A Letter to Dr. Grinspoon by Jim Geesman
Thank you sir, for your efforts at righting our society’s current wrong. You and I know a benign plant that provides humans with relief in whatever form they find it, should not be demonized, nor illegal.
I’m a 58 year old white male, born and raised in southern California , married father of two college grads, living in the hills above the Monterey Bay in Santa Cruz County . In January of 06 I had my second grand mal seizure, discovery and resection of my Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumor, and a prognosis for a median life expectancy of 16 months. A clinical trial “IL-13”, standard care chemo and radiation, and here I am.
I was 15 yrs. old when a friend presented me with my first opportunity to smoke pot. He and I are still friends, 43 years later, despite living more than 200 miles apart. I attended his 30th wedding anniversary party last year, and have played golf with both he and his sons a couple of times in the last three years. I ‘m mentioning this because I want people to understand that lifelong cannabis users are also well adjusted, responsible, loved, loving, happy people.
I wasn’t a lifelong user until I developed a medical use, and strangely enough, there are times I’m grateful for my brain tumor, without which I wouldn’t be enjoying my daily ritual of getting high. That’s right. I am surviving brain cancer. It wasn’t until about 30 months after my tumor surgery that I had my first post-diagnosis seizure. I was prescribed Keppra as an anti-seizure medication, with its known side effect of irritability and nickname of Kepprage. I made those discoveries within a couple of weeks of starting the drug. About this same time I learned that cannabis was being used to treat seizures. I’ve been a daily user ever since, grateful for the compassion existing in enough people to make it legal through Prop.215. I thought it was legal. What do you think? No wonder a side effect of using the plant, for some people some of the time, is self doubt.
With the brain tumor and treatment, etc., I’m now disabled. What a beautiful country. I’d created a comfortable life for myself and family, but clearly am beyond my working life. That kind of mental energy doesn’t exist for me anymore. So my life has become that of a gardener/golfer. My gardening provides my medicine, my country provides my financial needs, and my golf provides my exercise, both physical and mental. I shot a 9 over par 80 ten days ago and can still hit the ball pretty well. Being an athletic 6’4” and 240 toned lbs., people don’t recognize my disability at first glance. I was very lucky with the brain I was issued at birth. Granted, it did develop a nasty tumor, but for what it’s been through, I’m extremely grateful for what I have and can do. I use it to celebrate life, finding the energy it provides me with allows me to get up and out and involved with my surroundings
I use cannabis to “get back to normal”. It makes me feel “right”. I’ve mentioned to some of my older golfing friends that it’s the closest thing there is to the Fountain of Youth. It really does make me feel younger and stronger, and I use it when I have a task to perform, or just want to get a good stretching session in. I truly pity those people that have been victimized by the fear mongering “drug war” rhetoric. They are missing out on something the planet provides for our brains. I now consider cannabis, with it’s chemical parallel also being produced by the human brain, a healthy choice.
I wake and bake every day. I walk 18 holes of golf several days a week. I announce the action at basketball games for my local high school, the only place where I don’t proudly advocate for ending Prohibition. I think it’s time we start using the capital P, and get a bit more offense minded. Those of us with the intelligence and experience to know should be fighting harder to end this Prohibition. It is criminal. Only ignorant, not necessarily stupid, people are against the people who’ve expanded their horizons and learned through personal experience that a little mind altering can be a good thing. Feeling better than you did before you took your medicine is certainly a good thing.
A very important consideration for those of us that know the plant well, is to recognize that some people don’t have the kind of brain that can relax and enjoy the effects. Something in these poor people’s brains causes them an anxiety that grows until they believe in their cores that there’s something wrong with feeling good. Paranoia happens when you believe that others surely must know that you’re high, and being high is illegal, and you’re going to wind up in a van down by the river. Those of us that have control over our brains don’t have such problems. Is it envy that causes people to prefer Prohibition?
I hope this meets with your expectations for a written contribution. Once again, I’m thanking you for lending your voice, face, name and efforts toward ending Prohibition. We’re on the right side.