My Crazy Uncle Asked Me About Medical Cannabis

My uncle, nearly 80 years of age, refers to himself as “my crazy uncle. He asked me today some not-so-crazy questions about medical cannabis. America’s baby boomers are dealing with more pain due to age, arthritis and other conditions. CBD and THC-infused medications are now the Gray Rage!

Baby Boomers are graying and seeking medical cannabis
Baby Boomers are graying and seeking medical cannabis

I’m a career public health professional and was recently fired by Hawaiian Electric due to use of legal, prescribed medical cannabis. I’ve dedicated my “free time” while unemployed to learning more about the science, politics and social stigma associated with this alternative medicine.

My crazy uncle lives in Arizona where both recreational and medical cannabis are legal. He suffers spinal stenosis, which is arthritis of the spine. On the advice of a friend, he started experimenting with a salve infused with THC and CBD that is applied topically to the skin over the painful area.   

He purchased a product, Polite, from a local cannabis dispensary. Comes in a tube like a roll on deodorant. For the last two nights, he reported he applied the ointment to the small of his back. In the morning, he claims he has experienced no or greatly reduced pain.   

He stated he feels no discernible side-affects usually associated with cannabis, i.e., no “high” or other psychological affects. He simply has less pain in the morning.

He expressed a couple concerns.  First, if he applied for a job that required a drug test for marijuana (cannabis), would he test positive?

Second, if cannabis is an effective and cheap pain reliever, do I believe BigPhRMA is paying Congress to keep the lid on widespread use?  Maybe the “follow the money” rule applies here, he suggested.

I thanked him for sharing his medical history. Challenging questions! I started with the easiest. Could he test positive? THC is fat-soluble. If a person uses infrequently, not likely they will accumulate a measurable amount. Daily use … yes, an individual should assume they will. Someone wanting to know can get THC test kits at WalMart or from Amazon here.

CBD (not more than 0.3% THC) and THC-infused products have been shown to reduce pain. No question. Indigenous populations used cannabis for medicinal purposes. India is one (cannabis indica). Cannabis Americana was produced by Eli Lilly & Co, and Parke-Davis & Co in the 1890s.


Historical Sidebar

Director of the bureau of narcotics, Harry Anslinger, initiated a war against cannabis allegedly coming from Mexico and the Caribbean around 1937. This was a False Flag operation. Mexico actually outlawed cannabis prior to the U.S. Cannabis Americana was flowing south to Mexico from the states; not the other way around.

Ansinger coined the term “marihuana” to deceive American citizens about a dangerous “new” drug. Americans were comfortable with cannabis; did not fear it. Mexicans never used the term “marihuana.” They commonly refer to cannabis as “mota.”

Anslinger didn’t have enough to do as alcohol prohibition had ended. Seems he was looking for more work. Began claiming marihuana use caused people, particularly Black males, to engage in violence and criminal activity. This led to Reefer Madness.

Anslinger wanted MORE MONEY for his operations. He created a fake threat. When I worked with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (1996-1998), internal staff disclosed the corruption from the war on drugs. Over 50% of interdiction efforts focused on cannabis.

Law enforcement was receiving HUGE sums of money to battle this perceived public menace. This included millions of dollars in untraceable “flash cash,” new cars, high-tech weapons and equipment.

Today, local police look more like troops readied for Baghdad or Afghanistan than Sheriff Taylor in Mayberry RFD. The war on drugs turned our inner cities into war zones.

All of this stems from cannabis prohibition. Only small percentages of Americans engage in meth, cocaine or heroin use. Dealing with this anti-social activity would never justify the TRILLIONS we spend on the war on drugs. Law enforcement and government needed cannabis criminalization to support the massive expenditures.

This is why I partnered around 2000 with Republican Governor Gary Johnson, a libertarian, to legalize. New Mexico finally did — 20 years later. By my estimates the state lost over a billion in tax revenue; over $6B in revenue to small businesses — while spending billions of tax dollars on law enforcement, filling jails and prisons, and clogging courts.

Consumers instead funneled this money to criminal enterprise that further entrenched drug cartels, mafia and illegal markets in the state and region. Hard to put out the fire now!

It’s well-understood today Nixon criminalized cannabis and heroin to create a modern Jim Crow. His own panel, the Shafer Commission, recommended cannabis decriminalization. Nixon’s top aide, John Ehrlichman, told the world in 1994:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

I reminded my crazy uncle of the 13th Amendment:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Cannabis was a means to convict, imprison and place MILLIONS of Black males under control of the justice system. Modern slavery. I call this policy our nation’s Second Sin, as slavery was our first.

