Medical Marijuana Exemptee
The Government of Canada has given me a prescription that I can't fill !! My name is Alison and I am 45 years old, have Chronic Progressive MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS and Left-side TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA (a.k.a. Tic Douloureux ). After symptoms dating back to Cheerleading in High School, I was finally diagnosed in October 1992 at the age of 28, back to the age of 10 and 11 years old, with this puzzling disease.
Almost 20 years ago I had my most serious Exacerbation to date and lost full use of my body from the waist down. After many years off and on a walker, utilizing a wheeelchair more often than I liked AND working with some wonderful therapists, I am happy to say I now walk most days with a cane.
After being assessed by some of the TOP PAIN SPECIALISTS in this end of Canada, being prescribed every Opioid (short of Methadone), trying numerous Epileptic medications and following various Alternative Therapies from Acupuncture to Infra-Orbital Nerve Blocks, in early 1994 I was introduced to MEDICAL CANNABIS for relief from the pain in my face and head that was absolutely unbearable most days.
Soon after, I investigated all avenues trying to find help with the COST and SUPPLY of this natural substance that was giving me so much RELIEF and so FEW side effects. (I have been on FULL disability since 1995 so affordability was a KEY FACTOR in my being able to use this as MEDICATION). Enter the Canadian Government...
To find out more regarding my Application for an "Exemption from Section 56 of The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act" to my note on my Doctor's Prescription Pad stating "Alison Myrden uses cannabis for relief from Multiple Sclerosis and a terrible pain in her face associated with MS called trigeminal neuralgia" in the mid to late 1990's which then, ultimately turned into a License from "the Medical Marihuana Access Division" (MMAD). We now sport the new Regulations calling the Program the "Medical Marihuana Access Regulations" or what is now known as "MMAR", please read on...
I have been smoking CANNABIS as MEDICINE through my Doctors for 17 years; I have had face pain for over 23 years. I have been living with this pain around the clock 24/7 for 20 years as of the Summer of 2011.
I smoke half of a small Marijuana cigarette every 1/2 hour to hour to relieve the excruciating pain I experience in the left side of my face and head every day around the clock. Marijuana has helped me to come down from almost 2000 mg of Morphine per day. It has helped my leg spasms. It helped my bladder problems. It took away my nausea and stopped my constant vomiting. It has helped other symptoms that I wasn't expecting. I am alert and functional after smoking and am NOT addicted to it. When will people understand that this is NOT a "hard drug" and that it DOES BENEFIT some of us MEDICINALLY !!!??? I have now come down from over 30 pills per day for symptoms ranging from nerve pain, to bladder dysfunction, to muscle spasms, to a third of my total and now try to rely on cannabis as much as possible for relief. I cannot stress how much my quality of life has improved since being introduced to this WONDERFUL, NATURAL plant !!
I wish those of you luck who have approached your Doctors. I did and with their help, I am now one of, in and around 20,000 people in Canada to be given an Exemption or a LEGAL License, to be sanctioned by Health Canada and the Canadian Government to smoke, grow and possess a restricted amount of this MEDICATION anywhere in the country.
This issue has just been acknowledged by the Canadian Government and they have been reviewing applications for people battling a plethora of health conditions for these Exemptions as they are submitted. When word continues to get out about HOW to approach the Government for this Exemption, Health Canada's offices will CONTINUE to be FLOODED!!
PLEASE, those of you who believe in this as MEDICATION, talk to your Doctors - THIS - is how things change !! Be PRO-ACTIVE in your health!! Ask the Doctor's to fill out the forms in support of this as MEDICATION for YOUR HEALTH ISSUE(S).
