TOGETHER WE WILL CHANGE CANNABIS STIGMA
Respondents and counting! Real data from the community will drive future progress!
Report using Cannabis increases their quality of life
of respondents agree to share their data for future research studies
We will end the stigmatization of Cannabis by providing accessible research and education to our local communities. Our community-driven data project is just the beginning. We will use this data to influence and inform local policymakers and local Cannabis industry professionals. The availability of this dataset will be a driving force in ensuring quality care to patients and adult consumers.
We will support other community advocates by providing them with important community-derived data points and with networking connections to other advocates. While the stigma still survives, advocates can be faced with obstacles in promoting their missions. The virtual CoE will serve as a safe space for advocates to crowdsource information from one another and increase the impact of their individual missions by working together.
We will unite Cannabis medical patients, adult consumers, industry professionals, health care practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers while focusing on health, wellness, and freedom. We will set the bar high for quality of care as the Cannabis industry gets off the ground. We will listen and learn from one another to move forwards in a direction that reflects the best interests of every part of our community.
We will fight all forms of oppression, bias, and discrimination both in our community and in our personal lives.
OUR PERSONAL ADVOCACY STORIES
C. Miyabe Shields, Ph.D.
Cannabis has saved my life more than once. It was my first medicine and eventually I found that it’s the only psychiatric medicine I can tolerate.
I have a severe anxiety disorder. I’ve seen many, many, many specialists, each with their own different diagnosis for my brain. I’ve been diagnosed with almost every mental health disorder. As of a 2018 neuropsychiatric assessment, there is still no conclusive diagnosis for my specific type of brain atypicality. The symptoms I still struggle with daily are general anxiety, social anxiety, mania and depression, difficulty with attention/concentration, impulse control, insomnia, sensory hypersensitivity, and chronic pain.
I’ve tried quite a few pharmaceutical drugs to manage my symptoms, but the side effects I experienced were horrible. I could not tolerate them. Cannabis is the only thing that allows me to function, as myself, without any significant negative side effects. I knew when I received my first medical card in CA in 2010 that the purpose of my life was to scientifically explain this.
I am a trained research scientist; my PhD is in Pharmaceutical Sciences. I chose to study the Endocannabinoid System, because I needed to understand how and why Cannabis works so well for me. I have a spontaneous/plastic/hyperactive brain – it’s both the best and worst thing about me – and Cannabis decreases the “background noise” in my brain that causes most of the symptoms above. I hope to continue to use my knowledge to empower other Cannabis users and de-stigmatize Cannabis as a medicine, because, really, for me it’s nothing short of a miracle drug.
Quality of life is a phrase often used in the cannabis industry and something a lot of folks take for granted. I urge the community to think about this when they question the efficacy of cannabis as a medicine. I believe that quality of life is important for everyone, especially for those who have limited or even no other treatment options for their medical condition(s).
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsy (HNPP). HNPP is a nerve disorder that affects the peripheral nerves, and pressure on the nerves can cause tingling sensations, numbness, pain, weakness, muscle atrophy, and even paralyzation of affected area. Without cannabis, I experience chronic pain and fatigue on a daily basis.
When I received my diagnosis, I learned the disease was so rare that there is no treatment available.Cannabis has so many medicinal qualities; it not only helps me with chronic pain and numbness but also supports my mental health. Like so many others, I am passionate about a plant that allows me to have a better quality of life.
Life without cannabis would be very different. I am dedicated to breaking down the stigma associated with cannabis. To all patients out there with HNPP/CMT or any untreatable chronic pain disorder who are feeling discouraged or alone, it is our mission is to support patients just like you in healing. It is your right to choose how you can improve your quality of life.
In 1975, I was diagnosed with Atopic Dermatitis or eczema. This is an autoimmune disorder that cause indiscriminate firing of type 2 T-Cells, a type of white blood cell into the blood system. The body’s response is to fight off a non-existent foreign body. The result is an uncontrollable itching feeling that leads to terrible rashes and open wounds from excessive scratching. I spent the next 40 years of my life being prescribed every topical and internal steroid on the market. I went through clinical trials on immunosuppressors which was a horrible experience of multiple blood drawings per day. All to no avail. The steroids caused migraine headaches and the topical steroids caused thinning of the skin which only exacerbated the situation. Long story short I have never been comfortable in my own skin.
