Barbara “Barbie” Sommars – Profile in Courage

Name: Barbara “Barbie” Sommars

Age: 44

Condition or illness: Interstitial Cystitis, Hunner’s Ulcers and Chronic Pain

When did you start using medical cannabis?

I started using medical cannabis shortly after my diagnosis in 2008. First with edibles and trying to master micro-dosing myself, and then I explored smoking and other methods like topicals, tinctures and patches.

Did you try other methods or treatments before cannabis?

Yes, I tried vicoprofen (opioids), as prescribed by my doctor, but declined the one FDA prescription prescribed for my condition due to undesirable side effects. Early on, I delved into all kinds of potential natural remedies including various herbs, acupuncture and exercises. I even had surgery in 2009.

What’s the most important issue or problem facing medical cannabis patients?

Safe, reliable access. It has always been my biggest problem and continues to be. I live in an area where cannabis is not embraced so I must travel over an hour to obtain it legally. I think the other important issue is access to pesticide-free flower. It’s not very prevalent in SoCal but I think that will change with consumer demand.

What do you say to folks who are skeptical about cannabis as medicine?

It’s an ancient, healing herb! Don’t be afraid of it. It’s better for you than most things your doctor will prescribe. I’m appalled at some of the toxic and down-right dangerous medications some people take to get a good night’s rest. I will always go the natural route if possible.

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