Cannabis saved my life, but let me tell you about my Barbara…
When I was growing up in southern California, I became an adult under the Reagan years. I whole heartedly believed Nancy Reagan when she told me to “Just Say No”.
Then my wife got sick…
Barbara and I were married in 1986. While pregnant with both of our children, Barbara had gestational diabetes. It went away after our son, but decided to stay after the birth of our daughter.
Diabetes resulted in several eye surgeries and eventually, Barbara became legally blind. Despite very good control of her sugar levels, some years later Barbara suffered the onset of kidney and heart issues. She went onto kidney dialysis and frequently underwent balloon angioplasty.
During this period, Barbara was prescribed strong opioids and benzodiazepines, resulting in lethargy, depression and a life of constant doctor visits. It was not a good quality of life; she would often become confused and started spending more and more time sleeping.
Then Arizona’s Proposition 203 made medical cannabis a possibility and the future brightened. Not being able to smoke, Barbara first tried a brownie recipe. There was much laughter and then a very good night’s sleep. Once she had tried several methods, she settled on a vaporizer.
Within several months Barbara discontinued using opioids and benzodiazepines, lost weight and was able to use her wheelchair less and less. It was my pleasure to take her by the arm as she would walk into doctor visits, opting to leave the wheelchair on the back of the truck. Even better, she ‘woke up’. Barbara lost all the fog and fatigue she’d known for so many years. Her appetite improved while even continuing to lose weight. Her depression lessened and she started having fun again. I was the next one to get a cannabis license, even managing to grow a few (sickly-looking) plants. It was a wonderful time.
Then, shortly before what would have been our 28th anniversary, Barbara suffered a sudden, fatal heart attack.
Already suffering from PTSD, Barbara’s death spun me into a dark, depressive emotional state. I started sleeping all the time, my appetite became nil and life became oppressive. I even found myself considering suicide. Luckily, our local dispensary started carrying a variety of Cannabis called ‘Chocolope’. Upon using Chocolope for a short time, I too ‘woke up’.
Today I have a Grandson, my blood pressure is under control without pills, I’ve lost weight, I’m walking – I recently surpassed 100 km – and go about my day with an occasional smile. I talk to my Barbara when I need to – complicated grief sucks – and I’m starting to look towards the future.
Cannabis is not for everyone, but in my humble opinion, it is a topic upon which everyone should read. Cannabis is serious medicine but is safer than anything else available. I’m proud that within my lifetime this incredible plant has gained recognition and acceptance, at least within a number of states. I hope that by the time my grandson can choose whether or not to use Cannabis, the world will have finally realized that we were fools for ever banning it.
When you have a moment, please look beyond the rhetoric and find out for yourself whether or not Cannabis should be a choice in your life. It changed Barbara’s life and it saved mine. It might do the same thing for you.