In 2011, documentary filmmakers set out to create a film based on Larry’s condition and how an active lifestyle can help fight it.
For many people who are still skeptical of the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana, hard evidence, like videos of former police officers using the substance to treat their chronic conditions, really demonstrates the value that this plant has. Larry Smith, a former police officer who began experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease almost 20 years ago, turned to medical marijuana as a last resort after so many other treatment methods failed him.
In 2011, documentary filmmakers set out to create a film based on Larry’s condition and how an active lifestyle can help fight it. Their goal? To “enlighten audiences to the human cost of Parkinson’s disease while providing insights into the tangible benefits of an active lifestyle, particularly through recumbent cycling.” But, after his symptoms continued to get worse, Larry knew he had to try something else.
In a three-part series of videos that can be found on Larry’s Facebook page, he tells us that “these are not the days of Reefer Madness. Yet I and millions of other people can’t have it without facing serious jail time.” In South Dakota, where Larry currently lives, no form of marijuana is legal, medicinal or otherwise.
In part two of the video series, Larry’s wife, Elizabeth, elaborates on just exactly how much money they’ve spent on trying to treat Larry’s Parkinson’s Disease. The prescription medications cost them about $3,000 each time they’re filled. The Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) device used to reduce his symptoms cost $250,000, and each time its batteries run out it costs another $80,000. The price of medical marijuana they purchased in California? $40.
In the third and final part of the video series, we finally get to see Larry try the medical marijuana treatment after he places it under his tongue. Within minutes, we see Larry’s symptoms disappear almost entirely as he regains his motor control and speech function. If there’s one video to watch, it’s this one. While this is just one piece of anecdotal evidence supporting the medicinal value of marijuana, many medical professionals are starting to voice their frustrations with how it’s being regulated today.
Dr. Piomelli, professor of Pharmacology at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine, says in the video:
“The number one frustration that I have is knowing that there is this untapped potential — that comes from what marijuana is teaching us — to generate new medicines, and being stuck because of financial issues or political issues. That is extremely frustrating.” There have been numerous studies release in just the past few years showing that cannabis is effective in treating a wide variety of conditions, from chronic ones like Larry’s to simpler ones like having trouble sleeping.
“I do not like the idea of breaking federal law. Even though the state law in California is very clear that it’s permissible, I’m still uncomfortable. But, you know, if this is the only thing — and as far as I know we’ve tried everything, and this is the only thing that’s left…we are going to give it a go and see how it goes,” says Larry’s wife Elizabeth. Stories like Larry’s represent so many other people who are suffering from seemingly untreatable conditions and who do not have access to this life-changing substance.
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Watch the video here: