Good Grass

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Gen. 1:11,12

King James Version

Nearly forty years ago, a scientific research team in Virginia showed that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in cannabis, shrank cancerous tumors in lab animals. However, their findings were suppressed by the DEA, and in 1983 the Reagan/Bush administration persuaded research universities to destroy records concerning cannabis investigations from 1966 to 1976 as well as purge all scholarly journals and scientific reports on the subject from their archives.

William Cullen Bryant, quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as saying “[t]ruth crushed to the earth will rise again,” would probably agree that Hurricane Sandy and the extreme social policies that took center stage in this year’s general election epitomize attempts to crush science for political ends. A lie’s greatest defense is to hope that no one will counter it with the truth. For instance, research conducted by Dr. Manuel Guzman and his team at Complutence University in Madrid, Spain, in 2000, verified the research done twenty-six years earlier in Virginia. They injected substances that cause cancerous brain tumors into 45 lab rats.

On the twelfth day of the experiment, 15 of the rats were injected with THC and 15 with Win-55,212-2, a synthetic compound similar to THC. The untreated rats died 12-18 days after the development of tumors. THC treated rats lived significantly longer than the control group. Although three were unaffected by the THC, nine lived 19-35 days, while tumors were completely eradicated in three others. The rats treated with Win-55,212-2 showed similar results.

Across the nation, growing bodies of empirical and anecdotal evidence support the conclusions of the Virginia and Madrid investigations about the medicinal properties of cannabis. Users of medicinal cannabis are making believers out of formerly skeptical medical institutions in spite of a recalcitrant government establishment.

As an advocate for Protestants for the Common Good’s support for HB 30, which “would create a limited exception to Illinois criminal laws to permit the doctor-advised medical use of cannabis by patients with serious medical conditions,” I have met with courageous men and women with “qualifying medical conditions” and walked with them down both sides of the aisle in the IL General Assembly. We have worked to persuade legislators to support good policy that can bring relief from the pain and suffering caused by the most debilitating chronic diseases known to science, (e.g., cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease). This fact sheet provides a more complete list of the ailments addressed by the bill for which medicinal cannabis has proven itself effective therapy.

I’ll never forget the day I met Lucy. She was a young woman in her mid-thirties who had suffered with neuro-blastoma (a cancerous tumor, in Lucy’s case, growing in an inoperable location in her brain affecting her nerves and threatening her life). She suffered from incredibly painful attacks and spasms while her tumor grew resistant to the heaviest pharmaceuticals. It had gotten so bad that Lucy lost her ability to see in color and her black and white vision became more blurred as the tumor’s growth produced pressure in vital regions of her brain. As if descended upon by an angel of mercy, someone suggested she try Marijuana Oil, which is a concentrated extract of THC taken directly from the cannabis plant and infused in oil.

Marijuana Oil is illegal in Illinois and consequently very expensive. A supply in an applicator the size of an iodine bottle with a dropper costs about $1,000.00. A vial of marijuana oil is extremely difficult to find on the black market, but Lucy found an out of state supplier who only sold to medicinal cannabis patients.

Lucy began a regimen of putting several drops on her tongue everyday. After a time her color vision returned and her episodes with spasms decreased. When she told her doctor, he immediately ordered an MRI. What he discovered was amazing. Her tumor was measurably smaller in size! After she told him what she had been doing he, of course, disclaimed it as part of his medical therapy. Off-the-record, he told her to continue to do what she had to do in order to save her life.

We are living during a time when our drug policy, as it pertains to cannabis, is in direct contradiction with science. Marijuana, as it is commonly known, has been demonized, criminalized, and categorized as a schedule 1 controlled substance. Only recently have we begun to appreciate its best use.

The Lord made man steward over creation and our new understanding calls for an acknowledgement that THC is good medicine, but that shouldn’t be surprising because, “God saw that it was good.”

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