Is it time to legalise medical marijuana?

U.S father has claimed marijuana helped save his 2 year old son. Is it time to take the drug seriously?

EARLIER this month, a father in the US state of Montana claimed that medical marijuana had helped save the life of his two-year-old son.

Mike Hyde, 27, said he slipped a little cannabis oil into his toddler Cash’s feeding tube behind his doctor’s back in desperation after the boy stopped eating for 40 days. Chemo treatments were making him too sick to eat.

“Not only was it helpful, it was a godsend,” Hyde told American’s ABC News. Marijuana boiled up with olive oil allowed the dying child to regain his appetite enough to recover. Hyde also believes it contributed to the overall cure.

Link The Australian

Medical marijuana is legal in 16 US states, including California, and is commonly used to treat nausea associated with cancer treatments and other illnesses. But the US Feds don’t agree that using the drug for medical reasons should be legal. They’ve been cracking down on sellers around America and have constant battles with the states over the issue. Our own government has much the same attitude.

Meanwhile, the reality of a dying child prompted Hyde to act: “It’s very controversial, it’s very scary. But, there’s nothing more scary than losing your child.” The issue caused a mixture of outrage and praise throughout the world. From my reading of the blogs, part of the outrage has come from people wondering why we’re not properly informed about the benefits associated with the substance; why it is not readily available to us despite a 1997 WHO report acknowledging cannabis’s efficacy and safety.

Medical cannabis is still banned in Australia, although it’s part of Greens policy in NSW. In the US and Britain, successful trials have been undertaken of an oral spray, Sativex, which has been shown to diminish pain in those suffering from conditions as diverse as multiple sclerosis, AIDS and some forms of cancer.

It’s time to revisit the issue. To legalise or not? Medical marijuana is now a $1.7 billion market in the US and as it becomes more popular around the world, the public will have to pay drug companies who’ll do a slick renaming and sell it for exorbitant prices. And yet we could be allowed to grow it ourselves.

Deadly cigarettes are freely available, as is alcohol – with none of the medicinal benefits. DXM, a teenage recreational drug, is sold over the counter in cough medicine. When overdone, the destructive qualities of legal substances such as these are no worse than cannabis. I say educate not legislate, as we do with gambling, smoking and drinking. And stop the hypocrisy.

Is it time to legalise cannabis? What do you think?



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40 Responses to Is it time to legalise medical marijuana?

  1. Max 10 June 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Thanks Ruth. A recent court ruling in SA acknowledged the plant for it’s medicinal properties. I’d like to believe that people will eventually catch onto the truth of cannabis and eventually it will be completely decriminalised.

    Cannabis has been decriminalised in half of our states or territories and I guess that’s a good sign of the things to come.

  2. Alexander 3 June 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Hi Ruth, I congratulate you for the courage you have displayed in writing about this topic. It’s ridiculous how people who are supporters of the legalization of cannabis are made to feel shamed or dirty for their views.
    Like Ian, I am also from the Northern Rivers area of NSW. I support the emerging Northern Rivers Hemp Industry and urge your readers to visit the Northern Rivers Hemp Association’s (NRHA) website to learn more about the history of hemp, its industrial uses and its dietary benefits.
    I understand all too well the negative effects cannabis abuse can have on an individual/family yet people tend to forget that certain strains of cannabis exist which contain extremely low levels of THC. These strains of cannabis won’t get you high but their medicinal uses are well worth researching.
    Did you know that hemp seed oil is a fantastic dietary supplement of omega 3? With fish stocks depleting we really should be looking for alternatives and hemp seed oil is one of the best around. I am a vegetarian and to make up for the lack of omega 3 in my diet I (illegally) ingest 10ml of hemp seed oil a week.
    You don’t have to get high to enjoy the medicinal benefits of cannabis!

  3. Ruth Ostrow 1 June 2011 at 10:38 am #

    This is a very brave email, thanks for being so honest, and I hope the authorities read it!
    A special thanks, Ruth

  4. Max 1 June 2011 at 6:31 am #

    Last year I was involved in a horrific accident which left me with two disc bulges, chronic back pain and constant anxiety (ptsd). I am shocked after doing my research on Cannabis that it’s not as what the media or the government has claimed it to be. I think that instead of saying no to drugs, how about we educate people so they can make their own informed decision. Stop all this propaganda and look at the facts.

