When the Care You Need is Illegal

At the end of May, Buzzfeed Health shared this video about Kelsey’s search for and experience with medical marijuana for coping with her trigeminal neuralgia. I have a neuropathy condition similar to TN that is unresponsive to medication and requires monthly (and extremely painful) nerve blocks, and even those don’t cut it anymore.

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Notice Virginia is a state where medical marijuana is not legal. I believe you can receive a prescription for glaucoma or certain cancers, but the only option you are given is a specific CBD oil from on strain of marijuana. In reality, treatment with MM takes a lot of trial and error and one strain may work for some and another for others, but in states like Virginia and most of the south, access is extremely restricted or nonexistent. I suffer from a set of neuropathies similar to trigeminal neuralgia, which Kelsey, the subject of this vide, has, but my only options for treatment are opiates (which, like she said, don’t treat this kind of pain), Botox (which costs thousands of dollars), monthly (and extremely painful) anesthetic injections, or costly and experimental surgery that requires the total removal of the affected nerves. As I posted the other day, migraines are not just bad headaches. The pain takes me to another plane of reality where I can’t function. Often I have the cognitive function and motor skills of someone blackout drunk only from the pain, not any sort of impairment from the migraine itself.

The worst part is that I am one of the people who needs medical marijuana the least. There are children with chronic, drug resistant seizures which you can see in the video who are denied one of the few medications that helps them. The list of ailments marijuana can help with is long and includes Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, neuropathies, spasmodic muscle disorders, autoimmune diseases, and so many more.

Even if I were to take MM illegally here in Virginia to try to cope with my chronic pain, I must submit to random drug tests as part of my treatment plan, enforced by the DEA. If I were to test positive, I would then lose access to several of the medications I currently take. This may seem like a side issue for some, but for a lot of us, it could totally rock the foundations of our lives. If you want to learn more, look in the comments of the original post to see resources for activism, education, and current chronic pain sufferers.

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