Posted June 15, 2016 by


High time for medical marijuana

Over the years I’ve had plenty of moments when I would say, “if you told me 10 years ago I’d be doing this, I’d tell you - no way.” One of those was when I worked as a personal support worker. I used to have a terrible gag reflex when it came to another person’s bodily secretions - except for my own children of course. 

Today my legally prescribed medical marihuana arrived and here we have another of those moments. I tried it when I was a teenager and once during my late 20s, and without going into too much detail, it never really agreed with me.

Last September while in Thunder Bay, I talked with some of my peers about applying for medical marijuana. I had some concerns so we talked about my fear of possible addiction, getting too stoned on it and even about the possibility it might trigger me into smoking cigarettes again.

During our talk I learned there are different strains of medical cannabis used for different health conditions. Some have THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and are recommended for more serious health concerns. The type I would need is classified as CBD (Cannabidiol); it won’t give me that ‘stoned’ feeling - a little light headed though.

I made up my mind to talk to my doctor when I returned home.

At a get together at the local ASO (AIDS Service Organization) I brought the subject up in conversation and learned that they had just received some information on applying for medical marijuana. They gave me copies of the paperwork so I could start the process. I filled in my parts and then left them with my doctor to complete her part.

There are several suppliers in Canada that you can purchase medical marijuana from and I learned one of them had an office in the mall downtown. I’m not getting any deals by mentioning the company’s name, so it’s called Tweed and they headquartered in Smith Falls, Ontario.

I waited a few weeks but didn’t hear back from my doctor, so I called her. I learned that  she was on holidays and I would have to see her before she could complete the forms. My follow up appointment was coming up so I waited to see her then.

Presently I only take three prescribed medications - my HIV med, something for my stomach that controls heartburn and acid reflux amd the third med is for cholesterol - and I take a couple of supplements, calcium and vitamin D. I explained to the doctor that I wanted marhjuana as an alternative to taking a prescribed pain medication for my arthritis and so I can get more sleep each night.

She agreed to sign the papers and prescribed 90 grams per thirty days. When I heard her say that amount I thought it was a lot. I remember telling her I probably wouldn’t need that much but she said it was the limit to what she could prescribe and if it lasted more then a month, I could save money.

I left with the papers, and my results from my last blood work (CD4 was 540, 32% and undetectable). I went to the Tweed office to register my prescription, but we discovered a couple parts hadn’t been completed by the doctor -the duration for the script and it had to be initialed by her at another spot. This was taking more time than I thought, but it all had to be legal.

Finally after a couple more weeks I was given the go ahead, I needed to go in so we could go over the ordering procedure, and some things I needed to know about the different strains. There really is a lot more to know than I thought. It isn’t just that familiar leafy plant we see everywhere.

We went to their website, to the ‘shop now’ section and searched through all the different strains. There must be 50 or more. We clicked on each one and it gave us a chart explaining the make-up of each strain. It also lists the ailments they are best suited for.

I mentioned above that I felt 90 grams would be a lot for me so I asked if there was minimum that I had to order and was told yes, there is a minimum of 10 grams. I decided I would start at the minimum amount and if I felt I needed more I could increase my order each month until I was ordering what I needed; this stuff isn’t cheap.

Getting to the pricing, because I am on government assistance there is a lower, compassionate price. I had to show proof, so they copied one of my disability documents. Normally the strains I would be ordering averaged around $6 a gram but I can get it for $4.80 plus tax. I learned from one of my peers, it is an extra medical expense and can be tax deductible, so I should save all receipts.

I went home, set up my account online and placed my first order for ten grams. We decided I should try a couple of types of the same strain so I ordered five grams of each. Payment is accepted by credit card or direct payment from my bank account. I couldn’t set up the direct payment; my bank’s online application doesn’t identify a marihuana company as a legitimate company like the phone or hydro. I don’t have a credit card so I purchased a $100 Visa gift card and used it.

The photos show the contents of my first shipment, along with some things I felt I needed like rolling papers, a pipe, a grinder. I’m liking the pipe over having to roll blunts (oops, where did that word come from?) I am not doing it very often, I have to go outside and it's been raining and now cold, so I won’t have to order anything this month and maybe nothing in February, five grams is a lot: well for me it is.

In the photo you might notice the small card. I have to carry it with me to show that I am on prescribed marijuana. When each shipment comes in there is a peel off sticker that I have to attach to the card, it is a tracking feature that identifies what the product is. I am not allowed to carry all of the prescription at all times. I’m only allowed to carry the maximum for that day’s usage, so no more than nine grams.

The length of my prescription is one year. t will have to renew it each year. Hopefully it’s just a matter of taking in the new script.

There are several ways you can use medical marijuana. I chose to smoke it but you can purchase a vaporizer and smoke it that way but it can be pricey. To try one out, you can go to Vape shops and smoke your medical marijuana there. If you choose to cook with it, they informed me more product is required, so it can be even more expensive. The Supreme Court of Canada just approved the consumption of cannabis for medical reasons.

Our new government has promised to legalize marijuana so maybe I’ve gone through this unnecessarily but I feel good about it, my doctor knows what I’m doing and what to watch for. I can’t say it has made any difference yet but I do feel less pain and sleep longer periods of time when I do use it.

Now if they could only make it smell better.

For information: www.betterbytweed.com

*This article was originally published on PositiveLite.Com, Canada's Online HIV Magazine (http://www.positivelite.com/component/zoo/item/high-time-for-medical-marihuana).