Cannabis. I honestly did not know what that word really meant. I had heard marijuana referred to as pot of course but also by names like weed or reefer. Certainly had heard of potheads. In fact I had several friends that smoked pot quite frequently. I wondered then, even in high school, how these kids could do it during the day and still make better grades than I did. How were they able to sit so still in class when I was having an apparent attack of “ants in my pants”?
I had no idea one of the girls I knew in high school suffered with epilepsy. While we were talking on the phone she was in the tub and I could her phone drop into the water and then heard splashing. I heard her mother yelling and chaos. She then started using marijuana/cannabis and admittedly I thought she would just become more miserable and would turn into one of those people who just sits around and smokes all day. No ambition, I thought, would set in. Within a week she was back at school. The DARE people had come to our school a couple of times. She talked to one privately to inquire as to whether she should continue its use. To my absolute shock the representative told her that he would agree with the use if it was for her health in some way and recommended by a doctor. She then proceeded to tell him she had no seizures and that she upped her grades in 3 classes, was now playing basketball and joined the yearbook committee. It was really kind of amazing. I was perplexed but thought my same old thoughts about how pot was bad for you. That is what druggies do, right?. That night I went out with my friends and I got so drunk I pulled my car over to throw up. I still thought to myself how much better alcohol was than cannabis so I justified alcohols wide use. After all, my father was an alcoholic and I was used to having alcohol all around me, all the time.
Years later I had a 19 year old patient in Florida that had such intense nightmares since her boyfriend had thrown gasoline on her and lit her on fire. She came to me for debridement for the wounds. My heart broke for her. She would be amped up or near coma from all the Big Pharma opiate meds she was prescribed. Her brother was able to “score” some weed from his friend (that has not been tested mind you) and prior to treatment she started using cannabis to help her with her pain and anxiety. She was not even half as anxious as she had been on past visits. She didn’t flinch when I was doing the debridement. She smiled and talked to me about her life and this time I could understand her. She even discussed some of the events of that night without shaking all over with fear. The next day she told me she was amazed at how the marijuana worked for her and that she slept like a baby that night. I was intrigued.
Over the next decade I would meet and interview hundreds of patients who shared their personal stories with me regarding their uses of Cannabis, marijuana, 420, Weed, pot, kush or whatever you want to call it. These were real people with disabilities that were being forced to go underground, risk jail time, risk buying fake marijuana or cannabis laced with horrible chemicals.I knew I had to figure out a way to stop this ludicrous prohibition. It was medicine to me then and is to me now.
The most recent patient I treated had AIDS, Parkinson’s, Cancer, and had been sexually assaulted many times by strangers over the years. She was a mess. She was forced to live with her daughter and their relationship was more than strained. She would come into the center with her walker just wobbling with dangerously unstable gait. No way could she hold a coffee cup or fork for fear of being burnt or stabbed. The other therapist, Jennifer Champa(co-founder), and I would witness her finding her way to the patio to smoke cannabis. Good old Marijuana. Here it was again, teaching me in its own way what the benefits would and could be. About 10 minutes later she returned to the activities room without any shuffling gait, securely holding onto her walker, sat down, and drank a cup of frigging coffee!! WE nearly died! No way can this be. We started timing her, quizzing her on what strains she used, how much, how often, side effects, etc.. She was so forthcoming. Her complaint was that everyone knew if she smoked it would be embarrassing for her. She had not come out of the cannabis closet one might say. Not to mention she was buying it on the streets because it was too expensive to buy in a legal dispensary. I asked if it were 20-25% cheaper if she could do it and she shouted “HELL YES!”. She wasn’t high. She wasn’t belligerent. She followed every single task for exercises and completed all daily living skills. She explained she had not been able to do those things prior to a fellow patient recommending marijuana. See, it wasn’t an “a-ha” moment. It was a person with real life problems being solved by a plant. A freaking plant!
These stories are true life stories of real people with diagnoses of Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Epilepsy, Lupus, ALS, PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Chronic Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS,Wasting Syndrome, Nausea, Insomnia, Muscle spasms, seizures, Multiple Sclerosis, Migraines, Anorexia, Alzheimer’s, Sickle Cell, Hepatitis C, Fibromyalgia, Traumatic Brain Injury, Tourette’s, Quadriplegia, terminal illness, and hundreds of other legitimate diagnoses.
Whether it’s the THC or CBD or both that the patient needs they will need an appropriate examination by a qualified and knowledgeable Physician in proper uses and dosages of cannabis, cannabinol, strains, concentrates, etc.
We knew we couldn’t wait any longer to get involved and help these kind and deserving people get the medicinal marijuana they need so badly. We are a part of the safe cannabis movement and will be there to save people money. We consider this a joint venture between us, as an occupational and physical therapist, and the people who need access to Mother Nature. We are here to fight alongside the advocates for legalization of cannabis, weed, pot, 420, marijuana, maryjane, reefer, doobies, dabs, concentrates, resins, or whatever you want to call it. We call it Mother Nature’s gift to the world.
We highly, pun intended, recommend watching Weed I,II & III with Dr. Gupta.It is a series that is good to watch with the whole family. Physicians and Universities are now completing so much research that will be necessary for us to see exactly what the benefits are for everyone.
In addition take some time to read these articles about the benefits of cannabis:
This is great because it will give you the most recent studies that have been done and newly approved medication including cannabinoids.
This one shows how the marijuana plant itself is being tested and what it is being shown to work efficiently.
Always arm yourself with the most up to date information available by frequently visiting sites like:
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