A terrible car accident and three herniated discs.

That’s where my cannabis story begins. At the time of the accident in 2002, I was only 24 years old. The herniated discs caused non-stop headaches that would often turn into migraines. I would get buzzing behind my eyes, numbness and tingling in my left arm and fingers and I haven’t even touched on the overwhelming pain.

Later that year a neurosurgeon explained to me that my only hope for relief would be to have two of the three discs removed and fused. Fortunately, the surgery was successful, and I felt immediate relief. Still, it took another year to fully recover. I still had aches and pains and limited range of motion, but the improvement was significantly noticeable.

I got 10 good years.

Then slowly all my old symptoms (and some new ones) crept back. By the summer of 2012, I was a heaping pile of pain and misery. I was in bed, on heat, all the time. I owned my own business then, and I was struggling every day to keep up. I finally went back to the doctor.

Enter steroids and opiates.

My doctor prescribed prednisone to bring down the severe inflammation and oxycodone for the pain. It barely made a dent, he then added cortisone shots, gabapentin, and Skelaxin (for muscle spasms). That helped minimally. After a while, he had to up the doses. When that stopped working, he added “enhancement” medications. All these drugs caused severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Opioid-Induced Constipation (OIC). My doctor’s answer was more pills, of course.

That damn Fentanyl patch.

By the end of 2013, my doctor had prescribed the Fentanyl patch. Finally, no pain, but I had so much medication in me that it began to screw with my brain and body chemistry. Result? My body responded with severe depression and anxiety. The doctors responded with more drugs, Wellbutrin and Xanax.

Prior to my back issues returning, my partner and I had been trying for a few years to have a baby. Toward the end of 2014, I became pregnant and was over the moon. I quit all medication cold turkey and got sick - horribly sick. The detox was awful but worth it. I was miserable and in constant pain, but I didn’t care. I was having a baby.

I lost the baby.

They say, “it happens”, but I know in my heart it was from all the prescription drugs.

Queue Cannabis.

When cannabis did FINALLY become available to purchase here in Maryland, I was eager to try it. I got my card in May of 2018 and went straight to the dispensary. One of the first things I bought was CBD oil. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t super hopeful, but I was super desperate. So, I took a dropper full of Liberty’s CBD that same day. Within 30 minutes I already started to feel relief. I know that sounds unbelievable, but 30 minutes and I could feel it working. The atrophied muscles in my neck and shoulders began to soften and melt. I felt NO head- high but my body began to warm and relax. It was unbelievable.

By day two all my stiffness was gone. GONE. My range of motion improved (I can now look over my shoulder). Then the numbness in my right pinky and ring finger disappeared. Those fingers had been numb and tingly for nearly a year! I was brought to tears over and over again as I improved and healed at a rapid rate. For the first time in 16 years, I felt good. I felt really good. I forgot what it was like to feel like a human being.

For weeks following, I’d leave to go somewhere and would have this feeling like I was forgetting something. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It drove me nuts. Then I realized it was the pain! Literally, it was like this enormous, heavy tumor that was suddenly just gone. I spent 16 years of my life in some kind of pain. I lost time with my children – I lost nearly everything. I nearly lost my mind and life as well because the thought of facing a lifetime in constant pain was unbearable.

Cannabis saved my life.

I replaced countless drugs with one little plant. I’m forever grateful and I don’t want one more person to stay in pain because they don’t think there are other options. People don’t have to die from these prescription drugs. I want to end the stigma.

I had so many side effects from the prescription drugs - thrush, OIC, IBS, night terrors, tics, and headaches to name just a few. The side effects I’ve experienced with cannabis: I sleep well, my dermatillomania is almost non-existent (yes, I accidentally treated my OCD disorder), it reduces nausea caused by my Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and it helps me eat.

I really just want to scream to the world, “WAKE UP!” We had it all backward. Cannabis is the REAL medicine and all that prescription shit is the drugs.