Cannabis, also known as Mary Jane, Marijuana, Chiba, and Kush just to name a few, has come a really long way. Growing up a 80’s baby, DARE was engrained into my vocabulary starting in elementary school. I grew up disgusted with the thought of ever using any drug, let along something I thought smelled god awful. Fast forward to age 37, I became one of the biggest cannabis supporters. How did I get there, you ask? My story with cannabis isn’t traditional. I didn’t start out using cannabis for medical reasons. My husband smoked cannabis recreationally, however for years I was strictly against it. I’m laughing now, thinking of the times he had to literally strip and shower after he smoked to avoid my complaints. However, cannabis was something I normally heard my patient’s admit to using during my assessments as a registered nurse. I became curious one day when reading an online article about women and cannabis use. The article went into details of the usage of cannabis by women of different ages and how they were seeing benefits in their mood, sleep and sex lives. I became curious, I asked my husband to let me try a cannabis edible. I liked how relaxed I was and how euphoric I felt; however I was a closet cannabis user for months. In the beginning my usage was recreational, once or twice a month.
Two years later, my reasons for cannabis usage were no longer recreational purposes but for pain relief as well . I’m a RN, I have worked in healthcare for almost 20 years. Nursing is an admirable, respected and compassionate profession that can often put a lot of wear and tear on the body. I began having neck and shoulder pain that would become worse gradually over months. I went from being a person who only took vitamin supplements daily, to being prescribed several heavy dose pain killers and muscle relaxers. I avoided taking those medications as much as could until I could no longer function from the pain. Even though the paid medication was effective at eradicating the pain, I could no longer function due to the side effects of drowsiness and dizziness. I felt like I was in a constant uphill battle. Eventually after having received failed epidural blocks and physical therapy, I had surgery. Surgery was my last option to getting back to my normal, or so I thought. Imagine going through all of the pain of a major surgery and physical therapy and your pain was supposed to be allieviated through these efforts remaining the same as it was prior to having surgery. I became frustrated as well as depressed. My life had drastically changed. I, a highly trained ICU nurse, now facing the reality that I could possible never work as a nurse again.
I started reading, and researching to look for other options to discontinue the use of pain killers, but the chronic pain I was experiencing left me feeling hopeless. After looking into holistic options, I realized that I had holistic medicine in my home the whole time. I pulled up some journals and articles looking into cannabis and its positive affects on chronic pain. I was completely blown away. I couldn’t believe that I, a veteran nurse, wasn’t educated on cannabis and all of its life changing benefits. Soon after studying the cannabis flower, it’s benefits and the many success stories of medial cannabis patients, I decided to speak with my doctor about it. In the beginning I was hesitant to ask her; as a nurse there’s a stigma in our healthcare system regarding any drug use. Although medicinal Cannabis use has been legalized in numerous states, including Michigan where I reside. it’s still classified as a Schedule 1 drug federally. However, after one of my follow up visits for a refill on pain killers, I decided to call and ask her advice for using medicinal cannabis. Surprisingly she sounded relieved that I was considering using it. She and I had previous years of experience working together as colleagues, and because of our pre-existing relationship she had begun to worry that I would have a life with chronic pain or numerous surgeries. To hear me ask her for a referral for medical cannabis was music to her ears. I followed up with a physician and received my medical cannabis card. Within a week of receiving my card, I was in a medicinal cannabis dispensary and lost without a clue. I had no idea of what products to purchase or how much, the budtenders (customer service representatives within a dispensary) were only able to make suggestions. I made my first purchase, consumed the edible when I got home and waited to feel pain relief. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t supposed to consume the entire edible, and became sick. However instead of discarding it’s use, I did more research. Eventually I adopted a routine with medical cannabis consumption that allowed me to have less pain, become more active and sleep better at night. Medical Cannabis was giving me my life back, and I wanted to learn more. I began to think of all the people that this flower could help. I started to consider how my role as a nurse would change. A plant that I had been against for years was now my ally. It was then that I decided to educate as many people as possible about this amazing plant and all of it’s benefits. I became the certified Medical Cannabis Consultant that you now know as The 420Nurse.