View Full Version : Marijuana, Once Divisive, Brings

10-10-2010, 01:27 AM
Marijuana, Once Divisive, Brings Some Families Closer


To the rites of middle-age passage, some families are adding another: buying marijuana ( for aging parents.
Bryan, 46, a writer who lives in Illinois, began supplying his parents about five years ago, after he told them about his own marijuana use. When he was growing up, he said, his parents were very strict about illegal drugs.
“We would have grounded him,” said his mother, who is 72.
But with age and the growing acceptance of medical marijuana, his parents were curious. His father had a heart ailment, his mother had dizzy spells and nausea, and both were worried about Alzheimer’s disease ( and cancer ( They looked at some research and decided marijuana was worth a try.
Bryan, who like others interviewed for this article declined to use his full name for legal reasons, began making them brownies and ginger snaps laced with the drug. Illinois does not allow medical use of marijuana, though 14 states and the District of Columbia do. At their age, his mother said, they were not concerned about it leading to harder drugs, which had been one of their worries with Bryan.
“We have concerns about the law, but I would not go back to not taking the cookie and going through what I went through,” she said, adding that her dizzy spells and nausea had receded. “Of course, if they catch me, I’ll have to quit taking it.”
This family’s story is still a rare one. Less than 1 percent of people 65 and over said they had smoked marijuana in the last year, according to a 2009 survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. But as the generation that embraced marijuana as teenagers passes into middle age, doctors expect to see more marijuana use by their elderly patients.
“I think use of medical marijuana in older people is going to be much greater in the future,” said Dan G. Blazer, a professor of geriatric psychology ( at Duke University ( who has studied drug use and abuse among older people.
The rate for people ages 50 to 65 who said they smoke marijuana was nearly 4 percent — about six times as high as the 65-and-over crowd — suggesting that they were more likely to continue whatever patterns of drug use they had established in their younger years. In both age groups, the rate of marijuana abuse ( was very low, about 1 in 800.
Cannabinoids, the active agents in marijuana, have shown promise as pain relievers, especially for pain arising from nerve damage, said Dr. Seddon R. Savage, a pain specialist and president of the American Pain Society, a medical professionals’ group.
Two cannabinoid prescription drugs are approved for use in this country, but only to treat nausea or appetite loss. And while preliminary research suggests that cannabinoids may help in fighting cancer and reducing spasms in people with multiple sclerosis ( or Parkinson’s disease (, the results have been mixed.
Dr. Savage said doctors should be concerned about older patients using marijuana. “It’s putting people at risk of falls, impaired cognition, impaired memory (, loss of motor control,” she said. “Beside the legal aspects, it’s unsupervised use of a pretty potent drug. Under almost all circumstances, there are alternatives that are just as effective.”
Dr. Savage added, however, that there was a considerable range of opinions about marijuana use among pain specialists, and that many favored it.
Older people may face special risks with marijuana, in part because of the secrecy that surrounds illegal drug use, said Dr. William Dale, section chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the University of Chicago ( Medical Center, who said he would not oppose a law allowing medical marijuana use in Illinois.
The drug raises users’ heart rates and lowers their blood pressure (, so doctors needed to weigh its effects beside those of other medications that users might be taking, he said. But patients do not always confide their illegal drug use, he said.
“It’s a fine balance between being supportive of patients to gain their trust and giving them your best recommendations,” Dr. Dale said. “I wasn’t taught this in medical school.”
For some families, marijuana, which was once the root of all their battles, has brought them closer together. Instead of parental warnings and punishment, there are questions about how to light a water pipe; instead of the Grateful Dead (, there are recipes for low-sodium brownies.
But for parents, there is also the knowledge that they are putting their children at risk of arrest.
“I was very uncomfortable getting my son involved,” said the father of Alex, 21. The father, who is 54, started using marijuana to relieve his pain from degenerative disc disease. He soon discovered that Alex, who lives in Minnesota a few miles away, had access to better marijuana than he did.
Alex’s father had smoked marijuana when he was younger; Alex, by contrast, had been active in antidrug groups at his school and church. In college, he started smoking infrequently and studying marijuana’s medicinal properties.
“When he told me he was using cannabis, I think he expected it to be a bigger deal for me,” Alex said. “But it opened my eyes to what he was going through.”
Before trying marijuana, Alex’s father took OxyContin, a narcotic, which he said made him “feel like a zombie.” He also took antidepressants ( to relieve the mood disorder he associated with the OxyContin. Marijuana has helped him cut down on the painkillers, he said.
He and Alex have smoked together twice, but it is not a regular practice, both said. Yet they say the drug has strengthened their relationship.
“We spend our bonding time making brownies,” Alex said.
Florence, 89, an artist who lives in New York, smokes mainly for relief from her spinal stenosis ( — usually one or two puffs before going to sleep, she said. She buys her pipes through an online shop and gets her marijuana from her daughter, Loren, who is 65.
“A person brings it to me,” said Loren, who uses marijuana recreationally. “I’m not out on a street corner.” Florence said that she had told all of her doctors that she was using marijuana, and that none had ever discouraged her or warned of interactions with her prescription drugs, including painkillers.
“I think I’ve influenced my own physician on the subject,” she said. “She came to me and asked me for some for another patient.”

