Massachusetts offers its citizens a medical cannabis program that went into effect in 2013 and covers conditions like cancer, ALS, Crohn’s, HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s. Registered patients in the state are permitted a 60-day supply of cannabis and can engage in limited home cultivation. More than 23,000 patients have signed up for the state’s program to take advantage of safe, regulated access to medical cannabis.
Among these medical cannabis patients in The Bay State is 71-year-old Boston sportscasting icon Bob Lobel. Lobel has undergone a series of serious operations, including two rotator cuff surgeries, two knee replacements, four back surgeries, and procedures for dual femur fractures. All of this surgery has resulted in a great deal of post-operative pain for the veteran sportscaster. Said Lobel:
“My issue was strictly pain. I didn’t want to take any more OxyContin or oxycodone or Percocet, for a variety of reasons. The biggest thing I was worried about was addiction.”
Lobel described how the pharmaceutical pain killers he was prescribed drained his energy and made him tired. “It was hard to function and I couldn’t go on TV all drugged up,” he said. The results of Lobel’s experiment with medical cannabis to treat his conditions?
“It was really about helping with the pain, and it did.”
Unfortunately, Massachusetts hasn’t been quite as efficient in granting Lobel a medical exemption as the cannabis has been at combating his pain. During a three-day trip to Portland, Oregon to visit his daughter, Lobel visited a certifying doctor, applied for a medical card, and obtained it. Next thing he knew, he was legally purchasing and consuming cannabis — but only in Oregon, thousands of miles from his home and work.
Lobel is still waiting for Massachusetts to grant him the legal right to gain safe access to cannabis medicine in his own state. “I don’t want to have to fly across the country and deal with drug-sniffing dogs at the airport. I want to do everything legally here,” he said. The famous TV personality says he does not enjoy smoking cannabis, but instead uses oil. He has experimented with edibles like candy and cookies.
Lobel described how cannabis is effective in treating his pain, but allows him to avoid the negative side effects of the opiates he previously consumed. He said:
“In terms of pain relief, [cannabis]…really helps.”
Until Massachusetts grants him a medical card and he is allowed to gain safe access within his own state, Lobel says he is able to “take the edge off” using the cannabis he obtained in Oregon (no word on how he got it back to the East Coast). He said another challenge has been overcoming the stigma associated with “marijuana.” “It’s more than a reasonable alternative [to opioids] once you get past the stigma like you’re under a railroad bridge smoking pot,” he said.
Lobel has been impressed by the selection of cannabis products and the myriad ways in which it can be consumed, calling his options “incredible.” To show his newfound support of medical marijuana, he referenced former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee.
“When Bill Lee was talking about marijuana and his brownies back in the ’70s, he wasn’t kidding. He was just ahead of his time.”
Photo credit: Boston Herald, CBS