To tell my story right, I feel that it is necessary to start my story long before I had ever used cannabis and long before I knew that it was a medicine.
I was born in the early 80’s and as a young child I first learned about cannabis in school. During D.A.R.E except they did not call it cannabis at that time. It was Marijuana, weed or pot and it is the most dangerous drug in the world. At least that is what we were being told at the time. There was never anything mentioned about how it is a medicine or how it could help someone. This dangerous drug that only losers and burn outs used and kills your brain cells; they would continue to tell you. You would hear about how important people like Former President Ronald Reagan said, “I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.” Let’s think about that for one moment. How much radiation damage would you suffer being that close to an H-bomb but far enough away to survive it? I am not positive how much brain damage you would suffer but I imagine it is a lot.
What we were not told was that how they proved that cannabis caused this level of brain damage. The short version of that story is Dr. Robert G. Heath whom was a researcher at Tulane University in New Orleans hooked monkeys up to gas masks pumping cannabis smoke for hours without any supplemental oxygen. So when the monkeys had brain damage from lack of oxygen they called it proof that cannabis cause brain damage.
So growing up it is no surprise that I felt that marijuana was a bad thing. Why would anyone choose to use such a thing, I would wonder? While I am was in High School I never tried it; it was dangerous I thought and in more than one way. Putting all the worries about killing myself from using such a harmful drug aside; there was the legal issues that come with cannabis. Police arrest people that have even small amounts because marijuana because it was so dangerous.
While I was in High School I was introduced to the concept of cannabis being used medically. This of course is when California legalize cannabis for medical use but only for people who had cancer or AIDS or something life threatening that was going to kill them anyway. This dangerous drug could be used to help ease the dying. But remember for someone who is healthy it is still very dangerous drug were still being told and not to mention that cannabis was not legal in the state I grew up in at this time; it was only California but it was the start of states asserting their rights to use cannabis as medicine.
A few years go by after high school and shortly after I turned 21, I join the Navy. In the US Military there is a zero tolerance policy on any illegal drugs. This means if you use any drugs and have a random urine test: you career is over and it will have ruined your life. You will be dishonorably discharged and this will effect who will hire you once you get out of the military. So there is no reason to risk so much and for what something that is going to kill you anyway. But don’t forget here is some cheap tobacco and booze. Smoke as much cigarettes as you want. In fact that is likely the only way you will get a break during the day is if you smoke a cigarettes. You are also allowed to drink as long as you are not on duty and are over 21. If you are under 21 just don’t do it. It does not have as much punishment as illegal drugs but it will hurt your career. If you’re over 21 providing booze to minors that are your service buddies will get you in trouble as well.
It was in the service that I got injured. I was stateside working inside a P-3 Orion and when I exited the plane I slipped and I came crashing down the stairs leading up into the plane and land on the deck, hard! But I was young and I bounced up thinking I was okay even though I was a little sore. I had also cut my finger on safety wire during my fall and was bleeding a little bit. My inner thigh bruised up from hitting the support pole to the hand rail. I informed maintenance control of the incident and they sent me back to work.
A few months go by and falling out of the plane was just moment in the past. My body started to ache more and more to the point it stopped being an ache and it was full on pain. Bearing through it I did my job and refusing to go to medical over some aches. Some more months pass by and I start to have back spasms and sharp pains that felt that someone ran behind me, stabbed me with a dagger pulled it out and ran away. Spasms started to become more frequent until my wife call the ambulance and I was reluctantly dragged out of the house and taken to the hospital.
This is when I started to see the doctors on base and they start testing me for various different tests to find out what is causing my pain. There was no reason I should be in this much pain the doctors would tell me. At first giving me Motrin for the pain, good old vitamin M the cure for everything in the Navy. This did not help and they quickly started adding on more and more medications on my list to take. I did my own research online about chronic pain and someone on http://www.dailystrength.org (an online support group website for various medical conditions) said that what I had been describing sound a lot like fibromyalgia. I printed out as much information on this thing called fibromyalgia and asked my doctor is it possible this is what I have? He sent me to a Rheumatologist that was a civilian doctor. This Rheumatologist did not need to see me very long before he was able to confirm that I had fibromyalgia. As unlikely as this was because I am a man and 9 out of 10 people with fibromyalgia are women and men that have it are usually a lot older than me. So as a young man I was not likely at all to get Fibromyalgia. It was this fact that the Navy Doctors latched onto and assumed that I must be faking it. Long story short here; they send me to a Navy Shrink to figure out if I am faking it. They figured out that I was not and eventually I got medically discharged about 2 years later.
