My Interview with Courtney Love about Kurt Cobain and Marijuana

CANNABIS CULTURE – In January 2004 I got an email from a crew member at Kansas City’s 965thebuzz.com telling me that Courtney Love, who hosted a show at the station, wanted to interview me on air about my Very Important Potheads website.

I agreed (of course!) and got up at 7 AM to appear by phone on the morning drive-time show, answering “no” to her party-boy cohosts’ questions about whether or not I’d waked and baked (too early for me).

Love demanded to know why she wasn’t represented on the site. “I’m Courtney Love, damnit!” was the compelling reason she gave. (It was hard to argue with that.) I found myself calling her “girl” or “sister” and she asked me how old I was: it seemed she needed connection with an older female in her life. We left the jocks behind and started chatting, woman to woman.

Kurt Cobain’s diaries had recently been published in Rolling Stone leading up to the 10th anniversary of his death, and I asked Love about what I’d read there: that Cobain twice went back to using heroin to quell the severe stomach pain he suffered from.

Love said, “Yes, that was true and I used to say, ‘Kurt let’s just smoke instead.'”

Apparently Cobain was one of the millions of Americans undermedicated for pain, and he turned to street drugs for relief. He even used Strawberry Quick to coat his stomach on the road.

We now know that cannabis can be helpful during withdrawal from opiate addiction, and that it works synergistically with opiates to alleviate pain and the tolerance that builds up over time, rendering prescription opiates less useful.

A state-sponsored study in California found that even low-dose, vaporized cannabis is helpful with intractable neuropathic pain. Nonetheless, California NORML still hears regularly from patients whose doctors threaten to take off their pain medications because they’re using medical marijuana.

We may never understand the psychic and physical pain that lead Cobain to end his life, or come to grips with what drives us to use drugs. But on a recent trip to LA I saw the above poster of Cobain in a cannabis club. Twenty years after his death, Kurt’s music, and his image, lives on.

Ellen Komp is Deputy Director of California NORML and a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture. She manages the website VeryImportantPotheads.com and blogs at Tokin Woman.

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