Is Medical Cannabis a Good Option?


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How should the medical drug be in the state of Utah?

Mindy Braga, Opinion and Lifestyle Editor, Social Media Manager

In 2018, cannabis legalization was passed by Proposition 2, (prop 2) during the election. According to Utah’s official ballot statement, Proposition 2 is a state‑controlled process that allows persons with certain illnesses to acquire and use medical cannabis and, in certain limited circumstances, to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal medical use.” Although the law is ‘passed’ it is still very hard for people to access the substance. The debate about how accessible the medical drug should be has been going on for years, and still is to this day.

Citizens of Utah, have several different opinions on the matter, although several people want to have easier access to the drug, others disagree. Hailie Stokes, who works in a pediatric clinic in Ogden, Utah is generally against it. She said, “While working, we will get so many kids who come into the clinic who get so sick from ‘medical cannabis,’ it is so easy to use it without knowing the bad side effects.” There are several people who are with Hailie on her statement on medical cannabis. According to Salt Lake Tribune, in October 2018, 31% of Utah citizens are strongly against the idea of medical cannabis. But there are the other 35% of Utah citizens who strongly support the idea of medical cannabis.

Although citizens like Stokes think that people do not know the bad side effects of the substance, there are other citizens such as Alannah Brumhead, a former Utah resident,  who disagrees. “From what I have seen, there has not been a ‘bad side’ to medical cannabis,” she says. Alannah’s dad has been sick with anxiety and chronic pain for years. She believes strongly that the substance will help her dad tremendously with his health needs.

Ashlan Hatfield, a junior at Copper Hills was not sure at first about the idea of medical cannabis. “I wasn’t always on board but I was not ever against it,” she states. She felt very uneducated on the topic until her grandpa was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Pseudomyxoma Peritonei. This form of cancer only affects 1,000 people each year around the world. Because it was a rare form of cancer, he became a test subject.

Although the doctors tried many treatment options, such as chemo, radiation, and even natural treatments such as juice cleanses, they did not work for her grandpa. “He was in constant pain, he could not keep down food, he would go nights without sleeping,” Hatfield said, “He was losing weight like crazy, he was a bigger guy averaging around 200lbs. But he became so ill, he [eventually] weighed about 120lbs, that was about 10 lbs less than my weight.” Her family was doing and trying everything to get him to recover.

Her dad and her grandpa had done research on cannabis, and they decided it was worth a shot. “When he had first experimented with different forms, such as oils, edibles, etc., we noticed a drastic difference in him. He was slowly becoming himself again, he was able to keep food down, put weight on, and sleep through the nights,” Hatfield said. “His pain slowly went down as well.” Hatfield agrees now that this (medical cannabis) helped her grandpa and the substance was a miracle worker for Ashlan’s family.

All medical treatments can affect people differently, this includes cannabis as well.  After several chemo sessions, Hatfield’s grandfather became too sick to travel for his different pain treatments. He sadly passed away September of 2017 after a four-year battle. “It [medical cannabis] did not get rid of his cancer cells, but it kept the cells from growing more and helped him with pain,” Hatfield said, “I strongly believe it helped him, even if it did not cure him, it made him more comfortable as his time came.” Ashlan’s story is just one out of thousands where medical cannabis has helped families. Although there are several different opinions on this matter, schools should be doing more to educate high school and college students on it. Utah citizens did legalize getting cannabis. And on February 14th, 2019 Intermountain Health announced that they are entering the world of cannabis, and starting to offer it to their patients who are in need of it in their hospitals in Utah.

Utah seems to have this constant battle with this law. Should Utah have cannabis for health patients? Or would it become out of control for everyone else? Although there seem to be many pros, some may still suffer from cons.