Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Medical Marijuana.

Note: Experiencing a lot of fibro fog today, so please excuse errors, disorganization or the like :)

I realize this issue may be controversial for some, but it's something I can't ignore at this point.

I don't want to get into any sort of political debate about this, at least not on here, as it's not my intention. But I am, and always have been, an advocate for medical marijuana. In high school, we found out my mom had MS. My parents sat us down and we had a family discussion about what MS was, what to expect, what course of action we would take, ect... This is when my dad made a powerful statement.

He told us that if my mom's condition worsened, or if any of us ever developed some sort of medical need, that he would grow marijuana himself if it would help us.

Some people may see that statement as defiant and a blatant disregard for the law; I saw it as one of the most moving things anyone has ever said to me.

We all know what fate users, growers and dealers suffer if they are caught. Sure, a lot of them are criminals in other ways, and I could argue against the current drug laws until I'm blue in the face, but that isn't the point. There are many good people, who are otherwise ordinary, law abiding citizens who are imprisoned every year for partaking in marijuana use, whether for medical reasons or not. We waste our tax dollars on overpopulating our prisons with these "criminals" guilty of victimless crimes as though they deserve to have their rights stripped away from them and be treated as a threat to society, instead of utilizing our energy, money, and resources to bring actual criminals - like thieves, murders and rapists - to justice. And even more disturbing, we do all of this instead of helping those truly in need of the medical benefits marijuana can offer.


I digress. What my dad said was a great testament to his willingness to make a huge and courageous sacrifice - of his life, liberty, property, and happiness - for his family if such an unfortunate circumstance required.

I always remembered that. I thought by now such a process would start, as my mother's MS should have progressed. But luckily, it hasn't, which leads us to believe her MS is benign. Thank goodness for that, I'd be totally lost without that crazy woman.

But now, my father finds himself with a daughter with 4 incurable diseases, loads of syndromes (associated with fibro), and no spleen.

And after failed treatment after failed treatment, I'm becoming discouraged. Normally, I wouldn't try any of these hard prescription drugs. I honestly just don't feel comfortable with them, for many reasons. But I'll do almost anything to get me through this semester so I can graduate.

One week in particular, I was doing horribly. No sleep, tons of pain, no appetite due to nausea, ect... I went to bed at 7 after a couple of nights, since I knew it would be hours before I could actually fall asleep. My neighbors came over and asked my roommate why I was in bed so earlier. She told them what had been going on and the next day they dropped by again just to check on how I was feeling, which was just as horrid as the previous few days.

That's when they offered to let me smoke some of their bud. Considering my breathing issues, I declined.

While I am and always have been 100% behind medicinal marijuana, I still feel uncomfortable breaking the law, not because I'm committing a "crime" but because getting caught would lead to terrible, unjust, consequences.

However, they came  back an hour or so later anyway and brought with them weed brownies. Using marijuana to treat fibro had crossed my mind dozens of times before, but I wanted to use it as a last resort, given the risks of our current drug laws. Alas, being in such bad shape and with a chemistry test the next morning, I went for it.

The results were as follows:

-My anxiety level depleted
-My muscle spams stopped
-My involuntary movements decreased almost entirely
-My bizarre, itching and painful sensations were still present, but not nearly as intense
-It was the first night of the week I didn't vomit
-My nausea was gone and I ate for the first time that day, the fourth time total in 5 days
-It didn't take my pain away completely, but it brought it down more than it's been in months
-I fell fast asleep with no problem, and experienced a deep, restful nights sleep

My neighbors told me they only put in a tiny bit of weed in the brownies and I could tell it wasn't much. I wasn't too sure how it would affect me in my case and I was afraid it might even exasperate some of my symptoms. But I knew the chances were high (no pun intended) that it would at least take care of my nausea, so I thought, why not?

I experienced another week like this some time later, and my neighbors again came to my aid. Same results. I tried to ignore this as much as I could, but efforts were futile. I can't deny how much marijuana helped me.

I have never felt more strongly than I do now about medicinal marijuana. Marijuana alone, for me, can replace Lyrica, Tramadol, Hydrocodone, and Temazepam, all of which are hardly effective in the first place, produce unwanted side effects, are potentially dangerous and addictive, inconvenient to take and are outrageously expensive, even with insurance.

Marijuana, in turn, very effectively took care of the symptoms, produced minimal side effects, was much safer and not physiologically addictive, was cost effective, and took care of additional symptoms (my anxiety, muscle spasms, involuntary movements, and "sensations").

Wow. I really couldn't believe it. After the shock value subsided, I became livid that this substance is illegal for those who are sick and truly in need.

I spoke to my parents about this. I am not one for crying, especially in front of others. My family and friends have only ever seen me cry in cases of a loved one's passing since about the age of 10.

But as I explained my experience with cannabis, I felt my eyes begin to well up and I became teary eyed as I explained how it was the best I'd felt in months and how little pain I was in and how before I had really started to believe I would never feel that close to "normal" ever again. I was losing hope in what I saw as a losing battle, and was coming around to accepting living (more like tolerating) of a life of pain forever; but then I discovered the effects of this highly stigmatized plant, this glimmer of hope. It wasn't a cure, but it was a relief. This wasn't about "getting high" - this was about reclaiming my life.

My dad almost immediately offered to start growing.

I told them I'd done some research and found out more about Marinol, the THC drug. It's usually given to Chemo and HIV patients, but is sometimes used for those with chronic pain. I went through some fibro forums to see if anyone had tried Marinol and found only a handful, all of whom had successfully treated themselves illegally with marijuana prior to their Marinol prescription.

I asked if Marinol was just as effective as marijuana, and they either said yes, or something along the lines of "just about."

So now I'm on a mission to receive a prescription for Marinol to see how it works. My next appointment with my Rheumatologist is in a few weeks. I don't want to get my hopes up, but if he's on board and it does work, I can finally throw all of these stupid, ineffective, and expensive pills away and replace them with just one.

If not, my family and I have some difficult decisions to make. Fingers crossed.


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    1. Give me a bit to warm up to the idea :)

  3. No pressure. I completely get the anon thing. :)