So TINS ©, TIWFDASL © in the clinic, sometime in the past year or two. Remember how happy, Happy, HAPPY! I have been about marijuana legalization? Yeah, about that: so, I was interviewing this happy go lucky soul, who detailed his allergies, his (physician prescribed) medications, and medical history. I asked him if he smoked, a common enough question particularly, among those with breathing difficulties or a history of asthma or COPD.
“Well, yeah, but I don’t smoke cigarettes!”
I pointed out that placing burning material into your face, particularly with the intent of inhaling the products of combustion so produced, was not a good health choice.
“But, it’s medicine! I have a medical marijuana card!”
I responded that the existence or non existence of his medical marijuana card did not change the fact that inhaling carbon monoxide, tar, complex cyclic hydrocarbons (such as are commonly found in smoke) is not smart, and does deleterious things to your lungs, at the very least.
Getting directly into the spirit of the conversation, and demonstrating a prompt grasp of my observations, he informed me, “But! I have a card! It is medicine!”
Side note: that linear thinking, clear insight, accountability for self, is why I simply LOVE dealing with marijuana users. Or, maybe not.
“Sir,” I told him, “every firefighter knows that inhaling products of combustion is very, very bad for you. That is why the city spends several thousand dollars, for each and every firefighter, to equip them with apparatus that prevents them from breathing in that crap. Since that has become the standard, firefighter deaths from heart disease, lung disease, and carbon monoxide poisoning have dropped to the point that they are almost uncommon. Now, you are telling me that the fact that you, yourself, have a medical marijuana card over rules all that accumulated hard earned experience, bought with firefighters’ lives, and that, due to the miracle of this card, it is healthful to inhale smoke from burning things. Cool story. You’re wrong. I do not care about whatever you tell yourself about marijuana and it’s use as a medication. Inhaling smoke from burning stuff is bad for you. If you want to bake brownies, bake cookies, use marijuana snuff, rub it onto your toenails, or brew a nice hot marijuana stew to bathe in, I do not care. You simply need to realize that smoke is bad, breathing smoke is bad, and your lungs do not care what paperwork you do, or do not have, when they turn brown and stop working. Now, do what you want. Good luck.”
So, yeah, that entire teaching moment went about as well as it sounded like it did.