Letter: Medical marijuana should be legal in Utah

First Published      Last Updated Apr 20 2017 05:38 pm

I am a psychologist with a degree in psychopharmacology. I evaluate and treat people with chronic pain; most will not have a pain-free day for the rest of their lives. None of them woke up one morning and decided to become opioid abusers or die of a heroin overdose. What they want most is good pain management.

After reading a recent story on opioid abuse, I had a couple of thoughts.

1) Why do we insist that drug and alcohol abusers must "hit rock bottom" before treatment will work? It isn't done with any other mental or physical illness. You don't have to lose your family, your job, your home, your friends and be on the verge of death to be treated for depression or cancer.

2) Patients have told me that marijuana gives them relief from chronic pain and the anxiety that often accompanies it. Others have benefited from Marinol, synthetic THC, which is available by prescription.

I spent about an hour composing and typing this letter. In that time, more people died of opioid overdoses in this country than will die from marijuana in all of 2017. Medical marijuana should be legal in Utah.

Aharon D. Shulimson

Salt Lake City