In just about two years, the number of patients using medical marijuana in Louisiana has more than quadrupled.
With the introduction of flower in just about six weeks, those numbers are expected to spike even more. Flower is the smokeable form of medical cannabis.
There are patients who say this treatment has changed their lives. KATC talked to three patients who are all using medical marijuana for different reasons.
Mariah Strick was in a car accident two years ago.
“It was found that I have two herniations. One in the cervical spine, one in lumbar spine.”
For her, everyday functions like walking, sitting, and cooking became unbearable. Initially doctors sent her to a chiropractor, who prescribed muscle relaxers and pain medications.
“He prescribed me 57 hydrocodone,” she recalls, “and told me to come back if pain persisted.”
She says it did, for months.
In April of this year, Mariah decided to try medical cannabis. She says her life is now back to normal. She uses drops under her tongue, called tinctures, and also a body cream that’s applied directly onto her back.
“It naturally makes me feel better and heal. Versus taking this med and this one and this one and this one….all of which could interfere with one another.”
For Fanchon Toups, her ailment goes back as far as she can remember.
“I have had ADD all of my life,” she explains. “I’ve always had an issue focusing. I want to be able to start something and finish it or I don’t want to start it.”
Nine months ago, she started using medical marijuana. She says better focus is now a reality and she is sleeping more soundly as well.
“For about a year, I was using different sleeping pills and wasn’t able to wake up feeling refreshed. I was groggy. Then you take them a few nights and they stop working.
One of the things I don’t have with this (medical marijuana) are the unwanted side effects.”
Lastly, Bill Manhein, “I use it for a gastrointestional issue I have. I have gone to a gastrointernologist for years and everything he put me on seemed to make it worse. Since I started using this four to five months ago. Since day one, it’s never reoccurred.”
Many may hear the word ‘marijuana’ and think someone who uses it will be high, lazy, and have the munchies all day. These patients say that’s just not the case.
“People think ‘oh you’ll be high all day’. No. No,” Strick says. “I’m going to feel better so I’m going to get more accomplished and won’t be high. That’s not what they do.”
Fanchon Toups says the added security makes medical marijuana an more than acceptable option of treatment. “You know what you are getting. You know exactly what’s in it. The pharmacy takes the guess work out of it.”
“I’m actively searching out people with problems to see if theres anyway to help them,” say Manhein, who is in his 70’s. “It just makes me feel good and we can see if it works for you.”
If you are interested in getting a medical marijuana prescription, you must first meet with a doctor who’s eligible to prescribe. That meeting doesn’t have to happen in person; it can happen over the phone or computer. The list of doctors can be found on the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners website. After the doctor makes a recommendation, it will then be sent to one of nine medical marijuana pharmacies in the state. The last step is a consultation between you and the pharmacist to discuss your needs and treatment options.
The addition of flower to the medical marijuana market will happen January 1st.
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