Why is This Amazing Treatment Illegal in So Many States?


Peg Slatwell

My husband completed his college career in May of 2018. He started college in his 30s while working full time, so we were both deliriously giddy when, at last, school was out forever.

He had attended the majority of the classes online through a university on the East Coast. Graduation would be held there in early June of that year and we made plans to be there.

But when the time came, we headed West instead.

My husband had been living for years with diabetic neuropathy. He saw his doctor regularly to manage his diabetes and the pain it caused. He was eventually given a prescription for Tramadol, a “narcotic-like pain reliever” with plenty of side effects and risks. It helped some, but my husband said his pain would wake him in the night. He would be so uncomfortable that he would be unable to go back to sleep. Which increased the pain he felt, which made him unable to sleep. 

And that was when he could get his medication. His doctor was required to keep a pain agreement on file for him. He had to go to the doctor every month to sign the agreement, often missing work for appointments. He had to pay the associated fees of a visit to the clinic, too. 

He asked if he could come in and sign the agreement without seeing the doctor every month, but he was told he could only get a prescription for seven7 days without seeing the doctor. 

He was going longer and longer without his medication because it was more and more difficult for him to manage work, school, home, and monthly office visits.

So, instead of driving East to his college graduation, we drove to California. 

Just outside of Death Valley, we stopped at the first of countless marijuana dispensaries we would visit that week. He explained his situation and the friendly, knowledgeable (and very happy) employees told him exactly what he needed for his pain. 

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The next folks at the next dispensary were just as friendly, knowledgeable and happy. And that’s how we spent our vacation: driving the coastline all day, stopping any time we saw the MARIJUANA! signs and sampling the goodies in the evening. 

It’s been more than a year since he’s taken Tramadol.

I don’t live with chronic pain myself and I’ll admit that I was skeptical. I asked my husband how he feels now versus how he felt on Tramadol. He said he sleeps through the night without pain. He wakes up well-rested and ready for work with no grogginess. He feels better than he has in years.

Daily use of marijuana has had no negative impact on his life or, by extension, mine. His personality and demeanor are unchanged. He lives a fully functional life. It hurts to see someone you love suffer, so I am glad he decided to look for a better solution. 

Medical marijuana is now legal where we live. My husband still sees his doctor regularly to monitor his diabetes and all his medications. For more information about talking to your doctor about cannabis use, visit https://www.safeaccessnow.org/resources_for_patients.

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