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February 12, 2007

A Typical Example of Medical Use

Michael Goldstein’s clever, but misleading, piece in yesterday’s LA Times Magazine will probably be used by critics of medical marijuana as an example of ‘cheating.’ It also unwittingly illustrates several of the more popular misconceptions of pot advocates so well that I can’t resist pointing a few out.

Right off the bat, his choice of the word ‘medicate’ confirms that the present controversy involves doubts raised by medically untrained ‘experts’ about pot smokers with recommendations: are they toking for ‘valid’ reasons? Also, his chosen examples, Xanax, Prozac, and Vicodin, cover most of the symptoms a majority of chronic pot smokers self-medicate for. Anyone reading the entire article will also learn from the last paragraph that Goldstein himself remains somewhat confused: “I learned a lot during my months as a medical marijuana user and came to three conclusions: My tolerance is low; pot should be legal as a pain reliever; the distribution system in place right now has room for improvement. But it's like Winston Churchill said about democracy—it's the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

What’s unusual about Goldstien is his inclusion of key autobiographical details: that he’s been a minimal user for thirty years since living on the East Coast in the Seventies, that his use has intensified in the six months he’s had his recommendation, and that he’d also been prescribed Vioxx for arthritic pain, but had been afraid to take it.

Those details go along way toward placing him solidly within the ‘patient’ population I’ve been gathering data from for the past five years. If I had more time, I could go into even greater detail;  but if you’re not a drug warrior or a member of NORML, you may already be able to get what I’ve been driving at...

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at February 12, 2007 04:13 PM