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The State of Medicine in Midwest Cannabis: Post Election

What just happened….

The biggest loser on Election Night 2020 is the War on Drugs, as yet five additional states legalized some form of cannabis use, either Adult Use or Medical. Using cannabis, be it for pain or for pleasure, is now legal in 35 states. What does this mean? It means patients searching for effective treatments will have more legal and affordable options. It means the medical community can no longer continue to ignore 4500 years of recorded history and 23,000 medical studies showing cannabis is effective for a wide range of conditions. It means fewer people will go to jail over a plant. And hopefully it means a healthier, happier and safer community for everyone.

When I became sick, I realized everyone is sick. Mine is labeled Multiple Sclerosis but everybody’s got something… diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. If your back doesn’t hurt, something else does. Are you anxious? Suffering from depression or anxiety? You certainly aren’t alone. A full 50 percent of women who use cannabis report using it primarily for anxiety. When I shared my MS diagnosis, I was amazed at how many people shared with me how they were being failed by modern medicine. All of us were on the latest, most expensive medicines, and most of us felt worse instead of better. Within a few short months after my diagnosis, I went from taking an occasional allergy pill, to taking one shot and eight pills every single day. It took 80mg of Adderall to get me through a five-hour workday. That’s about four times higher than the average dose. I would still come home and crash. I had insurance but it bothered me to be such an expensive patient. My MS drug alone cost more than $90,000 a year. And even with the most modern medicines available, my husband rushed me to the hospital three times in one year. After that final trip, he suggested I smoke a joint and my journey into medical marijuana began. I was able to wean myself off the meds (I also retired and changed my diet) and five years later, I’m happy to say I’m still pharmaceutical free.

At least once a week, someone writes to me and asks how can they use cannabis to stop taking so many prescription medications. They are often frustrated because their doctors will not and sometimes cannot give them any guidance on using cannabis. To be fair, some doctors risk losing their hospital privileges if they recommend cannabis to patients. With five more states legalizing cannabis use, we hope this practice will end and more medical professionals will join cannabis professionals in researching the medical uses of this plant. Their advice is welcome and desperately needed. Once a month, before the pandemic, I would host an educational “High” Tea Party at a “bud” and breakfast in Detroit. More than 20 women sipped CBD Tea while they tried edibles for the first time. It was common to see a 68-year-old draped in a pashmina passing a bong to a young woman in a hajib and on to someone else with neon green hair. Different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, giggly and letting themselves feel good, gathered to learn. Some were there to get answers about their own ailments, or those of their husbands, wives, parents or kids. They left knowing they had some new options. The tea parties return online in January.

The incoming Biden-Harris administration has a chance to advance real cannabis reform and we as advocates, industry professionals and patients need to hold them accountable to the will of the people. Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris is a sponsor of the More Act that would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and fund cannabis conviction expungements, among other reforms. This would lead to government funded medical studies and the restoration of rights taken away mostly from people of color during the War on Drugs. It makes our communities better. This election is a mandate to make it happen.

— Anqunette ‘Q’ Sarfoh [IG: baqeddetroit]


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