Terminal illness and cannabis

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Nolan’s Tribe of Warriors Against Cancer

Last weekend a video circulated on social media showing the police looking through a patient’s belongings in a hospital room. They were there because the patient had told his medical providers he used THC oil to control the pain from his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The patient had been very upfront with his doctors about this and he said that he had used the oil in the parking lot before he entered the hospital. Apparently, someone at the hospital reported the patient to the police for using cannabis. You see, where the patient lives, therapeutic cannabis is illegal.

The video shows two police officers wearing gloves looking through the patient’s backpacks.

“Are you going to arrest me?” the patient asks the officers.

This from a Stage 4 cancer patient who was simply trying to get pain relief on his own terms.

Good Lord, this must stop. This patient is near death (if you’re hospitalized with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer – that’s just not going to have a good ending.) Why not let him use a product that has been shown to work on pain without turning him into a zombie? Why not let him make the choice of what goes into his body?

Why are people still so afraid of cannabis that they need to call the police on a terminal patient? The patient had made the decision that he didn’t want to spend his last days in an opioid haze. That should have been enough.

It’s the same decision I would have made.

Time and time again, I have seen therapeutic cannabis patients transition off opioids by using cannabis to control their pain. They don’t walk around stoned all day, they just take maintenance doses on a regular basis. Enough to stay on top of their pain, so that they can still be functional.

Opioids have severe side effects. They put you in a haze. And remember the opioid constipation commercials that ran during the Super Bowl and we all laughed? Trust me on this one, if you have opioid-related constipation it is not a laughing matter. Opioids dull you – that’s part of the allure. In some cases, they don’t do much to relieve pain, but they make it so that you don’t care.

You become medically incapacitated.

What if you want to be alert until you die? What if you want to die under your own terms? What if you don’t want to feel worse than you need to?

If someone at the end of his life chooses to use a natural product that is known to help pain with none of the side-effects of Big Pharma drugs, why on earth should we stop him?

Therapeutic cannabis should be available to anyone who is sick. With regard to end of life, it’s a less harmful way to control symptoms, especially pain. It’s a way to spend the last few days of your life still able to be with your family and loved ones.

Allowing very sick patients to use cannabis gives them the dignity that opioids never will.

Wendy E. N. Thomas is a New Hampshire State Representative for Hillsborough District 21. She is also in the NH Therapeutic Cannabis program. Thomas agrees with the State-wide Democratic platform of legalizing cannabis in New Hampshire, she would also like to see the Therapeutic Cannabis program expanded to include Anxiety, Lyme Disease, and insomnia (for starters.)

Thomas also understands that people need to know about what cannabis can do, how to keep it away from children, and how to use it responsibly (in the same way that the alcohol industry talks about responsible drinking.) All opinions reflected in this article and any future articles on the Democratic cannabis platform are the opinions of Representative Thomas and do not reflect any company or industry. Thomas works at Prime ATC in Merrimack as a Patient Liaison. The contents of this article are not sanctioned by Prime ATC or any of its affiliates.