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Medical Marijuana and Relieving Pain and Suffering

letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor of the Defiance Crescent-News, submitted on June 14, 2015

Dear Editor,

Rarely a week goes by when there is not a letter to the Editor from a fundamentalist Christian demanding their moral code and peculiar interpretation of the Bible be accepted by all.  Even when they aren’t quoting the Bible or reminding local unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of their impending doom, their letters reflect an addled worldview, one shaped by an ancient book they think offers them unchanging truth. If their beliefs were kept in the church house, non-Christians would care little and hope that one day they would see the light. However, their beliefs are not kept in the church house, and because of this people of science, reason, and common sense must continue to push back as Christian fundamentalists try by legal and political means to force people to live by a worldview that is better suited for the dustbin of human history.

Take a recent letter writer who vehemently opposes legalizing the use of medical marijuana in Ohio. Even though they didn’t mention one Bible verse, their letter dripped with the fundamentalist presupposition that suffering and pain are in some way noble and good for us. Numerous Bible verses would certainly lead one to conclude that suffering and pain have probative value and makes us closer to God and keeps us from clinging too closely to this life. If we buy into this kind of thinking and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, a life after death that is free of suffering and pain awaits us.

Sounds sublime, right? But, what if there is no life after death, no divine payoff for trudging through life suffering for Jesus and enduring pain because it will make us stronger?  What if the only life we have is this one? Well, that changes everything. If this life is it, and I think it is, then we should try to relieve not only our own pain and suffering, but that of others. As a committed humanist, I would never want to withhold from anyone that which would relieve or end their suffering and pain. Whether it is narcotic pain medications, medical marijuana, or physician assisted suicide, I want every human to have at their disposal the means to lessen their suffering and pain.

Any religion that values suffering and pain is one that should be roundly criticized and rejected. And if Jesus were alive today, I suspect he’d agree with me.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio


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    Eloquent statement, except of course the last sentence, claiming that Christ would agree with you … That was just provocative and will have all the local readership in Defiace up in arms to protect the Saviour!

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    Its safe to say that anyone who insists it is wrong to comfort the suffering, isn’t suffering themselves or has a suffering loved one. At the very least, the lack the compassion christians claim they have

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Surprisingly, the man who wrote the letter to the editor has all kinds of serious medical problems. He said that if he can deal it, so can everyone else. If he can suffer and endure without using marijuana, so can everyone else.

      As someone who would benefit greatly from marijuana, I found his letter to be dismissive and offensive. He’s a frequent letter writer, a Jesus loving man who has distorted my words and lied about me on several occasions. His name is Daniel Gray.

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    I live in California, where medical marijuana has been legal for years. There have been a few problems with non-medical uses, but orders of magnitude less than the pearl-clutchers would have had us believe there would be. I forsee a time when it will be helpful for me, though that time has not come.

    I don’t only support medical marijuana, I support recreational marijuana. It has a much better track record than alcohol. I strongly doubt I would ever use it; I stay away from alcohol as it is, and in any case the smell of it burning is enough to chase me out of the room with asthma and nausea. I suppose one can eat it. I’ll take my brownies with straight chocolate, thank you very much. 🙂

    BUT the War On Drugs is a colossal failure, and being busted for using and selling marijuana has ruined far too many lives, given the relative danger of the drug. If legal marijuana can put the illegal growers out of business, I would be overjoyed. If not for those damned pearl-clutchers, it would have happened long ago.

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    The link leads to the DCN’s main page. Are the original article and the letters to the editor online?

    I would ask him his opinions on medical morphine and anesthesia.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Here’s his letter:

      An ulterior motive?

      I am speaking of these “medical marijuana” petition people you see scurrying around Defiance lately. The ones that have been reported to the police a plethora of times for almost causing accidents according to our own local police.

      Do they know or care that if the law is passed, it’s illegal. Marijuana is a controlled substance under federal law and the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article 6 Section 2) clearly says that if a federal law and a state law are in conflict, the federal law always wins, meaning they can still be arrested and sent to jail for just having it.

      If a doctor prescribes it the doctor can lose their medical license. If they have it in their system and are involved in an accident, they can be charged with a DUI. No medical insurance will cover this nor will Medicaid or Medicare. If you sell it you can be arrested for dealing drugs. No bank can deal with a seller under federal law or they will lose their operator’s license.

