Getting my marijuana card

Getting my marijuana card and my first batch of legal pot (legal under Oregon law—it’s still a federal crime) took two weeks and a day. Utterly ignorant of the process, I started with a Google search, and then made a few phone calls. I learned that any doctor could write a recommendation (you can’t get an actual prescription), so I took a chance on my internist even after his nurse told me that he wouldn’t do it. Of course, she was right, but I wanted to argue it out with him and at least hear his reasoning. He said that he was so supportive of medical marijuana that he had helped start one of the local clinics, and that I was a shoe-in for a card, but that his insurance wouldn’t allow him to recommend one. So, I had to pay $255 for the clinic’s hippie/earth-mother M.D. to sign the recommendation, and then I had to mail another $100 to the state of Oregon for the actual card.

After I was approved at the clinic, I put my name and phone number on their bulletin board as that of someone who was looking for a grower. Three men called in one day, and two of those came to my house bearing samples. The first was a disabled man who was driven by his wife in their BMW. He said he was 63, and disliked getting high, but needed marijuana to control his spasms. He left me a couple of ounces in buds and upper leaves to sample, and said I would need six plants a year in order to have enough to smoke, eat, vaporize, and make into tinctures. As for money, he wouldn’t take any—now or ever.

The second grower was in his twenties and came with his girlfriend, both of whom wore dreadlocks. I wondered if they felt odd talking about marijuana to an old and straight-looking guy like me. For my part, I just found their dreadlocks quaint, in a homely sort of way—like Birkenstocks and tie-dye. We had a long pleasant chat, and the woman left me with a single bud. Like the first man, they wouldn’t take any money. I’ve opted to go with the first grower (I can only have one legally-designated grower) because of his intial generosity, his reputation, and because his living circumstances are stable.

As soon as my guests left, I tore off like a shot on my bike to a downtown headshop to buy a pipe or vaporizer. I was the oldest person there by far, but the all-male staff and customers were almost protectively friendly (young men invariably treat me well). What I came up with for a temporary solution was a cheap little pipe that soon proved worthless. While looking for matches, I found an old pipe made of plumbing parts that I didn’t even know I had, so I used it—I immediately hated that pipe, so Peggy and I spent part of her sixtieth birthday bong-shopping (see photo).

My new grower—Stephan—suggested that I start out smoking the leaves since the bud might be too kickass. When you’re as susceptible to the power of marijuana as I am, you take such suggestions seriously, so I smoked a bowl of leaves, and then watched in fascination as the high kept getting more intense for over an hour. When a high becomes uncomfortable, one thing that usually helps is to go for a walk, so I took my blind cowdog, and started out. Wouldn’t you know it, I ran into person after person with whom I felt obliged to talk, but I didn't know any of them well enough to say, “Hi, neighbor, I’m stoned out of my gourd on my first sample of medical marijuana.”

When you’re in that kind of situation, you have no idea whether people can tell that you’re temporarily insane (paranoia being natural when you suspect that someone suspects you’re crazy). However, the more a person who is high listens to people who are straight, the more sure he becomes that they aren’t any too sane either. But then there are other—presumably straight—people with whom you connect strongly, and you know that they’re either oblivious to your mental state, or else they like it. One such person is a neighbor whom I’ve known for twenty years during which I thought of her as gloomy, unfriendly, fault-finding, and an all-around unpleasant person. Then yesterday, we had a long and delightful conversation. Today was the same way. I said hi to a man with whom I’ve never exchanged more than ten words, and he couldn’t stop talking, very pleasantly to be sure, yet with many times more openness and friendliness than I would have expected. I’ve always HATED being around most people when I was stoned, but with a few more interactions like those, I could change my mind.

Last night was the big test, pain-wise, so, having maintained a semblance of sanity with the leaf, I smoked a bowl of bud at bedtime (Peggy even let me smoke it in her bed). Despite being very high, I went to sleep easily while watching movies inside my head, and everytime I woke up during the night, I took another hit. It was one of the first nights in years that I didn’t take a single narcotic or sleeping pill, and I didn’t even use ice. I should have gotten some ice after about seven hours in bed, but the longer I lay there, the more hellbent I became on making it through just one night without having to freeze my shoulder off.

