Interview With a Drug User

Posted on June 18, 2011

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I recently conducted an interview on the subject of the legalization of marijuana with someone who finds significant relief from the drug. I thought I’d share her experience with you here and find out your thoughts on the topic.

Unorthodox Medical Treatment Yields Significant Relief

Struggling with the aftermath of what she initially thought was uneventful, *Shannon Wilson (*a pseudonym – asked that her name be withheld), still suffers from pain and anxiety related to her injuries from an earlier auto accident. The California resident uses medical marijuana with traditional medicine to control her pain and anxiety. This is her story.

In 2009, Wilson was rear-ended by a semi while stopped at a red light. The driver didn’t see the stopped traffic and failed to apply his brakes. He rear-ended Wilson, shoving her car into the car in front of her. That car rear-ended the car in front of it, resulting in a four-vehicle pileup.

“We all pulled over, exchanged insurance information and drove off,” Wilson said. “I had no clue that I was injured, let alone how serious my injuries were.” The pain began creeping in 3 to 4 days after the accident and progressively became worse. “It got so unbearable that I drove myself to the emergency room late one night about one week after the accident.” After performing an MRI, the radiologist suggested that she suffered from a pulled muscle. Her general practitioner put her in physical therapy (PT) to work out the muscle strain.

The pain became worse after 3 weeks of PT, so her doctor ordered another MRI. To his astonishment, she had a serious neck injury. The MRI revealed injury to two vertebrae in her upper neck. He immediately referred her to a neurosurgeon for treatment. The neurosurgeon prescribed pain killers, muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety medicine and – after Wilson requested it – medical marijuana. Over the next few months, Wilson followed treatment directed by her neurosurgeon who hoped her injuries would heal on their own.

After 4 months of waiting and no improvement, her specialist decided to operate. He ordered x-rays and another MRI. The findings were stunning. What was once thought to be two injured vertebrae ended up being two vertebrae that were fully disconnected from the spinal column. Wilson’s surgeon put screws in place in two separate surgeries to secure the vertebrae. The second surgery occurred 8 months ago, and she has been trying to recoup ever since.

“Since I was still having excruciating pain, I got a second and third opinion on my condition from two other neurosurgeons,” noted Wilson. “I found out that my first neurosurgeon botched the first operation. Because of it, my backbone started to crack. I lost feeling in part of my hand and leg, and now I suffer from sciatica. The pain can be through the roof.” Her most recent neurosurgeon has not yet decided if he will continue current treatment or redo the one botched surgery.

“You cannot imagine what I deal with every day,” Wilson stated. “I have good days where I hardly experience pain and bad days where the pain is so severe that I have panic attacks.” When asked how she copes with it all, she replied, “My family lives several states away, but I do have my boyfriend and friends who help me with things that I can’t do, like carry groceries or lifting things that are too heavy.”

When asked what part the marijuana plays in her medical treatment, she responded, “It is a great
stress and pain reliever. I don’t always need my anti-anxiety medicine for a panic attack if I have my medical marijuana handy. It takes the edge off, and I think it makes me easier to be around, because it calms me down,” she said. “It makes me feel good sometimes when I overall physically feel bad. I don’t know of anything else that can do what medical marijuana does for me in my situation.”

Love it or leave it, medical marijuana plays a vital role for many suffering with physical and emotional challenges today. Shannon Wilson is just one example.

How do you feel about the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes? How do you feel about the legalization of marijuana … period? Are either something you do or do not condone?

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