      And if someone dies in an accident and either driver/operator has THC in their system, not only can they be charged, but the doctor who prescribed it, the person who sold it and the petition signers who got it placed on the ballot can all be sued under a class action lawsuit. And the insurance companies will do just that.

      They make a medical form of the pot without the THC in a liquid/pill form, and that is available now. So why try to get the stuff with the THC legalized other than to get stoned?

      There are people worse off. I am one. I have RSD/CRPS from my military service. A nerve disease from my waist down requiring me to walk with five braces and a cane, and will have me in a wheelchair in my future. I have constant severe pain 24/7/365 and there is no cure nor any medical way to calm this down. I have already lost 75 percent of my muscle and strength in my left leg and ankle and close to 62 percent in my right leg and ankle, and my legs are atrophying more each day. There is no cure for this, but I deal with it because I have to. If I can do it, so can they, unless they have some ulterior motive.

      Daniel Gray


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        Cannabis without THC is, in my experience, not as effective for treating insomnia. Some studies have indicated that CBD actually promotes wakefulness.

        Chronic insomnia is so detrimental to overall physical, mental and emotional wellness. Doctors can be very resistant to prescribing any kind of sleep medication that’s actually effective, due to their dependency risks, which is understandable and valid. However, I do think there’s a resistance in the medical field to believe that people with severe insomnia can literally go DAYS without sleep. There are innumerable maladies, especially fibromyalgia, that can be directly attributed to a lack of treatment for insomnia, and you have doctors attempting to treat for the symptoms of these maladies rather than addressing the core issue of sleeplessness.

        At any rate, cannabis edibles have been extremely helpful for my insomnia. It’s really infuriating that someone like Daniel Gray thinks just because of his suffering he should be allowed to dictate the suffering of others. If he chooses martyrdom, more power to him, but I refuse to live my life that way. His insistence that others be denied relief makes me significantly less sympathetic to his pain.

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    Here’s something on that which should make anyone’s blood boil:

    I had read a couple of McWilliams’s books and a few years ago wondered what he had been up to lately. What a sick, tragic end to his story.

    Re: “They make a medical form of the pot without the THC in a liquid/pill form, and that is available now. So why try to get the stuff with the THC legalized other than to get stoned?”

    If Gray believed what he wrote to be accurate, I don’t really see any “ulterior motive,” unless he hinted at one in a different letter. He’s claiming the pills do work, and that he knows what it’s like to suffer himself.

    But apparently many researchers and patients say patients sometimes need the real thing:

    Does he believe McWilliams died because he just wanted “to get stoned?”

    Maybe Gray would benefit from meeting a few of these people, apparently being in similarly desperate straits himself:

    He must have seen this before. I just don’t get it.

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    “If I can do it, so can they…”

    Somehow I had missed that.

    It does make one wonder if he didn’t mean that they’re better off the way they are, even if there were a solution.

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      Becky Wiren

      I don’t doubt he’s in pain all the time. But there are levels of chronic pain, and just because this guy thinks his is the standard means nothing. He can be self-righteously patting himself on the back, while people like Bruce suffer magnitudes of pain greater than him. PLUS…Gray doesn’t say if he uses any pain relief.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Nah, I’ve done battle with this guy for years. He is a fundamentalist’s fundamentalist. Like many of his ilk, he is getting up there in years. Unfortunately, it is too late to reach him with any sort of reason or fact. He “may” be a nice guy, but his beliefs are ignorant and should be roundly and thoroughly discredited. He’s not alone. There’s a handful of are residents who think similarly and regularly write letters to the editor.

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    Becky Wiren

    Well, what a prick. Now, once in a while I would pick up a Crescent News, but I’ve stopped. EVERY time I read it, it would have only conservative columnists. At least the Bryan Times runs columnists from both sides, AND I get a hint that the editors are center left leaning.

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    I am for marijuana being legal generally speaking so of course when people get all up in arms about medical marijuana I don’t understand it. If something works and medical professionals determine that benefits outweigh the risks then I can’t see how it is a problem. It’s not any different than many of the other medications that doctors can prescribe, which have side effects and sometimes affect cognitive function. I think all the narcotics that are prescribed and abused are more of a problem than marijuana.

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Bruce Gerencser