Monday, September 02, 2013

The Minister's Wife Speaks on a Controversial Subject

First, I should clarify that this minister's wife does not advocate smoking pot.

Last night we had the church youth group here, and as we sat around eating and talking, someone asked me what I thought of medical marijuana.

I did not condemn it, which caused a certain son, some distance down the porch, to perk up his ears and grin like I had just given him full unhindered license to go buy a joint and puff away.



But here's where I'm coming from.

There's no such thing as a perfectly safe drug.  Or so says Paul's sister, Barb, who is a doctor.  She says you always have to weigh the possible benefits with the possible side effects, and then make your decision.

Also, you have to carefully regulate amounts and monitor the patient.

So we have codeine and morphine that are lifesavers in that they dull pain, but they can make you vary from loopy to completely unconscious.

When Paul's mom was in the hospital with pneumonia, they were constantly monitoring her medication.  I don't remember the names of everything, but they'd give her one chemical until it started affecting her heart, then they'd cut back on that and give another until her kidneys were in danger, then they'd cut back on that and hope her lungs would still be ok.

It was all about benefits and needs vs. the effects of too much medicine.

We move on to reminiscing about pregnancy.  I suppose I had hyperemesis gravidum like Kate Middleton, but I didn't know the name for it.  All I know is that I was either barfing all the time or lying in bed, monstrously nauseated and desperately trying not to throw up, for weeks and months on end.

"Misery" is a very mild word for this experience.

Doctors are cautious at the best of times and hyper-cautious with pregnant women, so there was nothing my doctors could offer me.  I remember dissolving in tears when Dr. MacDonald told me this, with a slight shrug, because I was under the delusion that he could and would give me something magic to make it better.

For all five pregnancies, a slight shrug was the best any of my doctors could do.

Some time after my last baby, I read somewhere that a puff or two of marijuana can calm down the nausea of pregnancy.

I thought, I would do it myself, seriously I would.

Now before you storm across the yard with pitchforks, answer this: did you take Tylenol with Codeine when you had your wisdom teeth out?  I'll bet you did.  And you had some side effects too, and no one would have let you drive because you were so loopy.

But you justified that "high" because the alternative was intense pain.

Marijuana has a bad reputation as a recreational drug and a politically charged subject, but really it's one of a thousand plants that can be used wisely or misused.

I think if it weren't such a volatile subject, the pharmaceutical industry would quietly turn it into forms that could be taken by means other than smoking, such as tea or capsules.  The dosage could be monitored and pregnant ladies could sip just enough tea to quell the terrible heaves and have some blessed relief without getting high or hurting the baby.

And it could be taken by cancer patients and people with other chronic conditions whose quality of life could improve with fewer side effects than the drugs they are now allowed and encouraged to take.

That's what I think, based on what I know.

But again, I am not allowing my teenagers to smoke pot any more than I'd allow them to puff on my asthma inhalers just for a lark.

I just read an article reporting that a researcher in Israel developed a hybrid cannabis high in "good" chemicals and low in "bad."  Sounds like a great solution all around.

 Professor Mechoulam has been working to grow cannabis that contains high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, something that has been intentionally bred out of the plant by non-medical marijuana growers looking for a stronger high (or higher level of THC). THC is the most well known cannabinoid, less so for its medicinal benefits, and more for the high that it produces when cannabis is dried, and smoked. Cannabidiol on the other hand is a substance that researchers believe can be used for treating diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, liver inflammation,multiple schlerosis, heart disease and diabetes without getting the patients ‘high’. Avidekel is a brand new strain being grown by Tikkun Olam that contains a record setting 15.8% CBD and only minute traces of THC below 1%.  Mechoulam believes that CBD-rich strains such as Avidekel, show promise as potent anti-inflammatory drugs.


  1. Also good for glaucoma I believe. Opium is a very old, well know drug used in countless countries for countless centuries until the *recreational* lot so misused it, it got banned. God gave us the plants as herbs & medicines. It's us that have not used them wisely.

  2. Words of wisdom there, if you ask me. And since I am Mennonite, even if not a Minister's wife, there, now you know what this Mennonite thinks too. ;-)

    Having dealt with a child with huge medical needs and having myself needed some heavy duty pain meds a few times in my life, I'm grateful for wise and judicious and controlled use of drugs.

  3. Very well stated and supported by medical science. Medical marijuana has been used very successfully in the treatment of seizures in at least one child when all other measures failed.

  4. Ahhh, but there are other forms. You can make brownies or cookies or what have you and put it in them. Works. You can also make a tincture, though I understand the potency varies a lot.

    There are also new breeds that maximize the good parts and minimize the bad parts of chemical compounds naturally found in marijuana. Go search for a type called Charlotte's Web - fabulous story to go with it.

    I know a girl who uses medical marijuana instead of the steriods and pain killers she had been on. The difference is vast.

    As for pregnant women? Sure Zofran does not cause deformities, but babies are born addicted to it. Every drug has it's con...

  5. One thing to keep in mind...if you live in a state where marijuana is illegal, it would still be wrong to use it even for medicinal purposes.

  6. Of course one of the problems is that "medical marijuana" is used as a guise for recreational use, also. Some pot heads on welfare are into medical marijuana so that they will be able to get their marijuana without paying anything or much for it. So what do you think about all us taxpayers subsidizing those pot heads who don't want to pay for their marijuana anymore?

  7. To Anonymous--subsidizing "pot heads" would be an unfortunate consequence but not reason enough not to use it for medical purposes. According to friends in the medical field, we already subsidize lots of misused painkillers. The solution lies in changing hearts and society, not in keeping a good medicine from folks who need it.

  8. You make a very good point.

  9. Maybe, maybe not. I think I am a little closer to the drug subculture that you might be, Dorcas, as well as in the medical field and it is not a rosy picture.

  10. Feel free to elaborate, Mr/Ms Medical-field Anonymous. I was hoping to hear from someone like you.

  11. Well, there is a long history of taking naturally occuring substances and using them in a medicinal way. Could that happen with cannabis? Sure it could, but I'm not convinced that legalizing the use of marijuana for this purpose and using the same intake method as it is used recreationally is the right way to do it. Sure we use all sorts of products related to the natural opioid produced by the opium poppy, but the medicinal forms do not consist of consuming some raw product of the opium poppy.

  12. As an adoptive mom of multiple children born with some marijuana in their systems--I doubt whether the medicinal treatment with this natural substance is worth the risk. There is no proof that even a very small amount used during pregnancy is not harmful to the unborn baby, and the long-term effects of marijuana are not known.

    I also question whether there might be some demonic activity, and control connected to any use of marijuana.

  13. "Marijuana has a bad reputation as a recreational drug and a politically charged subject, but really it's one of a thousand plants that can be used wisely or misused."

    I agree that unwise use of any substance is a problem with the persons rather than the substance itself... I am concerned for the youth discussing this as it was a time in my life when I turned my back on God (as well as being young) that I dabbled with marijuana. My son was almost harmed, how badly I cannot guess, while I was under the influence. I do not know if smoking actually stops or suppresses the feelings (pain or nausea) or if it just produces a lack of caring.
    Today I choose to remain anonymous rather than include my name.

  14. Actually there is a pharmaceutical cannabis product currently used for nausea and poor appetite in cancer patients. It is called marinol. There are a few other cannabis products available in Canada that are not available in the U.S., but there is some ongoing research with cannabis products. Safety in pregnancy is another issue.