A Little Bit of History
Raised in a Religious Household
My entire life I was raised in a very strict religious household. This meant that not only did my family not smoke or drink but I had no relatives I knew that did either. I was taught that all forms of tobacco, alcohol, or any illegal substances were considered a major sin and not to be tolerated. Unfortunately this included cannabis. For me that meant that I grew up thinking that with weed there was this only black and white possibility for its use. You either do not use it and you are a good person, or you “do drugs” and are a bad person. But there is so so so SO much more to it then that.
Cannabis has been helping the medical community since the 1850s despite being classified as an illegal substance in 1970 when we really still didn’t know much about it either but in the past few years we have seen it used to treat neuropathic pain, decrease seizures, treat anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, muscle spasms, eating disorders, and of course IBD which is where I come in.
Crohn’s has Never been an Easy Thing
I was diagnosed at age 10 with a chronic disease that I realized I would be living with the rest of my life. Just think about that for a minute. A ten year old whose life has just been altered with a disease name, being told there is no cure, and then being told they dont really know how to treat it especially because it isn’t typically a child illness. What a bombshell. I thought he had really just told me I was going to die. Luckily that wasnt the case but it has been years of hell trying to figure it out myself with a little help from the doctors. The problem with Crohn’s is that it is different in every single person so its hard to find something to treat everyone. So I bounced through medications about 6 months at a time until they would stop working and I would be switched to another one. In between this mess of medication management I would get sick enough to have a stay in the hospital and then healthy enough to be discharged but it felt like an endless circle. One medication has had a lasting effect throughout my journey though and I will give a shout out to Remicade as it has prevented worse surgeries in the past and helped maintain a pretty decent baseline for the current days. But that is slightly off topic… Anyways the summer of 2011 I had an obstruction that needed to be surgically fixed in my lower colon and my sigmoid colon(right before the anus) was showing sign of cancer so I needed to have a colostomy placed. This I was certain was the end for me. Imagine a 21 year old girl being in an emergency room being told you were going to have to have a colostomy or you were going to die. Heavy shit. So at 21 years old I got to experience the pleasure of having a colostomy bag. The very bright lining to my cloud was the fact that after 8 months of this colostomy my lower colon had healed enough that it could be reconnected. So while I am missing the part of my colon that was looking cancerous, the rest was healthy enough to be reconnected. This was not the end however because Crohn’s does not simply go away, it is a lifetime of effort.
My Introduction to Cannabis
Up until 2013 I had managed to still never run into Cannabis as an actual option for treatment, and it actually was not a doctor to first give the recommendation. Having a chronic illness meant my best friend also had a chronic illness whose parents were more focused on natural remedies to treatments so she had gotten a green card a few years previously in order to treat her EDS/POTS and had noticed how much better she felt using cannabis in her medication regime. In 2013 I moved to Arizona to go to nursing school and my Crohn’s was getting out of control. I was sick from the stress and exhaustion of working and going to school both full time and trying to obtain the career of my dreams and I was starting to break down. I was dangerously close to a hospital stay and knew it. Its funny how you get to learn your body but I knew I was close to fully breaking down and I knew I needed a change. It took one particularly bad night when I was curled up in the fetal position crying because my stomach felt like I was being repeatedly stabbed. I couldn’t take deep breaths because it made the pain worse and all I could think about was how I had to be in class for an exam at 0900. I vividly remember the instantaneous relief I felt from the stabbing pain in my stomach after I had my first experience with cannabis and how I was able to breathe like a normal person. The speed at which I felt relief, the lasting effects of the relief, and the minimal side effects made me curious as to why it wasn’t being recommended to more patients in states that had been medicinally approved.
My Journey Continues
My journey started here and is continuing to develop the more I learn and try to find what really is the best for me. You are welcome to read on with the hope that you might find something that may work equally well for you. It is not an easy path as it is still seen as quite controversial but I can honestly say that Cannabis has changed my life for the better and I hope it can help others who have yet to find that relief.