Kidney Transplant Recipient
by Anonymous

Thank you for the work you have done regarding marijuana. I smoke for many reasons. I'm a kidney transplant recipient with a psychological problem of taking my required anti-rejection medication every day. Marijuana eases the difficulty of taking and dealing with the harsh side effects.

I have also had an unhappy and sickly life. After a childhood of kidney disease, surgical procedures, and other illnesses, I was (through no fault of my own) almost killed in a car accident at the age of 19. After 4 months on a morphine drip IV, I went though an excruciating experience of drug withdrawal.

A loved one talked me into trying marijuana for the pain and to gain back the 20 pounds I lost in the hospital. I feared brain damage or addiction to marijuana because I believed the propaganda. Risking a possible drop in my IQ or worse due to taking a "dangerous" illegal drug didn't matter when the pain became unbearable. No law(s) or moral standards are just when they require human suffering. I never expected my life to go the way it has. I never thought I would get near terminal cancer in my early twenties. Marijuana made the cancer/radiation experience bearable. Although I came from a conservative background, family members were able to get past the stigma of it being illegal and only for "losers" after they saw how I benefited from its use.

I also went through ESRD (kidney failure due to birth defect) in my late 20s. Dialysis was so miserable that I smoked marijuana every day, all day long. I couldn't eat, write, talk on the phone, go to appointments or smile without it. It has (does) played a critical role in dealing with pain as well as affording bits of pleasure. Although I had a successful kidney transplant, I still suffer much -- although much less than the dialysis days. I wish I could come out of the closet to talk about the enhanced quality of my life -- I could help others with what I learned. However, because I am a transplant patient, I've been told that if it were to be found out by the transplant team to be using anything illegal or not prescribed, then they could refuse to see me any longer as a patient. I would love to share with them my "secret" of success because I have a better quality of life than most transplantees and even more astonishing: I have the best lab work that indicates better-than-normal kidney function with less medication than most do. The doctors attribute my medical gains as part of having a positive attitude; if only they knew its the marijuana that makes me feel positive about life.