Seizure reduction in a Michigan woman that is now a medical marijuana patient, turned her into an active advocate of medical and recreational cannabis. For many years, the drugs prescribed to her by her doctors did not provide her relief but she was against using cannabis because of all she had heard about it during her life. It took a doctor recommendation for her to be willing to try it.
The assumptions that people have made for a long time here in the United States that marijuana is a gateway to other drugs, or that it is addictive or whatever they may have believed about it, are now slowly being washed away by hard data. Possibly, marijuana has no medicinal benefits and possibly there are some large drawback to ingesting cannabis. We just don’t know, just like this woman did not know that using cannabis would turn her into a heroine addict, she simply assumed that it would. Wouldn’t you like to see more hard data on what cannabis does?
It was just a few years ago that now 30-year-old epilepsy patient Zara Abas tried her first medical marijuana on the advice of her doctor. Abas suffered seizures almost every day and took four prescription drugs. It didn’t take long for her to notice the difference.
“As soon as I started it, within a few days my seizures stopped,” says Abas. “Before I started looking into it for epilepsy I was very much against marijuana because there was so much misinformation around it. It came to the choice between using that and having another brain surgery to control my seizures. … Turning to cannabis was kind of my last resort.”
Chalk up cannabis to taking away the worry about seizures. Now, Abas is off all but one medication, and has been seizure-free for two years and three months. “It feels like I’m given freedom from my seizures and medication,” she says.
Maybe a little freedom can go a long way. Abas has since become a pro-cannabis activist, speaking on panels at events such as the Hash Bash and a May Day rally in Lansing. She collected signatures two years ago for the MI Legalize effort at putting the question of legalizing recreational marijuana on last fall’s ballot. Now, she’s collecting signatures again this summer as an unpaid volunteer for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol petition effort to get the question on the 2018 ballot.
“I’m doing this because I think more people should have access to cannabis because it helps all people,” she says.
Abas has come full circle on the issue. Even though she is a medical user, she believes it should be legalized for recreational use.
“It should be everybody’s right to use it,” she says. “It will help people. It’s a lot better than other things that people do, drugs or medications that they turn to.”
Maybe she has wandered into the all-cannabis-use-is-medicinal arena. And that contingent is out there among the entire spectrum of the pro-cannabis world. I pretty much believe it. But it’s that enthusiasm that folks at the CRMLA are counting on from their signature gatherers.
“We ask them to talk about why they are personally passionate,” says CRMLA spokesman Josh Hovey.
Abas argues that while marijuana is seen by some as a gateway drug to harder stuff, it has actually been helping people get off some of that stuff. Indeed there are people using cannabis to ease out of opioid and alcohol addiction. The journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research just released data from a University of California, Berkeley-Kent State University study that supports that notion. The study found that pain patients are successfully substituting cannabis for their pain medication.
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