Pubdate: Wed, 26 Mar 2008
Source: Peninsula News Review (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Peninsula News Review
Author: Russell Barth


As a Federal Medical Marijuana License holder who is also married to
one, and as a spiritual user of cannabis, I feel I can speak with some
authority about marijuana use.

I will start by saying that most of what you have probably heard from
both sides of the marijuana argument is at worst lies, and at best,
hyperbole. Marijuana is neither a miracle cure or a dangerous narcotic
- - it is simply a herb with many medicinal properties.

Its safety and efficacy as a painkiller, antidepressant,
anticonvulsant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac,
appetite stimulator, and nausea stopper are well-documented, and
before it's prohibition in 1923, cannabis-based medicines were among
the most prescribed in Canada's pharmacopeia. No one has ever died
from a cannabis overdose, or from chronic use.

Recent laboratory studies even show cannabis to have properties that
fight Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, MS, and even cancer. Even when smoked,
the benefits of using marijuana outweigh the dangers, but it can also
be eaten, vaporized, applied to the skin as a salve, or even inserted
as a suppository.

The marijuana that my wife and I use comes from specialty gardens, so
we know how it was grown, and can therefore estimate it's potency at
about 12 to 15 per cent THC. But THC isn't the only active ingredient
in cannabis. There are other elements called cannabinoids (CBD) which
act on the body's Endocannabinoid system which regulates a long list
of bodily systems, including mood and appetite.

Each "strain", or species of marijuana has different ratios of THC to
CBD, giving them different medicinal properties and side effects. One
strain may help with bodily pain, but do little for anxiety, another
will stop anxiety but do little for nausea, and so on.

My wife and I medicate every three hours as part of our physical and
spiritual healing, and use a volcano vaporizer. This device heats up
the cannabis but doesn't burn it, so we experience none of the dangers
of smoking. Since none of the medicine is destroyed by fire, this
device delivers about four times the medicine as the same amount smoked.

If cannabis were dangerous, we would both be dead many times

Cannabis is safe, but the marijuana that the general public comes into
contact with, especially teens, is often contaminated with grow
fertilizers, bug spray, fungicide, fungus, dead bugs, and bug feces.
This is the result of prohibition. Medical growers grow for quality.
Commercial growers grow for profit, and the product only needs to be
passable. They pass the savings on to you.

These chemicals and toxins can cause lung infections, and a long list
of other health problems. Just because it stinks, doesn't mean it is
"good pot".

Russell Barth

Russell Barth is a Federal Medical Marijuana License Holder, member of
Patients Against Ignorance and Discrimination on Cannabis and
co-author of Mommy's Funny Medicine, with his wife Christine Lowe.
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