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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Friend Bill, a Medical Marijuana Patient

mj plant.jpg

My friend, Bill is dying of cancer. He probably has two or three days left. He's not conscious and while the caretakers say that he can recognize my voice, I doubt it. He's being given a lot of drugs including morphine, but they don't seem to give him peace. His body struggles as if he is trying to free himself from unseen restraints. Perhaps he's pain-free, but he definitely does not seem comfortable. However, I was able to say goodbye to Bill with a smile on my face because of something his wife told me a few minutes earlier. She said, "Bill spent the last five days of his conscious life smoking pot." Now, if you knew Bill you'd know how utterly preposterous that statement sounds. Bill was a retired Pediatric Cardiologist. He voted Republican all his life until he voted for Obama. He did not waste money or words. And he definitely had never smoked marijuana.

Some weeks back, Bill's internist suggested that he consider medical marijuana as a way to restore his appetite which had been destroyed by chemotherapy. Later Bill decided to give it a try. Bill and his wife found a dispensary nearby after a brief internet search. They called the dispensary and were told they would need a referral letter and that a "doctor" would be on the premises that afternoon. At the time, Bill could only walk short distances and he was very weak, but they went over to the dispensary. They stood in a queue of seemingly able-bodied young men also seeking relief from something. The doctor relieved them of $140 and provided each with the referral letter. Bill's wife said that she was less than impressed with the certification process and ventured an opinion that "Bill was the only truly ill individual that doctor would see all week." The young dispensary clerks were very helpful. They suggested that Bill purchase two thumb sized buds "one of indica for pain and one of sativa for depression". Bill also picked out a nice psychedelic pipe. Once home, bill tried it. His wife said that once he felt the effects of the first puff a little smile brightened his face. He smoked some more and the smile broadened. His wife chuckled as she remembered his fondness for the stuff. She said, "I'd ask him if he'd like anything and he usually answered, "I believe I'll have some of that marijuana." It made Bill happy at the end of his journey. What a gift!

I agree with those that say that medical marijuana is mostly used by recreational pot smokers, but I know that there are other people like Bill who are truly ill and can't get anything from the medical community that works as well as marijuana to put a smile on their faces.