Saturday, November 13, 2004

Addiction or Self Medication

"Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize an undercover dictatorship. To restrict the art of healing to one class of men, and deny equal privilege to others, will be to constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic, and have no place in a Republic. The Constitution of this Republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom." abridged quote --Benjamin Rush, M.D., a signer of the Declaration of Independence
Let me start this little essay on the uses of marijuana with an idea. A very simple idea. An idea that strikes at the very heart of the drug war and it's moralistic foundation. The very idea that those who use unapproved drugs are the lawful subjects of religiously motivated government persecution.

What we call addiction is in fact self treatment of undiagnosed pain.

This is a truly revolutionary idea. If it is in fact true then the whole notion of a drug war to save the children is a lie from beginning to end. Those of you who have read my article on heroin have a window into this new idea. What I tried to show in that article was that medical research shows that victims of sexual abuse and severe physical abuse ( PTSD ) are many times more likely to get addicted to heroin than the general public.

Let us next look at the case for marijuana.

Natural molecules similar to an active ingredient in marijuana play a part in helping the brain clear fearful memories and keep them from being permanently debilitating. The British journal Nature has reported this discovery by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany. The scientists of the Institute say that this has implications for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder and other fear based conditions.

It turns out that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States. They are worth $46 billion a year to the pharmaceutical industry. You don't suppose this fact has any thing to do with the pharmaceutical industries being in the forefront of the Drug Free America campaign do you? Of course not. They are just trying to keep you from being addicted to natural products at the cost of 1/10th of a cent per dose when they are more than willing to sell you an FDA and doctor approved, pharmacy sold product that will do the job for a dollar a dose. They have only your best interests at heart. Just ask their accountants.

All humans show fear reactions to dangerous situations. However, in the case of one out of ten people ( surprisingly the same percentage of people who are susceptible to substance addiction ) the fear does not die down in the absence of the dangerous situation. The fear stays at debilitating levels even in the absence of danger. These people have a definite if ordinarily invisible problem. You cannot find this problem with x-rays. It is possible that this problem could be found with a many thousand dollar PET scan. Or you could take a few puffs of a joint and see if that helps. If the joint was legal. Which it is not.

Pankaj Sah of Australian National University believes that chronic marijuana users are self medicating for anxiety problems. He goes on further to say that we self medicate for head aches with aspirin and this causes no social problems. He speculates that people experiencing emotional problems are taking cannabis for relief. Of course since this medicine is not doctor approved it is against the law. Especially it is against Federal Law as a number of states have made medical use of marijuana legal. The Feds in California know how to stop this though. They put the sick, the dying and the pain wracked in jail to show their compassion. You don't suppose it has anything to do with maintaining at all costs the State and Federal $50 billion dollar drug war do you? Not a chance. They are the government and they have only your best interests at heart. Trust them.

You can read a good review of the report here.

Let me leave you with a final quote from a Supreme Court Judge:

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." Justice Brandeis

That quote and an impassioned speech for the right of self medication can be found here

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