Guest Column: Addiction or self-medication?

July 1, 1993

Guest Column: Addiction or self-medication?

By M.L. Simon

“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize an undercover dictatorship. To restrict the art of healing to one class of men, and deny equal privilege to others, will be to constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic, and have no place in a Republic. The Constitution of this Republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom.” abridged quote—Benjamin Rush, M.D., a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Let me start this little essay on the uses of marijuana with an idea—a very simple idea. An idea that strikes at the very heart of the drug war and its moralistic foundation. The very idea that those who use unapproved drugs are the lawful subjects of religiously motivated government persecution.

What we call addiction is in fact self-treatment of undiagnosed pain.

Such an idea is a truly revolutionary. If it is true, then the notion of a drug war to save the children is a lie from beginning to end. Those who have read my article on heroin have a window into this new idea. What I tried to show in that article was that medical research shows that victims of sexual abuse and severe physical abuse (PTSD) are many times more likely than the general public to get addicted to heroin.

Let us next look at the case for marijuana.

Natural molecules similar to an active ingredient in marijuana play a part in helping the brain clear fearful memories and keep them from being permanently debilitating. The British journal Nature has reported this discovery by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany. The scientists of the Institute say that this has implications for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder and other fear-based conditions.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States and worth $46 billion a year to the pharmaceutical industry. You don’t suppose this fact has anything to do with the pharmaceutical industries being in the forefront of the Drug Free America campaign, do you? Of course not. They are just trying to keep you from being addicted to natural products at the cost of 1/10th of a cent per dose when they are more than willing to sell you an FDA and doctor-approved, pharmacy-sold product that will do the job for a dollar a dose. They only have your best interests at heart. Just ask their accountants.

All humans have fear reactions to dangerous situations. However, in 10 perent of people (surprisingly, the same percentage of people who are susceptible to substance addiction), the fear does not die down in the absence of the dangerous situation. The fear stays at debilitating levels even in the absence of danger. These people have a definite if ordinarily invisible problem. You cannot find this problem with X-rays. This problem could be found with a many thousand dollar PET scan. Or, you could take a few puffs of a joint and see if that helps. If the joint was legal, which it is not.

Pankaj Sah of Australian National University believes that chronic marijuana users are self-medicating for anxiety problems. He also says that we self-medicate for headaches with aspirin, which causes no social problems. He speculates that people experiencing emotional problems are taking cannabis for relief. Of course, since this medicine is not doctor approved, it is against the law. Especially, it is against federal law as a number of states have made medical use of marijuana legal. The feds in California know how to stop this, though. They put the sick, the dying and the pain-wracked in jail to show their compassion. You don’t suppose it has anything to do with maintaining at

all costs the state and federal $50 billion drug war, do you? Not a chance. They are the government, and they have only your best interests at heart. Trust them.

You can read a good review of the report here: http://216.167.102.130/UPI7-31-02.htm

Let me leave you with a final quote from a Supreme Court judge:

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” —Justice Brandeis

That quote and an impassioned speech for the right of self-medication can be found here: http://gos.sbc.edu/l/lord.html

M. L. Simon is an industrial controls designer at Free Market Green. (c) M. Simon – All rights reserved. Permission granted for one time use in a single periodical. Concurrent publication on the periodical’s www site is also granted.

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