Editor’s note: Medical marijuana/cannabis is not legal in all states and countries. For a list of states where medical marijuana is legal, click here. This piece is based on the experience of individuals. Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.
There’s a stigma that anyone who uses marijuana is just trying to get “high.” But that characterization isn’t exactly fair when it comes to medical marijuana. People with chronic health conditions may use it to treat pain, nausea and other debilitating symptoms — getting “stoned” is not the goal.
Labeling medical marijuana users as simply looking for a high adds to the stigma, making it more difficult for people with chronic illnesses to try it and see if it helps relieve any of their symptoms. So we asked our Mighty community to share why they’ve tried medical marijuana and how it affects them. Hint: it’s about treating illnesses, not searching for a high.
Here’s what our community told us:
1. “I use it because it’s safer and more effective than medications I’ve tried and comes in a number of useful preparations for all of my needs. Apart from Fentanyl and Tramadol (which gives me night terrors), cannabis is the only thing that has helped relieve pain (nerve, muscular, surgical, etc.). It has also been excellent for almost all of my other issues: insomnia, nausea, lack of appetite, depression/suicidal thoughts, anxiety, etc.”
2. “I’ve had three brain tumors as a result of pituitary Cushing’s disease and kidney failure so it has helped me with my headaches, nausea, pain, sleeping, appetite — everything. It also helps keep me calm which keeps my cortisol levels fairly in check. People think I’m joking when I say I would be dead without it, but I couldn’t be more serious.”
3. “I started because of endometriosis and really bad cramps. I then started having digestive issues. Ended up diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in October 2015. Cannabis helps with pain and nausea that Crohn’s, and the medications I take to treat it, give me. Broke my ankle two months ago and been using higher CBD cannabis to help the inflammation, pain, and swelling… I use vaporizers and make edibles. The edibles last longer pain-wise and help out my guts keeping inflammation down. Added bonus side effect: helps my anxiety out.”
4. “I use it as a topical and I smoke. I like using the topical for my joint pain and back pain. It really does help. And you can get it without THC if need be. I smoke it with THC to help me sleep. It works so well.”
5. “The only cannabis I’ve had access to try is grown for recreational use to get people high, and that worsens my pain. It’s horrible. It would be awesome if the medical stuff actually helped but maybe I have the wrong brain chemistry. I wouldn’t know because it’s not available where I live… so far my experience with marijuana has only been negative… I’m glad it can help some people with chronic illnesses though.”
6. “I am not pharmaceutical friendly (I have bad reactions to many prescriptions) and this seemed like it was a healthy more effective way of getting pain relief and helping many of my symptoms from my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome that include seizures, fainting, tachycardia, pain in almost all my joints and bones, shaking, and many more. Marijuana helped more then any other medication I’ve been on.”
7. “I have been using marijuana regularly since I was 19 and had kidney failure. It assisted with pain management from surgeries, eased my mind from anxiety, gave me back my appetite and gave me the comfort I needed in a very uncomfortable situation. Vaping concentrates is my preferred method to avoid smoking while getting a quick dose of cannabis.”
8. “I was taking three different pain medications and they weren’t doing much other than taking the edge off. With marijuana I’ve noticed huge improvement with daily pain, as well as my mood and general outlook on life! I actually feel hopeful again.”
9. “Sadly, I tried it and it did not help me. I tried different plant types and different forms. I always had a bad reaction. Made my limbs feel like they were on fire. I also had a bad episode with a brownie… hallucinations. Never again. Tried the CBD oil drops too. It did nothing for pain but just made me numb. I still felt the pain pushing through. I am not against it if it helps someone in tremendous pain. For me it was a bad experience.”
10. “I use it for migraines; it changed my life in a positive way. Pain was less and less every day. Finally after 21 years of daily pain I have control over my life.”
11. “I have used medical marijuana several times and several different strands and in several different forms. For me, it didn’t work at all. For the amount of money it was costing me out of pocket it was not nearly worth it. I do know it does work for people though and power to them. I really was hoping that it would work and it would help me get off of my narcotic prescriptions. I just wasn’t one of those people unfortunately.”
12. “It doesn’t work for my pain at all, gives me terrible anxiety, and makes me non-functional. I get frustrated because no matter how many times I try different kinds in different forms people never fail to tell me I just haven’t tried the right strain or type in the right form. Plus, it’s very expensive. I have no income and am disabled. I couldn’t afford it even if it did work. I’m totally pro marijuana and I fully support its use and legalization, but it’s really frustrating when everyone treats it as a cure-all magic drug that works for everything and everyone.”
13. “It allows me to relax the muscles and joints that are in constant pain. I can sleep, eat without having the stomach issues and I feel more like the old me before my body was invaded by these autoimmune issues.”
14. “Tried CBD, it did nothing for my pain. I was disappointed and was hoping something could give me some kind of relief but I guess I wasn’t lucky enough in the dosage I was at. Just gave me terrible dry mouth.”
15. “I have used medical marijuana for nearly a decade because it is by far the best medication for my fibromyalgia pain, as well as helping to relax my body enough to be able to sleep. I honestly don’t know if I would still be here if it weren’t for this remarkable miracle plant.”
16. “I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome so there’s a lot of chronic pain and chronic fatigue (lots of other stuff but that was the basics) and the few times I’ve used medical marijuana I was able to be productive, cheerful, and active for days and days afterwards even after only using a little bit of medical weed.”
17. “I tried it because I wasn’t getting any help from doctors as far as pain relief for quite some time. Decided to try smoking marijuana after advice from several people. I thought it may help my anxiety as well, but it didn’t help anything at all. I was just more tired. I also tried lollipops with hemp, but they didn’t help pain either.”
18. “I have endometriosis and fibromyalgia. Lyrica and the other approved drugs for fibromyalgia never helped me and I cannot take ibuprofen because of high blood pressure. Taking a 10 mg 1:1 pills every eight hours is the only way I can be remotely functional during my period. It’s also helped me combat painsomnia.”