What kind of condition/ailment/etc you have:
Interstitial Cystitis - an debilitating condition of the bladder where the walls don't expand properly and it causes microscopic cracking and bleeding. Symptoms include disabling pain, pressure and immobility; especially if certain foods are consumed, stress levels are up, or even with moderate movement. The doctors had originally thought it to be a problem with my reproductive organs and I lived with the pain for 7+ years as they repeatedly misdiagnosed and treated me until they were finally able to figure it out.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) & Chronic Depression
How cannabis helps you manage your condition:
It takes the pain away. Helps me get mobile and active. Not focused on the pain and my inability to live a normal life.
For the PTSD it helps anxiety as well as with the depression. Helps me to be calm, patient and caring.
Why/how you came to choose cannabis as a medicine:
I found out by accident that it eased the pain without making me extremely intoxicated or taking away my ability to function. As I started using it as medicine I found it helped with the PTSD and depression without having extreme side effects like weight gain, anti-social behavior or suicidal thoughts.
How you feel it has improved your life/function:
It gives me the ability to take care of myself, my family, my house, and my life. It gives me the strength to complete what I need to do on a daily basis, including housework, school and being a mom. It gives me a better quality of life so that I can give my child a better quality of life. It definitely makes me a more patient mom and a better person.
Any other treatments you may have tried:
Counseling for the PTSD and depression.
Drugs for all, including: Vicodin, Darvocet, Percocet, Oxycotin, Naproxin, Methadone, Suboxone, Flexeril, Ultram, Xanax, Lortab, Ativan, Effexor, Cymbalta, Celexa, Ambien, Lunesta, over the counter sleep aids, Topomax, Prosac, Lamictal, Respiradal, Welbutrin, Lexapro, Levsin, Hydroxyzine, Phenazopyridine, Elmiron.... to name a few...
Surgeries for the pain, including: Tubal Ligation (tying of the fallopian tubes), Colonoscopy, Hysterectomy, Numerous Diagnostic Surgeries...
...and most recently bladder treatments through a catheter made up of a mix of medicines I can't name off the top of my head.
Your feelings on the way cannabis is viewed in our state:
The view on Medical Marijuana in our state is just plain Ignorant. When the topic comes up there is Hatred. Fear. And Apathy, even from those who use it. The policies are obviously based on extreme misinformation... There is great need for education, understanding and compassion. Thousand of people here use Cannabis as medicine. Thousands more as a recreational drug. Right now all the money spent on it goes back onto the streets, into the crime and violence. We need to make Marijuana consumption beneficial for our society, and less accessible to our kids.
Your feelings on the potential dangers of being caught using your medicine:
I am sick and it's taken me a very long time to figure out that is not going to change.
Over the years I have realized I have three choices:
A - Use nothing. Live each day in extreme and disabling pain. Unable to move. Unable to function. Unable to take care of my kid...
Become a hermit and not leave my home because of the pain, as well as the anxiety and depression caused by the PSTD.
B - Use prescription narcotics, sleep-aids, and psych meds to help control my pain, anxiety and depression. Become immobile due to the extreme lethargic side effects of the majority of the pharmecuticals. Spend the majority of my time loopy and high from the drugs, especially when the need to take care of my child, do house work or go outside the house arises. Operate a vehicle under the influence of narcotics when I need to go to the grocery store or the doctor. Not remember the most important years of my child's life and fail out of school because I cannot concentrate due to the intoxication from the drugs.
Both of those options include living below the poverty level, being on welfare and receiving government assistance due to the inability to work because of the condition of my body and my mind.
C - Use Marijuana. Have the ability to control my level of pain and level of intoxication. So I can have the ability to take care of my child and take care of my home, have the ability to complete my school work so that I can get an education and a good job. So that I might become a self-reliant, productive member of society, and good provider for my family.
And by doing so risk being caught in possession, ripped from my child's life and thrown into a jail where I would essentially be tortured by my pain because they do not provide adequate pain relief, nor the correct diet for my condition. Risk court trials and invasive child protection procedures conducted by uneducated individuals with no real concern for my family. Risk my student funding and have to drop out of school because of a non-violent conviction. Risk my life and my freedom to have a semi-functional life each day, and provide for my child the best I can.
By using Marijuana, I do not cause harm to any soul in this world, including myself. The only harm that comes is that the money from Marijuana consumption does not go back into our society, but instead goes into the pockets of drug dealers and gangs who also supply more dangerous substances and create violence and crime in our community.
Not using Marijuana as medicine created more harm in my life and my child's life than my use ever has. My choice to have a better life isn't what makes me a criminal, it is the unjust and harmful laws created by ignorant and selfish motives that make me a criminal in the eyes of the State & Country. Eyes blinded to my suffering and millions of others out there suffering from the detrimental things that happen without safe access to Marijuana as medicine.
Your hopes for the future of medical marijuana:
I hope that we finally do the research everyone has been saying is needed so that we may learn all the medical properties of this drug, and bring the world's oldest medicine into modern times. Until that happens, it is my dream for those who can use it to lessen or even end their suffering to be provided with safe and legal access to the only medicine that truly works for them.