Mary Jane aka: Weed aka: Medicine

cannabis edibles

 

I smoked my fair share of marijuana when I was in my twenties. The reason I smoked it back then is probably why millions of people smoke it today; humans enjoy getting high. Then several years ago we discovered that weed helps patients with a variety of illnesses, especially cancer. Chemotherapy treatments turned me into a “bloodhound.” I could smell things a mile away. Unfortunately those things made me nauseous. It reminded me of the days when I was pregnant. Certain smells sent me running for the bathroom. Cannabis smoke was no different.

Another side effect of chemo is loss of appetite. My mouth always tasted like metal. Food tasted blah. What little food I managed to eat came back up thirty minutes later. I was losing a lot weight, so one day my radiation doctor told me if I didn’t start eating, a feeding tube would be surgically implanted in my belly. That didn’t sound appetizing to me.

James tried all kinds of recipes to entice me to eat. I took one bite and  felt full. This really drove my son crazy. We discussed medical marijuana, but just thinking about the smell made my stomach churn. After a lot of pleading from James, I agreed to try a piece of a marijuana cookie. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The last time I ate one of those was years ago and I got “too high”. (Weed makes me do things I don’t do normally, like look out my curtain for signs of SWAT, that in my imagination are coming to take me away.) The night I ate that “cookie” I called James at work. I told the bartender who answered the phone that I needed to talk to my kid. It was an emergency. James was in the middle of the dinner hour (he was a food server), when I told him I was too high. He got upset with met. “Are you kidding me mom? Your emergency is that you are too high?” He hung up the phone.

I didn’t want a repeat of that night now that I had cancer. It’s weird how drugs and certain herbs (cannabis is an herb) affect us differently, depending how they are used. I ate a quarter of a marijuana cookie and never got high. My appetite was back. I stopped vomiting and my joints stopped hurting (that’s the joints in my bones, not a marijuana joint, in case you are confused). I told my doctors I was using medical marijuana and they were thrilled that I was eating. They didn’t care what I did to get my appetite back. If marijuana worked, so be it.

I think more and more medical professionals are open to the idea of medical marijuana. As of this writing, several states are allowing dispensaries (businesses that sell medical marijuana) to open their doors to patients with all kinds of ailments. I say it’s about time. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t use marijuana to complement my cancer treatment, but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out.

Peace out,

Inge

Medical Marijuana – You Got Questions? I Will Find Answers

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I received a few emails from readers who have more questions about medical marijuana and it’s use to treat cancer — namely where can they find a healthcare professional to get a consultation.

You need to look for doctors specializing in integrative medicine. Integrative medicine combines alternative treatments with conventional. Doctors treat the patient as a whole entity — body/mind/spirit. Conventional medicine focuses on a small part of the body. For example, my colorectal doctor is terrific but when I tell him about the neuropathy in my feet and legs, his eyes glaze over. He specializes in butts and the plumbing that goes along with it — not feet. If I want to discuss my foot problem, that’s a whole other doctor and doctor visit.

A doctor who specializes in integrative medicine will probably see the connection. In my case, the connection is — neuropathy is a side effect from chemotherapy. It’s been way over two years since my last treatment but the side effects remain and may never go away.

There is a doctor in San Francisco who specializes in integrative medicine and uses cannabis for his patients.

Donald Abrams, M.D. is a cancer and integrative medicine specialist at the UCSF using alternative therapies, including medical use of marijuana and traditional Chinese medicine herbal therapies.  His office is located on 1545 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115. (415) 353-7700.

I wrote about Dr. Abrams in my earlier post about medical marijuana and just ran across an interview done by Andrew Weil M.D. with Dr. Abrams, where they discuss the benefits of cannabis. You can read it here.

My guess is there are more out there but don’t openly advertise as such. I suggest Googling integrative medicine doctors in your area and go down the list, call each one and ask them.

* Please note: Integrative means the physician uses alternative and complementary but not necessarily cannabis as part of the treatment.

I would also ask the doctor who writes the medical cannabis recommendation. He/she should know someone in your area.

I found this article in the SF Weekly you many find interesting, “Miracle” Cannabis Oil: May Treat Cancer, But Money and the Law Stand in the Way of Finding Out. It came out last spring and gives some real insight about the obstacles cannabis researchers face.

Please keep your questions coming. We are all learning together what choices are out there when it comes to getting well and staying that way.

Peace and Good Health!

Inge

Medical Marijuana Part 4

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This post is mainly directed to those of you living in California. I already posted  information about cannabis and its use for cancer treatments — now you need to know how to get it. If you live out of state you may have restrictions that don’t apply here. Google information that pertains to your state or click on one of the national resource links listed below and you will find out everything you need to know.

What’s the first step?

First of all, you need a written recommendation. I would first ask my doctor to write me one. If for some reason, he/she won’t — don’t panic, there are licensed doctors who will. You will have to pay out-of-pocket though. The cost for a written recommendation from a licensed doctor is around $65.

How do I find a licensed doctor?

