One individual’s experience
Story by Cassandra Brandt
It’s just another day, but for me that means waking up in pain, anxious, and with my limp body flopping around the bed like a fish out of water. I take my morning medications; for me, this includes a few puffs off a slim, silver vape pen. Inhaling, I let it calm me.
I blow the sweet tasting cloud into the air. My stiff arms and legs reluctantly respond, becoming still and pliable enough for my paralyzed body to be dressed. My mind calms and the body follows.
Even though I just medicated with marijuana, I’m not exactly high; this particular strain of medicinal marijuana is higher in CBD than in THC, the cannabinoid in marijuana responsible for the psychotropic sensation marijuana is known for. I am not experiencing any negative or unwanted side effects. My mind is simply soothed, muscle spasms subsided and pain dulled.
After I was paralyzed in a car accident three years ago, doctors prescribed strong muscle relaxers for spasms, narcotics for pain, and benzodiazepines for anxiety and depression. I slept constantly and had no drive to get back to my life. I eventually began to medicate with marijuana and found that it not only provided relief for my depression and anxiety attacks, but helped my pain and seemed to reduce the severity and frequency of my muscle spasms. I was able to reduce my dependence on pharmaceuticals and I no longer suffered all the dreadful side effects of the prescription drugs: constipation and itching from the narcotics, inability to focus, constant sleepiness and even some memory loss bought on by the antidepressants.
On a typical day, I smoke about a gram of MMJ to keep the pain and negativity at bay so I can participate in life. I typically do not prefer CBD alone and choose my medicine accordingly.
I am able to curb anxiety at night and sleep after dosing with a tasty brownie, purchased legally with an MMJ card.
Medicinal Marijuana isn’t for everyone. It isn’t legal on a federal level, so some ill and disabled individuals do not consider it an option. Some employers, government-funded programs, and medical treatment facilities still bar medical marijuana users as policy. For example, I was kicked off my pain management doctor’s list after starting my MMJ regimen, but I am doing fine without the narcotics. I choose to continue using medical marijuana as a more palatable alternative to the side-effects of my pharmaceutical drugs.
Although legal in Arizona under narrow medical uses and with proper documentation, marijuana remains a prohibited substance per the Controlled Substances Act. Federally, cannabis is classed as a Schedule I substance and considered to have a high potential for dependency and no accepted medical use.
Even with a medical marijuana card issued by the state, federal enforcement is at the discretion of the Department of Justice. MMJ card holders can still face penalties including criminal prosecution and civil asset forfeiture. All programs that rely on federal funds will prohibit the use and sale of marijuana – even for a documented medical use.
Ability360 prohibits the use of marijuana on our campus in compliance with federal law.
Cassandra Brandt is a freelance writer with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. A single mom from Arizona, she was a traveling ironworker before her 2015 injury resulting in quadriplegia.