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Former Bears star advocates for medical marijuana

Thursday, Jan 28, 2016

* Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon is in town the for the team’s 30th anniversary of its Super Bowl win. He talked to the Tribune about how medical marijuana helped him get off pills and ease his pain from multiple injuries

Now 56, McMahon has been plagued by debilitating health problems following his 15-year career and multiple concussions in the National Football League. He has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia and has severe headaches, depression, memory loss, and vision and speech problems. He also said he suffered a broken neck. […]

McMahon got his medical marijuana card in Arizona, where he lives, after it was approved by a voter referendum in 2010. Before that, he said, he’d been taking 100 Percocet pills a month for pain in his shoulders, neck and arms.

“They were doing more harm than good,” he said. “This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain — or thinking about it, anyway.” […]

His comments come as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner considers whether to approve eight more medical conditions to add to the list of about 40 that qualify for medical marijuana here. A state advisory board recommended adding the new conditions, including pain that doesn’t respond to conventional treatment.

The majority of patients in some other states that have legalized medical marijuana, like California and Colorado, qualify to use it to treat pain. But Illinois, which has perhaps the strictest law allowing medical marijuana in the nation, does not allow it for pain, as lawmakers have expressed concerns that the category is too broad and vague and would allow for abuse.

They should just legalize it, but an expansion to include pain in the interim would be a positive step forward.

…Adding… Ugh

Veterans gathered at the Capitol this morning to ask the Governor Rauner to add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of illnesses that could be treated by medical marijuana.

They had hoped to deliver those signatures to the Governor in person but things didn’t go as planned.

After repeated requests to deliver their signatures, they were told the boxes were going into storage.

Despite their frustration the group went ahead with their rally as planned.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    So, we have a early-onset dementia patient advocating for marijuana?

    What’s next?

    An anorexic advocating for ipecac?

  2. - Just Observing - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    Having early-onset dementia doesn’t mean you are incapable of having thoughtful, logical opinions. And early-onset dementia patients can speak up if pain is abated by marijuana.

    By you logic, VanillaMan, early-onset dementia patients should not even be able to express the opinion if Tylenol helps them with a headache.

  3. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:17 pm:

    He’s just here to do the cannabis shuffle.

  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:20 pm:

    Geez, if you can get off highly addictive and dangerous opiods with weed what are we even talking about?

    Prescription painkillers are the good stuff. Once you can’t get them anymore, you hit the street for heroin, not weed. Painkillers are the gateway drug, not weed.

    About twenty thousand painkiller OD deaths a year in this country, another ten thousand heroin OD deaths.

    The next marijuana OD death will be the first.

  5. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    The Funky QB.

  6. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    yes, they should just legalize it.

    but the medical option exists alongside the marijuana for Y’all option in Colorado, and that should continue to exist here. it is important to have a controlled medical option for full patient understanding of type for condition and dosage.

  7. - Beaner - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    States with Medical Cannabis have 25% fewer opioid prescription drug fatal overdoses. Thank you Jim for speaking up.

  8. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:29 pm:

    –an expansion to include pain in the interim would be a positive step forward.–

    That and because making people suffer when there is a proven method of reducing pain and symptoms is inhumane.

  9. - GA Watcher - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:32 pm:

    Saw a story on Bryant Gumbel’s show over the weekend in which the NFL players interviewed said they prefer marijuana over team prescribed drugs for pain relief. Said its less addictive.

  10. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:33 pm:

    Kyle Turley is also a really big proponent into changing med-mar laws around the country and is working to get the NFL to institute med-mar for injuries, chronic pain and acute symptoms.

  11. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    If someone wants it, they can get it, especially because it is illegal. When I was in high school, there were four places that I knew of (in my little po-dunk town) that someone could obtain marijuana. I knew of zero places that would actually sell me a six pack. Believe me, I tried. So parents, remember, your 15 year old can get pot way easier than booze. If it were legal, that probably wouldn’t be the case.

  12. - Stones - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    Not sure if I agree with full legalization for recreational use but 100% yes for medical use. Anyone who watched Jim McMahon’s career and the beatings he took shouldn’t be surprised at his current condition. I’m happy he spoke up.

  13. - Tone - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:37 pm:

    Illinois is so ridiculous. Freaking legalize drugs, regulate and tax away!

  14. - Tone - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    These anti drug fools literally support violent gangs.

  15. - How Ironic - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:43 pm:

    @ - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    “So, we have a early-onset dementia patient advocating for marijuana? What’s next? An anorexic advocating for ipecac?”

    You know VM, most of your posts are on point and relevant. This one just rings of mean spirited spite, and not up to your normal commentary.

    How exactly is someone in chronic pain, suffering (most likely a terrible case of CTE) from dementia (early onset no less) unable to make decisions about their health?

    If he’s off pain meds, and onto something less addictive with less side effects…why are you being derisive about his comments?

  16. - Hit or Miss - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:47 pm:

    A number of studies have shown that marijuana helps in the control of some types of pain. However, with some other conditions there is no research or there are negative findings. For some of the other medical issues Jim McMahon has identified the currently available scientific data to support the use of marijuana is negative.