There are some WONDERFUL LINKS to the many diseases which medical cannabis has been said to help, including what I suffer from - Multiple Sclerosis and Trigeminal Neuralgia (a.k.a. tic douloureux) - as well as Spinal Cord Injury, Hepatitis C, AIDS (effects from wasting syndrome), Epilepsy, Cancer, Glaucoma, Chronic Pain, Depression, Alcoholism, Drug Dependence and hundreds if not thousands MORE! I just wanted to to mention a few health conditions that I have read over the many years I have been doing this. For a List of more illlnesses and issues please drop by my dear friend GRANNY STORM CROW'S LINK HERE to see a List of MMJ and many of the recognized conditions cannabis helps
If I have given one person an alternative to some of the NEGATIVE PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS that are out there, then MY WORK HAS ALL BEEN WORTH IT. I understand your frustration and respect your need for a more comforting approach to the many health issues we face in our daily lives. I am asking the Government for a SAFE, CLEAN (fungus/pesticide-free), AFFORDABLE SOURCE of this MEDICATION now that they are handing out EXEMPTIONS. How can they give us a "PRESCRIPTION" that we have to go the STREETS to fill ??
This has been my battle since coming out to the MEDIA in APRIL of 2000 for help and assistance in legalizing and regulating cannabis once and for all. I am now helping fellow exemptees and those looking for help all across Canada to be Licensed to fight this issue, as their health is more than likely failing and I believe they have ENOUGH to deal with!
I am going to make sure that no one else has to risk THEIR health in fighting this same issue.
I am making it easier for YOU and WE - need YOUR HELP!! I DO NOT want someone I love to have to deal with THESE ISSUES in the future...
Look out Canada, and WORLD ~ I'm here to stay !! :o)
Good Luck and Good Health to All !!
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Here is the Story of how myself and 20 others got the very first FEDERAL Exemption for medical cannabis from the Government of Canada in the year 1999/2000...
My Medical History
The reason I looked into getting an EXEMPTION from Section 56 of "The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act" or what is now called a License in "the Medical Marijuana Access Division" (the MMAD) under a branch of Health Canada in the Canadian Government called "the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations" (MMAR) started like this…
In 1995 I started getting a sporadic stabbing pain in my left face. This was controlled for a period of time with pharmaceutical medication. First I tried a short course of Solumedrol intravenously that relieved the pain. I continued with Prednisone for about ten days. October 1995 my pain was episodic and was kept under control with Tylenol # 3's on an as needed basis. Next came a regular dose of Tegretol. This was increased in February '96 to 200 mg three times a day. Pain returned and 25 mg Dantrium was added, increasing to four times a day. This was probably due more to leg spasms. In March '96 Tegretol was increased by 200 mg because I was describing pain 8-9 out of a scale to 10.
April '96 I was started on another well known epileptic medication called Dilantin, increasing this while decreasing Tegretol. June '96 I was on 100 mg four times a day with relief for a few weeks. July '96 pain came back full force and Dilantin was increased to 500 mg/day. There was still trouble with breakthrough pain. Late October '96 pain increased, therefore I was told to increase my Dilantin 50 mg more and added Demerol 50 mg every four hours as needed or prn as per my Doctors.
November '94-'95 I tried MARIJUANA with out Medical knowledge ,amy times knowoning it was the best thing I could find for my pain and other ailments. In '95-'96 my Doctor's (Pain speicalists whom I was being sent to regularly) began over seeing my usage for the first time as medicine and I was pain free for almost 24 hours after ONE cigarette.
This I have continued for almost two decades and I now smoke on average 30, one and a half to two gram cannabis cigarettes every day and nite, vaporize my cannabis, drink it in tea and eat as many cannabis cookies and edibles that I can in a twenty four hour period - night AND day - with relief most days for 15 minutes to an hour after 1/2 a cigarette and everything else. Depending on the strain, I can have alot or a little relief as so few strains give me any break from the excruciating pain I experience around the clock. My pain has increased dramatically over the last ten years and so has my cannabis usage. This is where I first started noticing the expense as my widowed mother and life partner Gary Lynch were paying for it...
I also noticed my pills were becoming less and less. I was not taking 32 pills a day and up to two thousand milligrams of morphine daily for relief anymore. I found I was getting relief from all of my symptoms from MS with copious amounts of cannabis and all kinds of natural substances, I no longer required all of those pharmaceuticals! After over twemty years of following this regime life was becoming more bearable - AND I was experiencing fantastic quality of it - by using mainly high quality fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants AND cannabis the last twenty years. I am blessed that physically I walk with a cane for balance, and only use my wheelchair for long distances or big city blocks while I am out in the Public eye fighting the horrendous global problem we call "the War on Drugs ".
