Brain Trauma and Medical Cannabis

Medical Cannabis and Traumatic Brain Injury



Whole Plant Therapy Restores a Life

Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com

Debbie Wilson was disabled 22 years ago when the 16-year-old driver of a pick-up truck knocked her down and backed over her at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

He was driving the wrong way,

against the arrows, as he left the restaurant. The tail end of his truck clipped her jaw, knocking out her teeth and throwing her to the ground, head first.

The injury dramatically altered her life. Prior becoming disabled, Wilson enjoyed a career in law enforcement as a felony probation and parole officer for the state of Florida, and was also in her second year of law school. She had grown up and trained in Tampa, where her

a supervisor of federal probation and parole officers and her mother was a U.S. marshal. Her husband, who is now deceased, was a county deputy sheriff. In a split sec-ond, the swipe of a pick-up truck dramatically changed her life. She could no longer hold her 3-year-old son. She became reliant on others.

For two decades following the accident, she wore a hel-met from the time she woke up until the time she went to sleep. She suffered from migraine headaches and uncontrolled seizures, including several grand mal seizures every week and daily partial cluster seizures lasting for hours. Seven years ago, a loss of balance led to a repeat head injury that did more damage to her brain and exasperated her seizures. She learned to walk, talk and tie her shoes for the third time in her life.

Nothing was under control. Her neurologist admitted to her that she was one of up to 30 percent of seizure patients whose seizures cannot be controlled by conven-tional medications. Mega-doses of pain killers and seizure meds screwed up her insides. Ten years ago her large intestine was removed, leaving her with constant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and necessitating dia-pers. Dehydration from diarrhea all day every day regu-larly caused her potassium level to plummet, resulting in several hospitalizations a year to stabilize life-threaten-ing hypokalemia.

Wilson’s pharmaceutical regimen included pain meds for high of central nervous system depressants for non-stop eight Lemotil, a Pfizer-ceutical intended for short-term use, daily for years for IBS; and antidepressants to deal with a life of pills. The pain medications to control the post traumatic headaches were ineffective, because of the seizure meds she was taking.

“I was opiate resistant, and I think that’s because I was taking so many anti-epileptic drugs in such massive proportions,” she said. “At one point I was taking 400 milligrams of Phenobarbital a day. My doctor told me that it was enough to put two men comatose.”

With cannabis, her chronic migraines were immediately relieved. Her uncontrolled cluster partial complex seizures, which previously would have continued for hours, could now be stopped quickly and without hospitalization. Even her diabetes improved. When her blood sugar level stabilized, she stopped taking diabetes medica-tion. Prior to cannabis, she’d been told by her doctor that the brain injury caused her brain to stop producing serotonin, which is why she needed antidepressants. When she began feeling better all over, went off of the antidepressants.

Wilson has been under the care of doctors specializing in    -risk patients for years, and has been told she’s one of the worst seizure patients they’ve ever seen.

While trying to stabilize the doctors occasionally poisoned her too many seizure meds. Charcoaling a substance that binds to drugs and prevents them from being absorbed into the bloodstream is one method of deal-ing with drug overdoses. She estimates that she’s been charcoaled 30 times in the two decades.

She developed type 2 diabetes five years ago, and began taking medication for that. Constant anxiety from spiraling health contributed to diagnosis of post traumatic-stress syndrome.

Throughout it all, Wilson, 57, advocated for others in similar predicaments.

“The most hopeless group of people I’ve ever met are not in wheelchairs,” she said. “They are people with trau-matic brain injuries, and that’s no lie. We are given no hope. I can’t tell you how many doctors wrote me off as just not worth it. This goes to show you that doctors can be wrong.”

Fifteen years ago she started a website to write about traumatic brain injury. That site, domiciled in England, has had over 8 million hits. A Google search of TBI+Debbie Wilson leads to her story, poems and prose about living with a brain injury. Through her writing, she’s tried to help a wide range of people, from infants to war veterans, that suffer from serious head injuries. Physicians and lawyers specializing in traumatic brain injury, and even the manufacturer of the wheelchair she uses, feature her poetry on their websites.

