An Argument for Medical Marijuana and Against Governments and Companies Who Oppose it

By Katie O’Leary.

As someone who uses cannabis for pain, I feel so lucky to be living in California. Marijuana not only treats my nerve pain, it helps with my crippling anxiety. When I can’t sleep, I use it to relax, sleep, etc. The legalization of medical marijuana happened long before I moved to Los Angeles in 2013, but at the stroke of midnight January 1, 2018, marijuana became legal for all residents of California. I didn’t think much of it, other than amusement in thinking that my friends could join me when I vape outside a restaurant.

Katelyn O’Leary

But while Californians have been enjoying their new freedom, a video was recently posted on my Facebook feed. A new drug has been approved by the FDA and has also been vetted by the DEA. It is called “Syndros”, and the company that developed this drug is called Insys Therapeutics, located in Arizona[1]. This drug is a synthetic form of cannabis, fast-tracked by the FDA to help patients deal with pain, nausea, anxiety – all the same symptoms actual cannabis treats already. Here is the worst part: Insys Therapeutics spent over $500,000 campaigning against marijuana legalization in the state of Arizona. And now they have created a synthetic cannabis drug, and two government agencies have APPROVED this drug.

Let me say this again: two MASSIVELY influential governmental agencies have approved a drug that works exactly like cannabis, and have approved it. This means they are acknowledging on a federal level, that cannabis has a proven medical need in this country. This is absolutely huge, because our prison system contains more drug users than any other crime percentage.

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The ACLU[2] has a series of charts breaking down the prison industrial complex as it relates to marijuana arrests and imprisonment. Here we see staggering arrest rates for cannabis.

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The ACLU has been battling against politicians and the government who have been swayed by their lobbyist funding to criminalize marijuana, and to continue to push this issue when the statistics tell us that (I am going to wager a guess that today since these charts are from 2010) over 50% of Americans approve of legalization. Why does our government or companies like Insys continue to oppose legalization and then arrest those who use cannabis outside of states with legalization?

There are many factors: marijuana terrifies pharmaceutical companies since it works so well for patients, people believe it is a gateway drug and are afraid of it, and smoking has a bad reputation. So why are we not researching it? The DEA will not allow scientists to study marijuana, but hopefully more bills will be introduced to Congress (as they were last year) to allow that to happen.

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So, the DEA will not allow research on cannabis, but they approve of a synthetic drug that is a copy of an all-natural plant known to combat cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, nerve pain, and Parkinson’s disease? They claim marijuana is dangerous and are locking people up, and yet they okay a new drug that does exactly the same thing? This should be a watershed moment in which the American people, medicinal marijuana patients, the disenfranchised, minorities, and all people need to rise up and oppose this blatant corruption. Marijuana is not dangerous, and the actions of Insys and their greedy stone-walling of legalization is not progress. Arresting minorities and anyone who smokes cannabis in other states, and then locking them is pure hypocrisy. Two government agencies, independent of each other, have clearly stated by their approval – marijuana has medicinal value. Otherwise the synthetic trial would never have been approved. Why do we continue to lock up people who are possibly in pain? Why are we targeting minority groups for smoking cannabis, a waste of money and resources, when we could direct law enforcement for more important tasks?

Two years ago, the CDC released guidelines on opioids and encouraged the American people to comment and share their illnesses, chronic pain, and their reasons as to why our opinions should be included in their decision making. We trust the CDC to make the right calls for our health, and we assume they are not affected by special interest groups or easily bought.

Well, on January 31, 2018 Brenda Fitzgerald, the director of the CDC resigned from her position after it was discovered she invested in a tobacco company[3]. This news has infuriated me. The CDC condescendingly asked the disability community, minorities, and so many people to participate in their “guidelines” survey. We know anyone and everyone can be bought. The CDC, FDA, and the DEA are influenced by big money and sometimes the public at large. It can make you cynical and furious

This situation brings me back to one of my favorite film quotes, “Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Jack Nicholson in this film feels as if his world imploded and becomes even more cynical. But remember in your fury, we are all stronger together and we have to keep fighting companies and government agencies who are actively trying to swindle us all out of our medications and our rights.

Katie O’Leary suffers from CRPS. She works in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles when she can. She is also a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report.

[1] Ingraham Christopher, A Pharma Company That Spent $500,000 Trying To Keep Pot Illegal Just Got DEA Approval For Synthetic Marijuana: 24 Mar. 2018. 

[2] ACLU, Marijuana Arrests By The Numbers: 4 Feb. 2018.

