Each year, GLMS invites physicians, residents and students to take part in the Richard Spear, MD, Memorial Essay Contest. For our 12th year of the contest,
we asked the question "Should Medical Marijuana Have a Place in Kentucky Health Care?" Almost every state in the U.S. is currently determining how legal a
prescription of marijuana should be. For that reason, we wanted to give our own members a voice in the discussion. We hope you enjoy the two winning essays
which were judged anonymously and without bias.
PRACTICING & LIFE MEMBER
2019 RICHARD SPEAR, MD,
MEMORIAL ESSAY CONTEST
SHOULD MEDICAL MARIJUANA
HAVE A PLACE IN KENTUCKY?
AUTHOR Timir Banerjee, MD
“Bhang, ganja, blunt
Reefer and goli
Enjoy their secret
During Holi at Manali
The bivouc of life is really short
So caress the clay pot
Oh, the pleasure of gripping the chillum
While sitting on the banks of Jhelum
And to be free from shackles
Of societal taboo
As I see the miracles
Right in front of you.”
arijuana has been around in
India since at least 2,000 BCE.
Cannabis Sativa is the plant that
was used to prepare Soma in
the Vedic period. Atharvave-
da, (1500-1000 BCE), mentions
Bhang as one of the five sacred
plants that relieved anxiety.
Numbers 11:8 said “The people went about and gathered it and
ground it in hand mills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots
and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes
baked with oil.” It is assumed that the above writing was somewhere
in the vicinity of 1,300 BCE by those that believe that the Pentateuch
was written by Moses,
Sushruta Samhita, (600 BCE), mentions Bhanga as a medicinal
plant and recommends it for treating catarrh, phlegm and diarrhea.
Subsequently, Bhang has been suggested to be used as an appetizer
and digestive for a long and lasting life.
Still today, Bhang lassi, goli, cakes or chutney are commonly
consumed in India on certain occasions by liberated people and by
some looking for liberation. Many people from the West have come
to India to find spiritual enlightenment through Ganja or Bhang
and have learned yoga and mindfulness exercises. There have been,
I am sure, occasions when the relaxation from the medicinal ganja
has been overwhelming and not been conducive to learning, but
nevertheless has produced great sleep.
The British Parliament (1) enacted a tax on Bhang and Ganja
and Charas in 1798, stating that the tax was intended to reduce
cannabis consumption “for the sake of the natives’ good health and
sanity.” In 1894, the British Indian government published a report
(1,2,3,4,5) stating that “excessive use was comparatively exceptional
and moderate use was the rule.
The effect of its consumption on the society was rarely appre-
ciable and those who consumed in excess only injured themselves.”
Prohibition would be difficult to enforce, and alcohol was more
harmful. As of the year 2,000, per the United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the “prevalence of abuse” of cannabis
in India was 3.2%.
Now everyone is familiar with the song “Alice’s Restaurant”
(1967), lyric by Arlo Guthrie:
“You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back