While medical marijuana has been legal in some parts of the US since the 1990’s, the legalization of its recreational use did not begin until 2018. And when that movement began to gain traction, so did the popularity of the cannabis plant as a source of medicinal aid. Certain illnesses were found to be significantly stunted by the use of medical marijuana, including cancer, epilepsy, ALS, and Alzheimer’s.
Recently on The Patrick Madrid Show, Edgar called into the show to ask Patrick what he thought about the use of medical marijuana and its moral implications within the context of Church teaching.
“I have a question about cannabis. I used to suffer from pretty crippling anxiety attacks and once I was exposed to medicinal cannabis a few years ago, I started using it in small quantities and it was a lifesaver for me. Completely remarkable. I don’t have the panic attacks anymore.” Edgar went on to say that he had recently become a more involved and devout Catholic, seeking to learn more about his Faith and remain a better member of the Church. Because he still uses cannabis to keep the anxiety attacks at bay, he wanted to know if he was doing anything wrong, acting against Church law.
Patrick gave his answer saying, “So let’s begin by saying that one of the fundamental principles that the Church has with regard to moral choices is that in the case of something like this, if you have a legitimate medical reason to seek treatment or medicine or something like that, that you would not thereby be doing something immoral if this is something that you actually need to be healthy.” Patrick said that he understood that cannabis had been observed to have helped people with different diseases like glaucoma. Therefore, if it is necessary for your health and it is legitimately prescribed by a doctor, then it is not immoral.
To validate Patrick’s point, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.” (CCC, #2291) “Therapeutic grounds” encompasses the treatment of disease or illness for a curative purpose. Because Edgar uses cannabis for its medical properties, his case would fall within these acceptable parameters.
However, Patrick did not want to imply that this was an endorsement of drug use. Outside of medicinal utility, there are a myriad of negative effects from drug use. He closed by offering a book by Jesse Romero called “What is Wrong with Marijuana: 50 Questions and Answers.” In it, Romero tackles the marijuana issue from every which angle in order to produce a well-rounded argument against the use of recreational drugs. Patrick cautioned Edgar to closely monitor his use so he didn’t become addicted and graduate to harder drugs.
Listen to the full conversation below:
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