Last year Iowa seemed to take a major step into the 20th century when parents and friends of child epileptic patients made an almost irrefutable case for medical cannabis in Iowa. Governor Branstad backed it as did most of the legislature. In a rare show of bipartisanship, a bill was written up, passed both houses overwhelmingly and was signed quickly by the governor.
Problem solved? Nope! Those in need could now use medical cannabis in Iowa, they just couldn’t legally obtain it. So despite all the good press and the kumbya feelings all around, they had accomplished nothing. So one would think that correcting this oversight and actually making medical cannabis available to those who desperately need it would be a high priority. Think again. This is the Iowa legislature we are talking about.
At last week’s legislative forum in Muscatine, Shelly Van Winkle, a veteran, a nurse and a sufferer from fibromyalgia – which can be extremely painful – raised the question to legislators – when will Iowa make it possible for sufferers to actually legally obtain medical cannabis oil in Iowa? She came with a powerful handout showed pictures of Iowans for whom medical cannabis in the non psychoactive form of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, could be a major help. As I looked over the pictures I was stunned to see a friend of mine among the pictures. Unfortunately any help he may have gotten will be too late. He had just died from cancer a day before. Could medical cannabis or CBD oil have helped? We will never know. From what I have read, the answer is unequivocally yes.
Opponents seem to point to one argument only. Marijuana, a member of the cannabis family, has a psychoactive effect when smokes or ingested. However, CBD oil has little to no psychoactive properties. This concern was immediately raised by Rep. Tom Sands (R-88). While study on the effects of medical cannabis and CBD oil has been somewhat stymied by the fear of the psychoactive effects of cannabis especially in the US, there is mounting evidence that shows that CBD oil could be a major player in medicine.
Those opposing CBD oil seem to be grounded in the propaganda of Harry Anslinger from the 1930s. This propaganda was based on racism, fear, and some protection of corporate profits. Throw in a very memorable movie called “Reefer Madness” and you have the ingredients of an irrational reason for opposing legalizing medical cannabis.
For those who have never seen it, here is the 70 minute epic known as “Reefer Madness”
But there are also those who have a monetary stake in keeping medical cannabis illegal. This is one of those “politics makes strange bedfellows” groupings. Folks who stand to lose should medical cannabis or cannabis in general is legalized includes police unions, prison guard unions and privatized prisons, alcohol companies, and good old Big Pharma.
The list of diseases that, given a chance, that CBD oil could offer some effective help with ranges from the aforementioned epilepsy and the pain of fibromyalgia along with diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, chronic back pain and arthritis, traumatic brain injury and Parkinson’s disease.
Hopefully in a couple years this issue will be behind us and we can be talking about allowing farmers to grow hemp for industrial use. Another policy that is grounded in the fear of marijuana spread by Harry Anslinger and still quite alive today. Iowa’s farmers are missing a good bet by not growing industrial hemp.
Until then, here is a little chart that shows which drugs really cause us problems when driving.