DEA dance keeps patients, public in limbo
Limbo. It’s song and dance associated with tropical beats and shimmying bodies sinking low. It’s also a Catholic doctrinal concept: Souls neither cleansed nor damned are sent to Purgatory, or limbo, on the edge of heaven and hell, waiting to be judged. In another sense, limbo means prolonged uncertainty.
All those connotations can be applied to the DEA’s postponement of its decision whether to reschedule or de-schedule cannabis.
As ridiculous as it sounds, the DEA lists cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic along with heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. This translates to the U.S. government purporting to believe cannabis is extremely dangerous and has no known medicinal use. (Uncle Sam has patented it for its medicinal use, of course, but try to have short-term memory loss about that. And quit wondering why the government would need to apply to ITSELF for a patent on anything. This is hardly the time to bring rational thought into a “marijuana” discussion.)
No easy task
Because of this antiquated DEA classification, it’s a herculean feat to get legitimate scientific studies approved. For an idea of what it’s like, first imagine what a pain it is just to get a driver’s license from your local DMV. Then, add layer upon layer of massive federal bureaucracy that pathologically hates driver’s licenses—a system of people maniacally set against drivers and hell-bent on preventing you or anyone else from from ever obtaining that license. That’s a rough approximation of what researchers are up against when trying to study a flower that can literally save lives.
While you’re not likely to find tropical beats or shimmying bodies at the DMV (thank heavens), consider the contortions one goes through to pass under the limbo bar. That is what the government’s laws and regulations force researchers, doctors, patients, and suppliers to do: maneuver beneath the red tape without getting stuck, or falling on their backside.
Despite government agencies making it virtually impossible, some studies have been conducted in the U.S., and with fantastic results. Studies that are effectively demonstrating the effectiveness of cannabis for pain relief, cancer-killing properties, help with anxiety and post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI), as well as long-term efficacy for chronic conditions like Crohn’s, IBS, fibromyalgia, and so many more.
But to delay the decision leaves a lot of patients in limbo, straddling state and federal law, hoping that the next administration is as understanding of their plight as the current one. At the moment, federal law still considers cannabis a banned substance, even though 25 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized it for at least medical purposes.
Hanging in the balance
All across the nation, small and medium-sized businesses have formed that cater to the needs of cancer patients, chronic-pain sufferers…and free adults in a free society. An industry hangs in the balance, and so do thousands of Americans’ livelihoods.
Past experience with the DEA makes it too much to expect that this delay is because a massive change is coming. It’ll be a while before we see nationwide legalization of a plant that offers so much relief for so many people suffering from pain, illness, and the adverse side effects of dangerous, costly synthetic drugs. The most we can hope for in the short term is a re-classification to Schedule II (with cocaine, crystal meth, PCP, and other drugs deemed “safer” than what’s in Schedule I).
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that our government completely changes character some day and decides to base policies on common sense and real benefits to the people, rather than on Big Pharma’s bottom line or on the hysterical Reefer Madness propaganda of 80 years gone by.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amber Boone considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for CombatPress.com and opines on MMA at FightItOut.com. She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job—for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11.