Marijuana and Paraplegia


Published:

The worst day of my life was my 39th birthday. Sober but celebratory, I dived off a footbridge into a river and came out a changed man. I broke my back and injured my spinal cord. Paralyzed. But not everywhere, just below the waist. And not forever, just for the rest of my life.

Muscles paralyzed by spinal cord injury (SCI) experience involuntary spasms and suffer intractable pains. Such paralysis cannot be cured, but its symptoms and complications can be medicated. Thus many paraplegics routinely pop five different pills daily, some quadriplegics 10 types, and no telling how many of each.

For spasms, there are tranquilizers such as baclofen, Dantrium, and Valium. Some side effects: liver failure, insomnia, and addiction. For chronic pain, there are narcotics such as codeine, morphine, and Demerol. Some side effects: constipation, sedation, and addiction. Paras and quads would be walking zombies, if they could walk.

In 1990, the year of my injury, I briefly was administered antibiotics, but no painkillers. I have a high tolerance to pain. Before 1990, for 17 years I neither consulted a physician nor consumed any pharmaceutical drugs. Not even aspirin. After 1990, except for two weeks in 1994, I've again avoided all pharmaceutical drugs. Avoided them like the plague.

My abstinence is rooted in my adherence to a whole foods vegetarian diet: no meat, no fish, no milk, no egg, no alcohol, no caffeine, no nicotine, no white flour, no white sugar, no white salt. And certainly no pills or powders, neither recreational nor pharmaceutical.

Upon my involuntary induction into the community of paraplegics from SCI, I sought alternatives. I learned of one herbal alternative from the crip grapevine, from testimonies of both doctors and patients shelved in 1988 by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and from animal experimentation, the animal being me. I learned that marijuana relaxes SCI spasms more effectively than do tranquilizers and relieves SCI pains more safely than do narcotics. And it is the one medication that treats both the spasms and the pains. One side effect: euphoria. No problem! I have a high tolerance to euphoria.

So since January 1991, my evening meal has included an extra course. An after-dinner smoke. Also since January 1991, I've remained employed full-time. Most paraplegics drop from the workforce, half because of their disabilities, and half because of their debilitating drugs. I remain productive despite marijuana, and maybe even because of it.

I accept full responsibility for my spinal cord injury. Society owes me nothing. Social Security owes me nothing. I receive no public assistance. No one needs to care for me. I live independently, alone in a house in the woods. My body is broken, but my life is not broken.

My life has changed in two ways. I ritually smoke marijuana never more than once a day. And I routinely consult each of two physicians never more than once a year. I may not be whole, but I still am healthy. Both my naturopathic physician and my allopathic physician approve of my medicinal use of marijuana. Up until most recently, neither could legally prescribe it in Connecticut.

In 1996, to remedy this, I traveled to Holland, where medically prescribed marijuana is fully legal. In January 1997, emboldened with my prescription from Holland and encouraged by the recent referendums in California and Arizona, I wrote an essay about my medicinal use of marijuana. The Hartford Courant, Connecticut's preeminent newspaper, gave very prominent display of my public confession.

Did I suffer recrimination or discrimination at my workplace? No. Did I endure any police surveillance or search of my home? No again. Maybe being very visibly crippled in a wheelchair has some perks. Nevertheless, I have not just sat all day on my duff.

In June 1991, I began to ambulate with crutches and leg braces. While I still use a wheelchair at home and at my workplace, I continue to walk everywhere else, including up stairs and down mountains. Spasms, however, make my feet push out of my leg braces, and thereby hinder my ability to walk. To keep on trekking, I medicate my muscles. My herbal remedy of choice happens to be very old, very natural, very available, and very controversial.

Marijuana may not have promoted my recovery, but neither has it prevented it.

Previous Story                                 Next Story  

 

Submit Your Own Healing Account Here

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

June 17, 2019

Can’t sleep? It may be because the Full Moon crescendo peaks shortly before dawn. Optimism as well as restlessness are fired up by Jupiter’s proximity to the Moon. Be aware of those who take a “holier than thou” approach. There is always something to…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

June 2019

Sunday Reiki treatments with Reiki master and practitioner Linda Simons in Brookline, MA. Start your week off on a more balanced note with a Reiki treatment on a Sunday afternoon. Please join me...

