I recently relocated back to my hometown in North Carolina after living in California for the last 12 years. I suffer from chronic pain amongst a long list of other debilitating symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. I’ve seen several specialists and tried every pharmaceutical imaginable in an effort to improve my quality of life, all with terrible results.
Fortunately, someone recommended cannabis to me as a possible treatment. After talking to a specialist, I was granted a California medical marijuana card and started to supplement with cannabis in various forms. I was able to titrate myself off 10+ prescription drugs, including opiates. I also stopped drinking alcohol; feeling better enabled me to recognize that alcohol made me feel worse, something I never could have differentiated before. Previously a daily struggle, cannabis enabled me to get out of bed and care for my young child. I have lost over 60 pounds and my symptoms have become much more manageable.
There is so much potential in the chemical compounds of this plant beyond THC’s psychoactive effects. The whole plant offers a plethora of cannabinoids and terpenes that cause the Entourage Effect, providing relief from many diseases like mine, which are considered “untreatable.” Many of these diseases are being studied as possible symptoms of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. Dr. Ethan Russo is a neuroscientist who first brought this theory to light and is behind the early testing phases of Epidiolix, the isolated CBD molecule approved recently by the FDA. As great a breakthrough as this is, I can only imagine what the price tag will be for this medication; I find the financial burden this will place on so many people a hard pill to swallow given that its active components are derived from a plant that grows, well, like a weed.
I firmly believe the legalization of cannabis would not only lead to helping our nation’s failing health, but would also be the answer to the opioid epidemic we are facing. Doctors, whether they realize it or not, are getting people hooked on pharmaceuticals. It’s happening and people are dying. Meanwhile, cannabis has been credited as being the “exit drug” for the ever-growing addiction to opioids.
Cannabis and hemp are a sustainable resource that provide environmental and economic benefits. The very obvious gain is the increase in tax revenue that could fund several of our state programs, including my favorite: education. We would see a reduction in court load, enabling our hard-working officials to dedicate their time and resources to more serious and violent crimes. Freeing those currently incarcerated for possession would help with prison crowding.
Other than the laws prohibiting its use, there are no present dangers from the plant itself. According to the DEA marijuana fact sheet, there have been zero related deaths…ever. Even the most recent cases of hospitalization were people using synthetic THC, a man-made pharmaceutical not derived from the plant, but a genetically modified DNA clone. Compare that number to the estimated 115 deaths daily from opioids in this country.
I want to thank you for taking the time out of your very busy day to read my personal account of the positive effects of cannabis and the potential it holds for unlocking many wonderful benefits and cures for the future of our children. Please consider making efforts to legalize cannabis, or at the very least supporting decriminalization, which was recently proposed here in North Carolina. Help me and all the others who are faced with the weighty decision of having to either compromise our health or potentially lose our freedom. Medicine or misdemeanor?