    For example, in a recent study at Northwestern University it was found that there is a relation between marijuana and memory loss. The conclusion is that marijuana is not a solution to memory loss but causes memory loss. The study was reported in the journal Hippocampus.

    In a study of dementia reported in May 2015 in Science Daily it was concluded that

    “medical marijuana pills may not help treat behavioral symptoms of dementia, such as aggression, pacing and wandering.”

    The results for people who smoke marijuana may or may not be the same. For details of the study see:

    It appears clear to me that more research is needed.

  17. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 2:54 pm:

    I am being mean spirited, because that is what someone is going to say about this.

    Be prepared - wordslinger is, obviously.

  18. - Homer J. Quinn - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:00 pm:

    it’s a strange feeling to be agreeing with Tone and disagreeing with VanillaMan. i applaud anyone who speaks out on how cannabis helped them. every positive testimonial is a counterbalance to the misinformation of the past 75 years.

  19. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:03 pm:

    Legalize it, tax it. Get ahead of our neighboring states to capture a bit extra tax revenue from people crossing state lines.

  20. - D.P.Gumby - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:05 pm:

    Tell Brucie while you’re having your beers, that if you legalize you can solve some of his budget issues and help people–things he hasn’t done yet!

  21. - Tone - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:13 pm:

    - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:03 pm:

    Legalize it, tax it. Get ahead of our neighboring states to capture a bit extra tax revenue from people crossing state lines.

    - D.P.Gumby - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:05 pm:

    Tell Brucie while you’re having your beers, that if you legalize you can solve some of his budget issues and help people–things he hasn’t done yet!


  22. - A guy - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:18 pm:

    This helps. It can’t come fast enough for folks in pain from my point of view. Legalizing it altogether will take more time. Those folks can wait a little longer. The folks who need it now should get it now.

  23. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:27 pm:

    Attempts at parody wither in the face of his cartoonish villainy.

    [The veterans] had hoped to deliver those signatures to the Governor in person but things didn’t go as planned.

    After repeated requests to deliver their signatures, they were told the boxes were going into storage.

    He does not care.

    – MrJM

  24. - Get Coherent - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:31 pm:

    Amen, Rich. The criminalization of marijuana stands among the dumbest things this country did in the 20th century, and we did a lot of dumb things. We turned a fairly benign weed into a killer drug as mobsters here and in other countries killed each in fights over money to be made in the black market. We tagged millions of people with criminal records, impairing their ability to get jobs. We spent billions on prison cells and lawyers and judges and cops and guards. We made junkies out of people who wanted to be law abiding, and so took prescription painkillers when marijuana might well have solved their issues.

    All the jokes about dementia and Doritos and the like are only funny for so long. It really isn’t funny at all. It’s disgusting. And it’s especially disgusting in Illinois, where insiders get on the med-mar gravy train while ex-cops keep lining their pockets as regulators instead of enforcers while the General Assembly and governor keep playing games with silly arguments over decriminalization while people keep going to jail. The General Assembly votes in favor of decriminalization, Rauner is also in favor and yet nothing has changed. We all know the reason why. It’s because stupid politics are more important than real life and real people.

    Sorry for the rant. But whenever I think about marijuana and state government, I throw up a little bit in my mouth.

  25. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:34 pm:

    Homer J, I can relate. I usually don’t line up with Tone or against VMan, but that’s where I’m at today.

    I would gladly give medical cannabis a try to relieve the pain from the migraine headaches I get-the pain pills aren’t really that effective. Alternatively, I can go to the doc’s office and get heavy meds and send the State the $600 bill.

  26. - Beaner - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:36 pm:
    Link to some theories on why Cannabis is so heavily regulated, it cannot be prescribed as a medicine (federal drug registry).

  27. - phocion - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:45 pm:

    Legalize, regulate, tax. Now. Prohibition is a self-evident failure. The War on Drugs became a war on people.

  28. - Homer J. Quinn - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 3:50 pm:

    phocion: the war on drugs was always intended to be a war on people. it would be more accurately called “The War on Some People Who Use Some Drugs.”

  29. - Ghost - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 4:21 pm:

    legalize, tax and telease criminals in jail for marijuna use or sales if that there only offense, place on probabtion. longterm sace money on reduced criminal prosectuions and jail; reap money from production and sales.

  30. - phocion - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 4:27 pm:

    Homer J., respectfully, no. We all pay taxes for police, prisons and healthcare that are used for/ wasted on the collateral of the war on drugs. It is a drag on the economy and on our moral character as a nation. It’s time for us all to move on. Let’s declare victory and withdraw from the field.

  31. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 4:29 pm:

    ==After repeated requests to deliver their signatures, they were told the boxes were going into storage.==

    Undignified, disrespectful response. They’ve more than earned the right to expect better.

  32. - SAP - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 4:33 pm:

    You don’t have 10 minutes to shake hands with the veterans and tell them you’ll review their proposal? Note to the sophomore Governor: Positive photo ops with veterans are always good politics.