December '96 I tried Stadol Nasal Spray with some relief but this made me very groggy and extremely nauseous. Percocet helps a little. Tried CESAMET (synthetic cannabis capsule) with NO relief. I was at the highest level of this medication that the "Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties" or the blue CPS book on your Doctor's desk, would allow. Maximum daily dose is 6 mg - I was well on my way past that, first being prescribed 9 mg a day to start …
February '97 I saw a Neurosurgeon who told me that Radio Frequency Procedure was an option. We both decided I was TOO YOUNG to lose the feeling in my face and that there may be no other way to solve my problem. I told him about my experimentation with cannabis for relief and he was completely supportive. They know I AM NOT a drug addict; I am an intelligent woman who has made a choice.
I chose cannabis …
June '97 I saw a pain specialist who performed a Stellate Ganglion Block using 10 cc. of Marcaine-1/4 %. He did another Sphenopalatine Block two days later which gave me relief for a few hours. June '97 I had an Infra Orbital Nerve Block which gave me 21 hours of relief. The Doctor stuck a needle the size of my whole head in the left side of my face and searched everywhere to relieve the pain! I P_ROMISE you - I will NEVER do THAT again - very uncomfortable...
August '97 I was taking an average of 10 - 50 mg Demerol tablets per day. I was then switched to the Duragesic Patch - 25 mcg. This made me very nauseous so Stemetil an anti-emetic to stop me from throwing it all up again and again was added. This helped a lot, but I felt VERY spacey. My dose was increased to 50 mcg after some weeks, then increased to 75 mcg where, because of drowsiness and EXCESSIVE weight loss, this was discontinued.
I lost 11 pounds in one week because I hadn't really realized that smoking cannabis would be so BENEFICIAL reducing nausea and would actually stop me from throwing up the pain medication and everything that I was smoking for PAIN RELIEF and that it was NOT the other medications...???
Thank God I found that out because my quality of life was being seriously interrupted…
By September '97 I was down to 100 mg Dilantin twice a day plus all my other medications. September '97 I started 15 mg MS Contin (morphine sulphate) three times a day. I used Statex Nasal Spray 5 mg for breakthrough pain. This dose was gradually increased to 175 mg three times a day without much help.
In April '98 I tried Acupuncture with some relief the first time but none after the second treatment . The pain seemed to get more intense…July '98 my Neurologist started me on Neurontin 300 mg tid. I was soon after switched to Oxycontin (commonly known as Hillbilly Heroin) in November '98. This made me excessively drowsy and the dose was decreased, then discontinued in May '99. I was started on Lamictal 25 mg instead.
In September '98 I saw another Chronic Pain Specialist/Anesthetist who started me on Sufenta Drops 50 mcg/ml 0.05-0.2 ml s.l. with pain onset. This was brought up to 0.3 ml with Morphine breakthrough 15-30 mg as needed. November '98 I was started on Oxycontin 40 mg twice a day, the dose being increased to 600 mg twice a day by April '99 my pain was so horrific.
In April '99 Oxycontin was discontinued and I was started on Hydromorph Contin, 90 mg twice a day, with Hydromorph Contin 6 mg for titration. I was last on 6 - 30 mg capsules twice a day for relief with 6 mg tablets as needed or prn, 5-6 per dose.
Final count I was still going up...
Now here I am today, down quite a bit from all of the pharmaceutical pills (minus the copious amounts of morphine I continue to take daily AND have been taking for YEARS), all I believe, because of substituting with medical cannabis!
Today I continue to take up to thirty 8 mg Dilaudid every day and nite to fight this violent pain I experience in my face and head apll day every day and to give me SOME quality of life. I also am able to find relief by vaporizing and smoking cannabis around the clock, eating it in cookies and drinking it in tea all day every day.