Since I decided to stay in Maine. I have a VA Hospital fairly close to me and they provided some medical care for me. Even though at this time Cannabis is legal in Maine as a medicine for certain conditions I would not even consider it. Remember the information that I had been given my whole life. I was living in ignorance and let me tell you what; Ignorance is not bliss when you suffer from a medical condition. It took me six years of living in agony taking mountains of pills three times a day. Doctors refusing to give me anything stronger because I have a chronic condition and that means that it will never go away, therefor, do not want me to get addicted. Years of living in pain, being on handfuls of pills and being very inactive caused me to gain lots of weight from my fit Navy body and I reached up to 330 lbs. I had been living in so much pain for so long. Life was really being to suck and I also started getting very depressed. I even almost became one of the 22 veterans a day that end up taking their own lives.
I even started to look into cannabis as an option I was that desperate! My wife had encouraged me to try it and I talked with people who suffered like me and found out how much relief they got from cannabis, but I was still not sure. It may help with the pain but isn’t it going to kill me or make me stupid if I use it? I was still every concerned and worried about using cannabis.
This is when I started to find out what is truly addicting when it comes to cannabis. It is not smoking it; it is learning about it and everything it can do. Learning about the positive things it does for you. But still I was a little hesitant about trying it. Something was holding me back some of that was it was still illegal for me to try it before getting a recommendation from a doctor and VA doctor can’t recommend it. So I would have to pay to get a recommendation and not know if it will help me or not.
It was sometime in 2012 that my fibromyalgia decided to spike up hard and go from living in mere agony to full on being tortured in the pits of hell. My pain was so bad all I could do was curl up into a ball and cry. My wife not knowing what to do because she was well aware how little the VA would do for me. Asking me what I want her to do; I replied back to call a friend of mine that I knew smoked and see if he would bring some over and let me try it because of the level of pain I was in I could not bear it any longer. That was the first day I had felt what it was like to live without the fibromyalgia monster mauling me every moment I lived.
It has been a few years now that I have been using medical cannabis. My world has turned upside down and now I am finding out every day how wonderful cannabis can be. I am learning that what I knew about cannabis growing up had mostly been made up of lies, misinformation and negative propaganda. What many of you may be wondering right now is how it has changed my life.
Since I have started using cannabis I have seen some wonderful changes. I no longer take pharmaceutical medication on a daily basis. With the ability to reduce chronic pain I suffer from I was able to start doing light weight low impact workouts without feeling like I might die. It is because of this that I have been able to lose 84 lbs and I am not done losing weight yet! Since cannabis can also take care of withdrawal symptoms it helped me quit smoking tobacco for good. Something I had started while in the Navy. With having less pain and doing these work outs I also started to gain some balance back. For most of the time that I have had fibromyalgia I have walked with a cane. The pain can get so intense that I could not hold myself up right it was next to impossible. For many years I have been barely able to take one or two steps without the use of my cane. Now only on my most painful days do I need to use it and they are few and far in between now. For a long time I dreamed about being able to walk again without my cane but I had also accepted the fact that I was not going to be able to walk again without it. Cannabis has changed my life! In fact it might be more accurate to say that cannabis gave me back my life and gave me a passion to help others that might have grown up similar to me: In ignorance but ignorance is easily cured with accurate information.
As you can tell cannabis has become a very important part of my life. I want to tell everyone about all the positive information I find out about cannabis. I am now a Cannabis Scholar this means that in much of my spare time I do research and trying to find out as much information as I can on Cannabis. So I started my Blog as a way to share all the information I have learned about Cannabis at www.FibroMan.com and I post links to my blog on Facebook and Twitter. I am also currently working on a couple cannabis inspired books. I am looking for stories like mine where cannabis has changed your life for the better. There are lots of stories like mine scattered across the world on the Internet. What I want to do is make a book that shows people cannabis is a medicine for many conditions and to recognize it as such. I am also working on a children’s educational book on cannabis to help facilitate a conversation between the medical cannabis patient and their child. If you are interested in sharing your inspirational cannabis story with me please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a comment below. Let’s change the prospective on cannabis.
“Spread Cannabis Knowledge!”