Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Desire for Desires

Last week I was bored with my own problems and most of the noise in my head and I blogged only once. People are shy about commenting directly on the blog although I get responses to it via e-mail and in person from a number of faithful readers. The largest response I have ever gotten to this blog, however, was from the act of NOT blogging. I received calls and e-mails of concern about my well being and it was nice to be reminded that what I do here matters to people who matter to me.

Yesterday was one of those days when Himself was asleep when I left in the morning and I was asleep when he returned home. We both work hard, spend too much time and money getting where we need to go and have too little time together. I have always been one of the greatest boosters of Los Angeles and Himself and I are both natives, rare among our friends. But I am sick of traffic and lousy schools and the truth that shocks me, is that if it weren’t for aging parents who depend on us, Casamurphy would pack it in and blow this town. It is sad to say that I no longer want to live where I live.

There was a column in the Times this weekend by Sandy Banks. She decided to try medical marijuana for an arthritic condition. I have, per the recommendation of a number of medical professionals I trust and respect, had a prescription for medical marijuana for the past two years. It is more healthful to ingest marijuana orally than to smoke it. I have been unable to find reliable edibles here in Los Angeles. I visited San Francisco in January and stocked up. I am out now. I have been unable to locate anything suitable here and at this moment in time, I have decided it isn’t worth the hassle and humiliation of flying up north or the risk of ingesting a locally available product that is too strong. For the first time since my pregnancies, I am taking only vitamins. This isn’t like the big torturous week of swearing off that I documented here last year. At the moment, it’s not that big a deal but if I need to fly north tomorrow to stock up on brownies, it won’t be a crushing defeat, just a pain in the butt. Marijuana is one of a number of tools that I have used to cope, and I have coped pretty well and with lots of shit, for the past two years. Today, I am ok without it.

The Times columnist got her medical certification and then purchased marijuana from a clinic but she fell into a paranoid panic, grandiosely thinking the Feds would come pounding on her door, before she even smoked. She made her editor witness the flushing of her prescription marijuana down the toilet. What’s amazing to me is, especially with the cuts at the Times, is that after witnessing this ridiculous display, the editor lets this silly woman continue to write for the paper.

An old hippie friend visited this weekend and inquired about my medical marijuana prescription. She is a long time user and now has a condition that causes chronic pain. Her medical records would certainly qualify her for a prescription yet for some reason, buying marijuana illegally makes her less paranoid than obtaining it from a clinic.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about people using marijuana recreationally. With very few exceptions, most of the clinics I have visited cater and market to recreational users, i.e. the adipose Russian clinician in the sweat suit with thick gold chains hanging on his hairy chest, who responded when I inquired about a product, “Yeah man. This’ll get you real fucked up.” Let the recreational users get what they want and tax it, but don’t let them bollocks things up for the folks with legitimate medical need.

I have used medical marijuana because it has been more effective for me than anti-depressants and prescription painkillers. I used a tincture, 6 drops of which was reliable and effective, for many months but it is no longer available and I switched to edibles. Edibles are difficult to find in Los Angeles and the ones that are available are wildly expensive and tend not to provide a consistent dose. Most are sweet items—baked goods and candy, and I suspect that because these are tempting to children, L.A. clinic owners feel it makes them more vulnerable to law enforcement and legitimate clinics, which do serve a medical clientele, tend not to carry them.

It is better to be able to go to a clinic than to score pot off the street. A lot of the clinic owners are greedy pigs and perhaps will be dealt with accordingly but to eschew marijuana as a legitimate form of pain relief or to purchase it on the street out of paranoia that the government will use Gestapo measures against individual patients, is ludicrous. There are a few clinic owners who are serious about marijuana as a medical alternative and support important research but I don’t want to go to a designated clinic for my friggin’ marijuana and I don’t want to smoke it or eat sweet crap either. All of this hubbub and stupidity has caused a fuck of a lot of suffering. Most physicians and pharmacists respect the potential legitimate medical benefits of marijuana. The clinic situation and the wink wink nod nod pandering to recreational users completely illegitimates medical marijuana. I want to be able to discuss my dosage with experienced clinicians. I want a regulated dose. I want to pick it up from the Rite Aid. I want to take it in liquid or pill form (the only legal capsule form of marijuana “Marinol” is widely known to be ineffective) like any other prescription medication. If even a tenth of the resources that went into the criminalization of marijuana went into research and the mainstreaming of the drug as a legitimate prescription medication it would alleviate a lot of suffering.

I am bored with clinics. I am bored with flying up to San Francisco and trying to convince a clinic manager that the fifty brownies I am purchasing are going into my freezer for personal use and are not to be sold at some playground. I am bored with peoples’ dogged stupidity about the issue.

I am weirdly not stressed about whether to brownie or not to brownie. The schools here will still suck. The oil companies are showing record profits and gas will probably be five bucks a gallon by the end of summer and I am stuck here and will continue to spend an inordinate amount of time on the freeway. Brownie or no brownie I will continue to write here and wish I had more time with my beloved and cultivate what Tolstoy called the opposite of boredom, “the desire for desires”. No matter what tomorrow brings, I’ll grope around for the sweet grace that lets me feel love in a world full of boring and stupid things.


FionnchĂș said...

Thanks for writing this riposte; the column-- which I was outraged by so much that I kept thrusting it for days at you to read and respond to-- angers me greatly. Years ago in the defunct throwaway New Times, a columnist opined that criticizing Banks (who had a long silent hiatus before being rehired by the LAT recently) was like "shooting Bambi," but the hapless deer needs to be put out of her Fourth Column misery, like much of the rag that passes for our woeful hometown paper.

Which, as an aside, cheerleads for a Pollyanna Don Juan mayor and a blithering Panglossian demographic that cannot understand that more immigration and more lofts and being nice to the whole put-upon world as the new Ellis Island means millions more people and horrible schools and less taxes (as the middle class flees) and more congestion. Elementary. The LAT keeps wondering why L.A. traffic gosh-darn increases but as good PCers will never admit the problem lies in sheer masses of people.

I spent nearly two hours getting to work in the early afternoon yesterday. My back still hurts. Maybe I need a prescription. xxx me

Chris Berry said...

As I sit here with severe acid reflux (wishing for some relief) reading your blog...all I can think of is...Layne can cook, why doesn't she just make like our forefathers (and mothers) and cultivate her own medicine? Back in the day when I partook, when "the man" included the wanna-be hippy establishment as well as the oil companies (in my view), that was the only sensible choice for securing one's meds...not to mention reliable and cheap.

Cari said...

There's always Grass Valley....