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Desperately seeking legitimacy

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By Hannah Hayes

If marijuana makes you giggle, it’s easy to have a good laugh at the plethora of dispensaries on seemingly every street corner in certain Denver neighborhoods. Talking with two patients who have benefited greatly from marijuana edibles made me straighten up and take notice.
It’s tempting to call one anonymous subject Mary Jane, a small joke, yet she does represent some dramatic evidence as to the benefits of this herbal regime. With a 10-year history of prescribed opiates and a 200mg daily dose of morphine, MJ had no quality of life and was still in chronic pain. Two different and dramatic accidents were repaired, but her pain neurons continued to fire up even though the initial cause had been “handled.”
Now, after eating an infused “Tootsie Roll” each night before bed for two weeks, almost all of her pain is gone. She sleeps well and is feeling good enough that she enjoyed herself on the dance floor at a recent party.
“I’m amazed that the cannabis is treating the problem and is not just palliative,” says Mary Jane. “I’ve learned that smoking destroys the cannabinoids, the active ingredient, and that edibles can make deep changes while providing help for anxiety and depression. While it’s not a good fit for teenagers, it’s a perfect herb for older folks.”
Subject No. 2, let’s name her “Local Gal,” doesn’t want surgery. She has severe carpal tunnel Syndrome, has done her homework on various treatments, both traditional and alternatives, and has chosen marijuana edibles for pain relief. Raising two kids made Local Gal determined to keep pot out of her house. After five years of problems working with her hands plus osteoporosis, she was led back to something she had given up in the ‘70s.
“I used to get heart palpitations from smoking,” says Gal, “but with edibles and respect for proper doses, my attitude improves, my hand doesn’t hurt and there are no side effects.
“There’s not a party going on here. It’s just medicine that has kept me off Bufferin and allowed me to continue with the work I love to do.”
Mary Jane is legal for now and Local Gal “cooks under the radar” in her effort to remain pain free. As Colorado lawmakers grapple with confusing medical marijuana laws, it’s vital to accede to those with serious pain who have been helped by this herb.

Hannah B. Hayes is a former Both Sides Now debate columnist, small-business owner and peace activist.