A disturbing trend has emerged from the medical transplant community in which patients who use cannabis are being denied potentially life saving organ transplants. Debate on the subject is thriving though many doctors and surgeons remain agnostic, biased or dismissive to the thought of performing risky procedures on anyone who may have used cannabis at any point prior to needing life saving surgery. Often citing the legality of cannabis or potential for infection post transplant, deflecting the gravity of their unwillingness to accept organs from or operate on cannabis consumers is easier than taking a stand against a corrupt and misguided institution.
Completely rejecting the view that infection from a fungal disease carried in moldy cannabis may affect transplant recipients with already compromised immune systems would be unwise. Potentially more unwise and certainly life threatening would be relying on doctors who have been taught that marijuana is bad but pills are good to be up to speed on the latest cannabis consumption methods and testing practices. Research suggests that any academic discussion pertaining to this matter fails to consider edibles, tinctures, suppositories, transdermal patches, sublingual sprays or other non-combustible ways to intake cannabis.
In her paper titled Marijuana use and Aspergillosis, Helen Le Sueur states,
“Since the 1970s there have been a small but significant number of case reports describing a link between marijuana use and invasive aspergillosis. This is thought to be due to the direct inhalation of fungal spores that are present on the surface of the plant. The heating of cannabis buds may not be sufficient for sterilization and so users (particularly those with compromised immune systems) are potentially exposed to life threatening pulmonary infection.”
It seems woefully obvious that any decision being made with incomplete information or antiquated research should not be considered reliable. When the letters M.D. are appended to a name and embroidered on a lab coat or scrubs it is easy to take the word of such a well educated individual or group without questioning the underlying assumptions of the medical advice. Left to their own devices, medical professionals eschew common sense in favor of bureaucratic boneheadedness and rigid righteousness.
2016’s Marijuana and Listing for Heart Transplant: A Survey of Transplant Providers is the most comprehensive collection of information currently available. Three hundred and sixty physicians, surgeons, nurses and organ transplant coordinators from across the globe participated and provided valuable insight. On the surface the numbers indicate that majority surveyed believe that cannabis use should not preclude people from receiving organ transplants. Digging a bit deeper illuminates the misguided belief system from which they are working.
Sixty-four percent of respondents agreed that patients who use legal medical marijuana should be listed for a heart transplant. Not a bad start. Seventy-two percent believe that legal recreational use of cannabis is means to be denied a new heart. Uh-oh. Eighty-three percent are under the belief that patients who use marijuana in a state where it is not legal to do so should not be allowed a heart transplant. That’s just cold blooded.
It only gets worse. Sixty-six percent think marijuana use is physically harmful. The hooks of Big Pharma and the chuckled headed saps on Capitol Hill are sunk deep into the those tasked with deciding who shall be given a second chance at life through the miracle of modern medicine. Eighty-three percent answered that patients who use Marinol should be listed for a heart transplant while 63 percent agreed that patients that use opiates daily for chronic pain should be listed.
The unenviable position of needing an organ transplant shouldn’t be further complicated by ambiguous guidelines and moral judgments. Doctors are supposed to be smart. They’ve got so many years of education. Suggesting that the amount or frequency of cannabis use should disqualify an individual from receiving a heart, lung or any other transplant is a desperate call for help.
The hosers up in Northern Lights country gave us Alex Trebek and now they are showing us a blueprint for a competent approach towards harm reduction strategies, dealing with dangerous drug epidemics and logical marijuana policies. Canadian Broadcasting News recently reported that major Canadian employers are considering covering the cost of medical marijuana for employees. Bernie Bros. are quick to point out the necessity to lower prescription drug cost and point to Canada as a source of inspiration in overhauling the domestic healthcare strategy. I’ll take “Things the USA could stand to learn from Canada” for $1000 Alex.
Every single day the citizens of the United States of America lose a bit of themselves to the harsh and blatant disregard for equality, wellbeing, safety and sincerity extolled from the highest ranks of government. Not a single stitch of patriotism is used when weaving such disjointed, incoherent, and extravagant lies to the American people. We are led by ignorance and at war with intelligence, common sense and scientific fact. Teetering on the brink of complete irrelevance America is weak and feeble.
Canada’s glorious deeds circle their brow. Their arms know how to wield the sword as well as carry the cross. An epic history of brilliant deeds and a willingness to defend homes and rights is celebrated. All of this can be found in the translation of O, Canada carried out by the Parliamentary Translation Bureau. Justin Trudeau may want to consider making us pay for a border wall to ensure our bold American stupidity, bigotry and hate doesn’t make its way into his home of the free and land of the brave.
Having a job is nice. Access to health insurance through that job is very nice but isn’t guaranteed. The ability to have the cost of cannabis subsidized by health insurance provided through a job is unfeasible in America. Despite being legal in some form of medical or adult use in 26 states and Washington D.C., cannabis is deemed by both church and state to be a demonic, dangerous plant not worthy of consideration as a replacement or substitute for any number of dubious drugs pushed on children and adults by our healthcare providers.
