Fibromyalgia and Crohn's Disease by Sheryl 

I'm a 39-year-old fibromyalgia patient who over the last ten years has noticed quite a bit about marijuana and chronic pain and even Crohn's disease.  I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about five years ago.  Every joint in my body hurts.  It hurts to sit, lie down, and even move a lot of times. My roommate and I were both potheads.  I smoked so I wouldn't have to take the endless regime of pills the doctor prescribed, which led me to a life of "smurf-like" oblivion. I felt horrible, couldn't function, and even passed out at the wheel of my car one morning, totaling it against a column at work. 

The only times I felt good were the occasional days when we could afford a small bag of marijuana and I didn't have to take the meds.  I could relax, unwind, unstress, garden, and even sleep.  My roommate had Crohn's disease, which means that if you aren't insured and so can't afford to take the high doses of steroids (which destroy your liver anyway), you eat and then run to the bathroom to rid yourself of all that you put in your system.

I noticed over the period of four years that whenever she smoked before she ate, she could hold her food, and was able to put some weight on and keep it on.  So we set a pattern. I got off all of the pills, and we smoked before meals and bedtime.  We both felt better, but were always broke and afraid we'd go to jail on our way back from picking it up. 

That story closed, and I lost my daughter, because my mother found out we were smoking pot in the house.  Social services was called in, and I had to sign over custody.  I moved out of my home to a new beginning four states away.  No meds, no marijuana, no alcohol. I couldn't sleep, hurt all the time, and was miserable, but for my daughter, stayed clean.

I met my husband, who suffers from chronic pain.  He was taking 300-500 Lortab and 200 Soma a month at the time.  We both knew that if we smoked again we would both feel better, but there was the stigma of its being illegal and just not socially acceptable.  We bought that first bag, and he gave up the Soma and cut back on the Lortab to about 200 a month.  My pain was better. I started to sleep and genuinely felt human again.  He could work, not missing "withdrawal" days. I felt better than I had in a year.  We struggled to purchase the smoke, it's so impossible to obtain and so expensive.  So we quit again.  He's in a pain management clinic, and they're still prescribing the Lortab.  He chokes down 90 in a week, and then I get to watch him go through the agony of withdrawals for a week. Of course he will deny it's a withdrawal, but I did notice that when he could smoke, he didn't go through the process of getting that refill as often. I could limit the daily intake to 4-5, which is safe, and my mood was always better because I didn’t' have to watch him. 

If we smoke, we can do without the pills.  Without smoke, he's stoned out of his mind on Lortab--you know that opium feeling of euphoria--and he ends up hurting himself at work (he's a welder).  And I can't sleep because it hurts so badly. 

The marijuana makes our quality of life so much better, but the expense is prohibitive-- not to mention that the close-minded folks in Georgia love to raid anyone that they feel is growing or even buying it. Of course it doesn't help that my sister-in-law is a sheriff and my brother works for the county jail, does it?

I feel that marijuana definitely has a place in chronic pain management as well as Crohn's care. I know that the medication my doctor wants me to take tears up my stomach and causes reflux, which can ulcerate your esophagus, not to mention that it's addictive and really debilitates me most of the day. Marijuana a few times a day helps us both, and does away with having to go through the heartache of withdrawals from addictive narcotic painkillers. 

Why can't the lawmakers open their eyes to the fact that this stuff is not harmful?  Has a person who's been smoking marijuana ever gone on a rampage with an assault rifle and killed a building full of people? Not that I know just need to watch your pantry for an occasional "munchie" raid. No harm there. 

Most chronic pain sufferers are addicted to their pain medications, and have a horrible quality of life. You either eat the pills and live in a state of "smurfdom," or you suffer through and you're still miserable. To me, narcotic painkillers are the worst type of addiction, and a lot more harmful to the person who suffers than smoking a few times a day. Is it really the government lobbying against the use of marijuana for pain, or the drug companies who contribute billions of dollars a year? Imagine how the profits for drug companies would fall if marijuana were approved for pain management.