Medical Marijuana Patient Testimonial
"Almost ten years ago, I suffered a major injury to my back. I had two badly herniated disks in my cervical spine, and after discussing with several different physicians it was clear that the only valid treatment option was surgery. Being only 30 years old at the time, I was terrified. I never thought about my long-term health and suddenly I had to come to terms with the reality I would be dealing with chronic pain for the rest of my life.
My surgery was successful, in that the disks were successfully removed and the necessary hardware was put into its place. I was instructed to go to physical therapy and given several prescriptions to deal with pain and muscle spasms. I had only been on pain medication here and there, never for more than a few days and certainly not long enough to develop any kind of habit. It never dawned on me to ask for an alternative for opioids, I simply wasn’t aware of the danger.
About three months later, as I was getting back to normal life, I started having major mental health issues. I was still on pain killers and muscle relaxers, as I developed very serious muscle cramps in my back and shoulders. My mood would shift wildly throughout the day, I would have limitless energy one minute and the next be almost immobile. It dawned on me that these mood swings were always around the time I was supposed to take my next dose of prescription drugs. That was the definitive moment when I realized I had a problem. My entire life revolved around pills.
What really bothered me was I didn’t like the drugs I was on! I have always been a very active person, and the pills slowed me down. I also had a good job that required me to be mentally sharp…not possible while high on opioids. But nonetheless, if I didn’t take the pills I would be miserable, emotional, and in a tremendous amount of pain.
I had been a cannabis person for many years…but a social consumer at best. I hadn’t consumed in quite a while, pharmaceuticals had become my therapeutic option. However, one night I decided to roll a joint instead of taking my pills. My journey into medical cannabis began right there. A journey that required I consistently break the law and jeopardize my livelihood and freedom. A journey I couldn’t discuss with my physician and surgeon. A journey that I couldn’t research and document.
Believe it or not, almost ten years later, I can count the number of times I have consumed opioids on one hand. Cannabis became my medication, really my only medication, and never left me incapacitated, foggy, or confused. I learned to dose properly, to not over-medicate…to truly treat cannabis as a medicine. However, my access was limited to a few friends, and I never really knew what I was getting. That’s why, when Illinois started accepting applications for the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, I jumped at the opportunity and submitted an application.
I made my first legal cannabis purchase on November 12th, 2015. I walked into the dispensary thinking I was a cannabis expert, and walked out knowing I was a novice at best. And though it took some time for the Illinois market to have a decent variety of products, I immediately knew the quality was superior than what I had access to on the streets. I also realized I wasn’t supporting an illegal drug enterprise that is responsible for most of the violence plaguing our communities.
There are a lot of misconceptions about medical cannabis. First off, I rarely get “high.” I have learned to select the right products that allow me to continue to live an active life. I also was taught the art of microdosing, consuming smaller amounts of cannabis more frequently to maximize the medical value while minimizing any negative effect. It has been quite a journey, a journey made with others who simply did not want to succumb to habit and addiction. I am proud that I am a walking ambassador of the cannabis program, and try to represent the cannabis community in all that I do."
- Previous Patient of Dr. Jerabek
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