I’m like a kid with a new toy. What a difference legal marijuana makes for someone like myself who remembers a time when people were sentenced to twenty years to life for the possession of a single joint that was 20 times less potent than the pot I’m smoking!

Update. I wrote the above a few days ago, and my appreciation of these new strains of super pot has increased to the point that I think of the drug more as a guide than a chemical. One of the first things that Kush (my favorite strain) taught me was how constricted these years of pain have left my entire body. It did this by first relaxing me into jelly, and then drawing my muscles up into the rigor mortis-like state that I hold them everyday. I was shocked to the point of wondering how I have survived all that I’ve been through even as well as I have. With help from the marijuana, I immediately started training my body to relax, and when I saw my physical therapist today, he was surprised by how loose I’ve become.

Stephan just brought me some more bud. After so many years of pain, I can scarcely believe that something even might be helping. Check with me in a couple of weeks, and I’ll probably tell you that I was mistaken.

41 comments:

Linda said...

I have to ask. Have you taken any pain pills since you started smoking? If not, has the pain stayed gone? If it keeps working for you, I may move back to CA and try it myself if they can't do anything with my knee. Better stoned than crippled.
That it acts as a guide is so cool.
Supposedly, the big companies will be growing it up in northern California soon. The growers probably didn't want any money because it is costing them next to nothing to give up an ounce.
I am so happy it is helping you Sugar, or should I say Stoner. Sorry about that.

Mim said...

wow - hope it keeps working - wonderful news

Marion said...

Good for you, Snow. To read that you're sleeping and getting relief is amazing. I can't wait until medical MJ is legal in Louisiana. It's crazy that I grow dozens of herbs but can't grow the one seed that would produce a plant that would help my pain. Go figure!

Take a toke for me,
Marion

Snowbrush said...

Linda, no, I haven't taken any pain pills--or had any liquor--since I started smoking pot last Wednesday. I did take an Ambien on Saturday night, but other than that, I have only been taking my usual four Aleve a day and one 300 mg Neurontin (which is a fourth the amount that I have taken). I'm actually doing so well that I plan to cut the Aleve back to one pill twice a day.

Here's how I see it. My positive result could be the marijuana; or it could be a placebo effect (I never discount such things); or it could a coincidence that I smoked pot on the very night that, after years of pain, both shoulders got better simultaneously. I know where my vote is, but would I bet the farm that it's the pot, and that the effect will last? Nope. I'm ever the skeptic, Linda.

Thanks, Mim.

Marion, I promise. I will take a toke for you, dear, and I will hope it brings us closer because I know we've had our difficulties.

The Bipolar Diva said...

I'm so happy for you, and yes, the stuff these days makes that of days gone by seem like nothing at all. I hope you get continued relief!

The Bipolar Diva said...

Damn! I always forget to check the bow to have following comments emailed to me. Actually I just wanted to say hey again ;)

Linda said...

That is so utterly cool that it works for you. I know from the news that it is supposed to work for pain, but I've always wondered if those of us who pot makes paranoid--if it would work for us on the pain. I am so happy for you! The effect is "supposed" to last.

The Elephant's Child said...

That is just so wonderful. So, so happpy for you. Fingers/toes and everything else crossed that it continues. And fascinating that for the moment at least it is making you more sociable.

kj said...

snow, i have no experience with a high that is uncomfortable but i do have experience with trying to maintain a normal conversation. :^)

i hope this sustains your ability to loosen up. my fingers will be crossed for you. (that is different than praying). i wish you could see this young woman physical trainer i started with a couple of months ago. she is waking up my body and my muscles are slappy happy.

it is so nice to know you are hopeful.


kj

Helen said...

I just KNEW it would help you ... aren't you glad we live in Oregon? I'm so happy knowing you aren't suffering, I could cry!

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Hoping this brings lasting relief and plentiful sleep!

Kerry said...

Very good news for you. I didn't know about any of the red tape and expense that a patient has to undergo, and it seems odd that the remedy is found via a bulletin board kind of communication. huh.
Happy birthday to Bonnie, and may you sleep well.

Lorraina said...

OMGosh i was so happy to see your post Snow, Finally something that works and no i bet it's not the placebo effect but the real thing, yayyyy!! Lasting effects and continued good health to you!

