I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and joined the Marine Corps on November 3, 2003. After my training in boot camp, I went to the School of Infantry. Once I finished my training, I was deployed to Iraq. Back then, I never thought I might one day use cannabis as medicine.
In Iraq, I served in the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, which was the 1st Marine Division deployed out of Camp Pendleton, California. During my first tour, I spent most of 2004 in the Anbar Province in Iraq. I deployed again in 2005, one month before my first son was born, I was away until late 2006.
Overseas my unit did a lot and we saw a lot of combat and sustained many injuries. During my first tour, over half my platoon earned Purple Hearts, by the time we were done mainly from all the IEDs and land mine blasts we took. Thankful most of the injuries were minor due to the strength and security of our vehicles.
Jman is a bright, happy 11-year-old who also happens to have Autism and Tourette’s Syndrome. He was non-verbal until age 4, and struggled with anxiety, communication concerns, irritability, rigidity, and vocal and facial tics – all common symptoms of Autism and Tourette’s. He often struggled at home and in the classroom with being overwhelmed. His vocal and facial tics made it difficult for him to engage with others children and teachers or pay attention in class. Sometimes, it seemed, it was like his body and sensory system were fighting against him, to just exist in the world!
When medical cannabis became available in Minnesota (and approved for Tourette’s patients), Jman’s parents looked into it as an option. After seeing a documentary on the effectiveness of medical cannabis on seizures (and understanding the neurological similarities between tics, seizures, and Autism), his parents were game to try a high CBD blend on their 8-year-old son. The positive effects were seen within the first two weeks, within two months all Jman’s tics had gone away, his anxiety decreased, and his flexibility increased.
Three years later and Jman’s tics have completely disappeared. His progress is a result of his hard work and determination, but his use of medical cannabis is also to thank! His anxiety has gone down, and his ability to cope in the classroom has gotten enormously better. He is in a general educational setting and his reading and math scores have gone from several grade levels below his grade to being at or near his grade level.
Most importantly, he is happy! He is more joyful than ever before and loves life. He still has Autism and Tourette’s Syndrome, but with medical cannabis and people around him who love and care for him, he is developing into a wonderful young man who is learning to navigate the world and become the best version on himself.
Roughly one in 10 veterans in the United States live with severe, chronic pain and I happen to be one of them. In the 14 years that I’ve lived with this issue, I have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars trying different treatments. Medical cannabis is one of the most effective treatments I found for veterans suffering with chronic pain or other conditions like PTSD.
I could have taken opioids — and my diagnosis came when opioids were prescribed like candy — but I refused. Early in my pain journey, I attended the funeral for a beautiful, vibrant woman with chronic pain who died in her sleep from an accidental prescription drug overdose. Her teenage daughter became an orphan.
After only few months of treatment at Vireo Health, I am able to get out of the house, take a walk on my own and sleep through the night. It may not seem like all that much to most people, but to me, these simple things… mean the world. After being diagnosed… with Transverse Myelitis four years ago, I was convinced that my daily routine would never be “normal” again.
Over the past few months, I have taken time to reflect on my life – or what I like to refer to as my past life and my new beginning. In between the many precious moments and cherished memories, I often find myself wondering… where would I be without my medical marijuana?
After expressing that I was no longer happy at my corporate office job, a friend of mine who suffers from Fibromyalgia had been researching medical cannabis and found a dispensary in Connecticut that was…
In the early 2000’s I married my high school sweetheart. We were both young, each about 21 years old, Los Angeles natives recently transplanted to New York just starting our lives. A little over a year after…