By Al Byrne
Veterans for Medical Cannabis
I have written about cannabis used for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cancer, pain, post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) and other maladies but there is a patient story that needs addressing. For him when you say cannabis he says marijuana, when you say it's medical he says it's a farce, when you say endocannabinoid system he says, What?
It's my uncle (1). He's sick in the head. No one I know has any one idea of what would cause such a problem. Everybody agrees it is a combination of forces, you could also say pressures that have warped his thinking. I've spoken to dozens of cannabis experts in my time and all think the same - my uncle's lost his mind.
He is such a nationalist. Always talking the good old USA is the only place on earth that has the right data about everything including "all we need to know" about marijuana.
For one thing he keeps calling the plant marijuana, which is not it's real name. The plant is called cannabis and that is why when nursing and medical folks that understand medicine and chemistry and stuff like that or talk or write on the subject they use cannabis. He'll never change.
It makes no difference that in Europe and other backward parts of the world, as he sees it, 23 countries' doctors use cannabis medically for all sorts of things that go wrong with humans (2). "This is the US,we don't need Frenchies to tell us what's going on."
I replied that Bayer and Novartis are marketing and distributing medical cannabis products and that huge pharmaceutical companies like that do not screw up. He scowled and said "Europeans are not us."
He's crazy about God, and that is strange too. I mean it's God Bless America and a lot else, which grammatically of course includes Canada and Mexico when he really means the USA; "Right or wrong, I'm for God and country," he says all the time. Then he'll say God is great and all knowing; at least the Catholic in him will.
Then I ask him, "If God is so cool why did she screw up and create the cannabis plant?"
He's militaristic as well. The only way he can even bring up the use of cannabis is by the use of either of two approaches. Both are based on fear. The first is for his friends and those he dislikes and is a message of penalty.
It's a holdover from the Puritans that showed up as weirdos tossed out of Europe and holed up first in Massachusetts. These nuts drowned and burned "witches" with a fierce intensity based on their own self-generated stupidity built on a foundation of fear and ignorance. He mimics them.
The second ignoble motivator to his point of view is mendacity, a nice sounding word for unreal cruelty. "Screw them all and let God sort it out later" is his motto.
He lies a lot. To me it just is the way he conducts himself. I see it as a huge character flaw that should be embarrassing but he boasts and brags as though he was winning something big time. It's a total cover up for failure of course.
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"I'm in control of what is going on," he'll spout at any time regardless of the mess he is standing in or in which, at times, he is wallowing. It happens all the time and is really noticeable when he sends out his "players" or my word, talking-heads. Each time they say the same stuff like, "We do not smoke medicine" or "There is no research," or whatever, that the whole world except some people that work in journalism know is a joke.
He has gotten so mad at times in the past few decades that he has actually paid for independent cannabis experts to study everything they could and declare the plant has medical value or not. Of course he figures since he knows everything they would agree with him.
None of them did. Not one. Instead each and every study done in the U.S., including state studies, has identified cannabis as a therapeutic agent and extremely safe to use. He buries the reports but I've got copies if you want them (3).
He lies about cannabis having no medical value. It's strange because he lives right next to a couple of federal Senators and across the street from the President and often walks to work with these guys. They walk right by a D.C. cannabis compassion club and never notice it.
I guess they are heavy into discussing how to make a bunch of money that day, which my uncle says is what they are there to do. When I brought up the fact that 17 U.S. states have said cannabis is medicine, he said "It does not matter what they think, I know better."
One really strange contortion is the stretch for not supporting capitalism. I mean his business card has only his name and a title, Capitalist. He loves a free market -- except if you are talking cannabis used as hemp. "I do not care if it's not able to affect a euphoric state in humans; it's pot and it's bad."
My uncle is old, he was in World War II, a paratrooper. I have explained over and over that the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave out hemp seeds to U.S. farmers during that war and begged them to grow hemp, for cloth, for rope, for the straps that held my uncle in his parachute when he dove out over Normandy. It's a great food and lubricant, fuel, and contains cannabinoid compounds likely helpful to human health... but he says that it didn't happen that way (4).
He hangs around with a crowd that actually stopped their mental progression on purpose beginning in 1988. That's the year that happened. None of his friends or my uncle "remember" but I do because I was there, well I read a report that was so well written it was like being there. It said that receptors for cannabis compounds had been proven by science to exist, confirmed and codified.
Game changed, my uncle had to do something. He consulted his closest 200 employees and they came up with a solution -- deny this is real or even exists and above all do not mention this to the press or even attempt to wake them up. Thing is it worked until now. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is now the hot topic of the health care professions.
I hear he is now running around the country, well his muscle is anyway, with a degree of illogical behavior not seen in medical settings since the docs hitched blood suckers to patients to help them, and removing cannabis from patients in towns and cities that have not seen a federale tearing down stuff since the Civil war.
And my uncle adores war. He has a war going somewhere all the time, is planning for one or more, and certainly creating conditions to insure a future of war for at least another century in this country against people who chose to use a drug they know works and does them no harm instead of drugs that may help but they always have a problem like making your nose rot off or some such "side effect."
What he hates to do is admit that his own medical team thinks he is dead wrong about medical cannabis.
It's the Veterans Health Administration that has said cannabis is medicine, and told him in writing. Real doctors and nurses said so in defiance of the boss, my uncle. This was way different because it was the first time a U.S. employed doctor since 1937 admitted by action he had a set of balls (5).
It was also the first time since 1937 that a member of the medical profession (a profession that has abdicated its authority on the medical uses of cannabis to cops, lawyers, recovering addicts and other medically uneducated people) challenged the unreal discourse in D.C. by having the Veterans Administration declare cannabis medicine.
The New York Times printed the story on their front page. My uncle must have burned every copy because no other paper or the Times has ever followed up on the news. I'm not surprised because once you have hung your yellow ribbon up or stated your support for the troops in an editorial that's enough, I've come to understand.
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|Al Byrne is the author of this article|
His stand on cannabis treatment for Vets is completely tragic. The VA docs did what they could, but my uncle insists that it a Vet can only use cannabis medically if he or she lives in the correct zip code. It's a Vet lottery in the US. Go to war for my uncle, get hurt. You win if you have the right zip code -- you will be treated with respect and be able to use cannabis as a medical option in all VA facilities.
If you have the wrong zip code you lose, you get nothing.
I don't like my uncle much, either.
I can understand him a little. He's riddled with hubris, in the pay of lobbyists, is old, delusional and still after over 80 years stuck in a mindset about cannabis that is as pliable as the silver coins dropped in his/their hands each day.
I mean, really... who thinks rationally that all this technology bragged up daily has not been put to use on the cannabis plant over eight decades ? Only my uncle and his friends.
I know you think just maybe I'm exaggerating some. Naw.
~ Al Byrne for Veterans for Medical Access, www.veteransformedicalcannabis.org.
(4) Cannabis in Medical Practice, Mathre, 1997.
(5) VHA Directive 2010-035, July 2010