One year ago, she went to Chicago for out-patient treatment for her migraines, which were getting worse. Head trauma patients often suffer from chronic headaches, and chronic pain is also known to cause changes in the nervous system that can worsen over time. The physician she visited insisted on admitting her for a 14-day treatment, but his hospital would not take Medicaid. Her insurance did not cover in-patient care. With only Medicare being accepted, a daily out-of-pocket expense of $500 would have been beyond her reach. She could not afford the treatment that she needed.

On the train ride back home, she decided that she need-ed to take her life back. Having head aches and seizures non-stop while taking multiple meds was bad enough, but wearing a helmet and diapers all day was pure hell. She thought about it for several days before asking a friend to buy her some marijuana. For a former law enforcement professional who had never smoked mari-juana, the decision was not an easy one.

“I’d come from the other side of the law,” she said. “The way I had been raised, I would never have considered crossing the line and doing something illegal. I had never experimented recreationally.”

She smoked.

“First of all, it helped my headaches, and then after a few weeks I started noticing that I wasn’t having diar-rhea any more,” she said. “When it helped the seizures, that was just the icing on the cake.”

With cannabis, her chronic migraines were immediately relieved. Her uncontrolled cluster partial complex seizures, which previously would have continued for hours, could now be stopped quickly and without hos-pitalization. Even her diabetes improved. When her

blood sugar level stabilized, she stopped taking diabetes medication. Prior to cannabis, she’d been told by her doctor that the brain injury caused her brain to stop pro-ducing serotonin, which is why she needed antidepres-sants. When she began feeling better all over, she went off of the antidepressants.

Out of the blue, memories from long ago returned. She was able to tell her 25-year-old son things about his infancy and his deceased father that her accident had erased.

“My son’s father died when he was very young, and I never shared with him the stories that most parents get to tell,” she said. “Since I’ve been smoking, he’ll tell you that I have come up with new information that is exact-ly accurate. I know for a fact that I’m now accessing file drawers in my memory bank that were shut for more than 20 years.”

While considerable research exists about the role of cannabis and short-term memory, cannabinoids are not generally credited with enabling the retrieval of long-stored, forgotten memories. Wilson is unsure of whether her new-found memory is a result of the cannabinoids at work or better brain function without central nervous system depressants.

In private, her doctors noted her dramatic turnaround. One gave her a written notice stating that without the grand mal seizures she could be trusted to hold her grandchildren for the first time.

“That alone is a blessing that I never, ever saw coming,” she said.

Because cannabis is rated as a Schedule 1 drug that the federal government insists has no known medical bene-fit, and because the state of Illinois has not approved a medical program, the medical profession is hogtied, unable to follow its ethical mandate.

“In my state, I didn’t have the support of my primary care physician or my neurologist last year when I did this,” said Wilson. “When my neurologist first realized what I’d done, she was upset. She was afraid for me and told me that I’d need to leave the state. And although my primary care doctor did document that I’d detoxed off of the meds, he would not write down that I was using medical marijuana.”

A few months ago, Wilson sat down with her neurologist who wanted to understand the remarkable recovery.

The neurologist, whose name cannot be used for the usual reasons of harassment from the DEA, looked at all of the information from Wilson’s trials and tests. The improvement was undeniable. She asked Wilson how often she was smoking marijuana to receive such dramatic benefit. Wilson told her that she smokes every four hours. She did record everything in Wilson’s medical records.

“My story has not ended yet,” she said. “I’ve been able to retire my seizure alert dog, my helmet, my diapers and over a dozen central nervous system depressants, pain relievers and antidepressants. So many areas of my body have been helped that it’s not even like I’m the same per-son.”

As an Illinois resident, Wilson learns about cannabis on her own. With no state program, she calls for help around the United States. Hopeful for the first time in decades, she’s contacting cannabis professionals. Project CBD, an education initiative, put her in touch with compassionate caregivers throughout California. Patients Out of Time is also working to get her story out, and even to find a computer for her. Although she is reading everything she can get her hands on, cannabis publications raise her awareness in ways she had not planned.

“I get so tired of stoner talk,” she said with a laugh. “To tell you the truth, I’ve had to learn a whole new lingo to understand what I’ve been reading in the past year.”

She wants to learn more about CBD-rich cannabis strains, and has been told that if she becomes a resident of Michigan she can enroll in a dispensary program to evaluate the effectiveness’ of the medicine that she’s using.

