Hay una herida abierta en el mundo cannábico y de ella sangra el sufrimiento de los usuarios medicinales, los que más padecimiento tienen hoy se estremecen un poco más.

Letter from a medical cannabis user to the Spanish Supreme Court

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There is an open wound in the cannabic community and the blood coming out is the pain of medicinal users. The ones that are suffering the most are shaking a bit more today.

You, The executioners, the Supreme Court magistrates, are still trying to wash your hands in the water of ignorance, but have much more yet to rub off and much more to endure, even more so than us.

This is not a threat, your honors, I’m just trying to warn you, because even if the EBERS comrades pay a fine, the guilty party here is none other than yourselves. And I know for a fact that’s how you will end up feeling too, if not now, in time and history. Because you have hurt too many innocent people, people that depended on you indirectly and others to whom, not so indirectly, you have denied the right to a worthwhile life.

Sclerosis, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, cancer, Crohn’s disease… these are realities that are easy to ignore in a court like this but in our meeting places and in cannabis culture in general they hold a very important place. There’s enough information on how they affect the lives of those who suffer them, who often draw on the wonderful help of one of the first medicines ever used by human beings, the cannabis sativa, marijuana, to help them with the burden they unwillingly carry.

We are able to provide this help thanks to a substance that was linked to sordid atmospheres and dark alleys until recent times and that, with help from the social cannabis clubs (those that you are currently leaving beyond the pale in judiciary terms) have finally reached the friendly environment of cultural associations, as opposed to those dangerous scenarios that a sick user can’t risk visiting. But this new environment has lasted only a few years, a time during which we’ve felt just a bit more comfortable in the life that we are forced to live, very short years that have come to an end as a result of your verdict.
Many amongst you might not know this but for an ill person it’s hard not being able to find a cure or an efficient treatment for their condition. For those of us lucky enough to have encountered cannabis in the path of life, against the mainstream of the health system, it’s even harder to realize that the help we need so badly is forbidden under external dogma, coming from some far away country and some ancient rule, like those you mention in your verdict.

I don’t believe I need to further explain in medical terms how cannabis helps my condition and that of so many others. This is something that a significant portion of society has already accepted as the medical community produces more and more evidence. Moreover I am sure that great professionals must have explained to you at some point the value of these treatments that you’re preventing now from being developed in a controlled environment, something that we’ve only been able to do through associations since it is something our Health System does not protect. As you must undoubtedly have been informed, these treatments are absolutely positive for people with illnesses such as mine and enable us to look after ourselves. They give us quality of life, dignity and above all, until now, they gave us hope. Hope that has vanished now after this regression towards prohibition, and not against cannabis -that will still be consumed in the same quantity in Spain but in an uncontrolled fashion- but a prohibition of positive cannabis, the cannabis under regulation, the cannabis used for medical use and palliative care, the cannabis that people need as opposed to the one that dealers are happy to sell.

From now on, the ones dependent on it for medical reasons are the ones that, more than anybody will be left exposed. Allow me now to explain my personal experience, if only to illustrate the situation of those who, like me, are cannabis consumers not by choice but from need.

I am 22 years old and for five years my life has not been the way it used to. It started with terrible headaches, not being able to get out of bed in the morning or to sleep at night… Time went by, and in less than a year I had been examined by ten specialists, neurologists, digestive, internists… who could not find a clear cause to my problems. During that period I wasn’t able to live my life, attend my classes, or even get out of bed.

My condition got worse and as months went by the pains in my body multiplied. My joints, neck, my skull… I became a mass of pains and physical weaknesses that my body could not bear. I felt a strange buzzing in my temple that seemed to drain all my concentration and all my energy… At this point I started looking up the symptoms of fibromyalgia and other similar diseases that seemed to coincide with what I was experiencing.

After having used medication through the whole of that year, sometimes taking up to 10 pills a day that had no positive effect on me whatsoever (there were, however, some negative effects) I started researching on the medical use of cannabis, since I had heard from other people with a similar condition to mine that they had found it a great help.

Thanks to my language and science skills I was able to contrast the actual risk that cannabis could posed to my organism and how it was being used in other countries, and compare that to the information I had been receiving, as doctrine, from the State, the same State that had not been able to provide me with health support.

