Patient Profile: Anne
By: Pamela Jayne
Anne is an energetic and outspoken stay at home mother of two. Her husband may be the primary breadwinner, but she has two successful online businesses of her own where she sells her handmade crafts. They have quite the typical suburban life. And like a growing number of â€˜typicalâ€™ suburban women, she chooses to use cannabis as medicine rather than relying on man-made pharmaceutical pills for pain relief.
First and foremost, Anne is a mother. Devoted and active in the lives of her four and seven-year-old daughters, she is definitely not a stereotypical â€˜stonerâ€™. In fact, the term â€˜stonerâ€™ is somewhat offensive to her, because of its negative connotations of laziness and half-baked thinking. As she says, â€œI am not laying around on the couch smoking pot because I donâ€™t have anything better to do, and I donâ€™t let my kids see me medicate. That would be inappropriate. I am very careful and very discreet.â€ Just listening to her describe a normal day is exhausting, and I must say, impressive. It is true what they say, â€œThe hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.â€
Anne only medicates in certain child proof areas of her home, and when they are far enough away and being watched by her husband â€“ so as not to be exposed to secondhand smoke. She would like to start using a vaporizer for health reasons, but keeping curious kids away from neat looking gadgets is easier said than done; she would rather not risk it. Although she exercises extreme discretion when it comes to her cannabis use, she does not lie to her children. She just keeps it age-appropriate. For example, when she leaves them with her husband or a babysitter to go to the collective, and they ask where she is going, she simply says, â€œMommy has to go pick up her medicine.â€ As they get older, she says she will talk to them more about it, but for now that answer seems to suffice.
Before becoming a stay at home mom, Anne served four years in the Coast Guard, went to school on the GI Bill where she graduated third in her class, and then worked as a nurse in a sub-acute unit. Seeing desperate patients and their families not being given any options to the strict, old-fashioned medical protocol, even when it was not in their best interest, really upset Anne. She recalled times when she suspected that families were sneaking cannabis into her patients, and then seeing the results with her own eyes.
Anneâ€™s primary reason for using cannabis as medicine is pain and inflammation caused by bilateral patellar tendonitis. She became a medical cannabis patient just over six years ago, after quitting pharmaceutical pain pills because she was weary of the short and long-term side effects. â€œWhen youâ€™re in pain, it makes you cranky. Take away the pain and youâ€™re not cranky anymore, which makes everyone happier. Freedom from pain is not the same thing as getting high.â€ Even before she was a patient herself, she was a supporter of patientsâ€™ right to medicate as they choose. â€œI just donâ€™t think it is right to judge people, especially sick people. Actually, sick or not, it should not be illegal for any adult to use cannabis responsibly. But, that is a whole different conversationâ€¦â€
â€œIf we ever do see full legalization, I know that some of my â€˜Mommyâ€™ friends will be walking around with joints in their hands rather than glasses of white wine when we get together.â€ For now, though, she is hesitant to share her use of medical cannabis with peers, for the fear of being judged by the wine glass wielding parents of her daughtersâ€™ friends.
As for lawmakers and other politicians, she is very passionate when she says, â€œThere is definitely a political campaign to discredit the benefits and safety of the cannabis plant. Political power plays are behind all of this mess. Also, a lot of people have been brainwashed, and some just plain do not care about others. It blows my mind that certain groups do not want me to have the legal right to walk into a safe and legitimate collective to get cannabis, but they have no problem with people getting pills from a pharmacy. The hypocrisy of that really bothers me.â€ Lawmakers who are standing in the way of safe access to medical cannabis arenâ€™t the only group that frustrates Anne. â€œI am so tired of some of these ignorant stoners who are constantly making the rest of us look bad. All of the hard work that people put into this cause is so easily overshadowed by a few dumb people who only care about themselves.â€ Her point is that the entire community needs to be respectful and responsible at all times. With rights, come responsibilities; and we are already under so much scrutiny, why make the fight even harder?
Anne would be a very effective activist in the movement because she is educated and well-spoken; but for now, she has to settle for staying informed and aware of what is going on.Â Having school-aged children, she must think about how the parents of her daughtersâ€™ friends would react if they saw her on the news picketing at city hall. She was quick to add that she has nothing but respect for those who are on the frontlines; itâ€™s just not something she would feel comfortable doing at this time. Patients like Anne are proof positive that there is much more to the medical cannabis movement than what we occasionally see on the news. We are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents, students, veterans, and much, much more. We represent all walks of life, from the financially privileged to the working class hero. We are liberal, and we are conservative. We are of all races, creeds, and colors. Our common bond is the belief that medical cannabis should be safely and readily available to all who may benefit from it. As Anne said, â€œI just want to be able to treat my pain in a way that I believe is best for my health, without being harassed. Is that really too much to ask for?â€