Marijuana dispensaries have been a hot-button issue in Stanislaus County since pot became legalized in California. There is a major misconception about marijuana that probably dates to the 1960s when Cheech and Chong popularized the “stoner” stereotype which exists to this day.
What gets lost in the debate here and elsewhere is that marijuana – particularly CBD, aka the non-psychoactive chemical compound cannabidiol – offers relief for a wide variety of illnesses and conditions. CBD can combat nausea in cancer patients, offer badly needed respite for certain seizure disorders or induce sleep. There is research which offers promising results for stroke patients and other brain maladies.
As my husband has suffered a stroke and a recurrence of cancer, I decided to investigate.
Although pot is legal for recreational usage, I decided to apply for a medical marijuana card anyway. I did an online search and found a website that offered a medical card, allowing purchase of CBD products for the “low, low price” of $60. I decided to sleep on it and woke up to an email that lowered the lower, lower price of $20.
Why not just go for it, I thought. So I filled out a questionnaire. A doctor I never met in person approved the application and I then was instructed to take my picture and wait 3 to 5 business days for my card – which, according to the website, would come in a plain envelope.
The card arrived as promised; plain envelope and all.
I persuaded one of my sons to go with me to a nearby dispensary. I handed my card and my ID to the gentleman at the counter and was told to wait for one of their “budtenders.” That word sent me into such gales of laughter that I hyperventilated. Decorum has never been one of my strong suits.
We walked into a virtual marijuana maze. I was completely overwhelmed at the selection.
The budtenders were very kind and attentive as one of them noted that this must be my “first time” here. I responded, “What gave you your first clue?”
I explained my husband’s medical issues and the staff was quite knowledgeable. I made my selections and brought them home for my husband to try in the hopes of alleviating his persistent debilitating nausea.
Though the efficacy of CBD and medical marijuana is somewhat anecdotal, CBD has made an impact on my husband’s life. The nausea has dissipated, his appetite has improved and he is now able to participate more fully in his physical therapy. CBD is a great tool and, when it works, can improve a patient’s quality of life.
Dispensaries are not just for recreational pot use. For many, their products relieve suffering, allowing individuals to go on living their lives with increased comfort. They need our compassion not our judgment.
Pot, weed of whatever you call it should not be demonized.
Kathleen Rowe-Glendon is a former Bee visiting editor and a community activist. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.