Some of the families of people suffering from severe illnesses can sleep a little easier tonight for two reasons. First, their loved ones may finally be able to get some of the relief they desperately need. Second, they don’t have to worry about getting punished with jail time for getting that help.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Epidiolex. It is the first drug derived from a marijuana plant to win FDA approval. It is designed to treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy.
The drug contains highly purified cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD. It’s one of the many elements that make up the marijuana plant. THC is another of those elements. It’s the one known for its psychoactive and euphoric side effects. Epidiolex contains only trace amounts of THC.
Some see this move as the first step in legalizing marijuana, at least for medicinal purposes. As they understand it, the legalization of marijuana for any purpose is the beginning of the end for a civilized society. Those suffering from severe illnesses beg to differ. They see it as easier access to the only thing that seems to offer them any relief.
There are many layers to the marijuana discussion. I’ll save the debate for the legalization of the plant for recreational use for another time. But for now, we have to come to grips with how to get families help.
One of the many consequences of big government is that good people often get caught up in sweepingly generalized laws. Can marijuana do harm? Most definitely. But so can alcohol and you might remember what happened when that was outlawed.
The recreational use of marijuana is unwise. So too is the recreational use of morphine. But we should not let that distract us from the ways that both can be used to help those in need. Just because something can be abused is no reason that it should not be used in specific situations to help specific people with specific needs.
But once again, the government is getting in the way and making it harder for families to get the help that they need. Much of the opposition from elected government officials to the medical use of cannabis oil has more to do with the threat of losing the support of the pharmaceutical industry than it does morality. It’s hard to make money off of a drug once people figure out that a better remedy can be grown on a farm.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the hundreds of commercials for perfectly legal drugs that spend more time telling you how the drug could kill you than they do telling you how it will help you. I’d rather my neighbor have a doctor’s prescription for oil from a plant that will help his little girl to stop having seizures than I would him feeding his kid the psychotropic drugs that some doctors pass out like candy.
The real moral thing to do here is to help families in need. You don’t have to become a Rastafarian to do that. All that’s really needed is the government to get out of the way.