Kay Dennison said...

Sounds good to me!!! I'm delighted that it's working!!!!!

River said...

I'm glad this is helping and you're getting sleep at last.
I hold my muscles tightly too, mostly my neck and back, that's why I've recently gone back to having an electric blanket because the warmth is helping.

kylie said...

AWESOME!!!!

The Blog Fodder said...

Glad it is working for you and glad it is legal where you live.

Stafford Ray said...

pain like you had creates more pain from cramped muscles and stressed joints, creating even more pain, so it is ironic that a joint is de-stressing the joints!
mate, with pain like that, you do what it takes and the MJ seems like a miracle. congratulations!

All Consuming said...

YEAH BABY! That's so bloody brilliant. I have tears in my eyes, you got to sleep easily...it's helping....fantastic! Expensive at first but sounds like you have a good guy who's also empathetic to get the gear from and well worth the money in the long run. I'm SO happy you've tried it. YAY!! Hugs and smiles and groovy baby xxx

R. J. said...

I've led a sheltered life so I wouldn't have thought about using medical marijuana for physical problems. I know someone who needs it so I will refer her to this article as a possible treatment. It is good that it is available, but the regs are so insane. It would save everyone a lot of money and pain if they would just legalize it and stop being such control freaks. I won't get started on the puritanical laws of this nation, i.e. find someone who is having a good time and put a stop to it. Good time or pain treatment, it isn't the business of govt. 'Nuf said.

Robin said...

Dear Snow, I am a believer in this..... I am thrilled you have found some HOPE. It really made me smile with joy....

Hugs from rainy San Francisco,

♥ Robin ♥

julie said...

This is the best news of the week...
a little tip...you like kush now, but sometimes it helps to change strains every now and then...
It's insane that the laws keep so many from experiencing the benefits of this basically harmless plant. Yet, prescription meds are on the rise and pharmaceutical companies are looking at lsd and ecstasy as the next big thing drs can give unhappy Americans...could it be about control?
So happy you are pain free...it will last...xo

dana said...

Oh Snow. I can only sit here and shake my head at the pomposity of withholding marijuana, and the added pomposity of choosing who gets it and why.

My shoulders are getting higher and higher from being held in rigidity. Soon the doctor will diagnose me as being deaf because my shoulders are hugging my ears.

And I understand the paranoia of praising something for working, only to have the success suddenly fail.

If you ever have time, think of me when you light up.

dana said...

Sorry Snow, but I just remembered what I forgot to say in my comment:

If marijuana had as many side effects as chemotherapy, I could understand it being outlawed. And chemo is not only legal, it's legally PUSHED by the medical establishment.

Red Shoes said...

I am so pleased to read that you are getting relief...

Bless you...

~shoes~

Camp Fustian said...

Snow - I am so happy for you. I hope it'll continue to work its magic.

I've always believed in legalising marijuana (although I've never had the need for analgesics). Prohibition usually has people running in the opposite direction. But that's another topic altogether.

Take care over there!

PS: In some European countries, I hear that it is perfectly fine to keep a marijuana plant if it's for personal/private use.

Rita said...

Now I understand. This is a drug addicts blog.

rhymeswithplague said...

I take exception to Rita's comment.
I have never taken a drug recreationally in my life, only when prescribed by a physician. I wouldn't know where to obtain drugs or drug paraphernalia. I am what is called a born-again Christian. Up until now, I have been against the use of marijuana for medical purposes on, well, general principles, I suppose -- general evangelical principles -- but your post, Snow, has changed my mind. I have been coming here long enough to realize the kind of pain you have been in for a very long time, and Mrs. RWP and I are jubilant that you have found something that brings you relief.

Dare I say it? God is good. He put healing agents in the quinine leaf and the aloe plant. Why not cannabis too? That some abuse it is lamentable, but hey, they're free moral agents.

Snowbrush said...

Wow, so many loving comments. I am honored. Thank you.

Rhymes, when I smoked that first pot and went for a walk, I found myself hoping that you were here to smoke with me. I know that you would be most unlikely to even consider such a thing, yet I would wish it for you.

