Domestic Assault Victim Could Barely Care For Herself, Children Before Medical Marijuana Brought Light Back Into Her Life
MedicateOH: How long have you had this condition, and how did you treat it before?
I have a lifelong history of family trauma but my symptoms with Complex-PTSD really developed in 2015 when I was a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault. A few months later, I lost my brother to overdose and things just spiraled out of control from there. I suffer from debilitating depression and anxiety, paranoia, sleep disturbance, and sometimes it can turn into non-epileptic psychogenic seizures.
-How has MMJ been helpful in addressing your symptoms?
Medical marijuana has helped ease my anxiety. Before MMJ, I could hardly take care of myself, let alone my children. Nowadays, I am able to think clearly, with some logic. I am able to be out in public without fear or always looking over my shoulder. I am less fearful of meeting new people and being in social situations. There was a point in time where I lived with coloring pages covering my windows with just the little corners torn out so I could peek through. Now my home has sheer white curtains to let in the light. It’s a great metaphor to describe what MMJ has done for me, really. It has let the light back into my life.
-What was the process to find the right strain and dosing for your symptoms?
Finding the right strain is really the key. Some people have dabbled with recreational marijuana and have had bad experiences so they are immediately put off by the idea of using marijuana for medicinal purposes. My first experience with marijuana was with a indica-heavy strain so it put me to sleep and I never cared for it since. Now that I’ve discovered which strains I pair best with, my relationship with cannabis has changed drastically. They really have it down to a science now.
-How did this differ from finding appropriate treatment in the past?
I feel like with MMJ vs. Pharmaceuticals, you have more freedom to choose what YOU feel is the best treatment for your ailments. The doctors and budtenders educate you and make recommendations based on your symptoms but you ultimately have the choice in how you are going to go about treating it from the type of strains you choose down to your method of delivery (vape, flower, tinctures, edibles, etc) I recently visited a mental health facility thinking that I might need meds on top of MMJ and they literally just asked me 100 questions, picked a med, and wrote me off. When asked about the possible side effects, suicidal tendencies was #1. It seemed odd to me that they would prescribe this to someone with 2 suicide attempts…which leads me to your next answer….
-Do you still use other medication to treat your symptoms?
I do not currently take medication for anything, not even Tylenol. I do, however, still have a bottle of meds that I keep with me just in case MMJ is not able to calm my anxiety. I’ve only had to take it twice since becoming a medical marijuana patient.
-Are there any downsides to using MMJ as a treatment for chronic pain?
Although my diagnosis does not include chronic pain, I would say that the downside to medical marijuana for me would be that sometimes I can get a bit tired and unmotivated if I’m not on the right strains, especially if I’m more in a “down-state” with my mental health. I usually have a different strain for different symptoms, time of day, etc. Medical marijuana isn’t a “cure-all”, but its damn close. Treatment and side effects vary from patient to patient so it could take a bit for new patients to find what works for them and sometimes that can be discouraging. My mother is a medical marijuana patient in Florida and it took her a few months of trial and error before she found the best prescription for her. I had to continue encouraging her along the way but she’s finally found relief and is much happier.
-What do you like about MMJ?
Everything. I truly believe that medical marijuana saved my life.
-Do you have any comments on the process of obtaining MMJ in Ohio, as a patient
I really feel that society is not educated enough about the benefits of medical marijuana. There is still this incredible stigma that is surrounding MMJ even though there are proven results all over the west coast. I feel like we need to have more people being educated on how to obtain your medical marijuana license. I have been to several medical practices where doctors have asked me questions about how to obtain a license because they haven’t been informed or educated. More importantly, people need to know that they have the right to take their medical care into their own hands.
The process is very simple. I do, however, have an issue with affordability. I believe it is difficult for low-income Ohioans to access medical marijuana because of the cost of obtaining a license as well as dispensary prices. I imagine this will change as more dispensaries open across the state.
Medicate OH will feature patient success stories like Chelsea’s throughout the year. Let us know if you would like to submit your story!