Now, my next Mission is to find someone or something to help us AFFORD and PAY for our cannabis MEDICATION...
First step, call in any Organization/Church/Business that MAY help. No real luck. Some real "ROBIN HOODS" out there, but sadly, none for me…
Next step: Try to get a "Deal" from the people I was buying it from the street… Good luck there. What exactly is a DEAL??
Sadly enough, we still couldn't afford to continue to purchase cannabis from the street at the amount I required. I have tried for a number of years to grow my own medicine but am having a hard time consistently finding a strain STRONG enough to help me AND alleviate ALL of my health problems.
Next plan of attack: Approach my Local Member of Parliament and ask them what to do. Sure enough my lucky day had arrived. After explaining my situation I began asking these people where I could turn. That again was October 1999.
Within a week they had mailed me out an "INTERIM GUIDANCE DOCUMENT" to take to my Doctors to fill out. I also had some writing to do I was told. First letter I wrote was to the Honorable Alan Rock (Canada's Health Minister at the time) with a request from me to be involved in the NEXT IMMEDIATE STUDY involving Chronic Pain and Marijuana or Multiple Sclerosis and Marijuana. Alan Rock had just released a plan to initiate trial studies involving Medicinal uses of Marijuana in 1999. I explained I NEEDED some help covering the COST of my MEDICATION -PLEASE !! My mother then wrote to Alan Rock pleading for some of the burden to be taken off of us and to somehow have the exorbitant cost of my Marijuana covered. At that time we were spending on average, $1200. 00 /mo. for me to be PAIN FREE. HOW FAIR WAS THIS !??! I am not only on FULL Disability but I DIDN'T ASK for this to be the ONLY medication that actually WORKED for me... As you can see I have tried these and many, many more treatments before turning to cannabis only to realize that this is actually the ONLY MEDICATION that gives me relief and doesn't have the awful side effects that I was encountering daily...
Once my mother, Joyce Myrden, myself and my Doctors wrote letters to the Honorable Alan Rock (then Health Minister in Canada). The ball started rolling. Within five (5) months I received a response from the Office of the Minister of Health stating that there were "NO planned TRIALS involving MS and MARIJUANA".
That turned out okay in the end, because my Doctors reminded me that I couldn't go in a trial anyway because I "relied too heavily" on the Marijuana for relief for my pain. Darn right I do! And NO, I am not ADDICTED....
From what I can find on medicinal cannabis, the chance of someone becoming "addicted" to cannabis is almost impossible. If that person is using it for MEDICINAL PURPOSES, there usually will be very few residual affects. I know with me, I get a little fuzzy for about ten minutes, then I feel like any NORMAL person does within minutes. I am also pain free in 10 minutes when I smoke - VERY IMPORTANT for someone like me whose pain increases so quickly. If I don't catch it, I am in more EXCRUCIATING pain in minutes !! That is why pills never would work - they took too long to get where they were SUPPOSE to be…
As of March 21, 2000, I am one of now I hear, more than 20,000 people in Canada, so far, to be given an EXEMPTION from Section 56 of The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, now known as a "License for medical marijuana under the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations" (MMAR) in the Medical Marijuana Access Division (MMAD) at Health Canada. Wadda mouthful!
All I know is I was one of the first twenty...
My purpose now is to find a SAFE, CLEAN, AFFORDABLE YEAR-ROUND SUPPLY of this medication for not only myself, but for ALL of the other people in Canada who would OBVIOUSLY benefit.
Also, much love and thanx to the all of the incredible people from all across this beautiful Country for all of the FREE MEDICAL CANNABIS over the last number of years that has been (and is still being) sent to me for relief from this violent pain I live with daily and HUGE LOVE to the many other wonderfully compassionate people from all over the World who have been so generous and helpful too....
I am just sorry that with consuming some of the BEST medical cannabis in the WORLD, I still have to get it from the street here in my Country! I WISH I knew WHY??
I'll keep you posted on any new developments...If you see a relevant article - Please send it along - We want this site to CONTINUE to be INTERACTIVE!
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart....
Love and a HUGE Squish,