Pubdate: Thu, 08 Jan 2015
Source: NOW Magazine (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 NOW Communications Inc.
Author: Matt Mernagh


Author of Marijuana Smoker's Guidebook (Green Candy Press) and host of
The Mernahuana Zone webcast, Tuesdays at Vapor Central. The younger stoners jokingly refer to me as the Lady Gaga of Ganja for
my cannabis costumes at our 4/20 smoke-outs. But my style is more
David Bowie. Outlandish clothes help hide my physical shortcomings -
in my case my crooked spine.

Sometimes I view my body as broken. Chronic pain has me measuring my
suffering on a scale of one to 10 every day. It's a way to help me
understand a body riddled with hidden health issues: scoliosis,
arthritis, fibromyalgia.

Marijuana is my other coping mechanism. A decade of our public
puff-downs has pushed pot prohibition onto the front pages, but the
federal government continues to restrict access to medical marijuana
and threaten to jail people for growing their own medicine.

I did time in the Don for growing my own in 2008. I got a licence to
possess pot after taking the government to court, but I'm still not
sure if I'm going to get busted anyway every time I travel outside
Toronto. The government continues to deny marijuana's therapeutic
benefits. Now they've turned over production to a few big companies
that are making it too expensive for many who require pot as medicine.
It's the only medicine that's helped my seizures. Another ruined me so
badly, I shattered my shoulder and was in physiotherapy for a year.
But that experience instilled a strong workout ethic that continues
six years later.

Without my medical marijuana - and weekly Pilates sessions - I'd never
have become physically able to ride a bike, walk, climb a mountain
(Grouse Grind) or have the courage to be photographed sans clothing.

Doing spectacularly fun stuff is my other way of giving pain the
middle finger. Mentally, though, it can be extremely upsetting to know
the pain will never go away. Mindfulness is teaching me to let certain
feelings go and focus on the moment.  
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