A month or two after I started this research on cannabis, and after talking to my parents –I was about to turn 19 at the time- I decided to ask a friend from University, who was a recreational user, to get me some marijuana. I made clear I needed the sativa, the most psychoactive subspecies, since I was feeling beat and I had read that it was the best kind to help me regain some energy.

The effect it had on me when I tried it for the first time, the day of my 19th birthday, was incredible. All of a sudden my worst pains were gone, the great pressure I felt on my skull, which had forced me to miss out on my cherished student career, vanished… It was incredible. An incredible and happy feeling.
Yes, marijuana has been a happy thing for me, not only because of its euphoric effects, but for its palliative effects. I regained a major part of my capacities and my reality and was able to function again as soon as I started a regular treatment.

This treatment was only possible because, one month before I tried it, I was able, through a relative that was ailing with a worse condition than mine (lateral sclerosis), to enter one of the first Cannabis Social Centers in my province. I didn’t have to depend on a friend’s availability or on the decision of their dealer to sell one or other variety (I was really scared of the black market, of being seen buying drugs or being chased down by the law in some way). Belonging to the Social Club meant I could go there, receive accurate information about the product, learn about different ways of consumption, uses, varieties and concentration level. In this CSC I was able to obtain my shares in the crop in a nice surrounding, whenever I wanted to, and to have access to different varieties that helped me in different ways, whether I needed energy or just to sleep. I was surrounded by nice people, eager to share their experience and knowledge, many amongst whom with conditions similar to mine, and who oriented me on the path to responsible consumption.

Later on, and after going through more medical visits, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome and chronic fatigue. A syndrome that some scientists, the ones who have gone deepest into research of cannabinoids effects on the human organism, are beginning to contemplate as a possible consequence of an endocannabinoid deficit.

Cannabis cannot cure my disease, but it could if further investigation was allowed. Cannabis is a sedative that allows me to live a fuller life and helps me get out of bed, and that’s a lot to me. The CSC has always been the space in which I had access to my most basic needs: the highest quality cannabis, clean and unadulterated. It has provided access to the means of consumption and also a place in which to get better when I was at my weakest (since, in my beloved State, I can’t take my medicine almost anywhere without being exposed to a fine, even if I need it just to walk).

I am still sick, and now, on top of that, I am helpless. For the first time in years, under the threat which this verdict poses for our associations, I have had to draw on the black market, since I do not have my medicine and my friends can’t provide it. I don’t think you would enjoy hearing about the way I felt while purchasing a gram of random grass wrapped in foil paper in less than 30 seconds. You can probably get a close idea, I’m guessing, of the kind of thing that I can get on the streets thanks to your work, even if you have showed complete ignorance of what goes on inside the CSCs.

As I have already told you, the only thing that you’ve accomplished with this verdict is to put an end to my kind of consumption. The kind that can only be carried out if there is enough information on the substance, the kind bound to a physical condition and not a recreational wish, the one that benefits the lives of many people.

I want to believe that your decision was made out of ignorance, and not malicious intent, although I’m not able to conceive what it was that you were trying to prevent. What is that “abstract risk” that we avoid by ending Spain’s defense of the right to consume? (Yes, Spain has been a pioneer in defending the right to consume, which you now deny). Why destroy the only risk-free way society had found to purchase cannabis to meet the needs of sick people dependent on it?
Cannabis will soon be legal everywhere, in all of its distribution forms, despite the archaic rulings that you now produce, rescued from the dark history of International Law. You know perfectly well, and if you don’t, I’m happy to inform you, that many changes are about to come once UNGASS 2016 takes place.

Cannabis is a reality, and it won’t disappear. Your verdict is just some delirium that will soon be remembered as one of the most ridiculous and groundless tantrums of our countries political powers. We understand that very little is your personal decision and a lot comes from the ideology of this or that political party.

Tomorrow I will still be in need of my cannabis dose, and I will still be pursued. I may have less places to go and less quality cannabis to access –if you pursue your assault on the association which I belong to-, but there will still be cannabis, and the need for it and, maybe not tomorrow, but very soon, that need will be covered, in an unbiased manner, rather than the way you have tried to do so.