My perceptions of drugs growing up
"Say No to Drugs!" and "The choice for me, Drug Free" are phrases I heard growing up as a child. We went to school rallies and events supporting this campaign. In the 1980's there was a campaign by 1st Lady Nancy Reagan to educate everyone about the dangers of drugs. One of the goals was to teach children it was okay to say "NO" if anyone offers them drugs. For me this worked! I'd be watching cartoons and then the anti-drug commercials would come on.
As the 1980's progressed, the messages got more graphic. The best was the commercial with an egg frying in a pan and then hearing ,"This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?" How many of you remember that commercial? Well this too kept my focus and continued to stay away from drugs. The commercial was simple yet effective. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5wwECXTJbg)
Then there was the same concept but with heroin. Drug use has escalated to a point where it was spiraling out of control. Something had to be done about it. Drug use is bad and killing people at a rapid rate. If this didn't scare you I don't know what would. It was a violent, in your face truth what happens with heroin usage.
How many deaths have occurred with drug use? According to the CDC the drug epidemic is on a rise claiming over 630,000 lives since 1999. This is from both legal and illegal medications.
What about Marijuana?
Well, as a medical professional I can't comment on illegal marijuana usage. There are Federal laws that classify marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that it is considered the most abused and addictive drug with NO medical benefit. It is classified similar to some of the medications above (heroin, LSD, PCP and cocaine for example). There are dangers of marijuana usage, but where are the marijuana deaths attributed directly with marijuana? According to the DEA they report, "No death from overdose of marijuana has been reported." Yes, consumption of marijuana can cause mind altering effects if enough THC is ingested. But again, "no death from overdose of marijuana has been reported." The dangers are people doing irresponsible things while consumption of marijuana and children's brain development being slowed down by those under the age of 18. These facts are out there and real.
Medical Marijuana: What is the difference?
In New York (and in other states) there are laws to determine what can and cannot be done in regard to medical marijuana (cannabis). There is tighter regulations and restrictions. When I give talks I discuss the differences as below. Yes, the product is still marijuana but there is more accountability on those companies producing the end product. For medical usage, I do have the ability to speak at length about the program. What is working, what is failing and how patients are responding.
So, this is my first blog EVER, and I hope to have a great following. I am very passionate about medical marijuana and patients who could benefit from this plant's properties. More to come in the future and I hope to develop a great series of educations and stories that may help you or someone you know.