I have been a cannabis user my entire adult life but only really in smokeable and edible form. In 2017 as the new emerging cannabis industry begin to migrate to Massachusetts, I became aware of a group of emerging products I had not been exposed to. Topical salves became available to me with a whole plant medicinal cannabis base. I began using the salve as a treatment for my eczema. I sit before you today stunned by the results. Within 2 days I saw decreased inflammation in my skin. Within 4 days I saw intense healing activity and about 3 weeks into using a particular salve twice per day my skin was completely rash and itch free. I am currently doing some more research into how this salve interacts with my body but until then I encourage you give it a try if you suffer from such a condition.
My name is Kellie Klein and I am the Chief Financial Officer for Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (c3RN). I am an advocate for the safe use and increased research of cannabis therapies. I believe cannabis can be instrumental in improving the quality of life for many patients as well as reducing dependence on opioids and other pharmaceuticals. Below is my personal testimonial of how cannabis has changed my life.
In 2006 I was the victim of a hit and run accident that should have ended my life. There were many times in the decade since that I wished it had. The accident caused severe damage to my cervical spine and severe chronic pain. I underwent physical therapy for a year after my accident, but the pain increased to the point I could no longer work. I underwent an anterior cervical discectomy with spinal fusion (a titanium plate was fused to my spine and my cervical discs were replaced with cadaver bone). That was followed by another year of physical therapy. The surgery initially offered some pain relief, but as the years went by the pain came back, increasingly worse. I underwent facet blocks, trigger point injections, epidurals, acupuncture and more physical therapy. Right after my accident I was put under the care of a pain specialist. We tried dozens of medications to ease my pain and muscle spasms but the only drug that worked for my pain was morphine. And as the years passed by I required more and more morphine to ease my pain. I hated how it made me feel and I wanted desperately to relieve my pain without narcotics, but nothing we tried worked.
My career in International Development required extensive foreign travel. The long international flights, sleeping in foreign beds in developing countries and difficult terrain needed to get to int’l project sites worsened my condition. And the long period of opioid use took an additional toll on my body – from digestive issues to kidney stones, my body racked up further medical issues.
Nine years after the accident, I was again in a position where the pain was unbearable. I could not work at a desk and the amount of morphine needed to ease my pain was interfering in my ability to function. My surgeon told me I needed another surgery, more discs removed and a new plate fused to my spine. For me this was not an option, and I finally located a surgeon performing a newly approved FDA procedure. In 2015, over nine years after my accident, I had the plate removed from my neck and newly FDA approved discs placed in my cervical spine. I had an immediate reduction in pain. In my excitement to find out how well the surgery went, I stopped taking my morphine. I have NEVER been so sick! My pain specialist advised me that I could not just cease taking the morphine - I would need to slowly wean myself from the drug. In the end it took me almost 6 months of steady reduction to wean my body of its dependence on morphine. My pain specialist held a small party for me – I was the ONLY patient in his long career to successfully cease using morphine after such an extended period.
During this time I was able to access medical cannabis which was instrumental in assisting me with my opioid withdrawal symptoms as well as easing the residual pain of my spinal injury.
Almost 2 years after my last surgery I am able to control my remaining pain and muscle spasms with medicinal cannabis. I don’t take any prescriptions for pain or spasms and I no longer have stomach/digestive issues or kidney stones. I feel better than I have in a decade and I know that owe most of this progress to cannabis.
I have friends and family that have benefitted from cannabis, from easing nausea caused by chemotherapy, pain management and weight gain after colon cancer. I am a firm believer that with further research, cannabis can prove to be an even more valuable instrument in treating a myriad of conditions, while at the same time reducing the need for opioid use and other pharmaceuticals that come with severe and dangerous side effects.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it will give you some insight into the possibilities of improved outcomes and quality of life for people such as myself.