    I use cannabis everyday so I can have some back relief or otherwise it affects my ability to function and future career prospects. As a soon to be solicitor I am well aware of the consequences but I rather not poison myself with prescription painkillers any further.

  5. david 31 May 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    of course Medical cannabis should be legalised. It has been used for thousands of years in traditional societies. it is really hypocritical to legalise two drugs ,ie: tobacco and alcohol and not others. The USA tried prohibition on alcohol , it did not work, neither is the so called ” war on drugs working’. So all drugs should be legal and it is up to the individual as which drug is their poison, or not as the case may be. If drugs are legal and controled as is alcohol and cigarettes there would be far less damage to people and society. Now if you want to get a non legal drug you do not know the quality and you are supporting people who are not very nice, ie : criminals. Legalising drugs especially hash , marihuana canabis etc would undermine the criminal fraternity and have fewer people in jail!. Marihuana is a natural substance, it is a natural herb given to us by nature. Let us use it wisely. Like all drugs and herbs there are potentials for abuse, but hey this is not a perfect world and each one of us needs to take responsibility for our actions, if the government will allow us to do so. So there!!!!!!!!!.

  6. David Beioley 31 May 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    That was a very good article Ruth, marijuana for medical purposes should be allowed but I doubt that it will happen, the pharmaceutical companies would loose too much money and are more likly to pay political parties to squash such an progressive idea.
    I breed Miniature Bullterriers, the breed has a problem called Primary Lens Luxation where the dogs go blind around 4 to 6 years of age, their eyes swell as in Glaucoma causing the fine cables holding the lense in place to fail, it is possible to prevent the eye swelling by putting drops in the eye, the same ones that are used for people with Glaucoma.
    The drops are very expensive around $40-00 dollars for 2 1/2 ml.
    The same result can be had with 1/4 of a small cookie made with marijuana butter.
    I do not think that the Medical or the Eye Specialist fraternity would keen to have anything approved that would reduce their income.

  7. janet 31 May 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Thanks for that..would be life changing for many if it was well as a huge income for the state in taxing it.
    In California it was the big liquor and brewing industries that prevented it becoming legalized…maybe eventually ” they” will come to their senses there as well since the state is close to going broke.
    Is the voice of the people loud enough here??

  8. Ruth Ostrow 31 May 2011 at 12:46 am #

    Thanks Ernie always appreciate the grammatical feedback, cheers

  9. andrew 30 May 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Relevance ?

  10. ernie 30 May 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Your article of cannabis seems to have contained an error in the 2nd sentence of the last paragraph – “… when overdone, the destructive qualities of legal substances… are no worse than cannabis.”.
    Presumably you meant “ARE more destructive” rather than the “no” which snuck in – those gremlin subbies?
    Otherwise a good piece.

  11. Rosi 29 May 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    I believe there is pharmaceutical equivalent to the weed Maryjuana in Oz
    When my suffering mother inquired about its availability her medical specialist he said it was not available here. Vested interests in the pharmaceutical companies.Big bucks.If existing pain medication actually worked the companies would lose their revenue from millions of suffering persons worldwide

  12. Sarah 29 May 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Hi Ruth, thanks for writing this article. It’s about time someone in the mainstream media approaches this topic sensibly!

    I personally believe that medicinal marijuana is the way of the future, and it’s only a matter of time before we (Australia) become a laughing stock in the world’s race on various progressive issues. I have been following the Canadian (and American) foray into use of medicinal marijuana with interest, and I think that we could quite easily maintain a similar model in this country.

    With such a high number of Australians already regular marijuana users, whether for recreation or therapeutic use, it makes sense to regulate something that could be a massive boon to our economy:
    In many parts of the US and Canada where medicinal marijuana is available, a new mum-and-dad industry is appearing. Local [registered] growers work with bakers, cooks and scientists to produce marijuana edibles. The sale of these edibles is taxed, regulated and registered – much as codeine and pseudoephedrine are already. Small businesses are thriving on creating hash-filled ice creams, coffee cakes, muesli bars, lollipops and soft drinks.

    It’s about time Australia did something sensible, and start listening to the cannabis-positive research that just keeps on appearing!

  13. Sarah 29 May 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Sorry, but marijuana will only ‘give’ schizophrenia to someone who already has the underlying genetic predisposition. Like alcohol, when used incorrectly it can cause depression and psychosis in those who are already prone to those disorders.
    Medical marijuana is intended to be used under the care of a physician. At the slightest hint of those illnesses appearing, the physician can move towards using drugs like Sativex, as mentioned in the article.

