More recently, many consumers have taken the substance to relieve their symptoms, resulting in their seizures and possibly death. The drug is also used to treat opiate dependence. In 2008, The American Journal of Tropical Medicine reported on a study published in the Journal of Environmental Medicine, “Efforts to address opiate abuse by botanical species and species of plants have been increasingly focused on opioid-induced toxicity in marijuana – a practice that has grown in the West and continues to continue in parts of Asia.” The link is important because of the potential dangers it poses. The U.S. is one of only three countries that are prohibited from exporting plants from the plants cultivated for medicinal purposes. As the article states, “This country’s prohibition of any importation of plant leaves and stems containing marijuana has had a chilling effect on farmers, which are often unable to continue using plants as an effective nutritional supplement for their animals.” Because of the potential for abuse in the general population, this is a major concern. Even in the United States where medical marijuana is not already available to sell, there is a public health problem associated with the use of the plant by some people and for certain patients. In 2004, I interviewed Elizabeth Nunn, a former teacher who uses marijuana as a method of relaxation in the mornings. It was a very popular drug for her daughter and daughter-in-law. Nunn said her daughter is now using it as part of her day. In fact, she said, she is using it to relax and not for medical reasons. Her daughter also said it is a very interesting habit that has been proven helpful with mood and sleep disturbances.
“During my time with kids, sometimes I would take them this way and they’d say, ‘Hey my daughter you should go see her today,’ and I would get on it the next day, and when I put her off, when I was finished off doing the next day I would wake her up to say, ‘Wow, what the hell?’ But the next morning she’d get a cold and if she got the cold she’d be just fine, I think because I get off too much at night when you need to be around,” she said. This is an extremely sensitive time for her. She was talking recently with my friend at The Oregonian about the potential dangers she was exposed to from marijuana use because she had recently taken LSD.
“I was one of the most active people in the world in college with a very, very active, very high level of sensitivity at work. If I hadn’t had the LSD I would have gotten the same things I got today. That’s where I became a lot more tolerant,” she said . She said all the kids she introduced her to she had hooked up with. Her daughter-in-law, who uses cannabis, never took any LSD, she said, just a couple of “tiny doses.” She said it was a very relaxing evening and she felt like she was getting better.
“… When I think of my children-to-be-to-be, what comes to mind is the pain of getting an IV, a couple times a week going to work, my wife, this little son and daughter-in-law who I brought over to play,” she said. She added that she has seen other problems associated with marijuana use in the past, such as the death of her son, who she said has been unable to make a sound for four years.
“I would think that some of my children would go and get off with a nice little bath for the rest of their lives at night. They’d be so happy that there are days off and not too much to do, but I also think that some other kids who are using the same drugs. That doesn’t occur in other children, and that’s why I say this is one of my reasons why I have given it to my children,” she said.
The problem with using the hallucinogenic substance to help heal may be simple, according to some experts, as it can cause an opioid overdose. A recent article by Dr. Jonathan Edwards in Rolling Stone Magazine reported that prescription opiate painkillers, which the World Health Organization says are “more potent than morphine at treating opioids” and “generally cause better results for chronic pain and for people who have drug-related mental illness,” can be abused. And the DEA is also warning that users should consider the effects of marijuana on their bodies as well. Edwards also highlighted that other than the potential side effects this drug has on humans, if used too closely, they can have serious health impacts. “There will always be people who don’t use it and they don’t even know how to deal with it,” he said .
The use of marijuana is quite different from that of most recreational drugs. What’s known about it?