Medical Marijuana Patient Shares His Story

Medical Marijuana Patient Shares His Story
Posted by CN Staff on February 24, 2005 at 07:42:39 PT
By Claudia Nwaogu, Staff Writer
Source: North Texas Daily 
George McMahon's only option is to smoke marijuana or die a painful death. Diagnosed with Nail-Patella Syndrome, also known as Fong Syndrome, the 54-year-old was not expected to live past 40. Within his life, he has had 19 major surgeries and been declared clinically dead on several occasions. During one emergency room visit, he was told that he only had five hours to live.
The many medications doctors prescribed for McMahon in the past included morphine, Demerol, Codeine and Valium. And some of these strong medications caused him respiratory and renal failure as well as hallucinations. "The drugs they were giving me were killing me," McMahon said. "I would get this new drug or that new drug and it would cause a lot of problems." The syndrome that McMahon suffers from is a rare genetic disorder that causes a variety of symptoms and physical deformities such as improper development of the fingernails and toenails, absence or underdevelopment of the kneecaps and underdevelopment of certain bones. McMahon lives with a fractured back, severed muscles and nerves on the right side of his body, bone and muscle joint injuries and brittle bones. McMahon said that marijuana causes the pain to decrease. In particular, it causes the nausea and spasms to cease. He is one of seven people who receive medicinal marijuana from the federal government through their Investigational New Drug program. The government provides McMahon 300 marijuana cigarettes every month, of which he smokes 10 cigarettes each day or one cigarette each hour. McMahon's wife Margaret, who has been by his side for the 34 years they have been married, said that the marijuana works. "When he started smoking the marijuana, he got stronger," Margaret said. "He could do things that he could not do before." Christopher Largen, McMahon's spokesperson and close friend, has toured with McMahon speaking on the issues of medicinal marijuana for the past three years. "George could have stayed at his home and lived out his days there, but he cared enough to have other people receive the same relief that he has," Largen said. At a forum held Wednesday at the Lyceum, third floor of the University Union, McMahon, Largen and Dr. James Quinn, professor of Substance Abuse and Addictions at NT, shared with the 300 hundred students in attendance the value of medicinal marijuana for ill patients. During the forum, Quinn said there is no evidence that shows marijuana is able to cure anything, but there is evidence that marijuana makes life bearable for those suffering. Marijuana, Quinn said, can facilitate a calm mental state, promote some forms of immunity and has neuro-protectant and anti-oxidants. However, smoking marijuana for a prolonged time can cause lung, mouth and throat cancers and other respiratory problems. Largen has worked with disabled people and has witnessed the benefits of medicinal marijuana in other patients in addition to McMahon. Before meeting McMahon in 1998, Largen said he worked as an aid to a quadriplegic male who was always in pain and suffered from regular spasms. Eventually, the man began taking marijuana and the man immediately showed improvements, Largen said. "I witnessed the transformation of my friend and it was then that I knew the effects of marijuana," Largen said. A new drug expected to enter the market is Sativex, which contains oil extracts derived from marijuana sativa plants. This medication is ingested through a spray in the mouth. Developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, the medication will be dispensed by Bayer. McMahon said he is looking forward to switching from smoking marijuana to taking Sativex, but he is thankful for the success he has had using his current medication. "I think that I have had a good life," McMahon said. "I am not dead. With using marijuana, the difference is that my quality of life has gotten better." Sativex: SukoiSource: North Texas Daily (TX Edu)Author: Claudia Nwaogu, Staff WriterPublished: February 24, 2005 Copyright: 2005 North Texas DailyContact: aaw0001 unt.eduWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Texans For Medical Marijuana McMahon's Home Page To Your Health Pot Has Support in Austin Finds 75% of Texans Support Med Marijuana 
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on February 24, 2005 at 17:56:37 PT
Wonder Weed
However, smoking marijuana for a prolonged time can cause lung, mouth and throat cancers and other respiratory problems.Somebody forgot to tell that to McMahon. He was supposed to die 14 years ago. He is living proof of the efficacy of cannabis as medicine. I'm sure the government wishes he would die so they could blame it on cannabis. Just think about this. There are people who would take this man's medicine from him to save him. Murderers. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 24, 2005 at 10:33:49 PT
Thank you. I archived the article.
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Comment #3 posted by Druid on February 24, 2005 at 08:26:54 PT
Just some News from a quiet state....
I never see a thing coming out of Idaho concerning legalization but this is interesting:**************************************  Court set to rule on pot lawsuits  Bellevue-based Liberty Lobby seeking to legalize cannabis in Sun Valley  By GREGORY FOLEY
  Express Staff Writer  A longstanding legal dispute between the city of Sun Valley and a Bellevue-based group trying to legalize marijuana could come to a climax at the end of this month.  After a series of legal maneuvers in the last two months, the Liberty Lobby of Idaho and a city attorney have asked that the 5th District Court rule on whether the city must process an initiative petition that seeks a special vote on the pot-legalization issue. The court has scheduled a hearing on the matter for Monday, Feb. 28.  Although the Feb. 28 hearing is designed to bring the dispute to a close, it is anticipated the case will end up in the Idaho Supreme Court.  At issue are two competing lawsuits that surfaced last September.  First, the Liberty Lobby filed suit against Sun Valley City Clerk Janis Wright because she had declined to process the organization's petition to have citizens vote on whether it should be legal to grow, possess, use and distribute marijuana in the city, under certain restrictions.  The Liberty Lobby filed an initiative petition Aug. 25, the same day it filed similar petitions in the cities of Ketchum and Hailey.  In its suit, the Liberty Lobby alleged that the city did not follow established procedures for processing citizen-led ballot initiatives.  Soon after, Sun Valley City Attorney Rand Peebles filed a countersuit against the Liberty Lobby. The city complaint contended that the organization's proposal to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana is "unconstitutional" and to hold an election on the issue "would be in excess of the city's jurisdiction."  State law declares that possession of three ounces or more of marijuana is a felony that can bring five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  Eventually, the 5th District Court decided to consolidate the two competing lawsuits.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 24, 2005 at 08:02:42 PT
Attorney General Gonzales Cancels Teatime
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 24, 2005 at 08:00:55 PT
News Brief About Tommy Chong
Tommy Chong sentence causes performance here to be canceled Laurie Cohen, Tucson CitizenFeb. 24, 2005  
Friday's Marijuana-Logues performance starring Tommy Chong at the Tucson Convention Center has been canceled. 
Ticket refunds are available at the point of purchase. While show promoters did not confirm the cancelation - Chong said earlier this week that he is not supposed to be around anything having to do with drugs and since he "can't control the fans" he will not be appearing. Chong recently completed a nine-month sentence for trying to sell marijuana pipes on the Internet. "I don't want to go back to jail," Chong said. He said he's considering canceling his part of the entire tour until his probation period is up in July.
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