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Medical Cannabis Patient Profile: Fighting for Medical Marijuana in Florida

Medical Cannabis Patient Profile: Fighting for Medical Marijuana in Florida

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/07/2010 in Medical Marijuana Patient Stories

Amy Cavanaugh is a 53-year-old financial services professional and breast cancer survivor who has seen how much of a toll prescription drugs can take on your body, and your wallet. So when her boyfriend was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year, she turned to marijuana as a medicine.

During his treatment, the couple had spent five months in Jackson Memorial hospital and 5 weeks in the ICU. He had long been prescribed massive amounts of painkillers due to being disabled and having chronic pain from a car accident. So Amy started making marijuana tea for him and cutting it into yogurt. The results were so tremendous that he stopped taking his prescription meds for pain altogether. His nausea was gone, and his appetite returned.

“We were lucky that we had found a source for quality medical marijuana, that was also very affordable,” explained Amy.

But when he ended up in the ICU, Amy was no longer able to feed him his yogurt, and his doctors put him on massive amounts of painkillers—which ultimately resulted in severe liver damage.

Blocked by the Hospital

Amy tried to talk to the doctors about medical marijuana. She even tried to talk to them about Marinol—which is a legal medicine doctors can prescribe—but the subjects were completely taboo. “The doctors refused to talk about medical marijuana. Even the medical students avoided the topic,” said Amy. “They’re supposed to be learning about cutting-edge medicine, but they were completely ignoring the medical evidence. They say it causes addiction—as if pain pills don’t.”

Amy turned to the hospital computer to look up studies to show the doctors, and found that even the term “medical marijuana” was blocked by the hospital’s search engines.

“Someone consciously set up a ban for searches for a medicine that will actually help the patients. It blocked me as if I were looking up porn, not medical research,” said Amy. Meanwhile, she watched two other cancer patients sneak out to the parking garage, IV poles in hand, to share a joint.

Medical Marijuana Advocacy in Florida

Amy is now actively involved in getting medical marijuana legalized in Florida, and hopes to be an advocate and resource for cancer patients. She works with People United for Medical Marijuana (PUFMM) and with a group called Evolving Dynamics, that teaches young people how to effectively sit down with politicians and discuss the issues.

Amy has found many Florida politicians to be dead silent about medical marijuana, and found that most Florida residents have negative false preconceived notions about the medicine.

“Skeptics don’t hear the medical, they only hear the marijuana,” she said. “Both the politicians and the voting public need to realize that medical marijuana is important and life saving.”

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