It's our polar opposite viewpoints that we are somehow able to transcend in Blogland that makes me love you so. They are also a source of amusement to me. We should not, by the common standard, be friends.

Snowbrush said...

P.S. I said "hoping," but I meant "wishing."

Phoenix said...

So happy to read this, Snow. It almost made me tear up with joy to read how much less pain you're in. I really don't think that people should be in pain when there's something that can be done about it, and I wish marijuana for medicinal purposes was legal and available to everyone. The way Big Pharma screws people over, with their high prices and drugs that have horrid side effects... yet none of that is illegal. It's enough to make someone who's paying attention sick to their stomach. I hope things continue to progress nicely with you and when you check back in a few weeks, I hope it's still helping. You deserve peace and a painless life, Snow. Everyone does.

Strayer said...

I hope it keeps working for you, Snow. How wonderful.

khelsaoe said...

Congrats on the successful new therapy and the sleep!!! You'd be surprised how often I pop over, but I've been having trouble leaving comments for a long time on anyone's blog. Blogger has been being weird. Found that if I don't click the "keep me logged in" button that I can now comment. Who knows?

Graduation is May of 2012. As someone who will soon be a pharmacist in a state that is considering legalization of marijuana, I have mixed feelings on the issue....I think it should be legalized, but I never want to go through the potential nightmare of having to dispense it. Glad there are other people out there who are much more willing than I to do so.

You don't even have to publish this comment if you don't want. Really just wanted to pop over and say hello.

Oh, and married life is going great. I would say it's the best decision I've ever made, but it's my second marriage, so I think it's less about the commitment and more about the person. I got really lucky and found a wonderful human being to share my life with.

Snowbrush said...

Khelasoe said: "I never want to go through the potential nightmare of having to dispense it."

The feds are raiding dispensaries like crazy (14 in Portland, Oregon, alone last week), and a pharmacy would count as a dispensary. I cannot by any stretch of the imagination believe that a state would expect you to dispense marijuana as long as doing so would be in violation of federal law. Besides, by the time marijuana reaches pharmacies, it will have gone through all the normal FDA requirements and be in pill form.

So, what are you worried about? If there's something I don't know, tell me what it is.

khelsaoe said...

Well, we've already got dronabinol. No one seems to be knocking down the doors for it, though I have met people that get their hands on it and use it recreationally just like everything else.

I'm just saying I'm glad there's dispensaries, and I won't have to do that job. Really, that's all. And not because I have a moral objection, but just because there's so many species and I know nothing about it.

Snowbrush said...

Khelasoe, I had no thought of putting you on the spot, and I really wouldn't care if did have a moral objection. I was just wondering about your reasoning since this is a subject that is very up for me, and since you are a pharmacist--or soon will be.

If you do get a law, I hope it's a better law than the one in Oregon that's filled with contradictions and important issues that go unaddressed.

julie said...

The laws in CA are very complex and contradictory too...they vary from county to county...so purchasing in one and traveling through another can cause problems...
Snow, is it still working for you?

Hope so..xo

Wine in Thyme said...

Good to know there are still good people in this world who are willing to help a fellow human being! Hooray for Dale, and Hooray for your new life with sleep. Hoping it becomes a new long-term reality for you. Also, the thought of a 60-year-old woman shopping for a bong just made me smile. So many ways you could have played that out. Be well.

Marion said...

So happy for you, Snow! I'm hoping mj still works for you. I've been using it for the last ten years and it is still just as helpful as it was at the beginning.

I use an inhaler, tho, rather than smoking it..xx

nollyposh said...

Wow! Good on you! Maybe that's why God made it!?! (Just kidding!) xox

Jessie said...

I'm so happy for you, Snow!!! MJ has given me shocking relief from my migraines that i didn't know was possible. I share your amazement - and skepticism, also. I've found that, after smoking nearly every day for a month, i need to smoke a lot more of it than i initially needed for relief. There are also certain headaches that are made worse by smoking, but i just have to learn to differentiate.

I'm jealous, I don't live in a legalized state! It's decriminalized here to an extent, so that gives me some peace of mind. But I hate feeling like a criminal when all I'm doing is taking my medicine. Relieving yourself of pain shouldn't be a crime.

I really hope it serves you well for a long time to come!!!