by Carey Wedler
June 16, 2015
CBS Channel 4 news report video link
(ANTIMEDIA) As the tide turns irreversibly toward cannabis legalization, a fifteen-year-old patient perfectly summarized the main argument for its use. At a symposium on medical marijuana research in Denver over the weekend, Coltyn Turner explained, “I’d rather be illegally alive than legally dead.”
Turner expressed the opinion of an increasing numbers of Americans who now support the use of cannabis as an alternative treatment to pharmaceutical and traditional medicine. This weekend’s National Jewish Health’s Marijuana and Health Symposium provided a forum for patients and doctors to explore the promising future of the non-toxic, plant-based treatment.
Turner detailed his experience with Crohn’ Disease, a chronic, debilitating condition that left him immobile: “I was just on every pharmaceutical there was out there until I would end up in a wheelchair.”
Colytn’s mother, Wendy, turned to CBD oil as a last resort and found it was able to heal her son. “He got sick and we had no other options,” she told CBS news. “We thought, ‘Well, why not try?’ And it worked.” The family moved from the Midwest to Colorado to treat Coltyn, where he now takes the oil four times a day and enjoys markedly improved health.
Ken Gershman, who attended the health conference, works with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. He lauded the symposium, which focused mainly on current studies exploring the medical qualities of cannabis. He noted “nine current and upcoming studies [that] are looking at marijuana as a treatment for illnesses stretching from insomnia and inflammatory bowel disease to post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The fact that Coltyn Turner—a “child”— can openly advocate his use of cannabis oil is a sign that accepted beliefs about the “drug” are shifting. In addition to expanded medical research on the plant, the DEA recently increased its cultivation of marijuana for the purpose of studying its medical benefits. The federal government is scaling back its war on marijuana.
While additionally, state legalization is beginning to snowball and tolerance is increasing, many patients still struggle for their right to use medical cannabis. Kansas mother Shona Banda, who, like Turner, suffers from Crohn’s disease, is currently facing 30 years in prison for treating herself and developing a method to extract the highly therapeutic oil. Even so, she enjoys the national support of individuals who are outraged at the state’s callousness in charging her, yet another sign of shifting societal norms.
As Gershman said, “We can’t bury our heads in the sand. We need to learn more and make sensible decisions based on evidence.”
Wendy Turner simply stated, “We want people to understand that this is a good option.”
As Coltyn concisely articulated, laws and regulations are irrelevant when choosing between life and death—a reality the American public is beginning to accept.
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