I work as a Physician Assistant in the Emergency Room. This has provided a vast amount of patient experiences. I remember my first interaction with a medical marijuana patient. They came to the ER looking for relief from pain. They had a prescription pharmaceutical in hand called Marinol. The patient gave it to me and said,’ take this shit… all it does is get me high!”. At the time I also thought medical marijuana was a hoax and all the patients wanted was to get “high.” I read about the medication to find that it was compressed THC which is the psychoactive component of marijuana without the CBD’s (Cannabinoids.) Modern research has changed our knowledge about medical marijuana and led us to focus more on the CBD’s for therapeutic relief.
Two years later I worked on a floor taking care of admitted medical and surgical patients. This atmosphere allows for the practitioner to sit and listen to their patients compared to a crazy emergency room. The same stories kept surfacing. I’m a teacher, work for the State, a Veteran or an Electric Boat employee who gets routine drug testing. Marijuana helps me; however, please don’t put this information into my record. At this time I was cultivating marijuana for four patients. My knowledge had increased yet I didn’t let the patients know it. I asked open ended questions in order to learn from their experiences. Some had their disorders under control until they had to quit using medical marijuana due to employment laws. Their symptoms quickly returned.
The stories were quite numerous and all had an impact on me. I remember a surgeon laughing at a patient after being told to shove his percocet and provide a medical marijuana card. I asked the surgeon what he did next. He didn’t know anything about medical marijuana, and I informed him. It felt good both educating and treating. That same surgeon ended up providing his own home for end of life Hospice Care to that same patient. While this patient was in the hospital, I advocated for his use of medical marijuana. The pharmacy was confused, as there were no protocols for this! He was allowed to visit an area on the property to medicate. The stories are endless and memorable.
I was cultivating for four different patients at this point, all with different painful neurological conditions. I remember providing five different strains each marked by a letter. Every patient picked the same strains in order with Blueberry providing the most relief. This was consistent with the Vancouver Compassion Center in British Columbia and several California based centers. Patients were preferring not only the same strains but ones lower in THC and higher in Cannabinoids. I attended a Patients Out of Time Conference that further explained the synergistic relationship between both THC and Cannabinoids. Now the Marinol pill experience and the patients choosing Blueberry Strains were making sense.
I then applied for a Compassion Center under Alternative Therapeutics. I poured my heart and soul into this as I found something new that took hold of me. Although I didn’t get awarded one, life long friends have been the reward for this venture.
With the winds taken out of my sails, I maintained a low profile, keeping to myself and helping patients on a smaller level, until I went to the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicine Conference in Cologne, Germany last September. The research studies were not only amazing but once again sparked my interests in Medical Marijuana.