I am a 27 year old single female with no children. I am a Behavioural Consultant who returned to school for a degree in criminal psychology. I began using marijuana - for recreational purposes only - at approximately 13 years of age. At the age of 21 I was involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident rendering myself unconscious for a period of approximately 5 days. Almost 6 years post-injury, I have since recovered and have been left with the residual effects of severe cognitive deficits, a migraine disorder and Partial Complex Seizure Disorder - as diagnosed by neurologists at the University of California, Los Angeles. A friend of mine who also suffers from epilepsy - albeit very different from the type I suffer - refused to smoke a passing joint one day. She used her ailment as an explanation. Given that this took place several months after my discharge from the hospital, I assumed that this also applied to me. Therefore, I refrained.

A short time later, while reading up on the subject as well as discussing the issue in a lecture at school, I discovered that this ‘alternative’ to conventional medication may alleviate some of the now chronic symptoms I faced every day.

I decided to test it out one evening while in the presence of well-known and trusted friends. I quickly learned that the monotherapuetic regime I had implemented into my daily living just didn’t compare to the benefits I experienced by simply enjoying one marijuana cigarette. The migraine headaches that I was told would last a lifetime, quickly dissipated. The nausea and lack of appetite, including that of gastrointestinal difficulties now experienced as a direct result of the severe head injury, to my amazement, were somewhat relieved. My appetite returned, the nausea alleviated, and my once very efficient digestive system was back to ‘clock-work’. I began researching other similar cases whereby the use of medical marijuana had been implemented, to find that this ‘drug’ was widely used by others suffering similar symptoms.

At the time of my diagnosis, I was prescribed several different anti- convulsant drugs until I found the one for me. Given that these drugs could potentially have serious side affects - all of which I experienced: loss of hair; sore gums; weight gain; depression; not to mention of course the inability to keep me seizure free - the combination that I have been ingesting now for approximately 2 years, is by far the best yet. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive. As Canada, specifically Toronto, Ontario, comes to recognize the medicinal elements to pot - yet remains to deny those who would benefit from its usage - I must go underground to purchase this, constantly in fear that I may one day smoke something laced with more harmful substances, ones that would induce seizure activity rather than control it. I could take a risk and grow my own supply, however, this also places everyone else residing in my house at risk for criminal prosecution. Although there have been precedent-setting cases whereby authorities were court ordered to return the ‘victim’s’ stash (albeit all plants were apparently dead at the time of return) we still have many years ahead until it is widely accepted into practise.

I find any and all ways of ingesting mary-jane to be useful depending on how I feel at the time. "Bud Butter" is excellent if I wake in the morning feeling terrible, or baking it in a cake helps me to relax when feeling quite anxious.

Smoking a joint is also very effective, however, if you’re not a nicotine smoker, this method may be more difficult to withstand. Overall, I once thought my mary-jane days were over, only to find that it is the best thing on the market (black or otherwise) for me, not only for the medicinal qualities mentioned in the above, as well as how it has helped my state of emotional well-being particularly surrounding the trauma and the effects the accident has had on my current life.

Samantha Jo Trella, Samijo@interlog.com