Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cannabis in Utah: Why I'm not worried

As many of you know,  I have been working to help Senator Madsen pass the medical Marijuana bill in Utah.  I used cannabis oil after discovering I had Hodgkins Lymphoma in August 2014.  I was 16 weeks pregnant at the time and was trying to keep my cancer from growing long enough to get my baby here safely.  I left my family to live in Colorado and California so I could legally treat myself with cannabis.  During this time I studied, attended conferences, talked to many doctors across the country, spoke with church leaders, and met many patients who have used cannabis to successfully treat their medical issues.  I realized this plant has been hugely misunderstood and abused. It is an amazing medicine that we need desperately.  Here are a few things I experienced first hand about medical cannabis:

*Cannabis can help dramatically with pain, appetite, sleep, and nausea without the side effects and extreme addiction of opiates and many prescription drugs.  
*It is impossible to overdose on cannabis (and in the pain medication world, that’s really saying something).  
*Smoking is the most ineffective way to use cannabis. Smoking it puts harmful substances into your body and burns alot of the medicine off. But there are many safe and powerful ways to use this plant-- as an oil under your tongue, in a capsule or tincture,  as a salve to rub on your joints or cancerous sun spots, as a powder in your bath before bed to help with insomnia, as a food or vapor for pain relief, as a juice, and much more.

Contrast that with chemotherapy, which I am currently on.  Chemo can kill cancer, and I am so grateful for that. But it also kills all my healthy cells, compromises my immune system, hurts my lungs, heart, and liver (and a host of other things), and causes me severe nausea, constipation, insomnia, mouth sores, and neuropathy.  To counter these side effects, doctors prescribe many different kinds of addictive drugs (including synthetic heroin and opiates) that cause MORE constipation, severe stomach aches, and are highly addictive.  And according my oncologist, sometimes they don’t even work.  

Think of that for one minute. We prescribe and take harmful, addictive, and deadly drugs without a second thought-- simply because they have a sticker with a doctor’s name on it and come in an expensive bottle.  And cannabis--which is not deadly, and is only as addictive as caffeine for most people, and has been a medicine since the beginning of time for every doctor or medicine man in the world-- is not available to us.  And coincidentally, cannabis helps nausea, appetite, neuropathy, insomnia, and constipation.

Cannabis has worked miracles in my life. This is why I have fought a roller coaster of a fight for its legalization in Utah. On Friday, that roller coaster took a new turn. I learned that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints opposes Senator Mark Madsen’s Medical Cannabis bill.  The official statement was... “As we have said during previous legislative sessions, there are a number of potential impacts that must be considered in any discussion about the legalization of medical marijuana, including balancing medical need with the necessity of responsible controls.  Along with others, we have expressed concern about the unintended consequences that may accompany the legalization of medical marijuana.  We have expressed opposition to Senator Madsen’s bill because of that concern.”  

For this reason I am taking a step back and will not be advocating for the bill at this time. I would like to explain why. Do I still believe in cannabis? YES. Has it blessed my life? YES. Was it right for me to take it? YES. Do I still want it to be legalized in Utah? YES.

However, I will trust the leaders of the church who feel like now is not that time or at least a little bit slower approach is necessary.

Following the prophet has not always been popular or easy. It has not always made immediate sense. But I trust it is always right. Throughout my entire journey I have made decisions others do not agree with. I have had to rely over and over on the spirit and not worry about what people thought about me, or who I was disappointing, or who I would like to please. There are many things I don’t understand about politics or policy, or how religion plays into them. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my journey with cancer, it is how to follow the spirit. That’s what I’m doing now.

I know cannabis has much to offer the medical world and strongly believe the church feels the same way.  I support those who are still fighting for the bill, but I simply have to trust that for some reason right now the Lord is asking me step back.  Maybe to test my faith; maybe to protect us from “unintended consequences” that a prophet of God sees better than I. Whatever the reason, I have learned so much.  I will continue to educate others about cannabis and pray that the appropriate time for medical cannabis in Utah comes sooner rather than later.  I am disappointed that time is not now. But I’m not worried. I’ve seen too much to doubt God knows what He’s doing.

