Will Ge­or­gia say ‘yes’ to med­i­cal mar­i­juana?

The Covington News - - OPINION - DOROTHY FRA­ZIER PIEDRAHITA COLUM­NIST Dorothy Fra­zier Piedrahita wel­comes reader com­ments. She can be reached at ufra­zier2001@ya­hoo.com.

Can it be that the state Ge­or­gia might stop say­ing no to med­i­cal mar­i­juana?

It seems that a few brave state law­mak­ers might at least be tak­ing a look at the is­sue.

When I be­gan writ­ing a col­umn for The Covington News, I wrote in my in­tro­duc­tion to you, my read­ers: “I may some­times write ar­ti­cles that you may dis­agree with or con­sider provoca­tive.”

Med­i­cal mar­i­juana might well be one of those touchy sub­jects.

Last week, two Ge­or­gia fam­i­lies de­cided to move to Colorado so their ill chil­dren could get med­i­cal mar­i­juana. One child was re­ceiv­ing the med­i­ca­tion in oil form; I don’t have in­for­ma­tion on the other fam­ily. How­ever, I will be look­ing for more in­for­ma­tion about these fam­i­lies, who had to move to an­other state to get a treat­ment for their chil­dren that is il­le­gal here in Ge­or­gia.

Ge­or­gia is one of the states in which, in the past, peo­ple might never have spo­ken openly in sup­port of med­i­cal mar­i­juana. But re­cently, Sen. Josh McKoon ( R) at least met with Sharon Ravert of Peachtree NORML and James Bell of GA CARE. Their two groups are play­ing lead­ing roles in at­tempts to help Ge­or­gia res­i­dents with med­i­cal prob­lems re­ceive mar­i­juana in any form.

In re­search­ing med­i­cal mar­i­juana, I dis­cov­ered it can be given in lozenge form to chil­dren, and it has brought re­lief to chil­dren suf­fer­ing from can­cer and other se­ri­ous ail­ments.

Aimee Swartz wrote in The Sci­en­tist about 16- year- old Lauren Scott, who has been fight­ing un­dif­fer­en­ti­ated soft tis­sue sar­coma, a rare and ag­gres­sive form of can­cer, for more than three years. Af­ter a brief pe­riod of re­mis­sion Lauren’s can­cer spread to her lungs, where a large, in­op­er­a­ble tu­mor makes daily ac­tiv­i­ties and, some­times, breath­ing dif­fi­cult.

Lauren’s mother, Cherri Chiodo, says the med­i­cal cannabis that her daugh­ter re­ceives is an oil that is es­pe­cially rich in cannabid­iol ( CBD), the chem­i­cal that con­tains much of mar­i­juana’s medic­i­nal prop­er­ties, and low in THC ( tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol), the psy­choac­tive chem­i­cal that makes peo­ple “high.” Chiodo notes the treat­ment also helps to stim­u­late Lauren’s ap­petite, along with re­duc­ing the “anx­i­ety that comes from fac­ing a ter­mi­nal can­cer.”

Eigh­teen states and the Dis­trict of Columbia have le­gal­ized med­i­cal mar­i­juana for pa­tients with qual­i­fy­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions and chronic pain.

In my opin­ion, Ge­or­gia cer­tainly has cit­i­zens who could ben­e­fit from med­i­cal mar­i­juana. It could help to di­min­ish the pain and anx­i­ety that come with fac­ing ter­mi­nal can­cer.

The ques­tion is: Are Ge­or­gians will­ing to take a look at the re­search and be­lieve the find­ings?

No one is try­ing to push med­i­cal mar­i­juana down any­one’s throat. How­ever, I be­lieve many Ge­or­gia res­i­dents take med­i­ca­tions ev­ery day without un­der­stand­ing the bad side ef­fects that come with those treat­ments.

Ge­or­gia might be one of the states where it will take decades to get be­hind a proven med­i­ca­tion to help peo­ple who have deadly se­ri­ous med­i­cal prob­lems.

Mar­i­juana pro­vides greater pain re­lief when taken in pill form than when smoked, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished last year.

As the sis­ter of a man who has mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, I am grate­ful that my brother isn’t in the kind of pain that some MS pa­tients suf­fer. I am happy to see that doc­tors are look­ing more closely at cannabis for pa­tients seek­ing re­lief from pain. Some ju­ris­dic­tions al­low the med­i­cal use of the drug for this pur­pose.

Should Ge­or­gia fol­low other states and le­gal­ize mar­i­juana? It’s a ques­tion we must all pon­der for our­selves. I would say keep a open mind and read what the stud­ies have con­cluded.

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