Home»Opinion»Don't Smoke the Messenger»DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Let’s Stop Calling Pot Medicine

DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Let’s Stop Calling Pot Medicine

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Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 10.41.49 AMIn the words of Joan Rivers: “can we talk?”

Though the fight for restorative justice in the wake of the drug war isn’t done—especially in Eastern Oregon—the writing’s on the wall for marijuana prohibition. Measure 91 is rolling along, other states are following suit, and dispensaries will soon be able to start selling to the public. Even the FEDs are pretty weary of prohibition.

So it’s time to drop the act.

What act is that you ask? Calling pot medicine.

Now slow down over-reactionaries of the world; I’m not saying it isn’t medicine. The list of ailments marijuana effectively treats grows daily, everything from anxiety to x-zema (give me a break, there aren’t a lot of diseases at the back end of the alphabet). Pot can help you sleep, help you stay awake, help you eat, help with pain, stop you feeling itchy, fight cancer and so so so much more. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of medicine.

But you know what else it can do? Help you play the shit out of the some video games. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

While lots of Oregonians had OMMP cards for medical conditions, lots also had them for “medical conditions.” Comedy duo Garfunkle and Oates sang about the absurdity of it in their song, “Weed Card:” “You can smoke [pot] to quit cigarettes, for asthma or motherfucking Tourette’s.” The song discussed their experience getting a weed card, in which the doctor showed them a list of conditions and asked what they had. Did it matter which one? Not really.

And that was fine at the start. Culture had to be acclimated, and it was easier to sell skeptical squares on marijuana’s medical effects than its killer crunk factor. But just like there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine with dinner, or a shot of Jager when you want to make some bad decisions, there’s nothing wrong with a bong hit for its own sake, and it’s time to embrace that.

For one, calling pot medicine pathologizes its use, casting life itself as a sickness that must be treated. Which was fine—when you were 14, dressed all in black, and wrote a lot of poetry about how THE WORLD (aka: your parents) didn’t understand you. Now that you’re over 21, it’s kinda tacky.

Calling recreational pot medicine also puts doctors in the middle of marijuana use, which wades into ethically murky waters. Compassionate, forward-thinking physicians did the world a great service by stepping up against the feds and offering marijuana prescriptions for genuine medical need, and to show that decriminalizing pot wouldn’t immediately lead to the apocalypse. But now that we’re past that, and pot is legal. That means asking doctors to sign off on what everyone knows is a “medical condition,” is also asking them to sell out their own integrity, which we shouldn’t ask them to do. Especially since their time —and your money—is better spent assessing patients with legitimate need. But the only way there is to say stop calling pot medicine.

So, everyone, stand, turn to the right of the room (towards the tie-dyed Led Zeppelin tapestry), put your hand over your heart and repeat after me: “I pledge allegiance, to the truth, that while marijuana has many medicinal qualities, I just like the buzz. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”  



  1. Nancy
    September 19, 2015 at 9:56 pm — Reply

    Right on Josh! Your article about calling pot medicine brought welcome relief to an era of “medical conditions” that have exploded into excess mode. We need more writers like you to restore common sense in an over-drugged society. Doctors have become drug pushers, prescribing YEARS of heavy sedation, lazy drugs (opiates, aka heroin) and now pot Rx. Smoking anything frequently is dangerous to lungs–at least do no harm! Do we really need another fix? Maybe we should explore what it is about ourselves, our society, that we need to fix. Service doggies sit in grocery carts, cell phones attach to one hand, coffee in the other… which medical condition should we address first?

  2. Robert Winters
    September 23, 2015 at 10:25 am — Reply

    True as rain and well said. Next, let’s stop calling it a lifestyle.

  3. david ayers
    July 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm — Reply

    There were seventeen hundred of us conceived at Hanford Nuclear. We were used as guinea pigs by Harry Truman. Truman hoped to learn that it was possible to use radiation to murder half of our planet’s population, and steal their cropland for America. I was never informed that I had been exposed. The others got huge settlements and the best? doctors they could throw at them. I got put on marijuana by the patients at Roseburg VA who grew their own on the hospital grounds. I’ve been on medical marijuana since 1959. I’ve known why for ten years. For a few years now, I have been the last man standing of over seventeen hundred victims. The doctors killed all of the rest. Marijuana kept me alive.

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