Heath Poland suffers from ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and Bipolar Disorder. Like so many who suffer from mental illness, he spent much of his life mis-diagnosed and improperly and/or over-medicated. Medicating with cannabis calms the symptoms of his disorders and makes the side effects from the pharmaceuticals more tolerable.
Beth Wilkinson of Kansas: Epilepsy
Beth is originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That’s where she grew up. She got her degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She has a degree in Art Education.
Currently Beth lives in Lawrence, Kansas. It’s turned out to be a really nice place for her and her family to live.
In 1986, Beth was riding horses with a friend. Her horse fell on her and she suffered a TBI, (traumatic brain injury), which landed her in a coma for over a week.
When she came out of the coma, she had to learn everything all over again. Her son was two years old then. “ …so, we basically grew up together.”
She didn’t have any further complications from her injury for years. She finished up her degree and she later moved to Minnesota. But it was there that she began experiencing seizures and black outs.
So she had to start seeing a Neurologist. She was put on Dilantin and stayed on it for years.Read More..
Cannabinoid receptors, located throughout the body, are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
Cannabinoid receptors are of a class of cell membrane receptors in the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily. As is typical of G protein-coupled receptors, the cannabinoid receptors contain seven transmembrane spanning domains. Cannabinoid receptors are activated by three major groups of ligands: endocannabinoids, produced by the mammillary body; plant cannabinoids (such as cannabidiol, produced by the cannabis plant); and synthetic cannabinoids (such as HU-210). All of the endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids (plant based cannabinoids) are lipophilic, such as fat soluble compounds.
There are currently two known subtypes of cannabinoid receptors, termed CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor is expressed mainly in the brain (central nervous system or "CNS"), but also in the lungs, liver and kidneys. The CB2 receptor is expressed mainly in the immune system and in hematopoietic cells. Mounting evidence suggests that there are novel cannabinoid receptors that is, non-CB1 and non-CB2, which are expressed in endothelial cells and in the CNS. In 2007, the binding of several cannabinoids to the G protein-coupled receptor GPR55 in the brain was described.
Heather DeMian of Columbia, Missouri: Ehlers-Danlos Syndromea
Heather is thirty-six years old and confined to a wheelchair. Heather was born with a rare genetic condition called Vascular Type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
It’s a defect in her type three collagen that weakens the walls of her blood vessels, organs, and esophagus. “Everything is very weak.”
It makes her joints dislocate very easily. “When you see a new doctor and they see that you have Ehlers-Danlos, they immediately ask ‘what tricks can you do?’ ” A cynical smile comes over Heather’s face.
But condition is no laughing matter. It causes her a lot of pain and gastrointestinal problems, which are further aggravated by the pain meds that are prescribed to her.
Heather takes Zofran, an anti-nausea medication. “Zofran suppresses the gag reflex maybe half the time.” Her Medicaid pays roughly $1200 per month for her to have this drug.
She also takes Marinol, a pharmaceutical synthetic of the cannabinoid THC that is found in cannabis. Heather’s Marinol costs Medicaid roughly $1500 per month.
Together, these prescriptions total $2700 per month or $32400 per year, just to try to suppress Heather’s urge to vomit. Unfortunately, they rarely do. She has to carry a plastic container everywhere she goes for when the urge to vomit comes upon her. Obviously, she doesn’t get to go out very much.
Jack Chavez of Colorado: Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
I consider Jack a friend of mine. Jack’s a pretty remarkable guy. Jack has Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve interviewed a number of people with MS, but none quite as remarkable as Jack.
The first time I met Jack was in 2006 while traveling across the country with Journey for Justice 7. My good friend and Denver Caregiver Diana McKindley agreed to introduce me to some of her patients. Jack was number one on the list.
At the time of my interview, Jack was still having difficulty talking. So for the interview, Diana agreed to read a short speech to me that Jack had prepared.
We take for granted the choreography of muscles required to sustain speech. Jack has to concentrate and apply great effort to do what comes naturally for us, even when all he is trying to do is say a few words.
In 1994, Jack was diagnosed with Chronic MS. This progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis is similar to what claimed the life of comedian Richard Pryor.
Buddy Talley of North Carolina: Neuropathy of the Feet
Buddy is 86 years old. He started in the tobacco business when he was 17. He didn’t retire until he was 73. A buyer for Kent, Newport and Old Gold, the fast paced, highly competitive world of a tobacco broker was the driving force for most of his life.
Buddy has outlived his wife by eighteen years. Now it’s just him and his son Tom. Tom is Buddy’s caregiver, now. Tom is also chronically ill.
Buddy has been suffering with Neuropathy of the feet for twenty years. He said that it feels like nails piercing the bottom of his feet. ” I jus’ never had anything in my life to hurt like this.”
Neuropathy encompasses more than 100 diseases and conditions affecting the peripheral nerves-the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs. It usually affects the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain.
Buddy is a veteran. He served four years during World War II. He was told that it was probably the long walks packing heavy equipment that lead to his feet problems.
Two recent scientific studies (Headline from 2007) have confirmed what Buddy has found (that conventional narcotics don’t work for his condition) and what he has been told (that Cannabis is effective for Neuropathic foot pain).