Medical Marijuana

The first cannabis seeds arrived in Australia in 1788 on the First Fleet at the request of Sir Joseph Banks, who marked the cargo “For Commerce”.

Hemp is one of the world’s most useful plants. Its uses range from paper to fuel, and it could replace many environmentally destructive products.

For thousands of years hemp has been used as a food, to make clothing, as a medicine and as a drug. It can be turned into plastics and made into petroleum without producing sulphur, thus reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. Until the late 1880’s 75-90% of all paper in the world was made from hemp.

In 1938 the United States was the first country to introduce laws to destroy hemp plants, regardless of their intended use. That law was the result of political pressure exerted by the forestry industry and the Dupont corporation, which had just patented oil and coal based plastics production. Australia quickly followed the United States’ lead.

That which ensued was a campaign to destroy the industry in spite of the fact that marijuana had been prescribed by doctors for centuries. The American Medical Association at the time condemned the media beat-up as “tabloid sensationalism“. Headlines in Australia included: “Drug that maddens victims“, “Plant grows wild in Queensland” and “Warning from America“. Articles proclaimed that marijuana “distorts moral values and leads to degrading sexual excesses“.

Fast forward to today and the medical use of marijuana is permitted in 15 American states, meanwhile Australia doesn’t even allow the use of medical marijuana, despite its benefits. Where medical marijuana is allowed in the US, it is prescribed by a medical practitioner and the script “dispensed” by a designated cannabis shop or cooperative store. Cannabis can also legally be grown at home by an approved medical user.

Medically prescribed marijuana can alleviate chronic pain including rheumatoid arthritis. It can be used as therapy for neurologic symptoms associated with Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, as well as treating muscle spasms among those with multiple sclerosis and Tourette’s Syndrome. Pain Management of America advises: “Medical marijuana as a chronic pain management tool can reduce patients’ pain and improve quality of life, without the same serious side effects associated with use of some pharmaceutical pain relievers.”.

The present state of play in Australia is that the law relating to the use of marijuana remains a flawed system, unlawful yet all the while denying people with serious health problems access to one drug which has been proven to be of the most assistance, and without the serious side effects of other prescription medicines. It is a sad commentary on the state of modern medicine and indeed politics in Australia that something that has been known for 5,000 years remains illegal even on prescription.

45 comments on “Medical Marijuana

  1. Good Subject Min,I agree with your comments completely, it also works for depression, ADD, and helps prevent nausia from Chemo, what I do not understand is that we are happy to feed our children Dex Amphetamine or Ritilin (which is basically refined Cocaine), but ban something that actually works, I read the other day the NSW goverment wants to ban synthetic Marijuana as well.

    I have been using it for years it is the only thing that keeps the ADD at bay and gives me complete relief for spinal arthritis

  2. Thank you Augustus. From verbal reports many doctors in Australia tell people to get their hands on marijuana for chronic pain for conditions such as yours. A ridiculous situation where people in need often cannot obtain it, yet nearly every high school kid can. The obvious and logical plus humane thing to do is to dispense it as we do every other prescription medicine.

  3. ‘It’s also very good if you want to get ripped off your tits!’

    This stuff aint though (not that theyre’s anything wrong with that)

    http://www.ecofibre.com.au/

    And I would like to see more of this too. Particualrly to replace/alleviate our plactics industy, which even some of those within lament over the environmental impact it causes.

  4. I’ve never tried it reb, so I’ll have to take your word for it..as Bacchus observed I’m more of a Mateus kinda girl 😉 Yes indeed living a stone’s throw from Mullumbimby home of the world-famous Mullumbimby rye..never tried it.

  5. Tom, that is how ridiculous it is – hemp one of the world’s most useful fibres is only being ‘trialed’ in Australia.

  6. Augustus and Min,
    My uncle has had to use cannabis for years after an industrial accident as it is the only thing that works with him.

  7. BJ, I know people who suffer chronic pain from industrial accidents and at least one is now on methadone due to his addiction to Codine, which never really worked properly for him anyway.

  8. BJ and Augustus, a friend of mine, a drummer from a well known Aussie rock band of the 70’s contracted cancer..poor bloke had to have half of his face cut away. To deny such a person a drug that would help him, or even worse to make a criminal out of him is beyond comprehension.

  9. Love it Augustus..as a guitar player I was a dismal failure, left handed trying to play acoustic guitar right handed…

  10. I’ve always loved the lyrics for this one..me being a lyrics person…
    A pocket full of mumbles such are promises
    All lies and jests
    Still a man hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest

  11. “Left handed trying to play right” know the problem only too well Min, so I took up photography specialising in music instead, mostly blues and jazz, and found it was just as good, as I could sit back and see what I had captured, but also made a lot of friends doing so, many memories.

  12. Likewise Augustus. I knew these blokes from QClub, especially Beeb. I remember saying oh no, do not do a cover version of a Beatles song. I could have been wrong 😉

  13. Good post, Min.

    From past reading I remember the doctors in colonial Sydney used cannabis to help alcoholics dry out.

    Rum was the currency at the time.

  14. Thanks mate, Melanie Safka, definately a favourite, so here is one for you to just sit back and enjoy

  15. Pip..not to mention the false eyelashes, the puffy hairpiece, the wet look knee-high boots and the Op Art ear-rings. Ahh those were the days when everything was so..umm..natural?

  16. Yes Minister…. Very obviously Minister Garrett knows of these..I thought that we might like to enjoy too 😀

  17. Pip..I agree there is something about the rhythm of that song.

    May, she will stay resting in my arms again..July she will fly and give no warning to her flight, August die she must the Autumn winds blow chilly and cold..September to remember.

  18. “Forty Brazilian cities had their streets taken over by the Freedom March on Saturday 18 June, 2011. A multitude of groups, collectives, movements, organizations and outraged people brought forth their revolt. The fuse of this spontaneous rebellion was the violent repression at the Marijuana March of São Paulo by the military police on 21 May.”

    Brazil: 40 Cities Make the Freedom March

    Grass roots action!

  19. Thanx Meta…. wasn’t aware that I was part of a movement.

    Did you know that cannabis was last sold in Tasmanian chemist shops during the 1950s?

  20. El gordo, and why not. It’s a medicine no different from any other. As per the topic why should marijuana not be available on prescription when in so many cases it is the ideal medication for a number of conditions.

  21. Mike, thank you for that. It’s a strong belief of mine that people with chronic pain conditions and the terminally ill should have access to all available medications. The fact remains that in Australia one cannot be prescribed marijuana for pain relief, although many medicos suggest that people use this because it’s the best drug for this purpose. Likewise cocaine for terminally ill cancer sufferers.

  22. Pingback: Cannabis: it’s a crime « Café Whispers

  23. Gods given gift should be used freely by whom ever wants to use it. God gave us free will. The government wants to control the people like sheep or more like slaves to fill there pockets. I say lets destroy the governments and live and let live!

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