Approximately 10 years ago, my wife Ellen, was diagnosed with two rare conditions. After much experimentation with numerous treatment approaches, it was finally determined that the most effective treatment for pain and restorative sleep for her would be medical cannabis. While a permanent cure would remain elusive, cannabis has not only saved Ellen’s life but provided us with a quality of life we had dismissed as ever being possible. I would become Ellen’s legal caregiver.
Having been avid organic gardeners, Ellen and I believed it would be logical that we could easily apply a lifetime of vegetable gardening to the cultivation of organic cannabis. We soon would learn that growing indoors in a controlled environment required technology and a special skill set which we were not familiar with. It was at this point that the generosity of the medical cannabis community entered our lives. With the support and knowledge of a number of indoor cannabis growers, we quickly learned of the special technology we needed, along with the understanding of the cannabis life cycle so critical to successful indoor growing of the cannabis plant. In a fairly brief period of time, we were able to produce enough medicine to provide for my wife’s needs and then to become caregivers for a number of patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions. While we learned a great deal from our initial experiences with the medical cannabis community skills wise, more importantly, we developed friendships which continue to this day. Cannabis brought a number of gentle, wonderful, giving people into our lives for which we will remain forever grateful. What better way to make good friends than to share the joy of engaging in a life giving through this life affirming activity.
Cannabis can be a very expensive medication. As Ellen and I were able to keep our costs very low through home growing, we were able to provide medicine to many patients who may not have been able to afford an adequate supply for effective treatment. Were able to do this by not making a profit by not charging for our labor. From 2008 to 2018, we were able to supply patients with medication at reasonable cost. We would always encourage patients to attempt to grow, when possible, offering them the necessary support, just as we had received.
Prior to my retirement, I had been employed as a social worker and supervisor for DCYF. MY wife had been a middle school teacher, two professions filled with periods of great frustration and an incredible sense of professional self-actualization. With this being said, Ellen and I have come to the conclusion that the process of sharing the success of a new patient utilizing cannabis for the first time and experiencing reduced pain and deep restorative sleep devoid of side effects, has been the most rewarding of all the human experiences in our lives. Once again, cannabis would serve as the critical element in creating a caring human network.
I guess that what I am saying is those who utilize cannabis as a medicine and their caregivers are in a sense, able to create an independent supportive medical community. The focus of this community tends to be on both the social and medical aspect of treatment, perhaps neither outweighing the other. The narrow medical model, practiced by most in the medical profession, may not prove as therapeutic as the medicine practiced in the medical cannabis community. Perhaps, just as critical to the health and sense of well-being to those suffering from chronic conditions, is the psychological sense of empowerment when a patient is able to manage his or her medical issues on their own. In many instances cannabis creates this opportunity. Indeed, cannabis is more than medicine.