  14. Ian 29 May 2011 at 10:05 am #

    I support the full legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational uses, and thank you Ruth for the article. This may be a little off the topic, but if it were up to me, I would invite all the dope-smoking environmentalists in the northern hemisphere to come and live in Queensland or northern NSW, where they could provide valuable people power to stop the coal-seam gas industry expanding here.

    As for the risks of smoking weed, I accept there are some, but in my opinion they are not great enough to justify continuing the ban on dope. Life is full of pain and stress and we all need a little help from our chemical buddies once in while.

  15. Steph 28 May 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    I certainly believe Organic homegrown Marijuana should be legal medicinal or otherwise. You can’t stop the idiots being idiots, but you may have more chance if people are more educated. If a simple natural herbal remedy relieves people of terrible pain then why should they be denied the right to some relief. Look at all the pharmaceutical drugs out there that can cause death if abused and they are legally prescribed by local Gps or over the counter, blah blah blah, don’t get me started…….

  16. Matt 28 May 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Yes I am part of the gay community. Straight people have no idea of how valuable and important marijuana has been in the fight against HIV and how much as a community we respect medical cannabis and those brave doctors who allow us access to it.

  17. Ruth Ostrow 28 May 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Matt I presume you are gay?

  18. Matt 28 May 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Hi Ruth I think that its a great idea the amount of pain and suffering that dope relieves mentally and physically in the HIV AIDs community is phenomenal. I watched a friend die and his only relief from suffering and vomiting from the AZT was marijuana, How can governments justify these sorts of stupid decisions. I bet if one of those minister’s wives or husbands or children were sick with cancer and needed something to help with the vomiting and weight loss and weakness they’d be lining up with the best of them for their medication. What hipocrasy!

  19. Ruth Ostrow 28 May 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Thanks Mum, always the voice of common sense. And no you can’t police it, but how do you police alcohol. Last night a group of kids i know went out together for drinks. They are teenagers and all new to driving. I worry and worry about such things. And yet there is no major campaign to stop young people drinking. The drink driving yes, but then again you can check for drugs through driving tests as well. But how to discourage kids from just getting out of it, any way they can? And all the other ways are legal! Can’t see why you can buy party drugs over the chemist counter and yet can’t get a substance that helps with cancer, eye problems and so many other ailments.

  20. Ruth's mum 28 May 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Hi Ruth ,good article today. YES and yes again, marijuana should be legalised for people in pain and suffering. But it does open an can of worms. How do you police it, some idiots will take more than they should and be “off their heads”. In cases of serious pain I cannot understand why it is not legalised. Morphine and pethadine are and they are much more addictive. love Mum

  21. Steve 28 May 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    How do you know this? where do you get your information?

    Could it be the other way around, that depressed people and people with other mental illnesses look for drugs of all types to make themselves happier, hence the relationship between the two.

  22. Jean 28 May 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    I strongly believe that medical marijuana should be made available wherever there is need. So much is written today about how it’s not harmful – it is when illegally and incorrectly used – but also how helpful it is in relieving pain.
    If it heals, if it helps, if it is prescribed by medical practitioners and the use constantly monitored then why deprive people from relief of painful conditions where other treatments have failed?

  23. Steve 28 May 2011 at 11:22 am #

    You may be right, but can you prove it or is this just a gut feeling? any scientific evidence to back up this brash statement?
    I’m sure this “someone” did a lot of things prior to their schizophrenic episode how can you pin it on Marijuana? are you related to Nixon?
    Personally I have heard statistics that report no increase in schizophrenia in the USA since the legalisation of medical marijuana, but don’t quote me on that.

  24. Steve 28 May 2011 at 11:10 am #

    My Father smoked 2 packets of cigarettes per day for 60 years and lived till 93, others die early from far less abuse.
    There are a lot of things to look at, stress levels, genetic makeup, etc.
    All these things play a roll, marijuana can have a negative effect on some people and people need to be well educated about this and take responsibility.
    alcohol has had a pretty devastating effect on the aboriginal people of the world, it’s a generalisation, the point being drugs effect different people in different ways, all drugs.

  25. Steve 28 May 2011 at 10:57 am #

    We are talking about a herb that has had decades of scientific studies and FDA approvals, it can be grow organically in the sunshine, haven’t we stuffed with nature enough?
    What is needed is honest education and not fear mongering propaganda, which has been spread far and wide since the Nixon regimen 40 years ago.
    We all know the type of man Nixon was, dishonest!

