Pubdate: Mon, 06 Feb 2012 Source: Standard, The (St. Catharines, CN ON) Copyright: 2012 Sun Media Contact: http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/feedback1/LetterToEditor.aspx Website: http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/676 Author: Linda Crabtree MAIDEN VOYAGE WITH MEDICAL MARIJUANA Accessibility advocate Linda Crabtree has lived with chronic pain for 20 years. She recently decided to try to ease her pain with a little medical marijuana. The result? An unexpected trip. During its recent convention, the federal Liberal party said it was going to put forth a platform to legalize, regulate and tax the use of marijuana. Good idea. It's two nights before Christmas Eve. I've had a tough week with meetings and deadlines and badly need a break from my burning, aching body. I received my licence to possess medical marijuana on Dec. 2 and have some very pungent, green marijuana butter sitting in the fridge. 8:15 p.m.: I spread some butter on a couple of rye crackers and top them off with peanut butter. I finish watching my TV program while eating. 9 p.m.: I'm on the computer checking my e-mail and can't stop laughing. Everything is funny. Hilarious. 9:30 p.m.: Showering. Normally, everything I do physically has to be controlled consciously because my legs are partially paralyzed. I'm not feeling in control. I climb into bed to watch my favourite show, MI5. 10:15 p.m.: I realize the TV screen is coming at me, everything sounds magnified and I can't move my legs at all. Sometime between 10:30 and 11:30, my husband, Ron, calls the hospital's emergency department and asks what to do with me as I'm seeing things, terrible things. I'm whooping, my speech is slurred and slow. I liken how I'm behaving to the Exorcist. I've never seen the movie. The trailer was enough for me. I'm sure I'm going to die and I'm terrified. 12:15 p.m.: I remember someone asking me to calm down as an ambulance joggles us to the hospital. This almost 70-year-old member of the Order of Canada is shouting and spewing like someone possessed. My voice seems to be my only link with the living; everything else is hallucination, and my body simply doesn't exist. 2 a.m.: I beg my husband not to leave me. He won't. He's falling asleep holding my hand, sitting in an armless chair in a tiny dark room somewhere in the hospital. I'm seeing armies of blue-booted soldiers marching through patches of big, fleshy, green cactus with huge yellow thorns. When I open my eyes, the room swims and when I close them, there's a new terrifying vision. I ask where we are and when he tells me I'm in hospital because I'm having an adverse reaction to marijuana, my only reply is an incredulous "Nooooo!" I'm mortified. 4:30 a.m.: Eight hours since I ate my crackers with green marijuana butter. I know where I am and why. How could this happen? I took so little. I feel ashamed that I've abused the medical system, but am also annoyed. With more information, could I have known this might happen? Medical marijuana doesn't come with instructions. You're on your own. Could I have been more careful and prepared? At least with most of the pain medications I've been on, they tell you what can happen should your body react adversely. With marijuana, there is no warning. I sleep. No more hallucinations. 7:15 a.m.: Ron is back. I can think, but moving is another thing. It takes two people to dress me and when I go to stand, I collapse. Normally, due to a neuromuscular disease, I can't walk at all, but can usually stand to get my slacks up. This time I'm a dead weight in Ron's arms. 8 a.m.: We're home. My bed never felt so good and I sleep until suppertime. The next day I ate like there was no tomorrow. So this was what they call the munchies. If it was, I had them. It took two days for the side-effects of my maiden trip to wear off. But here's the thing.... I had no pain whatsoever, for two whole days. Nothing. An e-mail to my medical marijuana source asking him what happened told me that I'm one of those people who need very little to experience results. He said that the entire quarter-pound. of butter he sent only contained a few grams. I had used about a teaspoon or less. He said the one good thing about it all is that I'll never have to spend a fortune on product to get pain relief. I still haven't tried it again, but I will -- carefully and with the knowledge that with me, a little goes a long way. Cogeco's Video on Demand offers an excellent documentary, Can Cannabis Cure Cancer? If you want to know what's really happening with marijuana, besides the numerous grow-op raids in the daily paper, take a look. There is research going on around the world and its properties are astounding scientists. Its potential to cure cancer is mind blowing. Big pharmaceuticals in the U.K. are growing it. Its time is coming and they know it. I don't blame myself for trying what I can to alleviate my pain. I do blame those who keep it from being brought to the public in a scientific, safe manner. The Liberals may not carry through on their platform, and I doubt that they'll form the next government, but someone in our federal government should take the blinders off and begin working with the people to regulate, license and tax marijuana so those who want to use it can do so safely and with the same information we have about alcohol. We don't allow bootleg booze. We make sure our alcohol is safe; then what you do with it is your business. The same goes for marijuana. Know who is growing what, where, and what it can do, then put it to use. Its potential is staggering, but we only know the downside. - ---------------------- [sidebar] QUICK FACTS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA Available to those with severe conditions, i. e multiple sclero-sis, spinal cord injury/disease, cancer, AIDS/HIV, severe arthri-tis, epilepsy. A Health Canada licence to pos-sess and/or grow is necessary Medical marijuana can be ingested (cookies, butter, tea), smoked or vaporized You can buy from the govern-ment, grow your own, or desig-nate a grower who will supply you with legal marijuana There are diff erent strains for different conditions Many doctors will not sign the application form Contact a medical marijuana clinic for help. The closest is Hamilton. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.