In the same CBC News report Solomon Israel wrote,
“From the perspective of benefit plan sponsors, there’s strong medical evidence that medical marijuana is effective for three specific conditions, according to Cubic health’s Mike Sullivan: spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients, nausea reduction for chemotherapy patients, and relief of chronic pain.”
There are certainly a number of other conditions for which cannabis provides unprecedented and immediate relief but at least there are people willing to admit the medicinal benefits of nature’s oldest medicine. The acceptance by top lawmakers that cannabis is a threat to the nation is absurd. Their base reasoning has been disproven time and time again by military veteran’s using cannabis in place of prescribed drugs and children ridding themselves of debilitating seizures.
Some may say that it is becoming increasingly difficult to continue defending America as the greatest country in the world; good thing we’re stubborn too. As long as Baby Huey and his babysitters are running things won’t get any easier. This isn’t an ideal situation but we’ll come out on the other side of this better off for going through it.
The way cannabis use is portrayed on the silver screen is not typical for the majority of consumers. Rarely is marijuana characterized as anything other than an infringement on society or a problem to be dealt with. Largely relegated to fodder for cheap laughs or a plot devise surrounding illicit sales or teenage mischief, not many storytellers in Hollywood approach the substance with any substance. Classic stereotypes of the unsuccessful stoner abound and do little to convince the American
voters moviegoers of anything to the contrary.
Firmly established in the canon of cannabis on film—characters like Cheech, Chong, Harold, Kumar, Smokey from Friday and all of Grandma’s boys have done their part to define a genre while inspiring a legion of fanboys to lives of mediocrity. Over the course of time cannabis enhances nearly all aspects of existence and helps to focus energy and commitment on worthwhile endeavors. More or less it is only harmful only to those without ambition or are incapable of free thought.
Depictions of cannabis as a conduit to creativity or self-awareness are few and far between. Little to no effort is made to showcase the powerful properties of the plant. Cannabis consumption in motion pictures needs to be better promoted as a healthy and natural quality of life as opposed to detrimental. Demonizing or otherwise condemning marijuana while featuring booze and cocaine as preferred social lubricants fosters a dismissive message to the youths that sneak into R-rated movies without their parents consent. Hollywood needs to think about the kids.
Outside of the studio system is where marijuana is looked at with more progressive eyes. Independent filmmakers have been able to give a realistic rendering of how cannabis is used and regarded in modern society. 1969’s Easy Rider impressed upon the mainstream the idea of doing your own thing in your own time and provides a memorable study in the joys of getting high for the first time while dispelling fear based anti-marijuana propaganda of then and now.
The constant sparking of joints, blunts and bowls by protagonists in cult classics Belly, Inherent Vice and Dazed and Confused is responsible filmmaking. Subtly emphasizing the importance of regular cannabis use throughout the day as a means to success allows for the viewer to be educated without feeling that they are being preached to. Iconic characters like Steve Zissou and Jeffery “The Dude” Lebowski use cannabis as part of their personal wellness plans and approach the subject with normalcy and aplomb.
Movies are about honesty. Telling a common story in an uncommon way that resonates with viewers is not quite as simple as it sounds. Through connecting with the characters it is possible to escape times of great personal dismay and turbulence, learn important lessons or be motivated towards a new way of thinking. In film, seeing cannabis regarded not as menace to society but rather an essential ingredient to accomplishment goes a long way towards removing the stigma carried over from Reefer Madness.
By now the perceptions that cannabis is a gateway to harder drug use and a depressed life have been quashed. Public opinion supports cannabis legalization while the federal government is still trying to make the case that cocaine, methamphetamine, and about 50 opiates and opioids are less dangerous and more medically beneficial than cannabis. Arguments based on fear, ignorance, money, racism and dogma justify abominable views but do little to save lives.
Fighting the War on Drugs with harm reduction as a goal opposed to incarceration and shaming is generally accepted as a more humane and respectful way to deal with the opiate addiction crisis in the United States but is eschewed in favor of mandatory minimum sentences and civil forfeiture. It’s already been proven that cannabis can help folks get off crack cocaine; the notion that less harmful substances can be replaced with safer alternatives is not new.
In America, children are being called on to save their overdosing parents and send them to jail. Across the Atlantic harm reduction is a way of life and not the theory or experiment that Americans believe it to be. According to Harm Reduction International’s website,
“Harm reduction forms an integral component of HIV and drug policy and programmes within most Western European countries. Almost every country with reported injecting drug use has key harm reduction interventions in place. Several countries also include drug consumption rooms, syringe vending machines and the prescription of injectable OST and pharmaceutical heroin among their harm reduction interventions.“
On this side of the pond any progress we had been making stalled with the ascension of Supreme Leader Trump and his merry band of billionaires. They are poised to strip away addiction services and fill private prisons with the low-hanging fruit of drug offenders (minorities). That’s American Economics for you.
