Monday, December 30, 2013


April Barbosa, Columnist & Poet,
When I was 19 I smoked marijuana for the first time. I remember cruising with my primo and some homies and they said they were going to get high. I was scared I had never tried it and didn’t know what it would do to me, but I didn’t want them to know this so I asked if I could try. When it was my turn to hit the joint I inhaled but not into my lungs just into my cheeks. One of my homeboys laughed at me and showed me the proper way to inhale. I started coughing and thought I was going to suffocate. But lo and behold I survived. We sat there in the car smoking it out. When the joint was gone I sat there waiting for something to happen. I was more talkative while everyone else was quiet.

Weed made me talkative and not only that, it relaxed my body. I had never felt better. The pain that I was already used to slowly went away. That day was one of the best days of my life I had no pain. I became a pot head. My family disapproved so I kept it hidden. For years I smoked the only thing I didn’t like was it sometimes gave me a headache.

When I turned 20 I became pregnant with my 3rd child and decided it was time to “grow up” and quit smoking. I had a well-paying job and my husband and I had just bought our first house. Even though life was going good I was constantly in pain. I kept going to my doctor over and over only to be told it may be psychosomatic systems caused by stress. Then I was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis after years of testing. The doctors started me out on so many medications I can’t even remember half of the names but I do know most of them were for opiates for pain.
I had to go on medical leave and eventually quit my job because the opiates left me out of it and not taking them left me in constant pain. Each job I had would follow the same suit. Finally I was approved for disability. I read somewhere that Medical marijuana could be used for Multiple Sclerosis. I had “grown up” from that lifestyle and was kind of embarrassed to even think about getting high again. I was at a crossroads.

One day I woke up with one of the worst pains MS can bring trigeminal neuralgia. My husband saw how much pain I was in and remembered me telling him how marijuana had helped when I was younger. He went out and got me some. Yes it was illegal but it was something I really needed at that moment. I was in so much pain I couldn’t even think, let alone smoke by myself. So Joe helped me by giving me a shotgun hit, this means he took a hit and put his lips on mine and blew it into my lungs, all I had to do was hold it in.

After a few hits I slowly felt my face begin to loosen up. My muscles were no longer as tense and the pain was become bearable. That was the day my old views on marijuana being a drug that only hippies and teens used changed. I was ready to apply for my medical marijuana card. The process was difficult for me at first because I lived in a very very small town where all the doctors had agreed that they would not allow their patients to use marijuana medically. I felt so depressed. The doctor I asked to help me get certified instead offered to prescribe zanax and Oxycoton. I was disgusted by the fact that he felt it was ok to put me on addictive medications instead of this wonderful gift created by God.

I began researching ways I could get certified without including my family doctor. I found a new doctor at this wonderful clinic helped me by getting all my records from all the doctors I had been to. They then evaluated me themselves and determined I met the qualifications and approved my card.

It cost $150 for all the fees but it was very worth it. The first time I smoked medical marijuana I expected it to be exactly like the “black market” (lol) variety, but it wasn’t it was 20 times better! It took one hit to get me high. Just that one toke made my muscles relax and all the pain leave my body. I had bought Super Silver Haze a strain specifically for MS. It gave me energy and made me be able to think clearly. After that first high I knew I wanted to be an advocate for medical marijuana. I no longer was tired, groggy with medicine head all the time, now I was alert, energetic and pain free. That is why I say Medical marijuana gave me my life back.

Another positive thing about medical marijuana is it has a clean taste and doesn’t make me cough. The buds are bigger than regular buds and rarely have seeds. The leaves are sticky and flaky and very potent. I never get a headache with medical marijuana. The downside of medical marijuana is it is expensive what I get for $20 at a dispensary I could get for $10 on the street (Reggie aka black-market weed) but I guess if I really think about it, it’s not bad because it is way better than the strains on the street. I love my medical marijuana. © 2013 April M. Barbosa