One of the purposes of this series is to show the sheer number of people that still suffer without safe and reliable access to medical cannabis. With all the news stories about advancements in this area in various states, it’s easy to forget that millions are still considered criminals for their choice of medicine.
But those millions aren’t just numbers, they are individual people. One of those people is Burt M., a sales representative in Arkansas.
The Marijuana Times: What ailments do you use cannabis to treat? How do these ailments affect your daily life?
Burt M: I would say the main ailment I treat for is my Generalized Anxiety Disorder which I have been officially diagnosed with for I think about 7 years now. I also have ADHD, depression, and paranoia, but none of those get too out of hand when I keep my anxiety in check.
MT: What were you told about cannabis growing up?
BM: I wasn’t really told about it. I don’t think I know about cannabis till 6th grade when they started showing us anti-drug videos. I remember seeing the D.A.R.E stuff but I don’t remember what I thought “drugs” meant. My dad was pretty open with me about his past drug use which included pot, opium, and coke.
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?
BM: Because I rely on an illegal market I don’t always have medicine available to me. So there may be several days to weeks where I don’t have access to medicine. Those days I can barely function outside of the house and my wife tells me I’m just not “myself”. I have been feeling massive amounts of guilt about treating myself with cannabis, but logically I know this is the right treatment for me, but knowing the risks makes it difficult. I could lose my child and my freedom because I don’t want to live a life filled with nonstop anxiety.
MT: What is your preferred method of cannabis ingestion and why?
BM: Smoking flower is my preferred method. It’s just reliable. I would prefer maybe a tincture or edibles, but I just can’t afford to play around with making those myself. I have tried but always get mixed and disappointing results.
MT: How is your life different now that you have found cannabis?
BM: I had been unemployed for 4 years prior to starting cannabis treatment. 3 months after starting I felt like I could reliably control my anxiety and return to work. Now I have 2 jobs and I’m taking online classes for a B.S. in Information Technology.
MT: What prescription drugs, if any, were you able to stop using because of cannabis? How does cannabis work better than the prescriptions?
BM: I have an anti-depressant and ADHD medication I take as well as 2 blood pressure medicines. I think that I could get off some of them if I had reliable access to medicine.
MT: What strains have you found to helpful to your specific aliment?
BM: Being in an illegal market I often don’t know what strain I am getting. However, recently I was able to get my hands on some amazing Orange Crush that worked wonders on my anxiety. Later I got some Silver Haze that worked well for my anxiety, but I was a bit more irritated with people. Like I had a shorter fuse, so to speak.
MT: Have you had any encounters with law enforcement over your cannabis use?
BM: Thankfully not and I hope I never do.
MT: Are you involved in any sort of activism in your area or state?
BM: I would love to be, but I am afraid of being “put on the radar”. I have family members that I think would try to take my child away if they found out.
MT: Have you ever thought about moving to another state to gain better access to medical cannabis?
BM: Yes. I would move to a legal state in a heartbeat, but my wife was born and raised where we live and she has no desire to move.
MT: How important is it to you that legalization comes to your state?
BM: Life and death. My anxiety consumes my life and has robbed not only me, but my family, of many amazing life experiences that could have happened if I wasn’t constantly battling anxiety.
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!