Singer Melissa Etheridge realized that marijuana is medicine when she had breast cancer 13 years ago. She has been a recreational marijuana smoker since the age of 21 but has never been fond of alcohol.
She told her story as part of the “Weed & the American Family” insight report, and The Kansas City Star published it.
Marijuana is medicine and always has been
Etheridge points out that cannabis medicines were on every shelf of every pharmacy seventy years ago, and says it is time for cannabis to claim back that space. Cannabis has been maligned for too long, and Etheridge wants to see people acknowledging that marijuana is medicine once again.
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It is not about getting high
Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. During this stage of her life, she discovered the medicinal value of cannabis for the first time. Since then she has been an avid campaigner for medical marijuana, recommending balms, vaping products and edibles.
After Melissa received her first round of chemotherapy 13 years ago, her whole viewpoint on cannabis changed. Whereas she has previously seen marijuana as something to use for fun, she discovered that it helped to alleviate the terrible suffering caused by chemotherapy. It helped with the pain, and it helped her with depression. Medical cannabis put her in a state of mind where she could communicate with her children. She was even able to eat and keep food down.
David Crosby, a close friend and fellow singer, first told her she wouldn’t get through chemo without medical marijuana. When doctors wanted to prescribe five or six drugs, including strong painkillers Melissa declined and said she preferred the “natural way.” Risking addiction to opioids seemed far worse than using a herb with euphoria as a side effect.
Rather smoke than drink
Melissa explained to her children that cannabis is a medicine like any other. She doesn’t smoke in front of her small children but has shared a joint with her older kids who are 20 and 18 years old. At first, it was awkward, but they soon realized it was an end of the day wind down for her. It actually brought them closer to each other as they would spend time chatting. She says she would much rather smoke with her grown-up kids than drink with them, or encourage drinking at all.
The little ones know that cannabis is mom’s medicine and one day when they are grown-up, they can decide for themselves how to deal with it.
Progress is slow but real
The demonization of cannabis meant that just a couple of decades back, people would have ostracized Etheridge for saying that marijuana is medicine. An admission of recreational use would have been even more damaging. But today, people realize that they have been misled about cannabis. Slowly but surely, we are beginning to understand cannabis, it’s recreational use, and more importantly, it’s medicinal use.