HOST: Welcome back to the program. Jim Coloff this morning, filling in for Greg Allen. He is ill today. He'll be back tomorrow morning, but we've got a great topic this morning, and some good discussion that will be going on here I imagine. The topic today, the legalization of marijuana for medical usage. We heard from Mr. Ron Corbett of Cedar Rapids who is against the issue and he's House Speaker. They'll probably not be talking about it in the state Legislature, it sounds like. But, an individual here in the studio from Waterloo who would probably like to see it talked about and actually see it passed, Allen Helmers of Waterloo. Good morning Allen.
HELMERS: Good morning.
COLOFF: Thanks for coming in this morning. Now, you are an advocate of medical use of marijuana because you are a participant in that.
HELMERS: Yes. I've been arrested and am awaiting further court action. I suffer from chronic pain syndrome and fibromyalgia. The two diseases are not going to go away. They can only be treated, there's no cure. Nothing is going to make it go away.
COLOFF: So your doctors have told you that they've done everything they can and to diminish this pain that they say they're helpless?
HELMERS: They keep continuing to use me and other patients in my position as a chemical experiment, in my view of it. I just came off of another one last week. I had to spend a week at home from Thanksgiving 'till last Wednesday, before I could even leave the house from being so sick from chemical medication that I was given. That certainly is not being able to function in this world.
COLOFF: Right. Now how long have you suffered from this disease?
HELMERS: I've known and been diagnosed with fibromyalgia since the 1976.
COLOFF: Okay. And at what point...?
HELMERS: Excuse me. 1986.
COLOFF: Okay, 1986. So about ten years. And at what point did you really start having the greatest symptoms and the most pain?
HELMERS: It came on quite a few years before that, but I had a multiple broken back in 1981 in a semi roll over accident and it never went away. They couldn't ever take the pain and I believe that was the onset of it.
COLOFF: So, the doctors think that's what kind of brought it on?
HELMERS: The trauma of that accident.
COLOFF: So, it's nothing that you've done yourself in your life to spur this disease? Some people would say, well maybe AIDS, people live that lifestyle, but with you it was an accident, a semi accident.
HELMERS: Right, it was a semi accident. And then, two and a half years ago, I was ran over by a drunk driver and broke my leg in twelve or thirteen places, and my bottom three vertebrae in my back.
COLOFF: Well, that didn't help at all either?
HELMERS: And now I've got a leg an inch shorter than the other and it just turned into a nightmare. I mean a physical nightmare. I thought was bad before, and it continues to worsen.
COLOFF: Now, explain to me the pain that you suffer. You know, I've never had a debilitating disease, so it might be hard for me to understand the pain, but tell me about this pain.
HELMERS: Fibromyalgia is a rheumatoid disease of the muscles and soft tissues, ligaments, tendons. It travels around the body. It has very many other effects that, symptoms and things that are with it. A loss of, dropping things, a loss of concentration, word mix ups, there's a lot of psychological things. A lot of other physical problems. You can't stand to be touched. Different clothing you can't wear. The symptoms go on and on of what is caused from fibromyalgia. They haven't found a cure, they haven't found a cause. All they can do is try and make you as comfortable and lead the most productive life you can, and the only way to do that is some sort of drugs to ease the pain. There's a great deal of sleep disturbance with it, which increases the pain. Any time you overdo physically, you pay for it really bad the next morning.
COLOFF: Well, tell me how marijuana has helped you, or that it could help you, in being treated or for this pain, at least to cope with the pain.
HELMERS: It does help me, it very much takes the muscle spasms away, which is probably the most debilitating part of the disease. And then the anxiety, because you're never sure if your body is going to be there for you or not. So, people are very anxious that have this disease. They're not sure if they're going to get through the day, or what. Now, marijuana, and any other drug, can and are abused. I'm not talking about drug abuse here, I'm talking about drug use, the use, what it takes, and you're able to function. Going out and doing what little I can is certainly better than sitting home and wasting away.
COLOFF: Okay. Allen Helmers, our guest from Waterloo. An advocate of the medicinal use of marijuana. And, Rob Corbett also on the line. We're going to bring him back in this next segment and talk to both gentlemen, and find out more from Allen Helmers about the, marijuana actually does work according to some studies. So stay tuned for that. Local talk radio on KCNZ. We'll take a break for a CNBC business report.
for Medical Marijuana