Al Byrne, co-founder of Patients Out of Time, CEO of Veterans for Compassionate Care LLC, and Founding Director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, recently had a piece published by the website WalletHub on the question of “Should Marijuana Be Legalized?” Following is ML’s article, which also appears here.)
Should Marijuana Be Legalized Or Not? pt. 2
I am a DEA certified cannabis expert. I am a Veteran. I am a patient.
Let’s get it down right. ‘Marijuana’ is slang. The subject of my comment is a plant, an herb, correctly called ‘cannabis.’ It is not a drug. Cannabis compounds may be used therapeutically. Cannabis compounds are identical to compounds in all humans, in all living creatures excepting insects, produced by the ‘Endocannabinoid System’ (ECS) which regulates all physiological systems: pulmonary, neurological, immune, etc. All creatures have cannabis compound/ECS receptors in every organ: heart, brain, lungs, skeleton, skin, etc.
Veterans use cannabis to reduce or eliminate opiates, pharmaceuticals and alcohol legally, medically, in Veteran Health Administration (VHA) facilities in 27 states. Veteran suicides are around four dozen a day. Vets that use cannabis reduce suicidal thoughts.I have used cannabis for pain and PTSS for 40 years-plus. I have interviewed hundreds of Vets on international radio (archived) that confirm my written words. The VHA has allowed cannabis therapeutic use for over six years without a reported problem.
What I really want is for Vets to be treated equally in the VHA system. The VHA leadership are health care professionals: MD’s, RN’s, science based PhD’s. In July 2010, by directive, the VHA declared cannabis was a medicine and its use in VHA facilities by Vets who complied with state law would be incorporated into their treatment protocol. The injustice is personal. An insult to my Brothers and Sisters. We are pissed. If I lived in Maine and sought help in a VA facility I would be welcomed. I live in Florida. As a cannabis patient seeking help in a VA facility, security would be called and escort me from the grounds, warned to return only when I had no cannabis in my system.
I am thankful to those in the VHA that stood for Veterans all they could. VHA policy, ignored by Congress, is now the most illogical, immoral, modern medically unethical protocol ever undertaken, and it is inflicted on wounded U.S. military Veterans!
All I see are bad medical cannabis laws or none at all in some states. Lawyers and cops have taken control of a medical issue, witches with not a scintilla of medical or nursing education. Quacks. The medical community has abrogated their responsibility to those ‘practicing medicine without a license.’
Veterans faced death and survived, and now we are supposed to wait for charlatans to decide if the VHA can provide equal health care? We did not sacrifice, our cohorts did not die or suffer for ignorance to prevail. If legalization provides equal care in the VHA I’m for it.