More Than Just Medicine

More Than Just Medicine

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.

Stuart and Ellen Lenox-Smith

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.

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Authored by: Stuart B. Smith

Stuart B. Smith is the C0-director of Cannabis Advocacy for US Pain Foundation.

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I have found it somewhat difficult to locate a doctor that has been willing to sign themselves up with the state to prescribe cannabis. The ones that I have located in the northern suburbs of Chicago have a waiting list for new patients that can be up to 10 months. The “off the record” comments I have received are that they fear putting their name out there for the Government to notice due to the thinking that any publicity is bad publicity in this age of confiscate and shut down first then possibly prosecute after your business, name and life are ruined.
I have tried reputable hemp oil which didn’t really do anything for me. The only upside is that I really don’t like the idea of getting “high” personally so not being able to find a doctor for the cannabis isn’t really that big of a deal for me but I can see where it would be a major hurdle for others and that bothers me greatly.

Stacie Wagner

Gary Raymond as far as spines go I have Addisons Disease and I am sure that steroid injections are what caused it! I wasn’t ever told by the medical community that steroid shots shut down your adrenal system for a period of time and they do not actually know for sure how long that period of time will be or if it will be permanent. Another scary side effect of having chronic back pain is living with it and Addisons Disease. I’m glad that you are collecting some data. Massachusetts actually keeps pretty good records on deaths you may want to check with them, even online. I know I looked at overdose deaths and found MA records show that about 90% of the OD death was related to directly to Fentanyl, most of which was illegal. I also traced where most Fentanyl comes from and across the US it’s a resounding from China through Canada. So Good Luck with your research I hope you find some help. I wish I could do more than point you in a direction but I do hope that it has helped. 🙏


I don’t see how it is more than a medication based on this article. Sorry. It seems to be about growing cannibus for medicine. .


Thankyou, sounds wonderful, I suffer from EDS, Relapsing Polychondritis and several comorbaties. Be safe Yaa’eh’tee.vppev

Maureen M.

Hi Stuart, that’s a wonderful post. You and Ellen are very blessed. How wonderful of you two to help so many others. What state are you in?
If only those of us who would like to try it, could. It all depends on where you live, your support system, your doctors’ allowing you to try (mine will not), your personal abilities etc. God bless you both for all that you do for others.

Gary Raymond

When is the CDC going to publish their statistics after 3 years of surveillance? They are able to report, within hours, if 14 people contract polymosis. We need to know if suicides have increased. We need to know if opioid-related deaths are caused by prescription medication or black market drugs. We need to know how many people have experienced organ failure from too much ibuprofen. We need to know how many spines are dissolving because of cortisone injections. We need to know the criteria that declare the epidemic is over.

B. D.

Thank you for sharing your story. This treatment mode currently unavailable for me. Anxiously awaiting a day when I may be prescribed medicinal cannabis. It brings me hope upon hearing successful stories.

Denise Bault

God bless you for doing what you are doing! I saw the best t-shirt at a dispensary that said, “Don’t Hate, Educate!” That’s the best message when discussing marijuana with the ill informed. Keep up the good work! (I’m looking forward to the day I can grow my own as well.)