“Marijuana is making it possible to stay alive.” – Dr. Robert Parker
This interview article was created by collective members, and is not a reflection of official Goddess Delivers policies or opinions.
Collective member Dr. Robert Parker completed his bachelors and masters at Yale, and his doctorate at Claremont. He spent his life implementing, programming, and tweaking a technological educational network for a highschool where he also taught Computer Science. His creative teaching techniques resulted in college competitive test scores and mentally stimulated students.
In his spare time he helped out with physically demanding stage craft and intellectually demanding orchestral compositions.
Now he suffers from multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive inflammatory disease which damages the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal column.
There is no known cause or cure.
Dr. Robert Parker can’t move without a wheelchair.
“I’ve been smoking marijuana since I was thirteen,” he said over a cup of Japanese tea. “Back in the day when I was doing it in Connecticut, you had to have an album, a record. Then you shook it the right way to help get the seeds out. Oh those were the days. Oh yeah, so I’ve been doing this for a while. I didn’t even start drinking until I didn’t have any weed.”
“Now it is unbelievably helpful for my condition.
One of my medical caregivers says it’s neuroprotective. This doctor said to me ‘I wish you would smoke more.’
There are some very specific things that it does.
Number one is hunger. One of the reasons I weigh as little as I do – I’m only 122 pounds. I’m six feet tall if I stand up all the way. It’s because I don’t feel hunger. Not only do I not feel hunger, but I don’t enjoy eating. All it takes is a couple of hits and then I’m munched out.
It’s keeping me alive.
It helps dispel the darkness.
I used to be able to walk at race walker speeds. I was an organist. I could play drum set. Not anymore. It’s not just what makes me feel happy, cause it does cause the giggles sometimes.
More importantly it causes the darkness to leave.
Also, what I’m finding extremely useful, especially at night, if I get the right variety it stops the mystery aching in my right leg.
I have multiple sclerosis.
One of the things that confounds western medical is that every single MS patient is different. Western medical deals better with the cookie cutter. Everybody gets this, everybody gets that.
The problem is basically the same but everybody experiences it differently. My urologists says that everyone with MS has the same bladder problems. There are a lot of things we all get.
But there is no single fix.
We’re all different.
I told the guy who gave me the diagnosis that I had leg pain. He gives me this pill – if I hadn’t taken so many hallucinogens at Yale I wouldn’t have known what was going on.
It felt like it was ripping my soul in half.
Just that single pill.
He didn’t warn me.
It was a big mistake.
The stuff they gave me at the hospital also didn’t work and made me not really enjoy thinking or living. It didn’t make me depressed, it made me weird. It was a weird high. Last time I saw my doctor he said: ‘Well I can certainly tell you’re not on that anymore because you’re not under a shadow.’
But with weed I just decide I need a little more. So I take a few more hits and it’s fixed.
I can instantly modify my dosage.
The doctor who wanted me to smoke more told me that they have identified a lethal dose of marijuana. It’s 43 pounds. That means you would have to fill an entire van full of weed and then smoke your way out.
So essentially you’d die from lack of oxygen first.
I always, always tell the high school kids: If you have a choice between hanging with the drinkers and hanging with the smokers, hang with the smokers.
Drunks get weepy, violent, grabby, and they throw up.
They throw up a lot.
I’ve seen them hosing out entryways in college.
The weedists laugh.
They listen to strange music. They’ve always got cool books to read and things to play with. And if you’re not really participating, but you can deal with going out and getting the pizza, cause you know they always order pizza, they will always give you a slice. And they laugh.
They don’t barf, ever, because it’s an anti-nauseate.
I find as a medicine, it does everything you want. What are the side effects? I want to eat something. I want to watch something that’s funny. Those are the side effects.
All the MS drugs the manufacturer says: ‘The one thing we can’t help you with is quality of life.’ In fact that’s the first thing you’re going to lose.
“When you have MS?” I asked.
“No, when you take MS drugs.”
“The MS drugs say you’re going to lose quality of life?” I asked
“Pretty much. Ask anyone whose taking them and they always have the same story. I feel awful for a week, then good for about a day, then I take another shot. I feel awful for a week then good for about a day. Then you ask the doctors, well will it help me? They say, ‘Well we don’t know.'”
“Then why are they giving it to you?” I asked.
“Because they can charge you for it.
Pharmaceutical companies want cookie cutter, one size fits all. Well that works for insulin. Doesn’t work for MS. MS is so variable that it sometimes it just gets better. Better worse better worse, that’s the common kind. They cannot tell you, it’s not mathematically possible to tell you, that the symptoms got better because of the shot they gave you.
There is no way for them to know.
Now with marijuana you can tell immediately: ok now I feel better.
‘I feel better’ seems to be very low on the priority list for anything western pharmaceutical. The things they give me for MS symptom, not for MS, just for the symptoms – they go: ok now I feel weird. Now I feel weird. I don’t feel better but I feel weird.
Will I go driving after I’ve had my weed? No.
Will I try to write a serious anything about anything? Probably not.
If I don’t feel like writing anything intellectual then no loss. And if I have my weed then I don’t have any pain. So that’s very much my evening ritual. Have the weed, now I’m munched, now I can eat.
Without it I don’t have any appetite.
What’s worse is not only do I not have appetite, I have active disinterest. It’s like well I suppose that tastes okay but I don’t like having eaten. It doesn’t feel good to have eaten. It doesn’t feel good to eat. Bad combination.
Marijuana is making it possible to stay alive.
It’s making it significantly more comfortable to be alive.
Now everybody is trying to strip out the ‘oh, now here is the good stuff but it won’t get you high and you won’t have any fun. But you know, you look to the Chinese medical history – they don’t go for chemicals. They go for plants.
For me I need to get munched. I need to not feel pain. I do enjoy some of the other things that come free with weed. Really, that’s always my choice in the end.
I try to find the fun.
I couldn’t be happier that medical marijuana is legal.”