The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 exempts
patients and caregivers from state laws prohibiting possession and
cultivation of marijuana
“…shall not apply to a patient or to a patient’s
primary caregiver who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal
medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or
approval of a physician.”
Sought recommendation and approval for
Age of Patients Cover A Wide Range:
The 104 "drug replacement"
patients are fairly evenly dispersed throughout the adult age range, with a
median age of about 40..
Marijuana in the U.S. is no longer just a young
person's drug. The young generation which, en masse, had discovered
marijuana in the 1960's, are themselves about to enter their sixties. The
broad age distribution of patients enabled the viewing of cannabis
substitution over the course of a life-time. The author was long ago
impressed by these histories, and routinely asks patients if their parents
Drug Problems Start Early:
Many patients traced the cause of their own
alcoholism back to their childhood.
Tamert and Mendelssohn summarize the
“The anxiety reduction model often utilized to
explain initiation and perpetuation of episodic drinking was found
inadequate to explain motivation for alcohol use by the alcoholic. Euphoria
and elation were manifest only during the initial phases of intoxication.
Prolonged drinking was characterized by progressive depression, guilt, and
psychic pain. These unpleasant affects, however, were poorly recalled by
the alcoholics following cessation of drinking.
Compulsive and constricted behavior patterns,
which were present during sobriety, changed markedly during intoxication,
with increased verbalization, varied expression of feelings, increased
interaction, and frequent behavioral regression. During inebriation,
psychic defenses appeared weakened with significant reduction of repression
and reaction formation.” (Tamert and Mendelsohn1969)
Freedom from toxicity afforded by cannabis
compared with alcohol is the simple physiologic reality. The problematic
biphasic chronic alcohol inebriation-withdrawal cycle ceases with cannabis
substitution. Sleep and appetite are restored, ability to focus and
concentrate is helped, energy and activity levels are improved, pain and
muscle spasms are relieved. Family and workplace relationships are restored
as long term goals replace crises and apologies. Sobriety through cannabis
substitution for some is not unrealistic. In providing a substitute for
alcoholism and other drug habits, cannabis restores normal physiologic
functioning of CNS, GI, hepatic, orthopedic, and endocrine systems.