My name is Stranger, I am a 51 year old, white/native male that lives in the West Georgia area. I suffer from anxiety/depression, chronic pain, a rare disease, and problems from a traumatic childhood. Raised by an abusive, alcoholic mother, the environment was always loud,chaotic, and confusing. I’m going to try and break down my various medical conditions and how using cannabis helps each condition without the use of addictive, dangerous and deadly, prescription drugs. We’ll start with chronic pain. My first major accident occurred when I was in my early 20’s. As an avid,backpacker, canoeist, camper I was always in the mountains playing/living. My foot slipped one day at a waterfall I hung out at. I pushed as hard as I could to avoid the rocks below and I did but landed on my head in pea gravel where the water was only about 3′ deep. I broke my neck and had to be carried out in a basket and life flighted to the hospital. I lost my left arm for a couple of years but have most of it back. Neck pain is mostly extreme spasms that can last hours or days. Pain that shoots from the neck and shoulders to the temples that will stop me in my tracks. Cannabis greatly reduces the severity and duration of the spasms. After wearing a damn halo set-up for 6 months I slowly rebuilt my life. Until 1996, when 2 disks ruptured and a vertebrae cracked and slipped out of place. Then came the surgery (which failed) and the med’s, ton’s of pills. Some can relate to the list, Soma, Xanax, OxyIR and Oxy 80’s, trazadone and so many more, then came the methadone. To substitute the Oxycontin levels, the methadone grew to 150 mg. a day. Which is a lot. I finally got so sick of the pills, the pain, the sickness, the extortion from the pain clinics, I was done. Stick a fork in me -I’m done. Only using cannabis and benzo’s, I was able to survive the 12 week withdrawal from methadone. I live in a constant state of pain rarely dropping below a pain level of 3, and during the summer months with yard work and gardening I live a 6-7 everyday. Cannabis is the only thing I use for that pain. No Aleve, Tylenol, etc. I know my limits and my body and with cannabis I can lower the pain level quickly and then do a hot bath, stretches, etc. without the use of dangerous, addictive, narcotics. After a year or so of getting off the narcotics I started drinking. I should have known better growing up in an alcoholic family but I didn’t. My last drunk took 7 years to get over. I had lost my home during the mortgage collapse, gone to jail a number of times, almost lost my very loved wife. Had several firearms taken from me and never returned even after charges were dropped. The last time I went to jail did it. I quit drinking on that Monday morning. I’ll share details with anyone who might need them. Once again, after about 6 months my wife and I decided I should start using cannabis again to help to stay sober and to help these with vicious, vomiting episodes I was having. Cannabis helped greatly to ward off small episodes but the big ones kept landing me in the hospital. I was eventually diagnosed with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) a very rare, barely understood condition that can cause the most misery. This is not to be confused with Cannabanoid Hypermesis Syndrome which is starting to make the news. It is not the same condition, but now that it’s being reported in medical journals, when I show up in the ER I’m treated like a 2nd class citizen and even scolded and ridiculed for my condition. They have denied me pain medication twice this year because I tested positive for cannabis. The Doctors insisted I had Cannabanoid Hypermesis Syndrome even after explaining and showing medical records from my specialist in Atlanta Piedmont hospital that I in fact had CVS and He was treating me for it. One doctor in my last 5 ER visits read and treated me as instructed by my specialist. Folks there is still a stigma and discrimination against those of us who have discovered cannabis as “better and safer” that pharmaceuticals. This is the Reader’s Digest condensed version. I can go into further details and/or be willing to talk to anyone who thinks I might be able to help them. Bottom Line is this: Cannabis has saved me from suicide a couple of times, through dark/deep depression, helped me with childhood trauma issues (anxiety and anger), helps me to deal with my alcoholism (4.5 yrs now), has kept me out of numerous fights over the years – chilling the beast – so to speak, it made it possible for me to overcome and break opiate dependence after my back surgery. I have lost 70 lbs, exercise regularly, dropped from 4 blood pressure medicines to none. I maintain 120/70 everyday. No more of those scary ass SSRI’s, no more of their side effects. Also helps with a sleep disorder I have called, “REM Sleep Disorder” And for the most part, allows me to eat and keep it down and helps to decrease the severity of my CVS episodes. From my wife’s own mouth, ” I have the greatest husband now but it wasn’t always so when he drank.” And in fairness, we both were drinking heavy and we’re both recovering alcoholics. We need to keep talking and educating. It is so easy these days to bring it up in any conversation, any where, with anybody, even if it’s just a joke or comment. As long as we’re talking, we’re winning.
Sharon is a wife, mother, caregiver, business owner and life long resident of Georgia. Her eyes were opened when her family was traumatized by the “War on Drugs”, she uses her ears to listen to other victims and her voice to tell their stories and educate others on the direct and indirect harms of prohibition and how it affects us all.
Sharon has been a guest on numerous radio stations across the country as well as local and regional TV news affiliates. As well as LadyBud Magazine, HighTimes Magazine and Main Street. She was recently nominated by Mass/Cann NORML for National Female Activist of the Year. Sharon has traveled the country speaking on various topics including drug policy, activism, southern strategies and harm reduction. She produces a segment on 420radio.com highlighting the stories and work of other women in the fight to end marijuana prohibition.