“Her story is amazing,” said Doug Ordway, Green Bee Collective in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Debbie is in touch with her condition, and so you will get a lot of clarity from her. There are so many people who are not aware of what medical cannabis can do for them. When the stories get out and other people who have conditions hear, others will be attracted.”

Ordway worries that recreational users are spoiling it for those who need cannabis for medical reasons, which is causing Michigan’s Attorney General and other gov-ernment officials to turn against that state’s medical marijuana program.

“The larger market has always been the recreational user,” he said. “What’s lost in all of this is that we’re not really about getting people high. We’re here to get peo-ple well.”

While Wilson has considered moving to a cannabis-friendly state such as California where her sisters live, she’s barely making ends meet on disability. She does not have the resources to move. She does not want to leave her son and grandchildren either. Like many others, she’s written to and met with Illinois legislators.

Medical cannabis patients in Illinois will continue to feed the thriving black market for the time being. Despite polling that shows overwhelming support for medical cannabis, the Illinois legislature defeated HB30, which would have created the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, in May 2011. The vote was close and many legislators admitted that they just caved and voted against it when it became apparent that the bill was going to fail by three votes anyway.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a national organization lobbying for reform, because sentiment is in favor of a cannabis program, a similar bill will be reintroduced. MPP had commissioned polls in several areas of the state that turned up a complete dis-connect between the legislators that voted against and their respective constituents. One of the polls, in a west-ern suburb of Chicago with a Republicans base, polled 75 percent in favor of medical cannabis. Other districts returned similar results of between 70 to 80 percent in favor.

“The moderate Republican legislators there think that their constituents are opposed to this, but, really, when you look at the numbers gathered, that is certainly not the case,” said Dan Riffle, MPP legislative analyst. “Yes, we will continue to target Illinois. It’s an effort that’s been under way and building support for several years. We have no plans to abandon the effort now that we’re so close to finally putting in place a program that can help the hundreds of patients we’ve heard from through-out Illinois.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

This menu shows the most recently posted content for a quick update since you last checked-in.

News Distribution Partnership with CannabisNewsWire (CNW)

Treating Yourself is a news distribution partner of CNW. Would you like your story headlines published on this website? Are you...

CBC Family Feud’s Gerry Dee to Host Cannabis Industry Awards Gala

ANNOUNCING THE 2020 O’CANNABIZ INDUSTRY AWARDS GALA – NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS EVENT DATE: THURSDAY APRIL 23, 2020 TORONTO AIRPORT...

From the Family Vault of Shanti-Baba

"Seems more than strange to grow up as a child and see how important my parents and their peers viewed...

Why Get Pines Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass might just be a typical plant growing in your backyard, but few people know that it has a lot...

How to Make Your Own Canna-Caps

by Old Hippie BeyondChronic.com What do you do when you need cannabis medicine and you can’t or don’t want to...

Database Search

Are you researching marijuana as medicine? Use the simple form below to search any condition. Read personal stories from patients just...

Cannabinoid Receptors in the Body and Their Importance

David B. Allen M.D. By legal Democratic Vote; Cannabis Is Medicine In 1964 Raphael Macheoulam, an Israeli professor of Medicinal...

The True Origins of Haze

By Big Herb It all began in 1969, In Santa Cruz, California. At the time, there was Thai Oaxacan and...

Top 5 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are those seeds that are formed from Cannabis Sativa, a hemp plant. They are different from marijuana but...

Cannabis and Working Out

If you're wondering how cannabis can help you with your workout regime, then you probably need to read this article....

How Companies Are Creating Innovative New CBD Products

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp that may deliver unique health benefits. CBD is just...

5 Marijuana Compounds That Could Help Combat Cancer, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s

by Paul Armentano Deputy Director of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) This commentary was initially...

Living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta

By Michael Morrow My name is Michael Morrow, I'm 37  years  old and I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. OI is a...

Gifts from Mother Nature

By Dianna Donnelly - "The couch activist” Aspirin, otherwise known as Acetylsalicylic Acid, is one of the most commonly ingested preventative medicines...

Paradise Seeds Allkush; More Than Just Kush

One of the new feminised strains from Paradise Seeds is named “Allkush”. So nothing but Kush? Taken genetically literally, no...

28ft… The John Berfelo Story

By John Berfelo "Medical marijuana saved me from a life on pharmaceutical drugs..." My name is John Berfelo and this...