Cost: Sliding Scale $25-45

Where:
233 Harvard Street
Suite 36
Brookline, MA  02446
View map »


Telephone: 617-304-2205
Contact Name: Linda Simons
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In celebration of the summer freshness, vitality and joyfulness, this is a spring pamper yourself DIY strawberry body care flower project that you will go home with. Time permitting you may go...

Cost: Pre-reg $35, $40 at the door, materials included

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Sute #A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for an exclusive workshop and wine tasting. This event is free! Attorney Lisa Cukier, partner at Burns & Levinson, will lead an informative workshop on divorce impacted by...

Cost: Free

Where:
Total Wine & More
321 Speen Street
Apt 802
Natick, MA  01760
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
Website »

More information

Part 1 - Animal Communication Tue 6/18 (10-6pm) and Wed, 6/19 (10-1 pm)  Fri, 6/21 *Optional morning off-site visit w/live animals  Learn how to communicate with your...

Cost: $540

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Are you going through a divorce, contemplating divorce, or recovering from divorce? Come to our Divorce Boot Camp, and we’ll help you get into shape! Join us and learn about the finer...

Cost: Free

Where:
Leading Edge Real Estate
2 Mount Vernon Street
Winchester, MA  01890
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
Website »

More information

Are you separated, divorced, or in the process of divorce? Whatever stage you are in…just considering divorce or many years post divorce… our Divorce Resource Nights have...

Cost: Free

Where:
Skylark Law & Mediation, PC
9 Main Street
Southborough, MA  01772
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
Website »

More information

June 20–23 For more info, please contact us at 336.574.1121 or aptaoffices@polaritytherapy.org www.polaritytherapy.org Keynote Speaker: Christina L. Ross, PhD, BCPP Wake Forest...

Where:
Hilton Long Island/Huntington
Melville, NY


Sponsor: American Polarity Therapy Association
Website »

More information

This development group is for students of mediumship looking to enhance, expand and practice their mediumship abilities. Traditional and progressive mediumship development techniques, topics and...

Cost: $25 per person

Where:
Moth and Moon Studio
173 South River Road
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
View map »


Sponsor: Moth and Moon Studio
Telephone: 603-782-3674
Contact Name: Danielle Dionne
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

June 21–23 Medical Qi Gong for Health Care Practitioners and Tuina Treatment Strategies for Cervical Spine and Lumbar Spine with Bill Helm Join us Friday–Sunday, June...

Cost: See details

Where:
Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts
317 North Main Street
Natick, MA  01760
View map »


Sponsor: Eastern Medicinal Therapies Education Center
Telephone: (617) 435-3586
Contact Name: Lauren Paap
Website »

More information

Networking / Supervision / Support  We are a varied group of holistic practitioners in metro-west Boston and we welcome new practitioner-members. We invite any local practitioner,...

Where:
Lincoln, MA


Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur Annamaria

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday and Sunday, June 22nd & 23rd plus Saturday, July 27th A path to reconnecting with your true self and expressing your full human potential. Summer 2019 Reiki...

Cost: $450

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

At Elemental Energies with Chris Ann and Jeff Come see a wide collection of psychics, artists, healers, etc. from all over New England. Come buy tickets at the large raffle table. 100% of the...

Cost: ​Free admission

Where:
27 N. Berwick Road
Wells, ME
View map »


Telephone: (207) 641-5070
Website »

More information

Explore Your Psychic Awareness In This Fun And Informative Workshop Designed specifically for people who are awakening to their own psychic senses, this class will provide you with personalized,...

Cost: $125

Where:
The Mills at Salmon Falls
3 Front Street
Lower Mill
Rollinsford, NH  03869
View map »


Sponsor: Raylene Sousa Medium LLC
Telephone: 207-956-0220
Contact Name: Raylene Sousa
Website »

More information

Celebrate the longest day of daylight and the summer season with us! Come detox, relax and renew yourself for the summer celebration in our sanctuary! A great way to really dig in a get fully...

Cost: Special 3-15 min services $60 or 1-15 min service $25

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Sute #A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags