The next time you're prescribed a painkiller or any form of medication from your doctor, take a look at the little white leaflet and read the section on possible side-effects.
Now, try not to freak out.
There's a heap of bad things that can happen with certain drugs. Yes, drugs are bad.
But drugs are good, too. Even, so it seems, illegal ones - something this anti wacky-baccy reporter is starting to realise.
A headline in our newspaper on Saturday caught my eye. It read: "To find relief ... is just bliss."
The person quoted in the story uses cannabis for medicinal purposes to reduce the pain he suffers from severe injuries. It helps him do things like mow the lawns without suffering pain.
I have a dear friend who is currently dying from cancer and I'm seeing regular Facebook posts from him as he battles the horrid disease.
The drugs he is taking have changed his appearance significantly and he has puffed up beyond recognition. His pain is immense and you can see it in his eyes.
He's upbeat and, true to form, is cracking jokes on Facebook to ease everyone else's pain as we wait for him to die.
I know he wouldn't use medicinal cannabis because, like me, he's black and white. Cannabis is bad. Wouldn't touch the stuff.
But who are we to take away someone's right to being pain-free? Who are we to deprive someone of "bliss"?
The guidelines for approving medicinal cannabis products are currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Health.
At present, patients can apply to the ministry to get access to one form of medical cannabis, Sativex, which has been cleared for use in New Zealand.
Applications for non-pharmaceutical-grade cannabis face a stricter set of criteria and approval is only granted to severely ill patients.
So to go back to the point I was making earlier. Look at the side-effects of the legal drugs and ask yourself if cannabis would be any worse?
Of course we aren't doctors so we don't know. But I'm sure glad we're having this discussion.
- Rotorua Daily Post