Pubdate: Fri, 29 Apr 2011
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2011 Missoulian
Author: Anne Ward


Much has been made of the number of medical cannabis cardholders in
Montana. Even people who claim to have voted in favor of Initiative
148 say they are surprised at the number of people who have obtained

In 2004, perhaps many Montanans who voted "yes" for I-148 thought that
they were just voting for severely disabled people or people on their
death beds to have access to cannabis. Medical cannabis has numerous
applications in these medical instances, but it also is quite
effective in the treatment of chronic illnesses. For many Montana
citizens suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis,
fibromyalgia, spinal conditions, neuropathy, glaucoma, chronic pain,
chronic nausea, etc., there is the need for long-term medication.

Yes, these people can survive without it, but we're talking quality of
life here. For many, the choice is to take physically addictive,
habit-forming pharmaceutical narcotics on a long-term basis and just
deal with becoming addicted and the long-term side effects of drug
toxicity on their bodies, or to ingest or smoke medical cannabis,
which is nontoxic, not physically addictive, has no lethal dose and no
long-term side effects have been noted, even in heavy users.

The whole point of medical cannabis is that it is a safer alternative
to commonly prescribed and approved drugs for these conditions.

These people suffering from chronic conditions are all ages, and most
still need to work for a living, raise their children and go about the
pursuit of freedom. You can't do this if you are drugged out of your
mind on oxycodone or Percocet, or maybe Valium as a muscle relaxer. If
you ingest or smoke a little cannabis, you can work, interact with
your kids, live your life, be pleasant to be around and hopefully be
legal while you're doing it.

Anne Ward, Corvallis 
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