telling their parents that it is NOT a "wonder drug."

I connected with a woman online that I now consider to be my good friend. She went from 30 years of pharmaceutical hell and incapacity to amazing health after she finally gave up all her drugs and started taking cannabis oil for her fibromyalgia pain. That's all she uses now and she is the picture of health. I will be relating her story very soon.

The good news is that medical marijuana research is going forward in a big way with eased restrictions on access to the plants by private researchers. Let's hope their research reflects the amazing medicinal properties that so many people have experienced.

Have you used medical marijuana? What has been your experience?

I've been blogging a lot lately about cannabis. If you want to read more of my rantings here's one about Charlotte's Web Hemp Oil

If you want to get more involved in helping Illinois move forward...and boy, do we need help, here...there are resources and links to groups on the Americans for Safe Acess-Illinois page that are doing just that. Americans for Safe Access is a national program, so if you are not an Illinoisian, check out a chapter in your state.