Exhibiting the Evidence What medical cannabis success looks like

Cannabis is an amazing medicine. It alleviates chronic pain, reduces anxiety and depression, promotes sleep, stops nausea and vomiting, stimulates appetite, reduces seizure activity and kills cancer, all without harming other organs or causing irreversible side effects. After years of treating thousands of patients, as a doctor, I continue to be in awe of this plant.

I have the honor of listening to patient after patient report success with cannabis. These are some of my most memorable patients and their stories of how cannabis changed their lives. (Some names have been changed to protect privacy.)

“Success with cannabis looks differently for different patients; for some it’s less pain, for others it’s the ability to grow and develop normally.”

Janet M., 62 years old, is a kindergarten teacher who has suffered with life-long anxiety and depression. When she came to visit me, she was on seven different medications, including two antidepressants, an anti-anxiety pill, a sleeping pill, two blood pressure medications and one diabetic pill. Within six months of starting low-dose cannabis, using CBD-rich oil during the day and THC-rich vapor at night, Janet had weaned off all the medications. She had lost weight, was sleeping well, had started exercising and had control of her symptoms. Her husband accompanied her to her follow-up visit and thanked me for “giving him back his wife.”

Christopher G., four years old, is a cute little boy who began having seizures during his first year of life. Medications to stop the seizures did not help and he continued with frequent debilitating seizures. He stopped developing cognitively and was unable to reach important developmental milestones. After starting CBD-rich oil, his seizures stopped completely. His parents reported that he “woke up,” started talking and walking, and most importantly, began smiling, playing and enjoying life within the first few months of cannabis treatment. His parents are thrilled that their son is healing with natural medicine without experiencing any toxic side effects like he would have if he were taking prescription drugs.

Justin J., 40 years old, is a computer technician who began having debilitating migraine headaches during his college years. After trying multiple medications without success, his doctor prescribed a self-administered injection with an out-of-pocket cost of $900 per month. After years of struggling with expensive treatment, he researched cannabis medicine online, became a cannabis patient, and found complete resolution of his migraines with THC-rich oil. Now Justin shakes his head when recalling the years of pain and suffering and the thousands of dollars spent on ineffective treatment.

Tom A., 82 years old, is a retired real estate developer who spent most of his life active in sports. As he aged, he developed severe low back pain with pinched nerves. Prolonged sitting and standing was difficult, and he found himself miserable from the constant pain. He had been prescribed painkillers, but after experiencing adverse side effects, he stopped taking them, choosing to live with the pain. He came to see me after a relative from Colorado gave him cannabis ointment to try on his back. He told me he had five hours of complete pain relief from the topical application, and he needed to have access to this miraculous medicine. Tom continues to visit me every year to renew his cannabis recommendation, and he reported with a smile that he is no longer “a grumpy old man.”

Monica L., 22 years old, is a college student who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She was struggling with the side effects of chemotherapy, which were mostly poor appetite, insomnia and fatigue, and she was determined to not let cancer get in the way of her upcoming graduation. Monica had heard that cannabis could help with cancer and the side effects of treatment but was nervous to talk to her parents and her doctor about using it. She shared an online video with her mom, who surprised her by being very supportive, and encouraged her to pursue any natural treatment that might help her get through such a difficult time. When Monica came to see me, she had done her homework, bringing a long list of questions to the appointment. We discussed everything from the plant compounds to the endocannabinoid system to the different ways to use cannabis. Monica recently emailed me that she is doing well, using both sublingual CBD and THC tinctures as needed for her symptoms, which have become quite manageable. She has not missed any classes this semester and is on track to graduate on time with her peers.

Success with cannabis looks differently for different patients; for some it’s less pain, for others it’s the ability to grow and develop normally. One thing for sure is that my patients’ success stories are undeniable and are proof of the healing properties of cannabis.

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