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October 2015


Imagine…How One Precious Life Can Affect So Many

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Imagine…a world with complete medicinal freedom; where the only thing standing between you and the medicine you need is your doctor. Can you even picture it?


In high school, they taught us smoking one joint was the damaging equivalent of inhaling an entire pack of cigarettes. Marijuana was so harmful it was classified with heroin and considered a top tier threat by our government, and our government had everyone’s best interest at heart: its job was protecting us from the harms we couldn’t even imagine. Huh???


I watched my country, America, come together through 9/11/01. I was in grade school andScreen Shot 2013-03-20 at 3.31.26 PM witnessed American flags popping up endlessly; swinging above people’s doorsteps, stickers in car windows, proud banners hanging from store to store. What I saw was proof of my country’s resilience, unity and loyalty.


So, now that I see the world through a slightly more experienced lens, I recognize that America is not just comprised of heroic acts of kindness and love seen in moments of great far-reaching pain. It is also composed of the tragic moments not quite potent enough to be widespread news, but too hideous to even imagine.


blogger-image--2067957546Nearly four and half months ago, a four-year old child named Cash Hyde passed away in the arms of his father from a brain tumor. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor at one and a half years of age and was told he only had a few weeks to live. They began chemo right away and this brave little soldier stood up to battle. When the doctors told his parents that he didn’t have any time left at the age of two, his father did what any parent would; he went out looking for a better answer. The best part is, he found one. He went to a ‘legal’ dispensary and bought MMJ oil because cannabis had been shown to have anti-tumor properties. He personally gave his child the oil through his feeding port and within weeks the tumor was gone. Imagine such a miracle! Of course, the doctors wouldn’t credit an oil, but they didn’t deny the results, either.


Then U.S. Attorney Melinda Hagg decided that the Department of Justice didn’t haveScreen Shot 2013-03-20 at 3.34.32 PM enough critical problems to deal with. Heroin seizures had more than doubled from 2007 to 2011, etc., yet she focused her energies and resources on attacking the cannabis industry instead. The state where Cash Hyde and his parents live stopped carrying any cannabis oil – all the dispensaries were scared out of business. The tumor returned. Despite the outpour of help from around the country, medicine arrived too late…


The tumor came back. Cash had gone too long without his life saving marijuana oil.


Cash rests in peace now and we are so grateful to know he never has to suffer again.


But still, I’m left frustrated. Our country, founded on the principles of religious freedom and a live-and-let-live policy, is now somehow being run by an overreaching and meddling bureaucracy. So what, imagine with me if we let people take whatever palliative measures they see necessary? Maybe our loved ones might suffer less? Maybe they might live?


Cash DateI can’t passively accept that Cash died just because some people are too closed-minded and uninformed to realize that lives are at stake here. We owe it to Cash (and our country) to fight this battle to the finish line. Take a stand and fight for the right to access the medicine of your doctor’s choice. Just imagine if the next person needing the medicine is your child.

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Talking to Someone who uses MMJ for Chronic Illness

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Medical Marijuana alleviates the symptoms caused by many chronic illnesses, from cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and anorexia to migraines. It has been known to treat nausea, headaches, migraines, myalgia, light sensitivity, anxiety, depression, pain, epilepsy, and spasticity, and it has even been shown to reverse Glaucoma.


Marijuana is also a recreational drug for many, thus thrusting those using it for pain relief into a group they never signed up to join. The truth is, these patients are part of an invisible group called the “chronically ill.”


“When people we care about are in pain, we want to offer words of encouragement, help ease their pain and motivate them to stay hopeful. Unfortunately, our words of cheer can often be misinterpreted by those who live with chronic illness. Rather than feeling supported, our words can evoke the feeling of “she doesn’t understand my life at all.” This can permanently affect our relationships.”


With National Invisible Chronic Awareness Week having just passed, it seems only appropriate to discuss this topic but with a focus on chronic pain eased by marijuana.


I have taken some of their tips given for talking to a loved one suffering from chronic illness and applied them to the common issues with which MMJ users deal on a regular basis.




You look so good!


Although this seems like a compliment, it’s frustrating to an ill person. Although he or she may wish to look better than they feel, it seems as though you are saying, “You can’t really be sick. You look fine to me.” Those using medical marijuana may be able to mask their symptoms after medicating and, while you are only trying to be positive, it invalidates a person’s pain and symptoms.


You need to just stop lying aroundthinking and get busy.


True chronic illness doesn’t heal itself because of distraction. When chronic pain sufferers turn to MMJ to relieve their symptoms, many of their moments on the couch can be misconstrued to represent the common stereotype of the couch-locked burnout. Although some people may dwell on the details of their illness, it can seem emotionally overwhelming when your life revolves around new symptoms, medication side effects, infections from a lowered immune system, and the illness itself. He or she would likely love to do something fun, but fatigue and pain prevent it.


You should try this new supplement instead of MMJ.


