Amy, California ---Patient/ Activist
Give a little background on yourself, as well as how Cannabis affects/benefits your life or loved ones?
I'll start at the beginning, with my dad.
My dad smoked pot his whole life pretty much. And he was disabled pretty much all of mine. Having had a total of seven back surgeries over the course of about 25 years, you'd think it wouldn't be an issue for a man in daily, chronic pain to be able to use what works best for his pain.You'd think.
When we moved to California in 1998 he even became a medical marijuana patient in the new program. But because his meds weren't covered under insurance, my parents had to come out of pocket for anything with marijuana he used for his pain. It became too much.
My mom was the only one working supporting a family of four, in California. And sadly he quit smoking and that's when my dad's addiction to prescription pain meds started. They were cheap, covered by insurance, and completely legal to use. Yet the strongest pill he was on is a lab form of heroine. I was told by one of his doctors this legal narcotic is only one molecule different from the street drug, heroin. It got completely out of control.
Fast forward a few years and I started battling with my own health problems. A severe back injury, an autoimmune condition that causes widespread pain and migraines, and a stomach condition that causes nausea and vomiting.
Even growing up knowing what marijuana was, it wasn't until I was 19 that I tried it. And it helped so I never stopped. About two years later I had moved back in with my parents and quit my job.
1) because my own health was declining and
2) my dad needed 24/7 care and it was impossible without someone there during the day.
It was during that time a friend was coming over to meet me at my house and he walked in with a joint already rolled. My dad at that point was in a wheelchair and couldn't turn his head, so my friend motioned with his hands if it was okay to have or if he should walk out with it. We had talked about smoking with my dad so I just said screw it and asked him. I said, "Dad do you want to smoke a joint with us?" At which point my friend came around the corner and showed him the joint. My dad's face kind of lit up a little bit and he agreed.
It was weird for me at first smoking with my dad. I didn't quite know how to take it. But a few hours later he called for me in his room and he was a little emotional. He thanked me and said that for the first time in a very long time he felt no pain. Like his back and legs didn't hurt at all. They weren't aching and there were no stabbing pains when he moved.
At that point whenever he asked to smoke I agreed. It even became a habit to have a bowl packed for him every Friday morning because he'd go once a week to have wounds cleaned out on his legs that wouldn't heal. In his words "it hurt like a son of a bitch," but he said smoking definitely helped relax him.
But, unfortunately at that point the damage had already been done. He had already gotten pneumonia about 12 times in a two year period, and his heart had weakened from congestive heart failure. So two months after he detoxed he passed away from an infection that started in his leg and traveled to his bloodstream within about two days. When we got the autopsy back it showed his heart, lungs, and other major organs were weakened by the years of narcotic use. But in the eyes of the law and our healthcare system he was doing nothing wrong. That was the way he was SUPPOSED to manage pain.
Shortly after my best friends breast cancer traveled to her uterus putting her at stage 4 breast cancer. With the new treatment, she got pretty sick and dropped to under 100 lbs with her doctors intending on hospitalizing her with a feeding tube. Up until that point, she had been undergoing chemo for about 3 years and had literally tried everything short of going into the hospital long term. And as a 24-year-old with a husband and two young children that were the last thing she wanted. So she finally gave in and tried smoking. At first it didn't help her nausea but she said she slept for five hours straight and that was unheard of. After that, she got back up to a healthy 140 and has mostly been able to stay at that weight. Recently we found out the cancer spread again, though, this time to her intestines. And while she gets sicker the only reason she can even eat and sleep at this point outside of a hospital setting is because she's smoking marijuana. And I just don't think it's fair for our legislature to call a plant with such great medical benefits illegal when they're selling us much, much worse in pill form. It's not right. There are millions of people that suffer through pain and sickness every single day. And for what? I've asked myself this and tried to wrap my head around it and the only reason I can possibly conceive for that happening is money. And that just sickens me.
Have you ever used BHO/Dabs? If so how was that experience? Oh yes, I dab. I love it. It's very intense and personally I think it's best used paired with actual bud and just a little wax. But I think it's great for someone who may not be able to take in as much smoke at a time. Since its concentrated it's great for pain control and sleeplessness. Oh and we can't forget appetite. Definitely helps nausea, vomiting, and appetite!
Do you have a favorite strain?
I don't have a specific favorite strain, but usually ones I like are indoor indicas.
Do you believe Cannabis Culture will affect the 2016 election? How so?
Unfortunately, I don't think the issue of cannabis culture will get enough attention in the upcoming election. Usually, elections are the time Americans can really make issues of the people known. However, current media is consumed with terrorism. IS [Daesh], war, Donald Trump's newest ridiculous statements, and other nonsense. Do I believe we need to know what's going on in the world? Of course but I feel as if American media is purposefully distracting us from focusing on hard-hitting issues that truly need a change in the upcoming years. It's gonna take work on our part to get this issue the attention it deserves.
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