CANNABIS CULTURE – Cannabis Culture asked, “What are patients saying?”, and said they’ll keep testimonials anonymous. Well, we’ve gone one better, and will provide you with video testimonials from patients who readily and publicly admit to using cannabis for their health condition.
The Doctor Frank practice sees hundreds of patients a day. The numbers of people coming through our doors and saying “Cannabis helps me” or even “Cannabis is the only medicine that helps me” is huge. Moreover, it’s not just the common (though still serious) problems of depression and anxiety, either, but everything from rare cancers to diabetes to epilepsy to Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“Replacing painkillers with marijuana made me feel human again.” Tom has injuries in both of his knees, and has been waiting four-and-a-half years for surgery on his left knee. Sadly, Tom has fallen several times whilst he was on crutches, and now needs surgery on his right knee as well. Unsurprisingly, Tom is often in excruciating pain.”
“The prescription for the degree of pain I was in and how often I needed to be treated, it was predicted I’d be on OxyContin within three years. That scared the daylights out of me.” Tom is right to be scared of oxycodone, the main active substance in OxyContin. Prescriptions like OxyContin carry the claim that they will work for 12 hours. Now, whilst this may be true for some, it is nowhere near being true for all, and this may well increase the chances of OxyContin being abused. Indeed, calling OxyContin a “Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy” doesn’t seem too far off the mark.
There are several other reasons why Tom was and is right to be afraid of opioids and extremely powerful anti-inflammatories. People prescribed opioids can have trouble sleeping and eating. Opioids don’t necessarily decrease joint swelling or inflammation, and powerful anti-inflammatories can cause all sorts of problems with internal organs (in particular the kidneys). The withdrawal symptoms of these kinds of drugs may just be swapping one set of problems for another. Feeling dehydrated is also a common side-effect of opioids. Tom knows all about these issues.
“They had me on such exotic pain medications and anti-inflammatories, and the problem was my entire metabolism had shifted, because I can’t walk. And so, everything that was mild and manageable about my conditions became out of control. They [the drugs]made me sick. They’re causing chronic inflammation. Chronic joint swelling. I just deteriorated very quickly.”
Tom happened to chance upon some medicinal brownies where he lives, in the desert of Joshua. Tom had a medical marijuana card but, due to the combination of his condition and living out in what some might call the boondocks, had difficulty accessing it. When he tried the brownies, Tom’s life changed. “So all of a sudden, I get this edible, and also I’m just reminded, ‘Oh my God!’ That it felt good. I slept really well, but three or four or five days later, I felt like drinking water. I didn’t feel dehydrated, didn’t have migraine and headaches. I couldn’t believe that all of that was just caused by the brownie. The fact was, it was all the other stuff that I stopped taking 5 days earlier leaching out of me. And so, it was almost euphoric. It was almost euphoric to have that burden lifted.”
“With the whole plant, the CBD and the THC, I’m actually 866 days seizure-free.” That’s coming up to two-and-a-half years now! Alexis’s life changed when she had her first epileptic seizure in July 2013. It came without warning. “I remember being tired that night, so I laid down on the couch to take a nap … The next thing I remember is kind of blurry. I remember seeing Avery [Alexis’ sister] crying and yelling ‘Wake up Alexis.’ And then I saw my dad reaching down before everything went black.”
After this, Alexis had started to get seizures on a daily basis. Doctors sent her to a specialist hospital in Dallas, who then prescribed Alexis antiseizure drugs. As anyone who knows anything about antiepileptic drugs knows, these pills have some very serious side-effects. Extreme weakness, shakiness, fatigue and blackouts are common. With drugs like topiramate, there is a greater risk of heat stroke and deadly high body temperatures. There are also other issues such as internal bleeding and fever, as well as an increased risk of life-threatening skin conditions like Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS).
Whilst Alexis was on these drugs, she felt weak and fatigued, and blacked out often. Alexis describes her experience in these drugs as akin to living in a “fog”. Due to her condition, doctors would tell Alexis to avoid overexerting herself, and the drugs she was prescribed undoubtedly contributed to her health problems. Swimming, running and even climbing too many stairs were warned against. Alexis’ parents told her that the “fog” would subside after a few weeks, but it never did. Alexis had tried hundreds of medications over the course of a year.
This all changed in 2014, after seeing a documentary by Dr. Gupta. Seeing that nothing else worked, Alexis’ doctors thought that medical cannabis would be worth a try. After several unproductive meetings with legislators (except for one – Representative Elliott Naishtat) and suffering her worst seizure yet on February 4, 2015, Alexis and her family moved to Colorado in order to utilize their medical marijuana program.
On March 4, 2015, Alexis finally got her first cannabis treatment in the form of Haleigh’s Hope oil. “It doesn’t make me funny or sleepy, like all the pills I used to take.I went 33 days seizure-free when I started using Haleigh’s Hope oil.” Unfortunately, Alexis caught the flu after 33 days and had another seizure, but using CBD-rich oil beat the 3 day seizure-free record pharmaceuticals had several times over. Alexis no longer needs to take pills, and her quality of life has improved dramatically.
Alexis is now leading a lawsuit against the federal government and Jeff Sessions in order to legalize medical marijuana (or “cannabis”, as we prefer to call it), alongside ex-NFL player Marvin Washington; Sebastian Cotte, whose son, Jagger, suffers from Leigh’s Disease; combat veteran Jose Belen; and the Cannabis Cultural Association. Oh, and Alexis has written a book as well, entitled Let’s Talk About Medical Cannabis.
There are literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of stories like the ones above. In fact, we often have patients telling their stories on our show, for all sorts of conditions. There’s Jason David, who talks about his fight to get CBD for his son, Jayden. There’s Celia Behar, who uses cannabis for postpartum depression. There’s Uncle Stoner, who uses cannabis for PTSD. There’s also Tom, who used cannabis to beat his opioid addiction. This is just a small pool of the people who have been helped by cannabis. There are thousands more like them, many of whom would benefit immensely from having a medical marijuana card.