Medical Marijuana Patient Profile: A NJ Patient’s Struggle
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 02/04/2011 in Medical Marijuana Patient Stories
Medical marijuana is an extremely effective medication for countless ailments, including severe pain, cluster headaches and glaucoma. Just ask Bill from Brooklyn, NY.
Bill started smoking marijuana 25 years ago, ever since he lost his left eye in a horrific accident. He was just 16 years old when a troubled teenager shot him because he thought his girlfriend liked him, and then killed his girlfriend. Luckily Bill survived but he lost his left eye, which caused him to develop severe intraocular pressure, which is a symptom of glaucoma. Within a year or two he started getting cluster headaches.
For those who experience cluster headaches, they know that calling it a “headache” is a gross understatement. A cluster headache, nicknamed “suicide headache”, is a neurological disease that involves, as its most prominent feature, an immense degree of pain. Billy depended on cannabis as a medicine for this debilitating pain.
“It’s like somebody put a burning cow poker with a thousand needles straight into my eye and brain,” Billy explained. “Nothing works to kill the pain, but marijuana made it somewhat tolerable.”
In addition to cluster headaches, Billy also has two bugling disks in his back and neck, as well as pain from diabetes. “The marijuana worked for all of the above,” he said.
Unfortunately, Billy was arrested in New Jersey (where he currently lives) for having a single joint in his car. Even though he had no record, he had to go into a program where he was not allowed smoke for one year and had to see a probation officer. As soon as he stopped smoking, his intraocular pressure shot up to 23. It seemed that years of medical marijuana use had kept his levels normal. Normal levels are 17, and glaucoma levels are 30. His doctor explained that he may go blind if it gets to that level.
Additionally, he was without the pain relief of cannabis, which meant his back and neck pain became unbearable and he had to turn to prescription pain killers. “My back and neck were killing me and I had to go on prescription pain medicines that are more addictive than marijuana and chance getting glaucoma,” he explained. Even after 25 years of regular marijuana use, Billy had absolutely no problem stopping and experienced no withdrawal symptoms.
The good news is that New Jersey has since passed medical marijuana laws. But the bad news is that he won’t qualify for it until he has full blown glaucoma. It’s an unfortunate reality for a man who has benefited from the medicine for nearly three decades. “I guess I have to go blind before they approve marijuana for me,” he said.