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Three Years Into State’s MMJ Program: Ohio’s First Cannabis Patients Reflect on Their Experiences

Last week, we shared some of America’s notable cannabis patient “firsts” that shaped the current legal marijuana landscape. Among those patient pioneers was Joan Caleodis, who became Ohio’s first legal medical marijuana patient in 2019.

 

Joan C. (Multiple Sclerosis)

“I was diagnosed in 2010 with Primary Progressive MS and at the time there were no FDA approved meds for my type of MS. PPMS is only about 15% of MS patients.

I was prescribed Tramadol, Gabapentin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, Methotrexate, Xanax and a few others. I’ve used cannabis in the past, but after my MS diagnosis, I left work on disability and drove to Colorado to learn about the different forms of cannabis.

I suffer daily with pain and spasticity but with my cannabis oil, I can have a life. They told me I’d probably be in a wheelchair [in] 8-9 years and it’s been 12. A few puffs of oil and I do water aerobics 90-120 minutes a day Monday thru Friday. I feel like I’m getting a life back.

I use vaping oils, topicals, edibles and flower. But mostly oil. I also use a really good CBD patch I buy online that works great!!”

 

Since Joan’s first purchase in early 2019, thousands of Ohioans have joined her in exploring and experiencing how cannabis helps their chronic conditions. Here are a few of their stories. 

 

Shawna S. (Multiple Qualifying Conditions)

“I have been involved in the Ohio medical marijuana program since its inception with the qualifying conditions of PTSD and pain that is chronic/severe/intractable in nature. I have been managing a genetic condition with numerous complex co-morbidities for the better part of 35 years.

Due to these coexisting conditions (affecting both physical/mental health and cognition), I am on a litany of medications, both scheduled and as needed. Since my cannabis doctor and I began working more closely, my narcotic use and need for daily anti-inflammatory and sleep medications, specifically, has drastically reduced. I have also come off of immune infusions and though my numbers are [at the] low-end of normal, I have had less overall illness and immune hyper-reactivity. I am hoping that the more we tweak my regimen as needed, we can continue to whittle away at the pharmaceutical medications while improving my overall function and quality of life.

Cannabis helps my conditions in a myriad of ways. I find it helps distract me from the intensity of difficult thoughts and emotions, physical pain, and the overall events of the day. Helps me to let go of it all a little easier. It is another tool in my physical and mental health toolbox and frankly, the reason I was able to achieve a PhD with the severity of some of my conditions. 

My regimen is still under construction, but I am finding success with high dose CBD during the day with microdose 1:1 gummies as needed. In the evening and on weekends, I vape a THC heavy flower and add a bit of RSO for extreme pain. I will often look for a specific terpene profile for specific symptoms and needs. I believe the best way we can find success in our cannabis journey is to share it with one another and learn from each other. There is so much to learn.”

 

Sally S. (Multiple Qualifying Conditions)

“I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis eight or nine years ago. And it seems that when you get one autoimmune disease, it just snowballs. I then was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and chronic pain.

The doctor put me on Seroquel and then Trazodone and it basically did nothing for me. I started smoking cannabis in 1982. I knew it helped me relax and gave me joy. Fast forward with all my illnesses, I would see how it would alleviate my pain and my inflammation and definitely helped  with my general anxiety disorder.

I prefer flower, but because of my chronic pain and fatigue I have looked into stronger things like RSO, gummies, and oil pens. I’m not great at remembering the name of the brands. I always let the budtender know what I am looking for: Relief of pain and anxiety and nothing that will give me the munchies.”

 

Amy C. & Ryan M. (Type 1 Diabetes)

In late 2021, two Ohio patients described how they were finding cannabis helpful in their fight with Type 1 Diabetes. Read their stories here.

 

Wendy J. (Breast Cancer) 

Last year, Ohio patient Wendy shared her story about how she uses cannabis as part of her breast cancer therapy. Read about Wendy’s experience here.

 

Lisa T., Melissa E., and Lee T. (Fibromyalgia)

Last year we featured Ohio patients using cannabis as a therapy in the treatment of their fibromyalgia. You can read their stories here.

 

Anthony R. (Traumatic Brain Injury)

Anthony was also one of Ohio’s first patients and remains a fierce advocate. He describes how cannabis has helped his traumatic brain injury in this video story.  

 

Gabrielle V. (Chronic Pain)

As the author of this article, I’m also now three years into my own experience as an Ohio medical marijuana patient. My qualifying condition of chronic pain allowed me to get my medical marijuana card to help treat my pain after two back surgeries left me still in pain and dependent on opiates. I had first been able to try cannabis as a supplement to my opioid pain medicine while living in Nevada when their medical marijuana program began in 2015. I learned so much about cannabis during this time and noticed I needed the opioids less and less. 

I moved back to Ohio and enrolled in the medical marijuana program in January 2019. I took my last opioid and left pain management in July 2019. Today I enjoy a much healthier life using cannabis to treat my chronic pain. You can read more of my patient story here. 

 

Has getting your medical cannabis card changed the course of your treatment in a positive way? Would you like to tell your story? Reach out to the author at gabrielle@medicateoh.com and you may be featured in an upcoming article!

 

 

 

Author: Gabrielle Dion Visca

Gabrielle has been writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries for more than 20 years. She’s held positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop. She currently writes articles about medical marijuana for Duber Medical, and is the founder of the Ohio cannabis journalism non-profit, MedicateOH.

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