When you suffer from chronic pain, your legal options are somewhat limited. Most people opt for strong opiates, a certain route to addiction and unpleasant side effects. But even opiates become ineffective once a tolerance is built up. In an increasing number of countries, people suffering with illness and pain are tired of their limited options and demanding they be allowed to use the one natural solution that is safe, effective, and usually against the law.
For the seriously ill in Germany, the option to use cannabis is a reality, but the option to grow was not. Five people suffering from chronic pain took their arguments before the court and won, opening the door to homegrown marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Under German law, certain people can buy and use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Like many medical marijuana states in the U.S., however, the country wouldn’t allow patients to grow it. For the five who argued before the German court, health insurance wouldn’t cover the medicine and they couldn’t afford to purchase it outright.
One of the court’s main concerns seemed to be whether or not other people, not approved to use medical marijuana, would have access to the plant. Once they were “sufficiently certain” that wouldn’t happen, and that the patients had pursued all other treatment options, they ruled in their favor.
“Until now it has not been legal for anyone to grow cannabis at home but these seriously ill people will now be allowed to,” said court spokeswoman Stefanie Seifert. But, she warned, “this is not a carte blanche for everyone to start growing cannabis at home – they have to be seriously ill people for whom nothing else works other than cannabis.”
The ruling comes just days ahead of a news story blaming marijuana for the deaths of two Germans.
According to Yahoo News, the men both died of cardiovascular complications. And both had THC in their blood and brain tissues. But there is no evidence the traces of marijuana and the cardiovascular events were linked.
“We assume the deaths of these two young men occurred due to arrhythmias evoked by smoking cannabis,” but this assumption does not rule out that the men were predisposed to cardiovascular risks, wrote the researchers who investigated the deaths.
Casual links are not proof. And when contrasted with the number of deaths and ill-effects of pharmaceutical solutions, cannabis remains the safer options.