Testimony for Medical Marijuana by Oklahomans:
My Medical StoryI was born in Oklahoma City and have lived my entire life in OKC and Tulsa. I have a state college degree. During college I used marijuana for recreational purposes and quit the "partying" scene in '96. I ended up at college graduation with honors. In '97 I injured my back. I was diagnosed with a herniated spinal disc (L4-L5) and had pain shooting down my legs to my toes. I was given epidural steroid injections, opioid pain medication and Vioxx. Vioxx did work relatively well, at that time, before the FDA pulled it because it affected some individuals negatively.
In 2001 I ended up rupturing that same disc and opted for surgery due to excruciating pain (felt like the crazy burn/pulling feeling like you were severely over stretching your hamstring except it was always there 24/7/365 and made sleep, work, sex, family outings impossible). After surgery I was better, somewhat, and had flare ups of pain maybe every 2 weeks or a month. The pain slowly got worse until 2005 when I was back in excruciating pain now with degenerative disc disease, L3-L4 and L4-L5 ruptures. They verified these several issues during a dicogram (sucks!!!) Again, I was put on opioid meds and opted for surgery again. This time I only had relief for 2 weeks. I was then informed that my body had produced excess scar tissue and the scar tissue was now encompassing the right and left side nerve roots. Since then I have been informed that there is nothing more they can do for me. The many doc's I have been to say that surgery, to scrape the excess tissue, comes with an 85% probability that further surgery will cause the scar tissue to grow back and would likely be worse than before.
I was then sent to pain management. The doctor recommended I have a dorsal neuro spinal stimulator implanted (electrodes attached to the spinal cord and the rechargeable battery and modulator implanted above the butt cheeks). I decided this would be the ultimate last resort and that all other therapies have to exhaust before I go this route. The doctor also explained that I may still have to take pain medication in conjunction with the spinal stimulator. I was receiving ESI and NRB's (epidural steroid injection and nerve root blocks) and morphine and norco. The medications help with the pain somewhat but have a lot of side effects. I now take Prilosec to help my stomach, antidepressant, miralax for constipation every day, maxalt for headache and migraines, all due to the opioids. Opioids are also extremely addictive. If I ever miss a dose, it becomes very brutal (physical withdrawals) on top of the chronic pain. Yes, they do work for their intended purpose but come with a laundry list of side effects that have to be treated with more meds and it just gets worse the longer you are on them.
Currently, I am unemployable as am unable to stand or sit for extended periods, can't sleep good at night and have to nap during the day, can't take the kids to amusement parks or the fair, etc... I no longer smoke but I tried using marijuana as an edible. To my surprise it did work for me. I was able to get rid of almost all of my medications. I was crazy happy I found something that would help so much. However, when I spoke to my doctor about it, he informed me he would no longer treat me if I continued to use marijuana.
In pain management I have to visit my doctor every month and have to take drug test every other. They claim the drug tests are to ensure I take my opioid meds rather than sell them. Turns out they are required by the DEA to screen my urine for everything known to man. The monthly visits, along with urine tests are required by the DEA due to the prescription abuse epidemic. So, here I am, stuck on this opioid medication that is very slowly killing me according to my gastointerologist and being treated like a criminal by my doctor on behalf of the DEA. There is a therapy that would help me more than the current legal therapies but I will go to jail if I use it.
I am seriously discussing relocating to a state where I will have more treatment options as Oklahoma policies are limiting my ability to seek all professional medical help/options. It is difficult to pick up and relocate my family and way of life to seek medical attention that could be offered here if politicians would take responsibility for their constituents in need and provide access to any and all possible medical therapies known to man. That is my right as a God fearing human being. Who are you to tell me what therapies work for me and what therapies won't. I believe medical marijuana to be far safer than opioid therapy in every way, shape, and form. There is incontrovertible evidence this plant/medication has never killed due to overdose. Recent studies out of California show the uses for Marijuana are amazing and further studies will show more and more safe and meaningful uses. Count on it!! Patients are not asking for the government to force everyone to use marijuana, rather, just make it an available therapy for those that can and most likely will benefit.
I understand the reluctance of lawmakers to have an open mind and consider the reforms that are needed but I believe it is their duty to protect my rights as a human being and make this treatment available to me as a therapy for my medical conditions before it is too late. I only wish that our lawmakers would sit back and consider what we are asking as if they, their sons, or daughters were in my situation. The meds slowly tearing the body down, would you not do everything in your power to ensure family or self preservation? How then are lawmakers able to sleep at night knowing they have not done everything in their power to make available a treatment that is considered one of the safest medications on the planet to date? Even aspirin has killed 100 times more people than cannabis. Most people tend to imagine a hippie looking stoner with smoke pouring out from every orifice when they hear the word marijuana. That is far from reality. For instance, it is oral consumption that can provide the greatest benefit. Also, herbal vaporization can be effective without the need for combustion. The combustion of plant material is what is dangerous, not the plant itself.
