My experience treating myself with medical cannabis is that it was a feat of trial and error which was both expensive and time-consuming, but that’s probably the way it should be. People are not carbon copies of each other and there is no reason to believe that Big Pharma poisons will affect different people the same way although that is the lie we have been told. Similarly, people will respond differently to different cannabis strains, products and dosages and the only way to find something that you know will work for you is to try it. I was advised in the beginning to document my treatment progression to help me figure this out in an organized way but I was too sick and didn’t have the mental, physical or emotional reserves to document anything. The “budtenders” at the cannabis shops played a very minor supportive role by describing the most common uses and effects in alleviating different symptoms but probably their best advice was that “the nose knows.” With regard to whole flower cannabis (bud) you are supposed to inhale the scent of the different strains and the ones that smell the best to you are the ones you should try and obviously the ones that smell offensive to you are best avoided. Contrast that sage and benign advice with that of Big Pharma particularly in the case of Crohn’s and other autoimmune and chronic illnesses where we are advised and expected to take Big Pharma poisons that we know make us feel worse.
As I have discussed on this blog, I am a seriously chronically ill cannabis refugee and am facing financial ruin and homelessness due to the last 5 years of medical expenditures related to my diagnosis and treatment for Crohn’s disease, a crippling incurable and progressive autoimmune disease of the digestive tract. After treating for 2 years with Western medical treatments which were not only ineffective but also making me feel worse, I left my partner, my home, my state, my profession and my previous life behind and traveled across the country to seek pain relief and healing through the use of medical cannabis. Thankfully, I have found significant pain relief and some amount of healing from my disease far beyond what conventional treatments had to offer and I am so grateful to have been able to do that for myself. Unfortunately, after more than 3 years of paying out-of-pocket for out of state lodging and cannabis treatments, at this time, I have nearly reached the end of my personal resources to deal with this issue. Due to forces beyond my control, I am not currently eligible for disability- or need-based benefits despite my unfortunate diagnosis, significant disability, negative prognosis and financial need.
Since my diagnosis with and failed conventional treatments for Crohn’s disease I have gotten a lot of comfort and knowledge from reading various online support forums for Crohn’s patients. It was there that I realized that I was not alone in my diagnosis, symptoms, multiple treatment failures or feelings of hopelessness, despair and what was becoming a seething and visceral hatred and resentment toward the medical community for failing Crohn’s patients and other chronically ill people so badly. Some forums are even tolerant if not enthusiastic about hosting discussions about medical marijuana for Crohn’s patients which I appreciate. Most of all I take solace in reading the forums because the participants are real people expressing themselves honestly and often tackling taboos, perhaps the biggest of which is the taboo against disparaging medical treatment, healthcare providers or the patriarchal capitalist medical industry in any way. Because if you aren’t even allowed to think or discuss negative thoughts about Western medicine and its treatment of Crohn’s how will you ever think about or discuss alternatives? If Western medicine is put on a pedestal and beyond reproach, what choice do patients have but to blame themselves when their treatments fail to help them and oftentimes actually make them worse?
I think the forum participants are mostly able to be honest because they aren’t doing it as a job, they aren’t trying to build a following on social media, or get clicks, or sell advertising so they do not have to toe the line of playing nice with the medical system that is oftentimes torturing and even killing them. Not so with the Crohn’s blogs. “Hawt girl with ostomy” seems to be a particularly popular genre in Crohn’s blogging and social networking as is the “Crohn’s Tragicomedy” where graphic bodily and medical horrors, daily indignities and even medical malpractice and abuse are reduced to memes. Indeed, every Crohn’s blog I have seen evinces uncritical consumption of medical goods and services (and fuckability mandates!) that are resource intensive, barbaric and dangerous; do not work, or for long; and often make patients feel worse. And while I can see the draw of lighthearted Crohn’s blogging-for-profit — it is light-duty flexible work and a good fit for the chronically ill, and it feels good to laugh — I have learned that making light of issues with political and material implications is just not a good idea in a long-term big-picture kind of way. It minimizes, normalizes and invisiblizes the harms, lets the perpetrators off the hook, and extinguishes victims’ hard-earned righteous rage.