Like most people, I was completely against marijuana use most of my life. I’d heard all the same things people randomly spout off about marijuana being good for you, helping terminally ill people, calm people with mental disorders but I was an absolute skeptic. I would always roll my eyes and think “Yeah right, you just want to get high,” until my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She could barely eat, if she did in fact feel like eating, nothing would stay down. She wasn’t sleeping, she was in such an astronomical amount of pain that she rarely got out of bed. Watching the woman, I knew to be one of the strongest people I had ever met literally fall apart was heart wrenching. The doctors told us, she had no chance of recovery and happily prescribed her a ton of pain medication. She was worried about these medications, becoming dependent on them and being heavily medicated to where she would not be able to enjoy what little bits of life she had left. I told her to hold off on the prescribed opioids and I would do some research into other ways that would help her ease the pain without the awful side effects that come with pain meds. I never thought I would be a marijuana supporter but the research I did totally changed my thought process.
I’m not sure how familiar you are with treatment for cancer, but it can be extremely painful and harmful to your body. Marijuana’s effects can be similar to opioids but without the terrible side effects such as liver failure, kidney failure and addiction. During radiation therapy, your body can become inflamed, itchy, thin and something like a sunburn. Marijuana has been linked to having serious anti-inflammatory properties, so think about it like this…the marijuana will reduce the swelling, which then alleviates the itchy, thin skin issues. Sounds good to me!
Chemotherapy is of course another treatment for cancer. Now, I watched my mom go through radiation treatment when she had breast cancer and it was uncomfortable for her but she still worked every day and went on with her regular life, chemo treatment was an entirely different ball game. She was always tired, and not like tired after you worked all day…more like tired from being in labor for 72 hours. She had no appetite, I would make her favorite foods and she couldn’t even smell them before she was sick. I had to help her in and out of bed, the car, the house, everything. I talked to the doctors and expressed my concerns and was told more than once she needed to take the pain meds, there was nothing else they could do. Being the oldest, most stubborn child, I refused to take that as an answer and finally asked her doctor about medical marijuana and what were his thoughts personally, and his answer shocked me. This amazing doctor looked me in the face and said, “I can’t tell you this legally but, get your mom some weed”. I was in shock…had everything I read been true? My mom was not surprised by his response. She said that’s how people got to be so old when she was a kid and we all laughed, but I could tell by her face, she was serious.
My next BIG question was, is this going to be harmful to my mom? So back to the research I went. When I was asking my mom her thoughts and concerns about it she had little concern if any. I asked her “What happens if it messes up your lungs”? Her response was what you might think…I’m already dying! That wasn’t helpful, so I considered other options besides just smoking it and to my complete surprise there was a ton of other options.
Have you ever walked into a medical marijuana dispensary?! It’s like the super store of marijuana. Overwhelming is an understatement. The staff members are so knowledgeable and want to help you, completely different customer service experience than I received at the drug store when I went to pick up her pain pills. Being clueless about essentially everything marijuana related, the gentleman behind the counter explained everything he thought would help, showed me each item and offered multiple options to just smoking it. I was nervous about getting her something to eat so he recommended some oils and drops. The first day, there was a small amount of improvement but nothing drastic, so the next day I increased the drops a little and she was actually hungry and kept the soup down I made for her…SUCCESS!! We continued to try different things, just out of curiosity on my mom’s part and everything we tried helped her feel better. She had some energy, an appetite, little to no nausea, she even went to the store once a week by herself (because she demanded I stay in the car) and it even allowed her to sleep through the night which was very beneficial for her sanity.
Personal experiences can shape the way we see things, do things and express things to other people. This very personal experience was eye opening to my entire family and our close friends. We never want to see our loved ones suffer, if something as natural and sustaining as marijuana can be used to serve so many great medical purposes, then why not?! I’m sure some of you are reading this and are very skeptical, and I would be too had this not happened to me personally. To those skeptics, I say this; Go visit a hospice center that does not use marijuana as a treatment. Open your eyes and take in everything from how the patients look, their activity level, are they eating? Do they seem like they are in pain? Do they seem over medicated? Take it all in, yes, it’s sad and will hurt your heart but just observe everything. Then, go to a hospice center that uses medical marijuana as treatment and do the same, observe everything. Now draw your own conclusions, I can tell you that the skeptic side of you will lessen and you will be interested in researching medical marijuana for yourself and what you find will make you think this is something that needs to be widely accepted.