A Slippery Slope: Marijuana X

The term slippery slope to me is how I describe addiction, for instance, it is thought that marijuana is a gateway to other drugs. To me, I believe alcohol use at an early age is a gateway to other drugs. In this heroin crisis, OxyContin and other painkillers are the slippery slopes or the gateway to heroin so of course, this raised some questions.

Information from drug-free world .org says, Most teens surveyed say they tried alcohol at a very early age between 12 and 14 y/o. Of those surveyed, 40% who first tried alcohol went on to smoke pot. A percentage of those surveyed moved on to use other substances such as cocaine, heroin and other addictive substances. We can't always assume this will be the case for all. 

Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan who sponsored the SB 386 Marijuana Bill said, "You know what? It’s time. It’s time for our state to open up our eyes and our minds and realize you know if it’s a gateway drug, it’s a gateway out of opioid addiction and it’s a gateway for people to have a better life that only has a small little bit of life left." See more @ WV Gazette

West Virginia Legislators approved a medical marijuana bill here in the Mountain State. It will head to the governor's desk in the next week or so where it will either be approved or be vetoed. If approved it wouldn't go into effect until July 1, 2018.

In talking to some here in the state I believe there is some confusion about medical marijuana in WV and what this bill will mean. I want to clarify some of the information. For one I believe there are those who truly believe they voted for the personal use of marijuana. If so, this bill will disappoint a large number of people.

To those who think this will allow you to grow it for your personal use. You cannot grow it in your garden with the tomatoes. You will not be allowed to grow it in your basement. Only approved government growers can grow this under strict regulations and government-approved dispensaries will be able to sell it.

To those, I've talked to who believe this will be WV's, Woodstock. You will not be able to host a Pot Fest. In fact, you will need a medical card from a physician.  In fact, marijuana is and will remain on the DEA Schedule I List.

Medical marijuana is a compound of marijuana. The THC in marijuana will be broken down for the properties which are the oils. Medical marijuana will not get you high or have you setting in your kitchen staring at the refrigerator, or making a Shaggy sandwich or munching on Scooby Snacks. This isn't what medical marijuana is about.

In fact, qualifying medical conditions in the bill are: 
chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions that result in a patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care 
chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions or the treatment of chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions that produce: 
anorexia, or wasting syndrome 
severe or chronic pain that does not find effective relief through standard pain medication 
severe nausea; seizures; severe or persistent muscle spasms 
refractory generalized anxiety disorder” and post-traumatic stress disorder. 
It also gives the commission permission to approve other conditions.  See more at WV Gazette 

One article I found on this debate says, The West Virginia State Medical Association is opposed to medical marijuana, saying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use and there is “insufficient evidence” that using raw marijuana is a safe and effective treatment. See more at WV Metro News

In talking to people and explaining this many tell me, that isn't what I voted for. So, at the polling place to vote I wonder were some confused as to what exactly medical marijuana is? Were some confused thinking this would be like Colorado? It seems to me in talking to people because each had a different idea as to what they thought they voted for on election day and those candidates they supported. Misunderstanding? or Misleading? Each could be the answer.

To answer another question asked about insurance, In the United States, health insurance companies may not pay for a medical marijuana prescription as the Food and Drug Administration must approve any substance for medicinal purposes. Before this can happen, the FDA must first permit the study of the medical benefits and drawbacks of the substance, which it has not done since it was placed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. Therefore, all expenses incurred fulfilling a medical marijuana prescription will possibly be incurred as out-of-pocket.

This clip is from the people of Colorado the first state to legalize it for recreational use. After watching this the circle was more complete.

We have questions about our heroin addict and marijuana, but as I mentioned if this can treat and do no harm why would I stand in the way. What if it helps? Is this a slippery slope back into heroin addiction? One concern I have with this is, are our politicians seeing this as the gateway out of our heroin epidemic here? What will the big picture look like?

I trying to understand this better and to answer a few questions I had I asked Dr. John Aldis who tells me,

I think you make an error in trying too hard to establish a gateway drug, and in doing that, you then pick the wrong one. In short, there are a lot of "social drinkers" and very few "social smokers." Nicotine is a very serious addiction and IMHO, precedes the other addictions. 
Anyway, establishing a gateway drug often leads us down into long and fairly useless discussions. Rather than establishing a single gateway drug, emphasizing that young people are putting themselves at risk with tobacco, "vaping," marijuana, "getting high" from ANYTHING puts a person at risk. Also, keep in mind that some drugs are much more a serious risk for young people than for older people. 

In trying to understand this I believe that we need to focus more attention to cigarettes and nicotine.

More on the Gateway Drug Theory
More on Medical Cannabis
Journal of Medicine: Medical Marijuana Little Evidence to Guide Physicians

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