Google Weed Maps. All the licensed doctors and dispensaries will pop up, along with a map. Since I live in Anaheim, all the locations in my surrounding area came up. I was surprised as to how many there are. They are usually “hidden in plain sight” in strip malls because cities who allow dispensaries don’t want them advertised to the public. I already Googled it for those of you who live in Orange County.

If you live somewhere else in California, a different weed map will pop up showing the information you want but it will be in your area.

Do I need an appointment to meet with a licensed doctor?

You don’t need an appointment to meet with a doctor. Their hours will be listed on weedmaps.com/ — but you do need to bring a valid California picture ID. If you have medical documentation, bring it along. It will help substantiate your need for medical cannabis.

If the doctor feels you qualify for medical cannabis, he/she will write you a recommendation that will be valid for one year. It won’t have your picture on it but for an additional small fee you can get a photo identification card. I highly recommend it — just in case law enforcement stops you.

I have my card. Now where do I go to buy medical cannabis?

You go back to weedmaps.com/  The great thing about this site is that it rates dispensaries. It’s like Yelp for weed.

You will also notice that some dispensaries only do deliveries. Actually, that is a great idea for those of you who have limited transportation or don’t want to be seen going into one of these places. There are so many people using medical cannabis these days, including people who work for companies who frown on marijuana no matter what it’s used for. Signing up for delivery is a way to get around that and keep your anonymity.

The dispensary rating system on weedmaps.com/ is also helpful to us newbies. Not all dispensaries are alike. I suggest finding a dispensary that has employees who are knowledgeable about their product and willing to help you find the strain that is right for your medical needs.  Once inside a dispensary, you will be surprised how many strains of cannabis there are to choose from.

I live in Anaheim and I am literally surrounded by a half dozen other cities within a couple of blocks. Those cities only go for a couple of miles or less and I am back in Anaheim again. Whoever drew the city property lines must have been stoned because it doesn’t make sense. What I’m getting at, is that each city has their own rules as to where a dispensary can operate and what they can sell. All can sell plants but not all can sell edibles. The great thing is all dispensaries have phones — call them before you drive to their location and find out what they carry — you will find some that some are no longer in business — for one reason or another. Calling ahead of time will save you time and gas.

Let’s say you decide to buy small plants. It’s not hard to grow your own. There are places you can buy everything you need to have a hydroponic grow system in the comfort of your own home. Google “hydroponic stores” in your area to find one. I strongly suggest growing indoors as opposed to outside because when the plant matures it will give off a strong odor that anyone over the age of  twelve will recognize as pot. It will invite trouble.

Here is my quick personal story. Several years ago my husband got his medical cannabis card and bought a small plant. He grew it outside in our backyard — the weather in Northern California seems to be an excellent place to grow it because that sucker grew fast. Within a few months it was seven feet tall and I could smell it from a few doors down. My neighbors obviously did too.

Two weeks before it was ready to be harvested, we came home to find we had interrupted a thief who was in the middle of stealing the whole plant. He/she got away with almost half of it by chopping off the plant.  We had to immediately cut down the remainder and dry it indoors. We never found out who the pot thief was. They must have jumped over the backyard fence.

That’s why I recommend growing indoors and do not advertise what you are doing. It is legal but that won’t prevent someone from stealing what is yours.

I just found a place on line called BudTrader, an online local marketplace for medical cannabis that includes several states. The ads are updated continuously like Craigslist. It has a lot of information.

If you want more information, like recipes or resource guide, you can find it by clicking on these websites. They are by no means the only sites, they are the ones I found so far.

United Patients Group

Phoenix Tears

Medical Marijuana – Ask Jan

Cannabis as Medicine

THC Total Health Care

Cannabis Search (includes recipes)

Green Cookbook

NORML Working to reform Cannabis Laws

This list should get you started. If you have more questions, please leave me a comment below or if you want, you can email me for a private conversation.

*** Here comes the disclaimer (of sorts):

I want to make sure my readers understand that there are no magic bullets to guarantee 100% that a cancer patient will fully recover. That goes for patients who choose conventional treatment and alternative. Cancer is a tricky bitch. Even if your doctor tells you there are no signs of cancer, individual cells can lay dormant in the body for years and then BAM it’s back!  It doesn’t mean it will. But nothing is for sure.

My doctor read me a list of negative side effects — including cancer from the conventional treatments I was about to get. I signed on the dotted line anyway. It was my “well informed” choice. I knew the risks. And I knew I would do the research myself to find a way to get my immune system back on track.

That is why I stress eating a healthy, alkaline diet and controlling stress. You have a better chance (in my opinion) of remaining cancer free. Most of the patients taking medical marijuana as treatment also included a laundry list of supplements and diet change. It requires effort on the patient to do their part to get well and stay that way. The patient must be part of the team.

I will continue posting updates about medical marijuana and other proven alternative treatments as I find them. I hope this helped you. This concludes my award winning series “Medical Marijuana.”

If you missed my other MM posts – you can find them here:

Medical Marijuana Part 1

Medical Marijuana Part 2

Medical Marijuana Part 3

Peace Out!

Inge