Book Excerpts

#1

For decades, the ANA American Nurses Association has put forward position statements about Cannabis as Medicine. Nurses are college educated professionals who learned that Cannabis has been used as a medicine in other cultures for more than 5000 years. We taught people that cannabis might not be what our government has led us to believe and spoke of what is scientifically known about it. Neither doctors or nurses are very well versed in the science of Cannabis or the Endocannabinoid System though. It is not part of the educational curriculums. I propose that Nurses are smart and honest as patient advocates. We are known for speaking the unbiased truth as we know it. On many occasions, patients have asked me for the “straight dope” after the doctor spoke to them and left the room. We are known for straight talk. It might be that public opinion about Cannabis may have shifted over time by simply having conversations with one another.

My theory is that people began to better accept the idea of Medical Marijuana after personally talking with someone about it. Acceptance was boosted even more after meeting someone who uses medical cannabis to treat a condition they are suffering from. I think when all those conversations are added up, they made a big difference. Later in the Book I will introduce you to a group called the ACNA American Cannabis Nurses Association. It was conceived by Julia (Ed) Glick in 2006 while attending the Patients Out of Time Fourth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis. Years ago, I attended an educational seminar about Medical Marijuana and I was impressed by what they knew and the passion everyone shared. The reason everyone was talking was because they were trying to help people. Those are the best conversations you can have.

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#2

I currently use Cannabis Medicine to treat my chronic back pain. You might wonder if I had suffered an injury? Yes, I did. I got injured by taking care of you. Robots can do many amazing tasks, but they will never be able to accomplish what nurses do for you. Machines might not get hurt but they cannot care. The fact is that there simply is no correct ergonomic and safe way to “boost someone up in their bed” without risk of injury. All that time spent leaning over, checking on you, adjusting you in bed, turning you side to side as we must do to avoid skin breakdown and picking you up off the floor has ruined my back. I was as careful as I could be but after 30 years of doing it, the risk of getting hurt became my personal reality.

Another risk is PTSD. Not to diminish the suffering our Veterans have endured, but Nurses have suffered too. Seeing what we have seen, recalling actions we performed to save lives and things like witnessing suffering children die in our arms, for instance, can lead to a profound sense of loss and confusion. As I mention later in the book “Nurses sometimes turn to drugs to help us ease our pain and help us forget about yours”. We could not function effectively in our roles if we simply did not care. That caring eventually has a cost. We feel it strongly because it is who we are. Many of us carry these memories with us for the rest of our lives.

Some readers will feel a sense of alarm at my “Coming Out” of the Cannabis Closet but I’d like them to know that I am healthier than most people my age of 61 and do not take any other medicines at all. Though I have suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder or depression and anxiety in the past, I now find myself in one of the happiest and most productive periods in my life. I enjoy my work and have never reported to work impaired. I do not believe that most other nurses would either. That is not how most people use cannabis.

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#3

When Charlotte Figi was five years old, her doctor and parents announced that her seizures were reduced after her first dose of “medical marijuana”. Nurses understand the traditional medicines were simply not working to control that little girl’s seizures. If they gave her too much, she might stop breathing and could wind up in Intensive Care. Instead, the Cannabis Medicine was safe and worked like a charm. That sure got people talking.

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#4

 When I testified in favor of legalizing cannabis for use by adults in Maryland in 2013, counter testimony was being made by a consortium of police officers hoping to keep the public safe from legal “marijuana”. One police officer could see the writing on the wall and seemed to know that the “tide was turning’ in favor of a more sensible approach to cannabis. He asked the speaker of the house “What am I supposed to tell my friends and neighbors now? I’ve been telling people for years that dope will kill you, and now, what am I supposed to tell them? That it won’t”?

I understood his frustration, but I felt a little bit sorry for him. He truly believed the propaganda and lies he was told. He seemed frightened and genuinely concerned. I admired that, but I propose that he was fearful from wrong things he learned and lies he was led to believe from a lifetime of uninformed and wrong conversations.

Another officer testified in those Judicial Hearings against legalization of cannabis. His name was Officer Michael Pristoop. At the time, he was the Chief of Police for the City of Annapolis and his salary was more than $147,00 per year. When Officer Pristoop took the stand, he appeared to have a serious demeanor but also seemed nervous. He sounded unsure of his testimony. Like he was reading it off the paper for the first time. He testified to the Speaker of the house that “The first day of legalization, that’s when Colorado experienced 37 deaths from overdose on marijuana”.

What you will not see in most news coverage of the story is that Officer Pristoop went on to read a lot more of that satire story from that website called The Daily Currant. He sounded ridiculous because the story he was reading – his sworn testimony was from a joke website like the Onion. Do you know what the Onion is? Please do not feel bad if you do not. Apparently, Officer Pristoop had never heard of it either.

Pristoop quoted a doctor in in Colorado saying, “We’re seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures.” Being a nurse, an educated person, I knew it could not be true, especially when he said the word “hypospadias”. Nurses understand that hypospadias is a defect of the urethra detected in babies at birth, it is a defect mostly seen in baby boys. Children who have that condition cannot pee straight. Surely the people of Colorado were not dying of that.

I guess you had to be there. The public spectators and those testifying were respectful, but I could make out lot’s gasps and comments of disbelief.  I heard at least one “No Way” from the crowd. Fortunately, a state Senator Jamie Raskin did not let him get too far into the Comedy Central story and stopped him before he read the whole silly thing. He was respectful and told officer Pristoop that unless he had some other source, it sounded like he was reciting a satire website that was featured on Comedy Central and held up his laptop to show him right away. The Comedy Central logo could be seen in the upper left-hand corner.

 Not too surprisingly, and I guess out of a sense of pride, Officer Pristoop stood by his false testimony.