Juan Williams commented on FoxNews today about racial challenges across our nation. Readers likely watched the halftime show during the Super Bowl. Snoop and Dr Dre highlight the “gansta culture” that has risen in America.

Young men walk around with droopy pants — in recognition of males being locked up in county jails without drawstrings to prevent hanging or their use as weapons. They all want guns and regularly engage in killing — Black on Black. This violence stems from the war on drugs. Our inner cities are war zones!


At the same time, my wife’s grandmother, Mexican American, regularly grew cannabis plants, crushed the leaves in a sauce pan with a bit of oil, and made a home-brewed salve for her arthritis. Beginning with Richard Nixon, he would call to put her in prison!

Here’s the REAL problem, which ties to my uncle’s question about BigPhRMA. Since 1970, with passage of the Controlled Substances Act, the US government prohibited ALL research into cannabis. The entire world followed this protocol.

Why would 20th century politicians engage in Dark Ages Science policy about this historically non-controversial plant? Still today, over 50 years later, research is stymied.

Democrats in Congress now demand change. Republican Mitch McConnell has been the obstruction. He supports Kentucky bourbon and tobacco; opposes cannabis. Why would he do this?

ProjectSAM — co-founded by Patrick Kennedy (son of Ted Kennedy ) and former national drug tsar under Clinton, Kevin Sabet — oppose cannabis legalization; yet disagree with cannabis criminalization.

They recommend a “third way”: corporate and federal government control over cannabis. They want cannabis to become part of BigPhRMA — not produced by small, independent growers and innovators.

I believe their supporters fall under my uncle’s heading of “follow the money” into Big Government control. That’s the corporate wing of the Democratic establishment in America. Their answer to everything is Big Government Control from Washington.

Republicans introduced the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment in Dec 2014, which prevents U.S. DOJ intervention into medical cannabis and leaves jurisdiction to states with well-regulated programs.

This legislation has been supported by Congress and Presidents Obama, Trump and Biden. Federal government policy is broken. Officials are encouraging state experimentation hoping to find a suitable national policy.

My Personal History

As college athletes, we were given many pain analgesics — including strong dosages of ibuprofen like candy. I became addicted, suffered blood in my stools, and took a long time to break the dependency. Brutal!

One teammate was Mark McQuaid. He became addicted to Darvon, an opioid. Teammate Jeff Cook, who played for Phoenix Suns in the NBA, nicknamed Mark as Darvon Donny.

Took Mark a long time to beat his addiction. He and friends routinely took the opioids with alcohol for the high. Some 100,000 Americans died last year from OD due to similar behavior.

When my arthritis became debilitating, doctors gave me VIOXX. Made me sick and I stopped. Months later, the FDA pulled the drug as it was killing people. I was healthy enough to notice the change to my system. Side effects were deadly.

Thus, I turned to cannabis. Have successfully managed my daily pain and used this alternative medication through my four major surgeries.

Years of Professional Athletics left my body broken and in much pain
Years of Professional Athletics left my body broken and in much pain

When an impatient motorist slammed me to the pavement March 28, 2019, EMTs had to rush me to the hospital. Suffered a dislocated shoulder, massive contusions, hematoma and lacerations to the left side of my body. The accident broke my pelvis.

Doctors at Queens hospital offered me opioids. Said no! They were shocked. Waited until I got home and medicated with cannabis. My pain dissolved. Was able to eat regularly and then fell asleep in a chair comfortably. Major injuries. No opioids. The ONLY side effect has been the loss of employment!

As we cannot perform actual clinical research and studies, all we have are anecdotal stories such as these. I’m not a fool. I don’t want to suffer pain to make a political statement.

Medical cannabis has been superior for me than NSAIDs, FDA-approved VIOXX, and opioid medications. THC-infused products reduce my pain effectively.

I eat well (opioids cause constipation and mental confusion for me). Sleep well. My friends and teammates of similar age do not appear to be as healthy or active as I am. Cannabis manages my pain. I am able to do more, be more active and continue my excellent health.

Inhaling has side effects. I use as little as possible and supplement with edibles. The only negative has been my loss of employment. This termination was not grounded in science or medical research, but racist and uneducated policy. Female Asian executives hold extremely negative views of medical cannabis.

I was delighted to hear my uncle is now getting relief. Millions of Americans believe they do as well. We simply need relief from government and corporate non-scientific insanity at this time!


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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”

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