How many times will I start, delete, re-start, delete, re-start this post until I’m finally happy with how it came out? I don’t know. Let’s put the date right here and we’ll see. June 1 2020.
I’ll have another post about what is going on in our world right now, the lockdown/quarantine, how the murder of a man in Minneapolis has turned into our president all but declaring martial law in the United States. Something else I never thought I would see in my lifetime. One of my kids said that 2020 is going to need like 18 chapters in the history books. I’m sad. I cried when the weight of what President Trump’s words hit me. My heart is broken for our country tonight.
Okay – back to the Pot Doc. Medical Cannabis is available in 33 states right now. It should be all 50 states and be reclassified off the Schedule 1. I think my biggest frustration with that is very simply that so many people who can be helped, aren’t being helped.
There are a brave group of medical cannabis pioneers that every medical patient owes a debt of gratitude to. The group that call themselves medical refugees. Mostly parents of children with various disorders who uproot their lives and flee their home and everything they know for a state that has medical cannabis available for their children. Charlotte Figi is the most well known. Sadly, Charlotte is no longer with us, but we all owe her a debt of gratitude. She changed he face and the narrative regarding medical cannabis.
A friend of mine – wow – almost 30 years, we’ve been friends – is interested in getting his medical card. He sent me a text today that he had seen his primary care doctor for his yearly physical, and he asked his doctor about it. His doctor doesn’t participate in the program, but he would refer him to someone who does. I am encouraged when I hear that. There are still far too many doctors who are ensconced in the “Reefer Madness” thought process, ignoring the fact that it has been used for over 3000 years in various ancient people – the Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, Israelis, parts of Africa, Mexico and the US. Face it, folks, people have been getting stoned for a millennia. We’re just catching up again.
I’m very lucky that my doctors were totally on board – well – one wasn’t – my psychiatrist. He’s in the reefer madness train. He’s no longer part of my team. And I am okay with that. Cannabis is working well in controlling my bi-polar 2 depression.
I mention that because anyone who knows me knows that I am an ardent supporter of our military. Like, I believe our military should have the best of the best. And because of the current Schedule 1 classification of cannabis, our military personnel who come home from war, physically and emotionally broken, are not getting the best of the best. So many of them can be helped with medical cannabis. Yet, they can’t even ask for it. And the VA has been known to test for it, and discharge patients for using cannabis, in any form, including the non-psychoactive component of CBD. That is criminal, IMHO. Instead, many of them turn to alcohol. And alcohol abuse is definitely far worse than cannabis.
So, what do you do if your doctor isn’t as forward thinking as my friend’s primary care doc, or my rheumatologist? In some instances, you may have to find a new doctor. And that may not be your choice. I have heard of doctor’s firing their patients because they want medical cannabis. Somehow, they think opioids are a better option. #BigPharma has got its claws in our doctors, hard. They are afraid to be the voice of change, because the pharmaceutical companies are so strong. And they really don’t want you to be able to grow your own medication. They go out of business. And we’re the ones suffering for it. It’s time we start demanding better.
You aren’t down for the count if your doctor isn’t on board. It helps, but it doesn’t close the door entirely. And I am talking about CT. I can’t really speak to other states, but I would encourage you to learn the local laws of your state, commonwealth, or territory. If your treating doctor is not one of the prescribing doctors, all they have to do is write you a letter to see one of the cannabis doctors that are out there. Again, I was lucky because my rheumy is one of the prescribing doctors.
These prescribing doctors – ones who are sent those patients – will charge you between $150-$200 for the consultation, to determine whether or not your medical condition can be helped by medical cannabis, both from a logistical point of view, but also a legal point of view. In CT., as with most states, only certain conditions are covered by medical cannabis. I think California is the only state that will give you medical cannabis for hangnails and dandruff. Colorado isn’t far behind. And sadly, we still have 17 states who don’t allow any cannabis. Unless it is recognized at the federal level, those are 17 states that are officially off the list of places I want to visit or retire to.
Anyway – gee, why do I always get off track? I have the attention span of a gnat.
After you see that cannabis doctor, and you get your prescription, you send in your $100 to the State. Then, in a few weeks, you’ll get notified that you have been approved. You can then print out your temporary card, while you wait for your one year card. Each state is different. But, when you get that temporary card, then you can visit the dispensary. In CT., you have to have a consultation with the pharmacist at the dispensary. You sit down, and you talk about what your experience is with cannabis. And you’ll learn what strains are good for what conditions. Sativa, Indica, hybrids. You’ll also see what products you have.
You’re also going to discuss what medications you are on. That’s very important. If you are on a benzodiazepine, you should stay away from Indica strains. The benzo and Indica can crash in your system and cause high anxiety and paranoia. This is not the time to hold back. Put it out there – how much experience with cannabis you have, what your conditions are, how they manifest, and medications you are currently taking. Oh, something else, you will now have to tell every doctor that you have treating you that you are on medical cannabis. And be prepared for some of them to judge you. You’re not going to be judged by your prescribing doctor. You’re not going to be judged by the pharmacists at the dispensary. You’re not going to be judged by those fellow patients you see in the dispensary. But, you will be judged by doctors. Just be honest.
When a doctor asks me why I am on medical cannabis, my answer is because I did not want to go to pain management and be stuck on opioids. But, that’s me. Only you can make that decision. Also, realize this, if you are using medical cannabis for a pain condition, be prepared to be told that you will not get pain medication from any other doctor, except in acute or surgical care. And that includes your dentist. I am a serious dental-phobe. For me to go to the dentist, I have to be so high that I am almost non-coherent. And when you cook with cannabis – the high hits harder and lasts longer – I’d have to eat half a CannaBanana Bread 45 minutes before my appointment. By the time I get in the dental chair, I’ll be so stoned, I don’t care.
Others that may judge you, friends, family and co-workers and society. I have friends that are supportive of my use, but it’s not for them. I have co-workers that are completely, totally, and violently against cannabis in any form. I don’t discuss with them anything personal about it. I always state my beliefs in general terms with them. I don’t say anything about myself. I will say that I know someone – or this friend of mine – and leave out the fact that I use it. Just because some people are so against it, they could go ahead and make trouble for you. So, always know your audience. I think one of the weirdest moments I’ve had was telling my mother that the thing I used to do to be a rebellious teenager was now my medication 25 years later. Well, one thing I can say – 2020 is a year to remember.
I hope for the day that cannabis becomes legal for all and no one has to be denied the benefits that have been known for thousands of years and get some real, hard research.
Hmmm – not bad – June 2 2020. I hope – for anyone who stumbles across this, if you have a question about anything I share, that you interact with me.