We Have a Drug for Everything – Sometimes It’s Cannabis

I went in for my annual physical a couple of weeks ago. As is always the case, the nurse who did the initial interview and took my vitals was amazed that I do not take any prescription medications. She was also amazed that all but one pill I take – an OTC antihistamine – are vitamins and minerals. I am not into drugs. I don’t take them unless I have to.

None of this is intended to paint myself as being virtuous or better. I only mention my recent doctor’s visit to illustrate that I do not understand the ‘we have a drug for everything’ mentality. It is completely foreign to me. Likewise, I am somewhat of an enigma to my doctor and her staff. I have a chronic condition for which there is no cure. It is an uncomfortable and inconvenient condition as well. But I don’t take prescription medications for it.

My Reasons Are Simple

At this point, you might be wondering why I stay away from prescriptions. I have several reasons. First and foremost, the medications available from my particular condition would certainly alleviate some of the symptoms, but they would make me feel terrible. I would not be able to lead a normal life. Personally, I want to live life on my own terms. I do not want my life dictated by prescriptions.

There are two other reasons I feel are important:

  • Symptom Relief – Most of Western medicine is centered squarely on relieving symptoms. To me, this sets a dangerous precedent. If I run to the doctor for a prescription every time I feel uncomfortable, I’m likely to develop a mindset of relying on drugs I don’t really need.
  • Lack of Knowledge – Western medicine relies so heavily on pharmacology due to a lack of knowledge. In other words, we do not know as much about human biology and physiology as we let on. Our lack of knowledge prevents us from curing diseases, so we medicate instead.

I am definitely not opposed to medications that are actually valid cures. Antibiotics are a classic example. They are proven curative solutions for bacterial infections. So last time I had a bacterial infection, I welcomed the prescription my doctor wrote. Conversely, antibiotics do absolutely nothing for viral infections. When the doctor offers to write a prescription for my cold, I turn it down.

When Cannabis Is the Medication

I admittedly have a bias against prescription medications. Yet I must admit that the whole medical cannabis debate has forced me to rethink some things. I have been researching and writing on medical cannabis for the better part of six years now. I have come to understand just how many people use it to manage persistent pain.

At the Beehive Farmacy in Brigham City, UT, the majority of patients coming in to purchase deal with persistent pain. Beehive operators say their counterparts across the country report similar experiences. And in many cases, patients turn to medical cannabis after traditional pain therapies fail to deliver relief.

As much as I am in favor of getting to the root cause of a person’s pain and trying to fix that problem, I also know how complex pain is. It is experienced differently among multiple patients. Pain thresholds differ. And quite frankly, it is often very difficult for doctors to pinpoint exactly why a person feels pain.

Medical cannabis does exemplify the ‘we have a drug for everything’ mindset. That doesn’t mean it should be outlawed once again. I just think we, as a culture, need to better understand why we so quickly run to drugs whenever we feel uncomfortable.