Catya Sher
10-10-2010, 11:59 PM

Great way to invite demons into one's life, to take over the souls and brains of family members.

Talk about Alzheimers! It's a sure way to push anyone into any condition like that.

Please avoid 1 million percent, anyone who cares about preserving cleanliness of soul and aura.

10-11-2010, 12:06 AM
ahan well here's the story of some families who also used crack to get close

Do you see how sad this is ? imagine god forbid you have to see the day when you have to feed your own innocent kids drugs

Kabul, Afghanistan — Najiba scrabbles through cupboards frantic for something sweet. She claws at her mother, urging her to help. Najiba, though only 13 years old, lives in the Sanga Amaj drug addiction rehab clinic in Kabul with her mother, Zainab – who is also an opium addict, a habit acquired from her husband and passed on to her daughter.
“When she was born, she kept crying, so after two months or so I started giving her opium to keep her quiet,” says Zainab. (Her and Najiba’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.)
The result is a drug dependency that Najiba is now desperately fighting.
Yet she is neither alone among Afghan children addicted to opium, nor among the worst affected. For starters, she’s one of a small minority getting professional help.
Opium as a pacifier

Opium is used in parts of Afghanistan ( to quiet babies and, in poorer households without access to medical help, to relieve pain – trends exacerbated by decades of conflict. Economic pressures and fragmented families have meant that women have less help at home and are more likely to give opium to cranky children, to free themselves up to do housework.
“Opium is sometimes used as a child-rearing method,” says Preeti Shah, a Narcotics Affairs Officer of the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in Kabul.
The conflict has also left people with deep physical psychological wounds, which they try to numb with narcotics (
A two-year pilot study by the INL on drug addiction and household toxicity in Afghanistan found that babies as young as nine months were testing positive for narcotics, says Thom Browne, deputy director of the INL’s anticrime programs. It also found that in many cases, the level of toxicity in young children was several times higher than that in adult heroin users. The study, which looked at 30 households in three provinces, will be expanded to cover 2,000 households in 22 provinces next year.
While other countries also face cases of babies born with addiction, in Afghanistan the problem deepens as parents continue to administer drugs to their children. According to a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), up to half of drug users surveyed gave their children opium. The INL found in their study of Afghan drug users’ homes significant samples of opiumin the air, bedding, eating utensils, toys, and other items that children come into contact with.
Treatment as taboo

Treating drug addiction is not easy anywhere, but is especially difficult in Afghanistan because of social and cultural stigmas ( against females going outside the home. Many families are reluctant to let women come and stay at Sanga Amaj for the 45-day treatment period, let alone the preferred 90-day period, says Latifa Hamidi, the doctor who oversees the clinic. Even surveying women proved near impossible – they constituted only 3 percent of the UNODC’s sample size.
Even more helpful would be treat the entire family, says Gilberto Gerra, the UNODC’s chief of drug prevention. Otherwise, “if a woman goes back to a home where her husband is using drugs, the risk of relapse is very high.”
Although cultural taboos prohibit men and women being treated together, the INL hopes to build treatment centers for men and women near one another, to allow family members to visit one another. Sanga Amaj, which opened in 2007, represents a step in that direction, by treating women and their children together.
The clinic’s 33 patients include 15 children, the youngest of whom is 3 years old. Zainab and Najiba have been here for two weeks. In addition to attending group therapy sessions and receiving medical treatment, during they day they exercise, sit in religion classes, and learn skills like sewing and embroidery. At the end of their time, they will go home to Zainab’s husband, who has already undergone treatment. If Zainab and Najiba stay clean, they will be entitled to free medicine from the clinic.
Facilities like Sanga Amaj are few. Kabul only has four, which can handle about 100 patients. Of Afghanistan’s 1 million drug users, at least 90 percent have no access to treatment, according to the UNODC.
Expanding treatment facilities would require considerable foreign aid and expertise, but does not rank high on donors’ list of priorities. These include instead ending the poppy farming and drug trade ( that make Afghanistan the supplier of 90 percent of the world’s opium.
“Afghanistan is known for being a supply country,” says Ms. Shah. “It is time to recognize it is a demand country as well.”