Last weekend I was racing on a sailboat and one of my fellow crew members, Ken, shared that his dad had recently been undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Ken was really scared for his dad because he had lost a tremendous amount of weight, was in a lot of pain, and “looked like he’d aged 10 years in just a couple months’ time.” He said that in desperation he had talked to his dad about trying marijuana to help get his appetite back and help manage the other side effects and his dad had agreed to at least try it.
Ken knew I had a teenage son and asked if I could ask him if he knew where to buy some high quality marijuana that might help his dad. Although Ken and I sail together frequently, he had no idea of my connection to Doobons. Little did he know he was definitely asking the right person, only the wrong question!
So I told him about Doobons, and how the site’s whole intention is to provide all the information he could ever need to find out how to get started using medical marijuana to help with his dad’s cancer and the side effects from chemo. He listened as I explained how to get a medical marijuana recommendation, how to find a doctor who issues medical marijuana recommendations close to where his dad lives, why he might want to consider becoming a caregiver for his dad, and the difference between just getting a recommendation versus a medical marijuana card.
He was very interested in all I was sharing and said he would definitely check out the site when back in port. After digesting some of what I said, he then asked, “But why would I go to all that trouble? I know I could find someone who knows how to get weed without going through all those steps. I know friends who smoke it for fun. Why not just ask them?”
Good question. And since the degrees of separation are not too far, it IS fairly easy to obtain marijuana through a friend or “friend of a friend.” I told Ken that, for me, there are two main reasons NOT to go this route. One is that you can never be guaranteed the quality or potency of the marijuana you get off the street, even from very reliable sources, as they are usually not the front line supplier.
Marijuana from unknown sources can be laced with pesticides, laden with mold or mixed with dirt, or combined with other unknown substances that have harmful side effects. In addition, medical marijuana is very different than that sold for recreational use. Medical marijuana comes in different potencies, strains and hybrids of strains specifically developed to best address individual conditions and symptoms. Having a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana or medical marijuana card allows access to marijuana dispensaries that will supply not only a variety of types of marijuana but also offer different forms (such as edibles) and information about recommended methods of consumption.
The second and equally important reason to go through the steps of getting a medical recommendation and/or medical marijuana identification card (MMIC) is that it offers some degree of (although not total) legal protection if the person in possession of medical marijuana is questioned by law enforcement. Having a marijuana card provides the most protection in such a situation, because then law enforcement can immediately check the validity against a national online registry and will often not take legal action against you, unless you are carrying more than the allowed limit. Some police officers will also be much more lenient with a valid doctor’s recommendation and a package labeled medical marijuana, although not legally required to do so.
I shared with Ken that there is another option some people who need medical marijuana opt for – growing it themselves. This assures quality, but still leaves them open to legal prosecution. It also takes quite a bit of time and commitment and exploration to grow just the right kind that will help provide relief for whatever the particular ailment is. Some are successful, but for many the quick availability and variety of types of medical marijuana available through dispensaries helps provide faster, more effective relief.
The race ended. We came in third, but it was a beautiful day and opportunity for us to have such a great open conversation about something that has the potential to be judged or stigmatized. He went home to check out our website, and I told him to feel free to call me anytime for support and help.