[3] Wadman Meredith. CDC Director Resigns After Report On Tobacco Stock Purchase. 31 Jan. 2018 

Authored by: Katelyn O’Leary

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11 Comments on "An Argument for Medical Marijuana and Against Governments and Companies Who Oppose it"

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ll this boils down to is the Washington goons are having their pockets padded by Big Pharma and they are not about to do anything that would interfere with that. Same thing going on with Kratom. Completely natural plant that alleviates pain, can help get addicts off opiates and heroin, good for anxiety & depression but do you realize how much Big Pharma would lose if everyone stopped their Suboxone, Methadone and antidepressants? This just makes me sick. And there is nothing that will be done about it unless we in the pain community start marching up to DC and speaking our voices!

Only problem with your post is that a synthetic has explicit and reproducible properties that won’t be found in the medical marijuana universe. That’s the beauty of chemical drugs to begin with, an the problem with biologics.
Of course, that doesn’t excuse Insys for duplicity, but I believe it does exonerate the FDA.
But to your point, it doesn’t excuse the Feds from blocking RESEARCH on marijuana for health purposes.

Dear Katelyn, I have chronic pain and insomnia . I have access to medical marijuana .However all of the marijuna I have tried have not had the relaxing effect I get more anxiety .I wonder if anyone has found a strain that relaxes etc without the anxiety . If you or anyone has an idea for me please let me know what stain or what % of thc you use

Thanks for speaking out & telling the truth. I agree the federal government should just legalize marijuana instead of synthetic drugs. In my state of NJ medical marijuana is now legal but in the state’s control I’ve heard u need to be approved by a few MD’s who hold the license, there is a $500 charge 4 the patients to get a card, then the price is $150 or more an oz. then u can buy it on the street.So now some NJ residents aren’t sure who this is helping.?? Most people in NJ who would b approved for medical marijuana can’t afford it legally thru the state.

Thanks Katie,

Health benefits
Reduced Prison Costs
New Tax Revenue
New Jobs

My husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 1984. He was prescribed THC pills for nausea from chemotherapy.My opinion is they were researching and using this schedule 1 drug way back then. I am so tired of the lies!!!

Amen to that, I live in Oregon, my pain meds been cut back so much that I can no longer control the pain. CBD oil has definitely help with the anxiety which helps control the pain. I hear their new synthetic CBD oils are going to have side effects. We know the FDA’s budget revolves around big Pharma giving them billions of dollars. Well when will these narrow close-minded morons understand their ignorance is getting people killed. There’s a lot of us out here that’s been trying to put a stop to this for a long time, however until you’re put into a position where you need something that helps you and the government wants to take it away, you pay no attention to it. Now is the time to fight for our rights as citizens of the United States to have what we need to control our pain, anxiety whatever, with whatever we want.

You go!!! So happy you put all this together!!!!

In my state WA it is legal to use pot as a recreational drug BUT if you you it for pain, then you can either have it or your pain medications but not both. WHAT? All of us pain sufferers have been dealt with the blow of lowering our pain medications so low that some us us need the extra help with our pain flare ups and etc. with the aide of pot. But our government has to stick it’s ugly head into our health care in fear that we may become addicted to pot or our pain medications but why do they not address OUR PAIN? I have been reading in the Pain supports here on line where patients in some states do not even have a doctor or any pain medications and pot is illegal there that have found relief in kratom and then again with nothing else to offer the pain patients, the government wants to make kratom illegal, WHY? I read that they want to save us from ourselves because if taken in large doses it could hurt us, huh, I have an idea, why not teach our doctors on helping the pain patient with the right dosage since they have nothing else to offer us with extreme crippling pain. The government needs to leave our highly skilled doctors alone and let them do the job they studied for for many years.

Thank you for your article. As you know the use of opiates is prohibitive with marijuana. Is your new substitute allowable for use with them?

First of all, it’s always about the money, honey. The DEA, ATF, CIA, you name whatever alphabet wears the gun and goes after the drugs, you can bet they witness first hand how these people they arrest can make money dealing in marijuana.
They see an opportunity here, between the drug and the demand, so they cut out the dealers by calling them “illegal”, and then they insert themselves in by making their own product and call it “legal”.
Thus, they are then dealing a taxable and controllable product that supposedly does the same thing. They make money they wouldn’t make any other way and they could then tax it however they wanted and patients would be at their mercy (their narrow minded thinking, of course).
Then you have to remember their other great drug making ideas: heroin, thus the need to make methadone to cya…