In some instances, oral consumption of raw cannabis provides the therapeutical benefits but because the plant has not been heated a normal dose may not give the patient that "medicated" feeling. Once heat is applied, it will "activate" so to speak, the THC compound in cannabis and provide a greater level of therapy. In other words, yes their are people who prefer to smoke but there are just as many if not more that consume orally. Stereotypes are difficult to get past when most public service announcements have improperly portrayed patients who use cannabis and grouped them in with the "hippie stoner" crowd. It is time to lay all things aside. Consider the needs of a patient rather than staying the current course denying access based on outdated misinformation. By allowing qualified patients access to medical cannabis, the state of Oklahoma will be saving the lives of and easing the pain of countless Oklahomans. Its time! Its overdue! Its safe! Its effective! Its a no-brainer! Anonymous
Painful Muscles Are RelaxedI was born in Ponca City, Okla., on February 6th. 1944. I am 66 years old. Most of my life I have worked as a model and professional dancer. Other than that I have worked as an executive assistant, I sold Kirby vacuums, (best on the market) and I have done light industrial work. I really enjoy using my hands and brain to put things together. I enjoy this type of work more than an office environment. I have nearly 2 years of college, but did not graduate. I found I could make more money working part time as a model than I could at any other type of jobs. I am now unable to perform any type of work due to my pain. I have rallied all of my friends and acquaintances to get behind this and support it. Those that know me, know what I go through on a daily basis. Most all are willing to help in any way possible, but of course there is some apprehension due to this being a very small town and this would sort of put any one in the spotlight so to speak if they really try to help. Of course our police and sheriffs departments like nothing better than to go walking around the mountains trying to find somebody growing marijuana, rather than trying to find out who the people are that have been committing daylight home robberies, or dealing with something of a more severe nature.
In January of 2001 I became ill. I had pain that moved around my upper torso. The pain ranged from feeling like I was on fire, to like something was trying to be pulled out of me. It was the most horrible pain I think any one could experience. I am still in pain today, it has never ever stopped. I was admitted to St. Francis hospital on or about the 4th. of January 2001. I was on large doses of morphine, and that didn't even help. Besides the back pain, I have a tightness around my chest. It feels like about a 3" belt that is pulled to tightly.It is becoming increasingly harder for me to take deep breathes. I have no life because I can't do much of anything due to the pain and becoming short of breath with only the smallest amount of exertion. In March of 2001, the Doctors finally found I had a Staph. infection in my spine and right lung. The surgery lasted I believe 2 days. Dr. Tyler Boone an orthopedic surgeon scraped my spine to try and slow down the infection, it had eaten most of my spine. I now have 2 metal rods in my back, one on each side of my spine. Besides the pain in my back and shoulders, I still have the tightness around my chest. Dr. Boone says this is from the nerve endings being eaten by the infection and there is nothing that can be done to give me any relief. Besides living in pain on a daily basis, my illness has caused depression, anxiety, and horrible muscle spasms and cramps. Nothing I have taken has relieved my pain, it only dulls it for a very short time. I have smoked marijuana given to me by a friend from California that gets medical marijuana. To say the least I was very surprised that the marijuana actually relaxed the muscles in my chest which alleviated some of the tightness and helped me to breath better, but also helped with the muscle cramps. I am on a fixed income and I can't afford to buy it, I live in section 8 housing so I certainly can't grow it. I wish the lawmakers that make laws and decisions concerning my well being and my quality of life could spend a day in my shoes. I honestly believe it could change some minds on this medical marijuana controversy, they would not be happy, waking up in pain after a less than a restful night's sleep due to the pain and muscle cramps. This is just the start of another day for me to have to endure. I get so very depressed and sad because I have no relief from my pain. I have been in pain 24/7 since I first became ill. Please I beg of you there has to be someone out there that can help get this medical marijuana made legal. Many thanks, Betty Lee, Wilburton, OK
I have an illness that keeps me from getting much sleep. Its a neck issue I haved had for years now. When I smoke it relieves the pain and tension in my neck. I think we as Oklahomans can greatly benefit from medical marijuana and hope we can get someone to feel our pain and hear our voices.
Justin Huffman, Oklahoma
I moved to Oklahoma from California and had been using marijuiana for depression and anxiety since I had adverse affects from other medications. Without this substance, it is difficult for me to hold a job and keep my family together.
I have been an active member of Americans for Safe Access and HAVE EXPERIENCED THE BENEFITS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA. It has played a key role in stabilization of my PTSD caused by the Army.
I am in the end stages of cerosis and suffer tremendously with leg cramps, nausea, vomiting,and pain in general. Marijuana is the only thing that helps all of the above. Prescriptions kill the liver more, marijuana does not!