  33. - Generation X - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 4:39 pm:

    This story is particularly frustrating with the recent stories about young out of work African American males. Legalizing Marijuana is a job creating, revenue producing boost that is much needed in this State. National polls have now tipped in favor of legalization, it is time for the Illinois Pols to act in a bi-partisan manner

  34. - Research - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 4:46 pm:

    While decriminalizartion of cannabis may be the right policy for IL, research does not support that marijuana is an effective treatment for ptsd and actually suggests that it may cause harm:

  35. - burbanite - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 4:58 pm:

    Wordslinger + 1

  36. - justdoingtime - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 5:40 pm:

    Legalize it, tax it, and put the proceeds to the pension crisis. Solves several problems at once.

  37. - Gooner - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 5:47 pm:

    The interesting thing from a political perspective is that the far right, who spends all day screaming OBAMA STOLE OUR FREEDOM and telling the world they are “pro life”, is leading the charge to prevent adults from taking a drug that might ease their suffering.

    Apparently, freedom only matters when it is for stuff they like, and “pro-life” doesn’t mean we should ease the pain of so many people.

    Of course, Democrats have been pretty cowardly too on the issue.

  38. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 5:56 pm:

    I get visual migraines and IBS….help

  39. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 5:56 pm:

    Legalize it, tax it, and put the proceeds to the pension crisis. Solves several problems at once.

    With Illinois’ brilliant track record of spending tax monies on the purpose for which they were raised, all I can think of is an elderly state retiree in a MJ fog going “Duuuude….where’s my Pension?” in about 20 years.

  40. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 7:11 pm:

    Cannot agree with full legalisation because that would put marketing dollars behind increasing usage. Support expanded medical marijuana. Would support State distribution of less dangerous drugs like marijuana. Would like it to be controlled and sold through State stores.

  41. - Get Coherent - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 8:01 pm:

    ==Would like it to be controlled and sold through State stores.==

    You can’t be serious. The state of Illinois couldn’t sell pot any better than it does anything else. Put the state in charge and the clerks who run cash registers would be union members making $20/hr (or more) with full benefits plus pensions. And the stores would likely end up being subsidized by the general fund.

    If you’re in favor of putting the state in charge of selling pot, then you should also be in favor of putting the state in charge of selling alcohol, which is far, far more harmful to health and society than marijuana.

    Check out Washington and Colorado, where legal pot sales for any reason have been legal for more than a year. There have been, essentially, zero problems, certainly way fewer problems than existed when marijuana was illegal. Ask cops: Would you rather deal with a drunk or a stoner? The response would be unanimous.

    I don’t care about studies on the effectiveness of marijuana for medical problems. Whether pot works to cure cancer or ease the effects of MS or anything else is irrelevant. Certainly, it seems to work for some people, and adults should have the freedom to do as they please with their own bodies. As for concerns about advertising, real simple: Don’t allow advertising. That’s what we do with cigarettes, and we can easily do the same thing with marijuana.

  42. - frisbee - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 8:08 pm:

    What are the odds that Gov. Rauner gets behind his buddy Rep. Dunkin’s HB 4276 this spring as a way to spite the Dems?

  43. - Shark Sandwich - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 8:48 pm:

    “They had hoped to deliver those signatures to the Governor in person but things didn’t go as planned.”

    Let’s all remember this tomorrow when he is glad handing the unit in Springfield going to Afghanistan . Makes time to see them off and wish them well on a dangerous mission, but a similar group spends time executing their first amendment redress of grievance, and he sends them to Red Tape land.

  44. - Chronic Pain - Friday, Jan 29, 16 @ 3:51 am:

    I too wish the governor would expand the list of eligible conditions. I have suffered chronic back pain for years. I have endured surgery, injections, therapy to no avail. I now take methadone and oxycodone to manage my pain. I would love to be able to at least try medical marijuana to see if it might alleviate my pain. Plus I hate the constipation associated with taking opiods. After years of this situation, it’s time to allow those of us with clearly defined conditions other than those already approved to be given a chance for some meaningful relief.

  45. - Mouthy - Friday, Jan 29, 16 @ 7:52 am:

    - frisbee - Thursday, Jan 28, 16 @ 8:08 pm:

    What are the odds that Gov. Rauner gets behind his buddy Rep. Dunkin’s HB 4276 this spring as a way to spite the Dems?

    I’ll take the odds on it ever seeing the light of day..

  46. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 29, 16 @ 8:29 am:

    I think some of us who stridently disagree on other issues agree on expanding medical marijuana and legalizing adult-use marijuana.

    As some have said, using marijuana medically is so much safer than opiod use, which can kill. When I had to take opiods for pain in the past, I really didn’t like them and stopped taking them as soon as I could, switching to OTC pain medication.

    Expanding medical marijuana, legalizing hemp and adult-use marijuana stands to be a boon to Illinois. Colorado was close to $1 billion in sales revenue for 2015 (not yet counting December 2015), and the state’s population is half the size of Illinois’. That could mean over $2 billion in annual sales for us.

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