Tuesday, April 29, 2008

'Politicizing Pain'

By Ron Paul ∙ LewRockwell.com ∙ April 29, 2008

K.K. Forss does not claim medical marijuana solves all his problems. His pain from a ruptured disc in his neck is debilitating. He is unable to go to work or to the First Baptist Church he used to attend because of the pain and muscle spasms. Taxpayers through Medicare spend over $18,000 a year on his various medications. Half of those drugs are strong narcotics. The other half address the various side-effects brought on by the first half, such as nausea, heartburn, heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping, and muscle spasms.

No, marijuana would not completely address all his pain, but it made a tremendous difference in the quality of his life when he tried it for over a year. It helped him regain 38 pounds he had lost. It calmed his muscle spasms and helped him sleep. In short, it alleviated many side effects and greatly reduced his need for other expensive medications. Mr. Forss estimates that being allowed to use medical marijuana would save taxpayers at least $12,000 a year in medications he would no longer need. He would also be able to work occasionally and attend some church services.

Scientists at the University of California at Davis recently completed a study that backs up Mr. Forss’s experience, finding that cannabis demonstrates significant relief of neuropathic pain. Many in government call for more studies while people like K.K. Forss suffer. More studies will not change what many patients already know, and that is for some, medical marijuana helps their pain. But over-reaching government gets in the way.

K.K. Forss lived in constant fear of federal and state officials so he eventually stopped taking medical marijuana and switched to his more rigorous and expensive pill regimen. Presently, twelve states have passed legislation allowing marijuana, under certain conditions, to be prescribed legally by doctors for patients who could benefit from it. K.K. Forss lives in Minnesota, where it is not yet legal. However, even if it is legalized by the state, Mr. Forss will still have plenty to fear from the Federal government, as cannabis dispensaries and clinics that operate under these state laws are still under fire from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In other words, the federal government sees fit to use our tax dollars to raid state sanctioned healthcare clinics, to imprison and fine patients and operators, in order to compel people like Mr. Forss to be bedridden and overmedicated at great taxpayer expense every single day.

The Federal government should recognize that states have the authority to decide these issues. This affords all states the opportunity to see which policies are most beneficial. As a Congressman and a physician, I strongly advocate that healthcare decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not politicians or federal agents, which is why I am an original co-sponsor of the recently introduced “Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act” which would bar the Federal government from intervening in such doctor/patient relationships that violate no state law.

The bottom line is that K.K. Forss should be treated as a free American. Mr. Forss is one of many who would like to use marijuana medicinally because it helps him. Politicians and bureaucrats have no right to interfere.

1 comment:

  1. This issue is met with such prejudice.

    If only people knew the truth.

    The thing is, they think they know the truth. Most think the truth was arrived at before they needed to waste time thinking of it.

    What a shame, such a crying shame.

    Because pain doesn't grab everyone the same -- thank God! Not everyone feels the same pain. Not everyone's been through the same accidents or falls. Not everyone is walking wounded.

    My experience has been that people who have not experienced a life-transforming accident that places a new bookmark in their very physical being, they lack, and it is noone's fault, they lack empathy.

    And that pain can be so real. So final. So life-lasting.

    That pain can be devouring.

    It can completely destroy happiness. It can suck the vitality out of one's spirit, and one finds oneself no longer able to go on.

    It zaps the energy for living from people. And their lives, and the lives of the people that know them, and love them, may God have pity for them all. What loss.

    My own story: Motorcycles.

    Ah, what a rush. No box to keep one in. Just a soul on two wheels -- nothing between them and the world but two wheels that will take you even faster than you'd probably want to go.

    Ten years and an accident later, the ebb and flow of atmospheric pressure, whenever Mother Nature waters her garden, God ... does my knee hurt.

    Three orthopedic surgeons, all on their own, no prompting from me, all of them, without knowing the other, recommended marijuana.

    The first time I was sort of flabbergasted. The second-time I was amazed that there are actual doctors out there who are interested in healing their patient of the life-robbing pain.

    The third time, way more than seven years ago, I found the peace of God's warm and gentle breath.

    There's just, what I believe is God's honest truth, nothing more gentle on a body to alleviate the sheer pain of atmostpheric pressure changes on healed-shattered-bone, than this simple plant that God himself threw around the Earth. Surely He must have been thinking: "They'll break their bones, I just Know it. Their souls are tied to physical beings, and physical things can, and will, break. In the infinite Wisdom I achieve without trying, I shall, not in pity, but in celebration of life's continuity, create these plants, create this Medicine, for the pain that shall test mankind." (I make no claim to be able to quote my Lord, I'm simply supposing of a wisdom greater than any I, mere mortal, can imagine.)

    Another story:

    Once upon a time I was acquainted with a liver and kidney transplant surgeon. He described to me how a human body's liver can only withstand so many doses of ibuprofen or acetaminophen in a lifespan.

    And so many studies have been done. The ones that aren't tilted to the almighty dollar (oh, haven't you been warned of worshiping idols, Christian?),

    given truth, they show this plant is so easy on the body. It is so easy on the liver it passes through like a glass of milk.

    What a shame we are all so shamed we, as an alleged community of people who care for one another, outlaw the healthiest of methods for allowing those of us who have been injured endure a very day.

    Just one very day. Of life. That, perhaps, you take for granted.