Patient Story – Sean Spicer – Spinal Compression
Hello everybody, we are launching a new section here on the M Delivers blog. Patient Stories is a place for all of us to share our successes (and failures) in using medical marijuana to treat our various ailments. As your humble editor, I felt it wouldn’t be fair to ask for your stories without sharing my own long journey to becoming a caregiver and later a patient.
Our goal with Patient Stories is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge between patients so we can, as a community, better take advantage of the healing opportunities provided by this miraculous plant. I hope my experiences help others looking to treat spinal pain and am happy to answer any questions in the comments section below.
I suffer from a compressed spine, with only 25% of the normal spacing between my lower vertebrae. It is a very bad form of repetitive stress injury which began as a Paratrooper in the US Army and was compounded with years of competitive endurance racing and extremely long distance hikes. The best injuries have good stories, right?
My journey with medical marijuana began officially in 1983. I was 8 years old, and my father, a disabled vet, was suffering from nerve pain caused by a stroke he’d had five years prior. With Codeine providing diminishing returns and repeated detox stays in the hospital, his brave doctor made a suggestion that was highly illegal at the time. “Some people report that marijuana help with this kind of pain, you may want to try it.”
Unfortunately, along with prohibition, there was very little information available about things like indicas and sativas, let alone access to any way to reliably access one or the other. My father went to one of his co-workers who gave him a couple of joints to try. A life time smoker, my father did the ‘sensible’ thing and smoked one the same as he would a cigarette. As a responsible parent, he didn’t do it in front of me, but I did get to be there when we had to call the fire department to get him off the floor, which my father found hilarious. My mom? Not so much?
When medical marijuana was legalized in California in the late 90s, I was an infrequent recreational user, and swore that I wouldn’t get a medical marijuana card, and would simply wait until recreational use was legalized. I knew there were dozens, if not hundreds of real medical uses and I felt that getting a medical card to treat my infrequent insomnia diminished the legitimacy of the movement.
I started a few little plants in our closet when I went to Berkeley, growing Jack Herer with my law school roommate at the same time as we studied his books.
Still, I swore by recreational use. A decade later, I was living on 44 acres in Mendocino County, laughed at by my neighbors at my dreams of having a romanesco farm and goat creamery while surrounded by some of the biggest grow operations I’d ever dared to imagine. Then my wife started having incredibly severe menstrual cramps. A neighbor introduced her to marijuana tea, and the results were immediate. Soon there after I had my legal limit of six outdoor plants and a running bet with my neighbors who said there was no way my “hippy dippy” organics would compete with their advanced nutrients and chemistry. Truth be told, my yields were nowhere near theirs, but the incredible flower we produced sold me on my methods.
I eventually wound up as COO of a large online hydroponics retailer. During a trip home, I did something I never would have imagined. I smoked a joint with my mother. She had been having increasing pain from diabetic necropathy combined with arthritis, and I wondered if it would help. It did. It also made her incredibly antsy and she did not enjoy it, so it was back to near-heroic doses of acetaminophen. My next trip down, I had something different. A homebrewed tincture of double-distilled everclear combined with single source indica.
One drop at a time, and my mother was able to scale back her fistfuls of tylenol. I became her primary caregiver. We had moved off the ranch and into a big house in town, and it took me a few days to get a three light perpetual harvest set up in our garage. I worked with a friend who distilled essential oils, and we sat out to produce 100% organic, zero pesticide tincture for my mother.
My first experience as a medical marijuana patient.
Ironically, it was the summer of 2017, and just a few months before prop 64 would succeed at the polls, when a long term back injury from the military laid me up almost completely. After looking at my x-rays, my doctor casually prescribed me Flexerol and explained that I just needed to take one a night… forever.
A few days later I was walking into my first dispensary as a patient. I didn’t know the dispensary was illegal, I just knew it was near my house and my friends went there frequently.
Thankfully, walking in I had a good amount of knowledge. Because it was painfully obvious that the budtenders were hired by their cup size, not their expertise. Explaining that I needed a high CBD Sativa and their purist indica as possible I took their word for it and walked out with what turned out to be a 70/30 hybrid that hit me like bulletproof coffee at bedtime, and some grass smelling outdoor smalls that I doubt had more than .05% CBD.
My Treatment Regimen
I’m a serious lightweight, so I try to avoid THC during my productive hours. I do a quick 10 minute stretching routine my doctor advised in the morning to loosen up my back, and when things flare up, I use CBD topicals and the occasional Tylenol.
I keep a personal amount of lab-tested high-CBD flower for weekend medicating, allowing me to complete all my physical chores (including sitting on the floor playing legos with my son). While the high CBD and Low THC don’t give me a tremendous buzz, I do experience a head change from it, so keep this limited to weekends and evenings. Some strains I have used include Medi-Haze, Cannatonic, and currently am enjoying Candy Land and
I use indica based concentrates (particularly live resin) with an e-pen for bedtime, occasionally breaking out the dab rig when I can feel the tension building in my back that indicates a flare up. As most of my worst incidents occur when I twist my back and pinch a nerve while sleeping, this serves to relax my muscles enough to avoid issues, effectively taking the place of the muscle relaxants I was prescribed.
I am currently exploring edibles and vape cartridges, though my low tolerance has limited my ability to work with them on a fully day to day basis. Kiva’s Petra mints, at 2.5mg have been ideal for functional medicating and I was kindly gifted a Hmbldt Relief pen recently, which contains a 2:1 THC:CBD oil, and which offers an exact 1.75mg of THC and .75mg of CBD per dose. (The pen stops when you reach the exact dose)
All in all, for most of my adult life I have seen the benefits of medical marijuana. However, we have a long way to go to truly recognize the benefits that medical cannabis can offer. Increased education for both patients, caregivers and dispensary employees is essential. I believe California’s legalization of recreational use is going to eventually help this process greatly, as marijuana providers will be able to choose their focus. Marijuana to have fun, or marijuana to be functional. One of the primary goals of M’s Patient Stories is to create a jumping off spot for us to share our own experiences.
Thank you for reading. If you want to share your patient story, please drop me a line at seans @ mdelivers.com (Remove the spaces)