What Marijuana Means to Colorado: "Marijuana is my life"

As part of our search for a marijuana-dispensary critic, we asked applicants to write in and tell us what marijuana means to them. In the coming weeks, we'll publish some of our favorites, including this one from a female college student.

Marijuana is important to me for many reasons. After I broke my leg and ankle in a snowboarding accident in 2004, I found myself healing poorly. It turns out I have RSD/CRPS, a condition where the sympathetic nervous system goes hay wire. Basically, my ankle has felt like it's been broken since my accident, and now the rest of my body is affected with severe muscle pain and spasms.

My doctors tried everything to stop the RSD. This included spinal blocks, epidurals, shock therapy, anti-seizure meds, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, and every kind of opioid drug under the sun. I couldn't function, and I ended up losing everything.

When I graduated from the University of Denver in 2007, I decided it was time to make a change. I couldn't continue down the path I was on, because the physical impact of taking all those drugs was catching up with me. I went cold turkey, and smoked as much marijuana as I could. It worked. The only thing I wasn't really considering was how I would address my chronic pain without prescription medication.

Purely by accident, I discovered while using marijuana to get off opiates that it actually helped with my pain. It didn't kill the pain, or make me sleep through it like the prescriptions medications. Marijuana changed my perception of the pain. Over time I noticed the pain itself became slightly duller, and less frequent. As my RSD spreads throughout my body, my use of medical marijuana is the only thing that seems to keep the debilitating episodes of complete incapacitation at bay.

Why is medical marijuana important to me? It has not only saved my life, but it has given me back the person I was before my life-changing accident. Cannabis allows me to work through my pain, and not be consumed by it. It gives me life, and it gave me my life back. To say marijuana is important to me is an understatement; marijuana has given me my life back. Marijuana isn't just important to me, it is my life.

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Joe Tone
Contact: Joe Tone