Anyone who has ever experienced debilitating pain knows how much it can affect your life. It affects your employment, your friendships and relationships with family; it can cripple your social life entirely, leaving you alone and broken with no quality of life.
The response to this by most doctors is to load the patient down with narcotics, which may relieve the pain temporarily but hardly allows someone to function as a normal human being. Luckily, some find cannabis, like Ryan B., a baker from Vermont.
The Marijuana Times: What ailments do you use cannabis to treat? How do these ailments affect your daily life?
Ryan B: I have an undiagnosed chronic illness, with a temporary cover diagnosis of hypermobile joint disorder and fibromyalgia. It causes severe pain in just about every joint in my body, and partial dislocations in many of them, especially my shoulders, knees, hands and feet. I also have chronic nausea and possible IBS, along with moderate depression and severe anxiety.
MT: What were you told about cannabis growing up?
RB: In elementary-high school health class, we learned that cannabis was a gateway drug, worse than cigarettes, and kills brain cells.
MT: What do you have to go through to obtain the cannabis you use and how does it make you feel to have to rely on the illegal market?
RB: My best friend from high school makes a living from selling, and he delivers to my house. They always take forever to get here, so there’s the slight anxiety that they’d been caught, but I usually don’t worry about it. I wish it wasn’t so expensive though.
MT: What is your preferred method of cannabis ingestion and why?
RB: I like to smoke, from a bong or joint, preferably. The process of smoking relaxes me, and I like watching the smoke clouds.
MT: How is your life different now that you have found cannabis?
RB: My mood has improved significantly, I’m able to work 30 hours a week without a breakdown. Smoking helps me eat more, since my chronic nausea makes me hate a lot of my favorite foods. My physical pain goes from a 7-8 down to a 2-3 when I smoke.
MT: What prescription drugs, if any, were you able to stop using because of cannabis? How does cannabis work better than the prescriptions?
RB: Antidepressants, over the counter pain relievers. I’ve built up resistance to a lot of pain medications, since my pain is so severe and widespread, I’d have to take a dangerous amount of them, and cause myself more long term damage. My antidepressants did not work very well at all compared to cannabis.
MT: What strains have you found to be helpful to your specific ailment?
RB: I don’t keep track of strains very well, they’re always different and vary in quality. The same one will often look and smoke differently than the last time I had it.
MT: Have you had any encounters with law enforcement over your cannabis use?
RB: I was once left at a birthday party where my friends had gone out out to drink, but I was having a really bad leg pain day and wanted to take a nap. None of the cannabis or paraphernalia were mine, but the officers (obviously) didn’t believe me, since I was alone. They confiscated everything and illegally searched me, but left me there, because I was a minor from out of town.
MT: Are you involved in any sort of activism in your area or state?
RB: I am not.
MT: Have you ever thought about moving to another state to gain better access to medical cannabis?
RB: Yes, I’ve considered moving to Colorado or California, but I don’t have the money or transportation.
MT: How important is it to you that legalization comes to your state?
RB: VERY important. I don’t know how much longer I’ll have to stay here, but I don’t want to have to risk getting caught every week just to get my medicine. Right now, if I managed to find a doctor who would approve me for medical cannabis, I would still have to travel over an hour to the nearest dispensary.
Are you a medical marijuana patient who medicates illegally? I want to tell your story (anonymously, if you prefer)! Email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you our set of questions.
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