27 comments:

  1. Thank-you for this post Tenille. 1 Samuel says to obey is better than to sacrifice and this is a perfect example of application to that principle. I pray that we will all see the world change enough that the unintended consequences will no longer be chosen by men, but that day many not come until the time the Lord returns. When we use a coin, we must accept that there are two sides of each coin. I hope that one day there will only be one inscription on this coin and that we will be able to partake of the blessings of the earth without abuse of those blessings.

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  2. Those prophets of the LDS church have been wrong MANY times in the past. What does the church say about them being wrong so many times? "They were speaking as men and not as prophets of the lord". They are wrong now and you know it. Don't let these men silence you! Stand up for what you know is right!

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  3. I've thought of you so much since the Church made that statement and I was SO conflicted because I knew it had helped you tremendously......and to see this blog update from you and your sincere commitment to follow the Prophet, I am in complete awe of your faith, Tenille. You are truly a beautiful daughter of God and He must be so grateful for you and your commitment to live the Gospel so completely. Thank you for the lessons you continue to teach me. Prayers continue for you and your sweet little family!!!!

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  4. There is no medal for doing the wrong thing just because someone told you to do it. The church has been wrong before, and admits to the mistakes they have made. If you know Cannabis is right, and are trying to do the right thing, the opinions of the church do not matter. They are wrong, they have been wrong before, and the only victim in this scenario is you.

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  5. There is no medal for doing the wrong thing just because someone told you to do it. The church has been wrong before, and admits to the mistakes they have made. If you know Cannabis is right, and are trying to do the right thing, the opinions of the church do not matter. They are wrong, they have been wrong before, and the only victim in this scenario is you.

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  6. How can anyone come on her own blog and tell her what she feels is WRONG???

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  7. You're surrending your agency and not allowing others access to the treatment you had because some one told you to do that. I mean it's your choice but I want to know how God will see the situation. If you don't want to continue using cannabis, that is fine. If no one in the Church wants to use cannabis, I respect that. But, you're justification for denying your positive experience is preventing others from sharing in a plant that God put on this earth for his children. You should consider that the brethren are NOT God. They are opposed because they are concerned. But they aren't telling you not to use prescription drugs right? So why would they be opposed to you using this prescription drug? They need to justify that and I don't think they can do that logically. Fear is not faith, they are operating out of the fear of change and choosing to support the use of very dangerous pain killers.

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  8. I just hope that the legislators don't follow the opinion of the church leaders so that you and other people who desperately need the help this drug brings can get it. The prophets have not always been right.

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  9. I just hope that the legislators don't follow the opinion of the church leaders so that you and other people who desperately need the help this drug brings can get it. The prophets have not always been right.

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  10. Love you Tenille! You are amazing and you are in my thoughts and prayers!

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  11. Thank you for your beautiful example of faith.

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  12. Thank you for your beautiful example of faith.

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  13. My brother used it when he had cancer, and pretty much didn't use the prescribed pain killers. He told us that it helped him more than all those other ones put together. Other pain medicines have side effects and can be addictive. Marijuana is natural.

    I guess I don't understand your thought process, but do what you feel is right. It wouldn't be a crime if down the road you change your mind. If history tells you anything, the brethren are not always right. They sometimes speak as men and not as prophets.

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  14. I applaud your faith, Tenille, but I'm saddened that such a powerful voice such as yours is being silenced on this issue. Even though I'm an active member of the Church, I've got to disagree with our leaders on this issue. We've heard time and time again that the Church is perfect but isn't run by perfect people. To blindly obey is making a mockery of our God-given right to think and reason and use or wonderful brains that he has blessed us with.

