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    A lot of publicity has revolved around Olympic Gold Medalist, Michael Phelps lately.  For the precious few who may not know, a picture has been circulating of Phelps at a college party, smoking cannabis (marijuana) recreationally.

     Far be it from me to overstate the obvious, but a college student partaking of cannabis is hardly newsworthy, but the hypocrisy of the day dictates that cannabis smokers are not athletes, let alone Olympic heroes.  How dare he crush this fragile but obvious lie, and in the face of patriotic adoration.

    Though our last three Presidents have admitted to smoking cannabis, and virtually every founding father grew and smoked cannabis, let’s not derail the efforts of tens of millions of tax payer dollars that have been spent to villainize this herb.  

    Seventy year old propaganda insists that anyone who smokes “pot” cannot in any way be looked on as a role model for our nation’s youth. 
    But let’s cut through the sensationalism for a moment and return to reality.  If Michael were sipping from a beer in the pic, as he more than likely could have been doing at the now infamous collegiate event, his image would not have even made FaceBook, let alone international tabloids, and his multi-million dollar endorsements would have remained intact.  In fact, our leading American breweries would most certainly have lined up with their endorsements, as well.

Cannabis_Lilly     Over seventy years ago, few would have known what you were talking about if you were to say “marijuana”, but virtually everyone in this country, most specifically physicians, would have known full well the word “cannabis”.  Cannabis sativa, as it was often referred prior to 1937, has been used as medicine for over 4000 years.  It holds the honor of being the single most tested medicine in the history of medical science.

    What have we learned from centuries of medicinal use and volumes of formal research?  Cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic illness. 

     What is chronic illness?  It doesn’t have to be life threatening or debilitating to be chronic, though extended doses of many pharmaceuticals almost certainly guarantees that a patient will eventually compromise his or her stomach, liver, and gastro-intestinal tract.
    Chronic Illness is quite simply an illness that doesn’t go away, but lingers on despite medical treatment.

     Illnesses that have been successfully treated with cannabis are: Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Muscular Dystrophy (MD), Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), many forms of cancer, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Alzheimer’s Disease, Epilepsy (seizures), Hepatitis C, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, severe migraines, severe pain, Glaucoma, wasting syndrome, severe nausea, anorexia, Crohn’s Disease, and many, many more.

     The use of Medical Cannabis and the protection of its patients, has been endorsed by many prestigious organizations, including:  The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The American College of Physicians, the student branch of The American Medical Association, The American Nurse’s Association, and The American Academy of Family Physicians. 
    If your physician or nurse practioner practices in America, undoubtedly he or she belongs to one or more of these organizations.

     Despite Federal subsidized propaganda and outright lies, cannabis has been proven safer than NSAIDS like Aspirin and Tylenol, (which claim over 6000 lives every year).  Despite being safer than pharmaceuticals (an estimated 218,000 deaths have been attributed to adverse drug events), harmful, dangerous prescription drugs continue to be approved by our Food and Drug Administration every week of every year.

     So why do our law makers stonewall attempts to reschedule cannabis and block access for its legal production from our nation’s chronically ill?  Isn’t it obvious?
    In 2006, global spending on prescription drugs topped $643 billion.  And if you somehow still think that our elect have anything other than the interests of big business at heart,   the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Government Reform estimated that pharmaceutical industry profits would increase by over $8 billion dollars with the implementation of Bush’s Medicare Drug Plan.

     With cannabis having the potential of capturing upwards of 60% of the current pharmaceutical market, there’s a reason why drug lobbyists are permanently entrenched in Washington and our state capitols. 

    In Missouri, House Bill 277 would allow the chronically ill of their state to safely and legally treat their illnesses with the holistic medicine they so desperately need, but the only way it will ever see a public vote is if the people of Missouri speak out with a voice louder than the jingle of lobbyist’s pocket books.

     The truth is, cannabis, and only cannabis, is the only viable, effective choice for long-term treatment of chronic illness.

    Before you chime in with all the anti-cannabis hype, make it a point to know what you’re talking about.  Do the research.  It’s not hard to find. 

    And Michael, no apology is necessary. Not for this father of three.  You see, I have been a cannabis patient for over eleven years now.  My children know full well how cannabis allowed my body to fight its way back from serious, debilitating illness, when pharmaceuticals did little but insure that I had a hopelessly miserable and painful future.

     Come and hear my story and the stories of other medical cannabis patients, along with special music, speakers, and local dignitaries, all day under the Arch on May 2nd.

  Mark Pedersen
Cannabis Patient Network

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One Comment

  1. M. Phelps is a clown !!! He should of said ,”It is non of your fucking business!” I am suffering , he is a coward !!!


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