The other day I was walking with my early morning MeetUp and I ended up in conversation with a retired physician. Although she was clearly not an opponent of cannabis legalization, I could tell from her hesitancy that she did not have many positive feelings about its use beyond just "getting high" sounding as if she were putting cannabis users in the same category with people who sniff dry erase markers. Sigh. But still she seemed interested in maybe hearing more.
So, after our walk I sent her a little article to which she responded saying she welcomed a "lively discussion". When I responded back reframing some of the information she had sent (that no studies had been done, that it's bad for kids etc), I received this:
"Amy, rather than having an email dialogue, I find it best to discuss issues in person. Also as I no longer see patients, and am retired, there is no need to try and convince me of my beliefs and understanding of current evidence based medicine findings. So, I would prefer not to exchange thoughts on widespread marijuana use."
Frankly, I was sad. I was sad because I think these kinds of conversations need to happen and, secondly, I was frustrated because I got to see personally the sort of mind-closing that occurs when people just want to stick to the set of information they have whether it be current or correct. As a former doctor, she has the ability to open this discussion to people I don't have access to and I regret that this will not happen. Had we been able to actually have a "lively discussion", I would have liked to talk about the reality of death statistics by legal, nay, highly advertised and sanctioned, substances use in our country.
People who die each each because of alcohol use: 88,000. People who die each year from cigarettes 443,000. People who die each year from FDA approved prescription drugs 100,000. People who die each year from marijuana: not statistically significant. If anyone who can find the study that shows otherwise, I will link it on all my social media.
More importantly, I would have liked to talk to her about life statistics; about all the people whose lives have been improved medically in unfathomable ways which I can attest to in my own life experince. But, we won't get that chance and any future lively discussions we have will have to be about something important like Taylor vs Miley, I guess. How disappointing.