The Cannabis Closet: Lie To Your Doctor?

The Cannabis Closet

Of the readers who answered the above survey, more than one-fifth admitted to lying to their physician about marijuana use. A reader writes:

Following elbow surgery last year, I was prescribed pain medication by my surgeon, who then referred me to a pain specialist for continued treatment. A month later I went to the pain clinic and was given several pages of paperwork to fill out. I skimmed through what looked like the usual privacy and release forms and signed everything, then was asked for a urine sample before seeing the physician. Unwittingly, I had just submitted to taking a drug test, because one of the first things to come out of the doctor’s mouth was "We need to talk about your marijuana use."

I was stunned. Because I have insurance under my wife’s plan, which is a health trust for the school district here in Las Vegas, the doctor assumed I was an educator and began to express her concern that I was using illicit drugs in that work environment. I informed her that I was not a teacher, but the admonishment did not stop there. I am a casual and responsible cannabis user, but I felt like a teen being lectured to by the school principal for bad behavior.

The Cannabis Closet: How The Drug War Makes Liars Of So Many

The Cannabis Closet

Urtak's Marc Lizoain breaks down some of the results from the above survey we ran last week:

One of the worst things about the cruel prohibition of a plant that brings pleasure and comfort to so many is that it makes criminals and liars out of otherwise honest people. More than a third [of surveyed Dish readers] have lied about their marijuana use on an official form or application.

Readers submitted a dozen more questions to the survey since it was first launched, so feel free to answer all 23 above. Many readers also responded to the cannabis confession regarding the Department of Energy applicant confronted with prior drug use. One writes:

I have a good friend in DC who lost a new job with the Feds last year because he was honest about his past use of pot. His job was classified as part of the White House, so it involved a higher level of scrutiny than other executive branch positions. Of course, it is unbelievably ironic and unfair that having a White House job involves a higher bar that gets you fired for pot use when the man at the top of the White House smoked and proudly inhaled.

Another:

The Cannabis Closet: Are You In It?

The Cannabis Closet

A reader writes:

I know the Cannabis Closet discussion hasn't been up for awhile, but in light of your recent posts about the Obama war on medical marijuana, I thought you might find this interesting.

Six months ago, my husband got a job on a Department of Energy site working for a private contractor. He then had to apply for a low-level security clearance – not because his job actually requires it, but because it's necessary in order to go to certain areas of the site. The form he had to fill out was incredibly long and detailed, and of course included questions about previous drug use. My husband has never been a serious user; he doesn't even like pot that much, and he's never tried other illegal drugs. But, like most people we know, he smoked pot occasionally in college and in the few years following. He hasn't smoked in years, and he would never go to work high. He had to pass a drug test to get this job, and he's subject to random drug tests as long as he's employed there. 

So when he came to the security questions on drug use, he had an important choice: lie, or give some version of the truth. I encouraged him to lie, so did some of his colleagues who have gone through the process and did the same.

The Cannabis Closet: Mitch Daniels, Ctd

Serwer defends Mitch Daniels against Waldman's attack: [D]espite Daniels jumping on the tough on crime bandwagon back in the 1980s, he's part of a very positive vanguard of criminal justice reform on the right. Ultimately, what he's trying to do in Indiana could have a much greater impact on mass incarceration, and on the ability … Continue reading The Cannabis Closet: Mitch Daniels, Ctd

The Cannabis Closet: Mitch Daniels

The mild-mannered Midwesterner had some wild days at Princeton:

Officers found enough marijuana in his room to fill two size 12 shoe boxes, reports of the incident say. He and the other inhabitants of the room were also charged with possession of LSD and prescription drugs without a prescription. … “I don’t make excuses for anything. Justice was served,” he said in an interview on Monday. “I had used marijuana and I was fined for that, and that was appropriate,” he explained.

Aaron Houston adds context:

Daniels was also busted about six months prior to President Nixon signing the Daniels-arrest Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (on October 27). If that law had been on books in May 1970, Daniels could have faced an array of charges, including several felonies. And if he had been busted after 1998 when the Higher Education Act's Aid Elimination Penalty took effect, he could have lost any federal financial aid as the result of a drug conviction.

I hope that when Daniels says fining him was an "appropriate" punishment he means that a fine should be the maximum penalty for possessing several pounds of marijuana and LSD. If not, does he believe it's right to punish drug arrestees more harshly than he was treated?

Paul Waldman digs up an anti-drug op-ed written by Daniels in 1989 and calls it "a pretty extraordinary combination of whitewash and hypocrisy". Waldman:

The Cannabis Closet: Connecting With “God”

A reader writes: I can’t speak to Kush-trichome-closeuppsychedelic drugs.  I can, however, speak to these same principles in the use of cannabis. I have never used  cannabis until about six months ago.  I do it primarily for health reasons.  As a type-1  diabetic, alcohol is almost a complete no-go for me.  And with the severe heart disease that I have suffered as a result of diabetes, I have all the hallmarks of long-term chronic disease:  generalized and specialized pain, both musculoskeletal and neurogenic; wasting, much like AIDS-related wasting; loss of appetite; loss of the raw materials required just to keep the brain functioning. So, I began cannabis for the medical benefits and also as a substitute for a glass or two of wine.  What I have been most surprised about is the effect it has on mental functioning.  Besides just helping to increase my nutrition, it has made my mental functioning orders of magnitude better.  And it is not just general cognitive functioning, but what I term “philosophical” cognition.

The Cannabis Closet: When Sickness Strikes, Ctd

by Chris Bodenner Many readers were moved by this post. One writes: God damn it. I am a 45-year-old ex-paratrooper, have sea kayaked through hurricane gale waves, hiked in West Africa, almost died from malaria, almost died from dysentery, almost drowned off the Carolina coast, had a son born with a birth defect that almost … Continue reading The Cannabis Closet: When Sickness Strikes, Ctd

The Cannabis Closet: When Sickness Strikes, Ctd

by Chris Bodenner

The reader who contributed the most powerful entry of our collection follows up:

Over the holiday, my children came home and I showed them “The Cannabis Closet” book, which got here a few days ago. I showed them the excerpt that I had written about their mother’s battle with cancer and her use of marijuana to alleviate the effects of chemo.

Our oldest son, who has his masters in nursing and runs the nursing staff at the local VA hospital, was surprised that I had not included her oncologist’s reaction to her using pot. To tell you the truth, I had forgotten about it. But he thought it was important that I write it out and send it to you. So, here it is. Sorry it's a bit long; I tried to shorten it up.

As I said before in my first letter to you, shortly after she started using pot, she did not suffer the nausea or the aches and pains any longer. She also got her appetite back and put on a little weight. Even her color got better. I also told you that after she began using marijuana she began to open up and talk about her illness and her final wishes. We spent a lot of long evenings on the couch talking and drinking hot chocolate. I will always look back on those evenings as some of the best times we spent together.

When we went to see her oncologist a couple of weeks later for her regular check up, he took one look at her and said, “Well look at you! You look wonderful! Those anti-nausea medications seem to be doing the trick.” She and I looked at each other, and I told him that the pills he had prescribed did nothing to help with her nausea – she still threw up eight to twelve times a day. I told him that she was using marijuana and that it had made a big difference – not only in keeping her from getting sick, but also in helping her get her appetite back and removing her fear of chemo.

He looked at her and asked her if that was true; was she using marijuana? My wife told him yes. His entire demeanor instantly changed. He said that was a load of crap and that he had read all the studies on it and that marijuana did nothing to help the effects of chemo and that she was “stupid” for using an illegal narcotic.

My demeanor instantly changed too, and I asked to speak with him in the hallway.