It’s high times these days in the Rockies
by Bill Lewis
April 27, 2014 01:41 AM | 1034 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Perhaps you’ve seen the TV commercial featuring the brewmaster of a popular beer. As part of his daily work, he taste tests the product. He either mentions he has the best job in the world or I’ve heard several friends indicate they thought he’s found a great way to make a living.

Well, there may be a similar position available soon (if it’s not already), albeit in a slightly different industry. Medicinal marijuana, it seems, has to go through the same rigorous clinical trials as other medicines in order to be approved by the FDA. So, basically, somebody somewhere has to test a strain of cannabis to see how effective it is.

I wouldn’t be able to do it now, but I could come up with a pretty extensive list of people I knew in college who would have volunteered for that job in a heartbeat. And pretty much all of them would have worked for free.

A lot of this newfound interest in medical marijuana stems from states such as Colorado that have not only legalized recreational sales of the drug, but have passed expansive laws with regard to using the substance to try to treat various diseases. And it appears that there has been some success.

One report showcased Charlotte’s Web. Not the children’s story, but a strain of the plant used to treat kids with epilepsy. It apparently has a large concentration of CBD (a non-psychoactive ingredient), and a lower dose of THC (the main instigator of the “high” feeling). So the kids aren’t buzzed all day and their epilepsy is much better controlled.

The report also indicated there are studies afoot to use medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, attack some forms of aggressive cancer, control blood sugar, and slow the spread of HIV. I’m guessing there is no shortage of volunteers who suffer from any of those conditions to try the strains applicable to their afflictions.

If there are medical breakthroughs, that would obviously be welcome news.

Recreational use, on the other hand, is another matter. There are still lots of vocal adversaries to legitimizing marijuana for nothing more than a good time. However, at least in Colorado, the times may be a-changin’. Legalized sales are in the millions monthly and a chunk of that change is in the form of taxes. Polls show a pretty solid majority in that state who say the potential pitfalls of a Rocky Mountain high aren’t as bad as they thought they were going to be.

Chances are, more and more states are going to be looking into the Colorado experiment to see if productivity suffers or crime increases or things in general just go to pot. It will be interesting to note if denizens of that state adapt a “whatever, dude” attitude toward life on a regular basis. And how far will that laissez faire demeanor go? I mean, to jump to the extreme, isn’t NORAD located near Colorado Springs? Do we have to be concerned about those who man an institution like that using when they should be observing?

I suppose one has to wonder if perhaps our enemies (real and potential) are clandestinely behind the current marijuana craze. Is Vladimir Putin tapping into the Nikita Khruschev “We Will Bury You” doctrine to secretly encourage American marijuana usage? (Perhaps you’ll remember that rather tactless and uncouth Cold War warrior, a desk, a shoe — well, that’s speculation — and Western diplomats back in the 1950s.) After all, there have been tongue-in-cheek suggestions that some White House advisors have been high as kites when advising the President on matters like Syria and Ukraine.

The national trend is definitely toward easing up on penalties for marijuana usage. You still can’t be carrying a hundred pounds of it around in your trunk, but support for recreational use without consequences is growing. Whether this acceptance is just a passing fad or here to stay is anyone’s guess.

One thing you might want to do, though, is buy a lot of Frito-Lay stock. If all these people are going to get high, it stands to reason they’re going to get the munchies. So you might as well make a buck off the situation too. That is the American way, isn’t it?

Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta.
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