For 54-year-old veteran Michael P., medical cannabis has been nothing short of life changing. An avid hunter, traveler and explorer of his home state of Pennsylvania, when you meet Michael you wouldn’t know that he struggles with myriad of debilitating health conditions ranging from neuropathy and fibromyalgia to chronic migraines and pain.
Since his diagnosis in 2005, Michael has undergone many rounds of physical and occupational therapy and even visited a chiropractor, but found little to no relief. He was also prescribed more than 40 different medications, including opiates and psychotropics. And due to federal laws, he wasn’t able to discuss alternative medicinal options, such as medical cannabis, with his doctors at the Department of Veteran Affairs.
However, this all changed during an Army reunion in 2018. When speaking with his fellow veterans, Michael discovered that many others were struggling with similar symptoms and finding no relief from prescribed opioids and therapy. While they were talking about their injuries, one veteran told Michael about his positive experience with medical cannabis. When he returned home, Michael was inspired to speak with his doctor about medical cannabis. With the support of his family and his doctor, Michael became certified with the state’s medical cannabis program in January 2019.
Michael’s first visit to a dispensary was “short and sweet.” He came prepared with several questions for his pharmacist. Overtime, he found that Vireo Red was the product that worked best for his symptoms. Vireo Red is a THC dominant formulation that gave Michael energy without the aftereffects of drowsiness. Since Michael started using medical cannabis to alleviate his pain and take back his livelihood, he has been able stop taking both opiates and psychotropics and has lost more than 40 pounds.
He recognizes that there is still a stigma around cannabis use, whether it is used medically or recreationally. He hopes that by sharing his story, he can encourage others to research the benefits of cannabis. He knows that with just a little research, those who were once skeptical to the medicinal properties of cannabis will soon realize how beneficial and harmless of a plant it is. Michael personally believes that cannabis is the “best medicine on the market,” and is so grateful for how he has been able to take back the reins on his life and create wonderful memories with his grandchildren again. He encourages anyone with a qualifying condition to do their research and get their medical cannabis card so they too can take back their life.