Led by Prince’s untimely passing, a surge of overdose deaths attributed to the very powerful and very FDA-approved opioid Fentanyl, which is regarded as less dangerous than cannabis by the Controlled Substances Act has not done anything to curb the enthusiasm of drug manufactures. Now would seem like a primo time to consider whether a substance 50-100 times more powerful than morphine is overkill. Instead one maker of the drug donated $500,000 to defeat cannabis legalization in Arizona last November showing just how brash, ignorant and insensitive Big Pharma can be.
Prescription drug prices continue to rise and pound prices for cannabis are steadily falling. It’s just a big money hustle for the approved drug dealers of the world. A new study presented by Ashley C. Bradford and W. David Bradford states,
“In the past twenty years, twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have passed some form of medical marijuana law. Using quarterly data on all fee-for-service Medicaid prescriptions in the period 2007–14, we tested the association between those laws and the average number of prescriptions filled by Medicaid beneficiaries. We found that the use of prescription drugs in fee-for-service Medicaid was lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without such laws in five of the nine broad clinical areas we studied. If all states had had a medical marijuana law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion. These results are similar to those in a previous study we conducted, regarding the effects of medical marijuana laws on the number of prescriptions within the Medicare population. Together, the studies suggest that in states with such laws, Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries will fill fewer prescriptions”
Cannabis consumption reduces dependency on opiates. Whether attempting to get clean through rehabilitation, 12-step programs or sheer white-knuckling self-control the use of cannabis during such an undertaking is thought to be counter-intuitive or blasphemous among the majority. Wayward positions such as those will continue to proliferate until addiction is no longer treated as a crime and the status quo is challenged.
If you’ve been to a professional sporting event in the last century or so there is a likely chance that you’ve also encountered a beer-based, hot dog chunked vomit spewing “fan” acting like a jerk. It’s to be expected and unavoidable. There is nothing to be done except pray that a loudmouth doesn’t invade your section and ruin the event. Good luck with that.
A culture that romanticizes knocking back a few cold ones and better living through chemistry while demonizing the cannabis plant is hard to take seriously. Sportscasters, talk-radio hosts, Internet personalities and every other schmo with an opinion can’t help but drop into a Jeff Spicolli impersonation when commenting on some athlete who has been suspended after providing urine with an inappropriate level of THC metabolites as set forth by a collective bargaining agreement. It’s predictable and unimaginative.
The crop of on-air talent is getting hotter, younger and more liberal by the hour but their thoughts are stagnated. Participation trophies still on display at their parents’ homes have encouraged their voices to be loud and opinionated but stifled critical thinking and analysis. Pandering to a crowd is one thing but being uninformed removes credibility.
Unsurprisingly, the four major American sports leagues (Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and National Football League) wholeheartedly support lucrative marketing deals with official beer sponsors while imposing harsh penalties on players for using cannabis. The institutional view that ganja has no place in sports is supported not by fact but rather draconian principles, endorsement dollars and television broadcasting rights.
The NFL and its leadership is particularly dense and grossly incompetent when it comes to the matter of marijuana policy. The same rich white ownership and management of the league that deny the impact of concussions and force feed opiates to their employees making sure they can go to work on Sunday’s earnestly believe that a player who kills a pedestrian while white girl wasted deserves a lesser suspension than a player that uses cannabis.
Let that sink in.
You can kill somebody and spend 30 days behind bars then only get suspended for one year then be welcomed back to work like nothing happened but if a player smokes weed on the regular it’s possible they won’t be allowed to play for three years. Players punished for cannabis consumption have drawn stiffer penalties and more residual pushback than those involved in sexual assault accusations, domestic violence cases, child abuse scandals and dogfighting rings. These are troubling precedents being set.
There is no shortage of former professional athletes speaking out on the benefits of cannabis. Eugene Monroe, Kyle Turley and Ricky Williams all former NFL players have been making the rounds on the cannabis conference circuit lately while WWE Hall of Famer Charles Wright aka Papa Shango aka The GodFather floods his Instagram with dab videos advocating the benefits of cannabis. Stephen Jackson smoked herb pregame before lacing them against Lebron, Dirk and the Black Mamba and averaged 15 points per game over the course of his career. Even a couple of the rich white owners of NFL franchises are moving towards a more reasonable approach for dealing with cannabis use.
For fans there is little recourse to take against the slights perpetuated and enforced by the suits that enjoy our hard earned dollars—which pay salaries, build stadiums and line the pockets of owners and strategic partners. Sticking it to them in little ways is all we can hope for. Every dab taken in a stadium bathroom and or joint roasted in the upper decks is a small victory on the way to acceptance.