Marijuana is a Medication
Excerpted with permission from Chapter Eight of Jesse Ventura’s Marijuana Manifesto
Oh, and I almost forgot to reiterate one final point about marijuana being a medication instead of a drug. What does THC do? It curbs alcohol and tobacco addictions! That’s right. Doctors and psychologists consider weed a recovery treatment for nicotine and alcohol addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that half the individuals who begin an addiction treatment program relapse within six months because of their chemical dependency to the drug. Think about the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol: anxiety or nervousness, depression, fatigue, irritability, jumpiness or shakiness, mood swings, nightmares, clammy skin, headache, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, sweating, delirium, hallucinations, and seizures. Then think about the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine: tingling in the hands and feet, sweating, nausea and cramping, headache, cold symptoms, anxiety, insomnia, cravings, confusion, irritability, depression, temper tantrums, constipation, boredom, dizziness, and weight gain. Then think about what marijuana does and how it could curb these symptoms entirely. Remember the study in the Harm Reduction Journal from chapter 7? Addicts who regularly smoked weed decreased their desire to use tobacco, alcohol, and hard drugs without experiencing all those awful withdrawal symptoms.
But Big Pharma wants to keep all these benefits of cannabis under wraps. Hell, if you want to talk about drugs with side effects or drugs that are addictive, look no further than Big Pharma! Case in point: Take any drug commercial on TV. Don’t the side effects seem worse than the symptoms of the condition that the drug treats? Take a look at the DEA’s narcotic drug classifications—the majority of these addictive substances were invented in a pharmaceutical lab. So, how does Big Pharma get away with all of this? It has friends in high places!
In September 2015, President Obama nominated Dr. Robert Califf to be the next commissioner of the FDA, to replace Margaret Hamburg, the outgoing commissioner. The sixty-four-year-old cardiologist and clinical trial expert from Duke University hasn’t gotten the job yet. As of February 2016, Dr. Stephen Ostroff is the FDA’s acting commissioner. Ostroff is a scientist and a long-time official at the HHS, so he would seem to be a natural fit to replace Hamburg. So why did Califf get recommended by the president? Califf receives $100,000 a year in consulting fees from Merck & Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly & Co., and Norvartis. Folks, if that doesn’t tell you how much Big Pharma controls our government, I don’t know what will. Califf is currently the deputy commissioner of the FDA. If he becomes the next commissioner, he’ll hold the regulatory leash on food, drugs, tobacco, and just about any product sold across the United States. Remember, the FDA is the arm of the government that approves a pharmaceutical drug. If Califf gets the commissioner’s position, you can bet we’ll see more addictive drugs like Zohydro on the fast track for approval.
Meanwhile, in June 2015, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) approved a $3 million grant to whatever pharmaceutical company can create a pill to stop marijuana addiction! Folks, this is what our government is spending our taxpayer money on! If you go to the NIDA’s website, it says that an estimated 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. After offering Big Pharma $3 million to “cure” weed addiction, the NIDA claims an estimated 4.2 million Americans are addicted to cannabis. Don’t you wonder where these statistics come from? I sure as hell do.
So, how many people abuse prescription drugs? According to the NIDA, an estimated fifty-two million people in the United States over the age of twelve have used prescription drugs for a “non-medical” purpose. On a monthly basis, an average of 6.1 million people use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. And 2010, there were 5.1 million people who abused painkillers. Take a look again at the side effects of marijuana and painkillers and you tell me which drug should get a $3 million grant to resolve addiction.
Did you know a severe side effect of pharmaceutical drugs is literally death? I’m not talking about overdosing. I’m referring to the harm your body takes on due to these drugs. The harm is so intense that it causes a certain percentage of the population to literally die due to a bad reaction. Take a look at these statistics from 2010: Prescription drugs taken as directed kill one hundred thousand Americans per year. That’s 270 people per day. That’s one person every five minutes! In June 2014, Harvard University noted that prescription drugs—again, when taken as directed by a doctor—cause about 1.9 million hospitalizations a year due to serious adverse side effects.
So, of the 170 million Americans who take a prescription drug as directed by their doctors, approximately 1.5 percent will experience severe reactions—including death—due to the side effects. But how do you know if you’re one of those people who will have a life-or-death reaction to your cholesterol medication or your blood pressure medication? You might not know until it’s too late because there’s no way for a doctor to test how the drug will interact with your body before you take it.
Remember in chapter 5 when I mentioned that in the 1800s the pharmaceutical industry had to put a poison label on substances prescribed by a doctor? Well, maybe they should bring that warning label back. Something like “consume at your own risk.” It’s astounding to me that we outlaw a plant with healing properties and practically no adverse side effects, and then we artificially create medications that can cause irreversible harm to our bodies. Yet, that’s the world we live in, folks.
For copies of this book, check your local and online bookstores or visit www.skyhorsepublishing.com or call (212) 643-6816 (USA).