    If I was actively using Vicodin or Oxycodone to treat whatever sickness or pain I was suffering from, would I still be in good standing with the Church? Absolutely. I know a few people that have used it in the past and everything was fine. However, if those drugs are not used under the careful guidance of a medical professional, they can be EXTREMELY addictive and harmful.

    I would ask you, what is the difference? Why can I be a member in good standing while using Oxycodone but if I were to use Medical marijuana I'd risk losing my Temple recommend? That doesn't make any logical sense and that's one of the reasons I've concluded that the Church is making a mistake to influence our lawmakers to not provide legalization.

    But our Church actively participating in politics is another rabbit hole. Separation of Church and State is in the first amendment of our Constitution that our Church asks its members to uphold. Shouldn't it do the same?

    Just some things to think about. Good luck to you.

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  16. Thank you. Proud of you. You are in my prayers daily.

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  17. So those who use cannabis aren't partnered with God?

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  18. I just want to point out that it was the church's PR guy that made the statement and it was even a fairly innocuous statement at that. No "prophets" have spoken on the matter and certainly not by revelation. To me, the church's statement sounded like they are simply unaware of the research that has been done. They talk about "unintended consequences" and yet it's already legal in 23 states and has been vigorously studied. It's a bit like being afraid of the boogie man under the bed. Except, we've looked and he's not there. It's a tragedy to stop fighting now when we're on the verge of making a life-changing difference in so many lives.

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  19. You have to have peace with your decision, and I admire that. Whatever choice you need to make to have peace in your own heart is the right one for you.

    That being said, I really hate when the church gets involved in politics. I don't think it's their place. Every election season the First Presidency issues that letter about how they remain politically neutral and they don't advocate for certain candidates. I think they need to take their own advice when it comes to legislation like this. They need to stay out of politics and let the members do their own research and vote how their conscience guides them without feeling like they are being unfaithful for doing so.

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  20. Guaranteed your esteemed church leaders haven't done one tenth of the research you have. They are clueless in comparison. And, like others have said, they haven't even spoken--everything we've heard has come through the PR guys.

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  21. Guaranteed your esteemed church leaders haven't done one tenth of the research you have. They are clueless in comparison. And, like others have said, they haven't even spoken--everything we've heard has come through the PR guys.

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  22. Your faith is beautiful! I am fairly sure of the following: the church authorities are taking the time to study the bill as written, to make certain of the medical benefits and possible problems with using cannabis, and will at some point support a medical marijuana bill. Listen to the spirit, and follow the promptings you are given. God bless you.

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  23. Wow Tenille! This had to have been so hard, but it really reveals the strength of your Faith. I can understand why those who don't have your same convictions can be Confused by your decision. What some may not understand is that though our church leaders remain politically neutral, that does not mean that they don't to speak out on the current issues facing our country, and our world for that matter. Politically neutral simply means that they don't tell you who to vote for. Our church leaders have had a long history of standing up for political issues, for example our church teaches us that abortion is wrong, so therefore we would not vote for anything that would promote abortion. And we must remember, that the first amendment of the Constitution states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The constitution actually gives the LDS Church the right to do what they are doing. I really hope that they can come up with the bill that will help all these people in need, but avoid the pitfalls that can lead to abuse. I would like to see people like Tenille have access to this helpful medication.

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  24. The church is wrong on this topic. I agree with Unknown above. So often the leaders of the church contradict each other and often the scriptures also. I would do what the Lord tells me over any man, any day of the week. I would really pray about this and don't let the adversary deceive you. He frequently prompts people to follow false teachings and traditions to keep them from truly hearing God's voice.

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  25. Dearest tennille I am a young mother living in Montana. I am in the process of meeting with the missionaries and working my way towards babtism in our local branch. My husband's family are also devout members of the LDS Church. Recently both grandma and Grandpa passed away. I have many testimonies of how God and the holy ghost have touched my life since then. I am a true believer in this church. I am also a true believer of medical cannabis. I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia and do not want to take any prescription drugs. Montana's medical marijuana laws are a mess right now. I would love to visit with you sometime. Thank you Melissa

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