Cannabis has unique pain relieving chemical compounds called Cannabinoids that are present only in this plant. No other plant in the world will do exactly what MMJ does. Just because marijuana is an herb doesn’t mean that any other herb found at a natural heath store that says “pain relief” is a replacement. Each person’s body chemistry is unique and it is critical to discuss your regimen with your doctor and get their approval before making any changes.


I wish I had the luxury of being sick and getting to smoke all day instead of having to go to work.


Most people want to be able to work, and being physically unable to do so can cause great depression. The added worry of being labeled a ‘stoner’ is the last thing a sick person needs. Those with illness realize they don’t have the burden of getting up and going to work each day, but they also have medical bills that they may never be able to pay off, as well as fears of not being able to support themselves. They don’t have as much free time as you think. The medical appointments, pain and paperwork take a large portion of time.


Don’t give in. You need to fight this illness.


Those who are ill are fighting their illness every day they wake up and get out of bed. They use marijuana as a supplement to their pain management because of the vast array of symptoms it can treat. And on the days they can’t get out of bed, they are determined to still have a life that is full of joys and memories, special events and loved ones. By taking medication or trying a new therapy or deciding to use MMJ for as long as they need it to find relief, they are not “giving in.”


Illness is caused by stress. You just need to learn to cope better.


While illness can be exaggerated by stress, stress rarely is the source of the genetics that Anxietycause illness. One of the symptoms MMJ treats is anxiety or stress, and so by using MMJ they are treating their stress but the cure or resolution of the illness doesn’t lie in stress management. Their problem is their illness. These patients are simply choosing to mitigate their stress while managing pain and other symptoms. Those living with an illness are doing the very best they can to cope, but comments like the ones above make them, well, stressed.




I don’t understand, but I care about you.


You don’t have to get a personal understanding of what they are going through. You just need to respect their need to use Marijuana and do your best to accommodate them when they need to medicate. You don’t have to try to fix their illness, and instead of saying, “I know exactly how you feel,” an ill person would love it if you would just admit, “I don’t have any idea what you are going through, but I am here if you need to vent.”


Sometimes we just need one person who will listen without judging and then we can move on to other topics.


If you need to cry, I have plenty of tissues.


For those people who are unfamiliar with MMJ, its effects can vary and regulations are needed, until then it can be unpredictable in its effects at times as each person reacts differently. A person dealing with chronic pain may from time to time over-medicate causing a range of MMJ’s negative side effects, including emotional sensitivity, anxiety, coughing or even the sweats. The alternative, pain pills dispensed at your local pharmacy have a much longer list of potential negative side effects as well as higher likelihood that the user will experience these side effects.Between the emotions certain medications cause, plus the stress on our marriages, careers and more, we occasionally need to cry.


Instead of being one more person who says, “Don’t cry,” tell your friend you will sit with her while she cries. It is an intimate gift that only true friends will offer.


I’m bringing dinner Thursday. What can you eat?


People who are chronically ill rarely have anyone bring them a meal or take their kids for a play date. Since moms and dads with illness do their best to keep up with life, they are seen out and about and they “look just fine.” But you may never know how much they suffer silently in their home. Many MMJ users never smoke the medicine. Many eat foods in which THC has bonded to the fat molecules within the food through the use of heat (e.g. baking or frying). They may not be able to eat until after medicating. Try not to be offended if when sitting down to the dinner table, they need an extra minute before the meal to medicate.


A meal for the family or babysitting the kids so parents can have a date night is a great way to provide support.


I am going to the store tomorrow. What can I get for you?


If you are running some errands, let your friend know in advance so he or she can write a short list. Being able to pick up heavy things can also be helpful, like a gallon of milk or laundry detergent. Bring them into the house and ask if you can put them away. They will never say it, but you have probably just saved them hours of pain and possibly extended the time before they next need to medicate.


You are going through so much, yet you still have such joy. How do you do that?


If you see a friend who is coping well with his or her physical limitations, ask yourself what you could learn.


Rather than saying, “Thank goodness that isn’t me; I could never do that,” ask them what motivates them when they are in pain, or how they prioritize to make the most of limited energy. Where do they find hope when the circumstances look bleak?


Those who live with illness learn a lot about the ups and down in life and would love the opportunity to share the wisdom they have discovered.


Smoking medical marijuana for pain isn’t about having a good time or fitting in, it’s about surviving under the best conditions available. If you know someone who uses MMJ for pain, I urge you to respect that need and leave your pre-conceptions at the door. The majority of us were taught in our childhood to be skeptical of marijuana and those that use it. It’s important to remember that with all stereotypes, there is some truth behind them.


Marijuana is like any other drug in that: If you choose to abuse or overuse it, you can expect an increase in the negative side effects such as impaired cognitive functioning and memory problems and your chances at maximizing its benefits dwindle. Being sick doesn’t change that fact. The difference with MMJ is you can NEVER die from an overdose and you have control over whether or not you let it be a negative or positive force in your life. Help those in your life who need MMJ to see it as a positive force in their life here to aid in their recovery or assist in their palliative measures and nothing more. Often the best thing you can do is just offer support. So don’t worry too much about what you say or what you do. Just let them know you are there when they need a helping hand.

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