I’m a new NORML field activist in Central Wisconsin, and here’s my brief tale…. I’ve recently returned to Central Wisconsin to save money, be by family, and to focus on restoring my health. It’s good to be near family who can help support the difficult lifestyle that accompanies Crohn’s disease.
After my initial diagnosis in 2006, I succumbed to countless side effects from medications my doctor had prescribed, I was a wreck. Most of the medications I was taking were just to deal with side effects of the other medications I was taking. There were pills to suppress my immune system, to help me sleep, to dull the pain, to reduce the inflammation, to clear the nausea, to create an appetite, and to dispel the migraines. Not to mention nutritional supplements to stave off malnutrition.
Three years after diagnosis, I moved to Colorado. Shortly after my move, I became aware of the opportunity to use medical cannabis to treat my Crohn’s disease in Colorado. Over the course of the five years I was in Colorado, I was a medical cannabis patient for the last four.
In that time, I was able to wean myself off my other prescription medications. Using only medical cannabis oils in capsules and edibles, vaporized inhalant cannabis oils, and a medicinal diet created by a dietician and a naturopath, I successfully reduced the Crohn’s related inflammation in my intestines from over 18 inches, at diagnosis, to barely noticeable on diagnostic imaging and tests. At this time, the degree of inflammation is still very severe, but it’s impact has been reduced to less than a 1” section of my small intestines. This is all without harmful pharmaceuticals.
My medical goal now is to get into full remission. Since I have come to Wisconsin, I have had to quit medical cannabis and restart corticosteroids. One month after my first visit with my new doctor, and I am already taking four different prescription medications.
This week, I will likely start on an immune-modulator called azathioprine. A step I dread, since conservative estimates have shown that azathioprine increases a Crohn’s patient’s risk of developing lymphoma by 3- to 5-fold [Gut. Aug 2005; 54(8): 1121–1125.]
Alternatively, a recent small study was done with cannabis and Crohn’s patients who had poor responses to steroids, immunomodulators, or anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha agents. Preliminary findings showed a five-fold increase in incidences of remission, and a nearly 100% clinical response in patients taking medical cannabis vs the placebo group. Also, no significant side effects were noted. [Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2013 Oct; 11(10):1276-1280]
We need to make as much headway as we can in getting the word out about the need for medical cannabis here in Wisconsin. This is my hometown. I want to change the fact that I cannot live here and take the medication that works best for me, the medication that poses the least risk to my health and relieves more of my symptoms.