Sound off on medical marijuana

In the Aug. 1 Tri County Record we printed “On the Record with Carol: Medical Marijuana, What’s the Real Buzz?” We asked readers to share their personal thoughts and stories regarding medical marijuana. Readers shared their thoughts with me via email, online,, and on Facebook.

David George, MD, Vice President & Chief Academic Officer. Reading Health System West Reading, writes, “Here are a few reflections from my perspective as a clinician and educator. Marijuana has been touted to be an important treatment for a number of disorders including pain, refractory seizures, nausea, poor appetite AND others. There have also been concerns about short term and long-term effects of marijuana, such as serious effects on thinking, behavior, and brain development in adolescents.

A major barrier for prescribing physicians is the limited amount and quality of clinical research on the benefits and harms of medical marijuana. One major reason for insufficient research is its classification by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) as a “Schedule 1” drug. Although Pennsylvania, along with a number of other states have legalized marijuana, it is still listed as illegal and dangerous at the national level.

I am hopeful that there will a dramatic increase in careful research on medical marijuana, so that physicians can partner with their patients to make the right decisions regarding its use.”


Mark Baylis, Retired Special Forces, founder Valor Clinic, Brodheadsville, (serving veterans including Berks & Lehigh Counties writes, “I scream with the force of experience NO!!! to medical marijuana for PTSD or any other condition. I am a formidable opponent of medical marijuana. Substance abuse is a huge problem among PTSD Vets. It creates huge life crisis. In fact, almost every homeless Vet we get housed that returns to the street is a result of self- medicating. My single biggest obstacle to getting lives back on track for PTSD vets is self- medicating with drugs and alcohol. Marijuana is the single most commonly used drug, In fact they graduate, as one stops working they upgrade. Won’t matter if a Doctor gives them weed or a street vendor---won’t matter if the Doctor gives them opioid pain meds or the street guy sells them opioid drugs--addiction comes in the night and destroys lives---of course they feel better when they get high. Medicinal marijuana, Medicinal heroine, Medicinal alcohol, Medicinal meth--what difference would it make? Getting high is not the answer.”

Abby Hunsberger, formerly of Wyomissing, writes, “Hi Carol, I have a friend Kim originally from Shillington, now spending her time 6 months in Arizona and 6 months in Wildwood, Crest. She has a license for medical marijuana. Kim almost lost her leg after a serious car accident that required 80 surgeries. A run -away car in a parking lot smashed her body against a wall while she was waiting to buy ice cream for her kids. Kim, a critical care nurse at the time remembered all the right information to keep herself alert until the paramedics arrived. I have watched her journey of 30 years. Since on medical marijuana she has been able to get off all the addictive and toxic meds and at 60 is a joy to be around. No pain and no pills.”

Lori Hevalow, Muhlenburg Twp., writes, “Sadly, I don’t think we will be able to govern ‘under the influence ‘so suspended license or worse. I don’t believe that, but cannabis can be detected hourly like alcohol; I certainly don’t think marijuana hurts as many people as alcohol. I am not an expert by any stretch.”

Mike Homcha of Exeter Township writes, “Medical use with a prescription, fine, but, no driving under the influence, just like booze.”

Carole Nolf of Exeter Township writes, “I think there’s a lot of us who really don’t understand this whole medical marijuana program. I think it’s great for medical reasons. I know of two people that it really helped them with their pain when going through cancer related agonies. So, I’m glad it was legalized. I think the scary part is it’s so difficult to regulate. I don’t know how they’re going to keep people from getting phony prescriptions for it. I saw on a talk show they said that you don’t get the same high from medical marijuana as you do from the marijuana years ago. So, I really don’t understand how medical marijuana affects you. So, I’m a little in the dark about this whole subject.”

Elka Peterson of Florida writes, “I’m pro. The benefits outweigh the cons. And it’s certainly safer than prescription medication which has an elevated risk of dependence.”

Deby Duz posted on Northeast Berks News Facebook page, “People who need this medicine should have access to it.”

Keep your comments coming we are getting a good mix and starting an open discussion. We already have others working on their comments. If anyone has any news about our state program please contact me. Send comments to or post on the Berks-Mont News Facebook page.