  26. Steve 28 May 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Yep, not to be trusted Rachel, just a revenue spinner for them, little ethics in medicine these days it seems.
    That’s not to say there aren’t ethical doctors out there.
    One thing you can guarantee is that things will change one way or the other.

  27. Steve 28 May 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Medical marijuana does not need to be smoked it can be eaten or vaporised, much better for you.
    and this is a discussion re medical issues? not drinking or smoking?

  28. Steve 28 May 2011 at 10:35 am #

    To Quote Barack Obama USA president.
    If it’s an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment of glaucoma or as a cancer treatment, I think that should be appropriate, because really there is no difference in a doctor prescribing Morphine or anything else.

  29. Steve 28 May 2011 at 10:33 am #

    It changed in the USA and they started the propaganda to demonise it.

  30. Ruth Ostrow 28 May 2011 at 2:18 am #

    Once drug companies do have global legal rights to sell medical marijuana, it will be renamed and marketed as a miracle drug you wait and see.

  31. Ruth Ostrow 28 May 2011 at 2:13 am #

    Sorry Maydu I agree with your sentiment but I was unaware there was any such major push to discourage alcohol. I seem to remember billboards everywhere selling beer and promoting new mixer drinks for teenagers with sexy looking people having a good time. Why the double standards? As far as damage to synapsis are concerned – either ban both booze and dope, or ban neither.

  32. Ruth Ostrow 28 May 2011 at 2:10 am #

    I know that’s the tragedy. People are suffering all over the world needlessly when a drug proven to give relief for nausea, and pain relief for cancer sufferers and to aid with many, many other illnesses is being withheld by some governments due to some hang over from the 60s.

  33. Sandyc 28 May 2011 at 2:04 am #

    It also increases the risk of depression, so you take it for pain relief and end up in more emotional pain.

  34. Sandyc 28 May 2011 at 2:03 am #

    I know someone who got schitzophrenia smoking weed so please don’t try to tell me that its all okay and not a harmful drug.

  35. Meredith 28 May 2011 at 2:01 am #

    I kinda suspect the alcohol and tobacco industries are behind dope’s shocking reputation. It’s actually less dangerous than any of the substances you mention in your story, when used in small doses.

  36. Moses 28 May 2011 at 1:59 am #

    I agree with Rachel. There are two arguments here. One is legalising marijuana and the other is legalising Medical Marijuana They are not the same thing, and I do agree that doctors and drug companies and the TGA should be in charge of these regulations. We know sometimes drug companies and regulators get it wrong, but the truth is the cannabis in the public’s hands used for self medicating is a problem waiting to happen. I also agree with “Oh no! Not a concerned Mother” that just because you legalise cigarettes and alcohol, and just because other dangerous party drugs are sold over the counter doesn’t mean you introduce another one

  37. Rachel 28 May 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Ruth you know I always support you. I think you are a fantastic writer, but I’m not convinced that you are right on this one. Drug companies will have licences to control the amount they put into the pills, and that’s worth paying for. In other words imagine someone taking dope for pain relief and then more and then more. Like how much do you take if it all becomes legal and where do you draw the limit. Suddenly you have someone who is addicted. I do think medical marijuana should be legal. ABSOLUTELY. But controlled by drug companies who have ethical legal commercial obligations to abide by.

  38. Maydu 28 May 2011 at 1:51 am #

    Yes but Ruth is talking about legalising growing cannabis. I know cigarettes and alcohol are bad but that doesn’t mean you add another dangerous drug to the mix. I am a mother… yes, I know you are all going Oh No! Not another “concerned mother”. But I am not conservative. I just worry that we are giving our kids the wrong message by legalising marijuana at a time we are advertising to stop smoking and stop drinking.

  39. Stew 28 May 2011 at 1:48 am #

    It’s very sad to think that a little boy was saved from great suffering, and yet his father had to smuggle the medical marijuana into the hospital and drip it into the feed by stealth. Like the Dad said, when its your child you would do anything. I would have done anything for my mother who died of cancer in great pain. You have to wonder who is really behind the push to prevent us access to a viable, World Health Organisation pain killer.

  40. Samuel 28 May 2011 at 1:45 am #

    I doubt the laws are ever going to change on this one. Too much of a hot potato for our government. But I wonder why any miracle drug would be kept back from the public.

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