SD, Elk City
I sufffer from severe migraines. They keep me from living an ordinary life. Everyday tasks are even difficult for me when struck by one. I have tried everything imaginable for relief. Doctors have prescribed every mentionable drug for migraines,NOTHING HELPED!!! The one thing i did find was marijuana. And yes, my doctor told me if it works do it. Unfortunately, for those of us that suffer from such afflictions, wepay the price if caught. Believe me it is no way to live having to look over shoulder while buying or trying to find marijuana on the street. Especially when your in tears from so much pain. I feel for millions that suffer from much worse ailments than I do that are scared of harsh punishment and penalties in order to get relief. You have my vote and my families! Thank God for compassion from people like you!
I am a Multiple Sclerosis patient, as well as a spinal cord injury patient. These last few years, as my disease and condition has progressed, have been one of pain, muscle spasticity, and tremors which have resulted in being declared 100% disabled. I am only 46 yrs old and have, up until the last 3 years, been extremely active and enjoyed many invigorating activities. For the past 3 years I have been walking only with the aid of a cane and have progressively been losing the ability to walk at all. When I was in Colorado, visiting my parents, a friend of mine, who legally utilizes medical marijuana in tincture form, suggested I try some to help aleviate the severe muscle spasticity and tremors that I suffer from. I was amazed at how quickly the tincture worked. I was able to, for the frst time in years, reduce the amount of medication I normally needed to get through the day, or night for that matter. Not only was I able to sleep peacefully, for the first time in years, but I was also aware of the diminishment of my symptoms for the next few days as well. With only a few small teaspoonfulls during the entire two month visit, I had effectively reduced my symptoms by more than half.I researched the medical marijuana law in Colorado and was impressed with the details and feel that a similar program would be a great benefit to those of us here in Oklahoma who suffer from chronic diseases and pain issues. Currently, I am not willing to break the law and risk going to jail. I therefore have to rely on heavy amounts, once more, of a variety of nerve pain reducers, pain medication, and muscle relaxers that are destroying my liver and my kidneys. Several of my doctors know of my experiment and have agreed to it's benefits but do not dare officially prescribe cannabis at this time. I only hve one liver and one set of kidneys, with the prolonged use of these medications I put my health in even further danger. I am hoping that compassion, common sense and intelligent research will win the day. I love living in Oklahoma but if things don't change I will move to Colorado in order to have a safer form of relief from the symptoms of my disease and the spinal cord injury.
I was for years against the use of marijuana until I became ill.Six years ago I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I had to undergo radical chemo and radiation treatment and had moderate to severe nausea. I tried many nausea calming prescribed drugs and nothing really helped. There were other drugs available that I was not able to try due to the high cost and/or lack of coverage, so in sort of a sick of being sick desperation, I was able to get a hold of a small amount of marijuana. It did not take my nausea completely away, but it was extremely beneficial in improving my appetite in a way that no other prescribed drug had done.
Cannabis was not only a great benefit to my appetite, but it also greatly help with the anxiety and depression that my illness caused.When I think that I could have been arrested and teated like a common criminal for using this just makes me shutter! I do not think anyone should be denied medicine that helps them...especially when it helps as much as cannabis helped me. Many of the drugs that we do allow to treat a variety of condition have far more negative side affects then marijuana does. I really cannot understand NOT legalizing it.
NR, Del City
I totally support the legalization of medical marijuana. I was 17 when doctors told me I had depression and mild OCD. Of course they recommended man made medication that made me feel much worse. Marijuana helps me feel better every day, and it helps me be more productive. We need medical marijuana in Oklahoma to help me and thousands of other people who need God's wonder drug.Marijuana helps my depression, anxiety, nervousness, headaches, chronic back pain, and lowers my incidents of OCD. Please we need this now! Thanks.
I know I am walking on thin ice with the issue of medical cannabis. I hope those of you who have come to know me over the last year have come to know me as a man of convictions. I am extremely sick, and because of my age, tattoos, and inability to be diagnosed, doctors would not give me medicine. I was treated like a drug addict, and I was left to fend for myself. A lot of people are made to fend for themselves. I have to fight for this, because I have a family, and I am to sick to move to a state that allows it. I don't care how strict the doctors are when it comes to who can qualify. I agree we need to do all we can to make sure our children do not get into it. I agree people shouldn't be driving around on it.
I will not argue if it is a gateway drug or not because the issue we are discussing is medical use. The people who need it absolutely do not want another drug in their system to heighten their sensitivity. I am not a pot head, and I am not a unproductive member of our society. I fight for what's good in this world and I guard against what is bad. I am speaking for thousands of people in our state alone who can not speak out for fear of losing their jobs, their families, their freedom.
Please I am not asking for you to do anything other than weighing the pros and cons for those of us who are suffering and have no other options. Please don't label us criminal. We are fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, grandparents, friends. Children, we are so sick. Please don't punish us for the deeds of people who were lost way before they were ever introduced to marijuana. We are your family, and we need your help. We need your Mercy. Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health a Cannabis Documentary