As a business development consultant and one of the few women in an industry dominated by men, Vicki had sought medical help 20 years earlier for intense pain in her right shoulder and neck as well as constant flu and cold symptoms. She was put on pain medication and eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. She tried a number of different medications but never felt well as the medications had many unwanted side effects. She couldn’t drive on the pain medication, was “out of it” during the day and couldn’t sleep at night. She struggled with the decision to continue taking the medications and suffer the side effects or not take the medications and suffer with symptoms of her conditions. She worried that she wouldn’t be able to go on.
Vicki began reading about cannabis as a natural option to treat her pain and came to my office to learn more. She has found that THC-rich medicine taken in small doses (one to two puffs) smoked in a joint two or three times a day eases her pain and insomnia. It also alleviates the anxiety that is so often associated with these medical conditions. Vicki states that she’s a responsible user and knows what affects her mind and body. She does not drive after she smokes and, while she reports sometimes feeling euphoria, she most often feels relaxed and is able to sleep.
Vicki’s former life of pain prohibited her from really participating in activities with her friends and family. Before cannabis, if she didn’t sleep or had too much pain, she would often stay at home to “ride it out,” and then feel too exhausted to leave. Her friends and family were frustrated with her, insisting that she didn’t take care of herself. “This is what fibromyalgia does. This is how chronic fatigue affects me,” she’d insist. “I have to stay home and take care of myself.” Today, if she feels pain or discomfort, she has a very effective and non-toxic way to treat it. With medical cannabis, she can actively participate in her life.
When I asked Vicki if I could share her story in this book, she replied, “Cannabis has helped me to live again. I can tolerate pain. I sleep now, for the first time, really, in my life. I think I wouldn’t have been able to go on if I hadn’t found cannabis. It has given me my life back.”