Doing these stories has allowed me to hear from people from all walks of life; cannabis users from all over who really only have one thing in common: they are considered criminals for their choice of medicine.
All the stories are heartbreaking in their own way, but maybe none more so than those that involve mothers.
A mother always has a special bond with her children; an instinct to care for and nurture them. There are exceptions to this to be sure, but for the most part mothers want to help their children and make sure they are safe and cared for and grow up to be worthwhile human beings. When they aren’t able to do that because of various ailments, not only do they have to deal with the ailments but also the guilt that comes from feeling like a failure as a mother.
Some mothers are lucky enough to find cannabis, like Tonia H. But even when someone gets lucky, in many states they aren’t allowed to choose cannabis. Instead all manner of chemicals are forced on them from the doctors that are supposed to be helping them heal.
Maybe one day it won’t be like this. Maybe one day mothers will be able to get on with the task of being a mother and not have to worry about what kind of consequences come from choosing a safer medicine. Shouldn’t mothers be judged on the job they do raising their kids and not on how they chose to medicate?
The Marijuana Times: What ailments do you use cannabis to treat? How do these ailments affect your daily life?
Tonia H: I have horrible back pain, and I have for a few years. I have degenerative disk disease and pinched nerves in my back. Some days I can barely get out of bed to get to the bathroom and some days that’s all I’m able to do. Without cannabis I wouldn’t be able to get through a lot of days.
On my worst days it’s like a searing fire that spreads across my lower back and only gets worse when I try to move. But if I don’t move then my back gets stiff, along with the rest of my body, and that makes the pain worse as well. Without cannabis my daily life can be a living hell, locked in a prison of pain and unable to do anything about it.
MT: What were you told about cannabis growing up?
TH: All the usual stuff, it will kill your brain cells and lead to a life of hard drugs and living on the street. There was no Internet to find information on, but I experimented with it at a young age anyway because I thought it was a dangerous and rebellious thing to do. It turns out I was just medicating myself.
MT: What do you have to go through to obtain the cannabis you use and how does it make you feel to have to rely on the illegal market?
TH: I worry a lot, not only about being able to get my medicine, but getting caught. I have 4 kids and I worry that Child Protective Services will give me trouble even though cannabis allows me to be up and alert and not groggy from prescription pills.
MT: What is your preferred method of cannabis ingestion and why?
TH: Usually a glass pipe. I’m not that great at rolling and am not into dabbing and all that. A bowl does the job easily.
MT: How is your life different now that you have found cannabis?
TH: It’s like night and day. Cannabis allows me to be awake and out of bed and functioning. There is no worse feeling than knowing people depend on you and that you’re stuck in bed in pain or so out of it on prescriptions that you might as well not be there at all. Life goes on without you and that’s time you’ll never get back. Cannabis has allowed me to use the time I’ve been given instead of wasting it in bed.
MT: What prescription drugs, if any, were you able to stop using because of cannabis? How does cannabis work better than the prescriptions?
TH: There are so many to list, and I’ve gotten off of a lot of them. Not only many pain pills for my back but also pills for my depression and anxiety. I was always told that pills were medicine, but medicine is supposed to make you feel better and get better. I have been on prescriptions for many years and my quality of life has not improved. I didn’t feel better and my back, anxiety and depression were not getting better either.
Cannabis works better because it doesn’t knock me out. It’s effective on the pain and lets me function. The pain is still there, it seems it always will be, but it’s manageable and at a level I can tolerate.
MT: What strains have you found to helpful to your specific ailments?
TH: I’m not really sure. I have to rely on whatever I can get, and it usually doesn’t have a name other than generic names like “loud” and “the chronic”. I don’t have a choice, I just buy whatever is available.
MT: Have you had any encounters with law enforcement over your cannabis use?
TH: None yet, and for that I am thankful. I’m lucky, but I’m also very careful. The area I’m in has no legalization and like I said, I don’t want any trouble. I just want to be able to live my life and take care of my kids.
MT: Are you involved in any sort of activism in your area or state?
TH: There is not a whole lot around here, but even if there was, I can’t associate publicly with things like sign holding and stuff like that. While it’s not illegal to hold a sign, CPS can make all kinds of trouble for you if they identify you with the cannabis community. It’s the type of thing where they can take your kids and then figure out if you’re “guilty” in their eyes.
MT: Have you ever thought about moving to another state to gain better access to medical cannabis?
TH: I’ve thought about it but my back keeps me from working much, although I’m able to do a lot more than I was before I started using cannabis regularly. I just don’t have the money to move my family, but maybe one day I will.
MT: How important is it to you that legalization comes to your state?
TH: If I’m not able to move then it’s very important. But it’s not likely anytime soon. I’m afraid I’m stuck where I am unless something changes. I’m grateful to have found cannabis and what it allows me to do, but I can’t help but think it should be easier to get and use, without the stress and worry about getting caught.
Are you a medical marijuana patient who medicates illegally? I want to tell your story (anonymously, if you prefer)! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you our set of questions.
Your story could help others in the same situation and help spread the truth about the amazing abilities of the cannabis plant! Help me spread the word!