Name: Jenifer F.
Condition or illness: Anxiety & IBS
When did you start using medical cannabis?
June 2016. It would have been months sooner, but my name was misspelled in the system and I had to go through the application process all over again.
Did you try other methods or treatments before cannabis?
During high school, I had been tried on a slew of medications. All of them caused me to just become increasingly agitated instead of relieved, most of time, to the point of hysteria. If I was not freaking out, I was nodding out like a zombie. I would get nauseous and then sleep for hours. The doctors told me the antidepressants, anti-anxiety, acid reflux and sleep medications would help me feel more normal, and that my use of cannabis (at the time recreational) was only harming me and causing my symptoms. I argued with my parents and doctors for years. It was not until I turned 18 that I was able to start getting the real help I needed. I now visit a dispensary here in MA, have a wonderful counselor and a kick ass nutritionist to keep me on track, motivated and healthy in life.
What’s the most important issue or problem facing medical cannabis patients?
I cannot speak for all medical cannabis patients, but for me, here in MA, there are only six dispensaries. I drive a little over an hour to the dispensary and it is expensive. Insurance does not pay for this, but insurance gladly covered all the pharmaceuticals the doctors prescribed me. The laws and regulations are SO strict and difficult, from what I understand. If you are a medical patient in MA and have ever tried to call the patient service number to check the status of your application of call for information, you know what I am about to say . . . It takes forever to get a hold of someone, like hours, and their answer is usually to go on to the website and that’s just a whole mess in itself. Even though we have had medical cannabis since 2012, the system is still so new and small and there is a lot of work to be done.
What do you say to folks who are skeptical about cannabis as medicine?
There is nothing to be afraid of. With the right explanation, education and a comfortable, safe environment cannabis can be a wonderful tool for healing. It is quite simple, times are changing; and the way you view this plant and the people who consume it should too. Cannabis users are not just hooligans getting all “guppy eyed” at the skate park anymore; they are business people and parents and successful creatives from all walks of life.