by Anonymous

I am a fifty-four year old female working for a global real estate company as a department manager. I have used marihuana for over 35 years to help me control my asthma. I was diagnosed at the age of 13, when I had my first attack while I was away from home at Girl Scout camp. Prior to that, I had suffered severely from allergies to dust, wool, mold, grass, pollen, etc. I was seeing an allergist, who had been giving me weekly allergy shots over the course of several years.

After my first asthma attack, I was put on medication that gave me nausea and made me shaky. I also used a glass nebulizer for breathing relief. Sometimes I would have to be on pure oxygen, and I still couldn't breathe. It would get so bad that my entire body, especially my chest, would hurt so that I didn't even want to take another breath.

I went on like that for about five years. I got accustomed to taking my medication, and better medications and inhalers were developed, but I still had very severe attacks that would take a week or two to subside, and it usually meant a trip to the hospital to get my collapsed lungs inflated and to be put on steroids.

Breathing smoke into my lungs was the furthest thing from my mind at that time, but when I was 19 years old I met up with a friend that I had dated briefly while in high school. He invited me to see his new apartment, and while I was there, he brought out a pipe, lit up, and passed it to me. I didn't think I should try it, but I had always trusted him, and he said that it wouldn't hurt and I might enjoy the experience.

At first I didn't notice anything. But then it seemed as though a lot of time had passed, when it had actually been less than an hour. There was music playing, and I could hear each instrument individually, which was quite a pleasant experience. As I continued to visit, our conversation became deeper and philosophical. We had a nice visit.

I stayed a while longer, we said our farewells, and I left to drive home. Big mistake! I couldn't drive properly, and I was having difficulty staying awake. By this time it was dark, so I pulled into a parking lot behind a closed business, and slept for about an hour. Then, I proceeded to drive home safely.

I didn't use marihuana again until one day when I was at my brother's house and his wife was passing a pipe with some friends who were visiting. I was having difficulty breathing that day, but I thought, "What the heck, one time won't kill me."

To my amazement, taking marihuana smoke into my lungs helped me to breathe. I hadn't been able to take a full, deep breath for days, and suddenly I was breathing deeply. It felt like someone had reached down into my lungs and pulled out a bunch of cobwebs. It was quite a revelation.

I thought it might be a fluke, so I took some home with me and bought myself a corn cob pipe (I didn't know where to buy the other kinds). Each time my asthma started up, I would smoke a little bit of marihuana, and it spared me from having to go to the hospital and endure days, maybe weeks of pain.

Since then the only time that I have gotten into trouble with my asthma is when I have been unable to obtain any marihuana. I know when I am beginning to have an attack, and I can stop it before it goes too far.

The fact that marihuana is illegal frustrates me, because I don't feel like I'm a criminal, and I don't like dealing with a criminal element to get what I need to take care of myself. I also wish that I could control the potency, so that I wouldn't have to take more smoke into my lungs than is necessary to obtain the desired result.

During one of my hospital visits, a young respiratory therapist who was giving me a breathing treatment suggested that I try marihuana. I just smiled at him.

I also use marihuana sometimes in the evenings just before retiring, because the medicine that I have to take makes it difficult for me to go to sleep.

My children grew up knowing that their mom smoked marihuana, and they were told that if they wanted to use it they were to use it at home, and were not to drive around with it, or drive after using it.

My children are grown now. One son is a neurologist, another son is in the film and TV industry, and a third is a wife, mother and administrator with three children of her own and another on the way.

My two sons use marihuana medically and recreationally, and my daughter doesn't use it at all. My husband and I have been together for 35 years, and he has never used marihuana.