My Grinspoon Moment

By Carl Hedberg Sometimes a single meeting can change your life. Such was the case for me when, in the...

The Science Behind Cannabis Safety

David B. Allen M.D. By legal Democratic Vote; Cannabis Is Medicine. Drug safety is on the minds of most all...

Heavenly Hash: The Art, Science and Industry of Cooking with Cannabis Extracts

by Samuel Wells Samuel Wells is an Assistant Professor of English in Denver, CO An Edible Enigma As scientific and...

Living High with HIV

How Medical Marijuana Rivals Mainstream HIV Medicine By BenBot In 2011, I was diagnosed with HIV. An unmarked van was...

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

With Veterans at Risk, Change is Necessary, but Progress is Slow By Mary Lou Smart In 1933, the repeal of...

Milagro Oil for Lung Cancer

By Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com Compassionate care advocates Michelle and Michael Aldrich at Patients Out of Time’s Seventh National Clinical...

Living and Dealing with ADHD

by Patricia Allen It was back in 1974 that I first became familiar with the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder...

Inflammatory Comments

by Bill Drake As a long-time TY reader I’ve noticed what seems to me to be a rather over- whelming...

How Cannabis Might Keep Coronary Stents Open Longer

By David B. Allen M.D.Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, Member ICRS. And Prisoner of the Drug War Cali215doc@gmail.com First the set...

Unlocking the Secrets, Advanced Tissue Culture

Tissue Culture is a process of isolating cells from plant tissue (explants) which are cultured (grown artificially), in a nutrient...

Anxiety Panic Disorder and Cannabis

By Hal Lubinsky My name is Hal Lubinsky. I'm in my forties, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a U.S....

Can Cannabis Cure Schizophrenia?

By Richard Shrubb, Freelance sailing, health and social affairs journalist ould cannabis treat or even cure schizophrenia? Things look promising...

Multiple Sclerosis: Regaining the Good Life with Whole Plant Therapy

By Mary Lou Smart© 2012 www.medicalcannabisart.com A trial attorney, Jim Dyer practiced law in Tucson, Arizona for 34 years before...

The Science of Cannabis Leads in Many Directions

The Evolution of a Sense of Well-Being By Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com While speaking at Patients Out of Time’s Seventh...

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

By Shantibaba It is evident for all people who wish to listen that doing all things within moderation is better...

Post Traumatic Stress

Psychology and Medication at its Best By Jeff Kundert OTR Jeff works as a Wellness and Fitness Educator. He has...

The Ripper Effect

By Subcool Some really interesting information has come to my attention, and I am very excited to tell everyone in...

Auto-flowering Plants

By Shantibaba The discreet evolution of Auto-flowering cannabis plants is a recent occurrence, one that is in mode at present...

Uncovering the Original Sacrament: Chris Bennett’s Cannabis and the Soma Solution

Review by Samuel Wells When asked to name an author crucial to the growing mainstream understanding of the uses of...

Cornerstone of Individualized Phytogenetics ACDC 22:1 @ CB3

Alternative Cannabinoid Dietary Cannabis 22%CBDA:1%THCA acting at GPR55 Alias CB3 by William L. Courtney, MD, AACM American Academy of Cannabinoid...

Mr. Magoo

By Ron Hudson My birthdays: I woke that birthday morning, in October of 1966, knowing it would begin like the...

Medical Cannabis University

By Reverend Philip H Hoff - Chancellor, MedicalCannabisUniversity.org ( MCU, Inc. ), a 501 c(3) nonprofit school. The school focused...

Storm’s Story

By Georgia Peschel WHEW! Delivering this kid was like delivering a hurricane!” When our son was born, those were our...

Soil Pests & Diseases

By Lazystrain Soil is a living organism made up of billions of microbes and bacteria. The cosmology of soil life...

A Tragedy Felt Around the World

by Jonny Appleweed On Oct. 27, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and...

Autism & Cannabis

Prohibition Makes it Tough on Parents by Mary Lou Smart Jeremy Patrone (not his real name) has a goal. He...

Vaporization of Cannabis: Are there benefits over combustion?

By William Eckhardt Although vaporization is a relatively recent development for the delivery of cannabinoids the proliferation of vast numbers...

Bedrocan

By Harry Resin Generally when you think of Amsterdam, you think of the coffee shops, but that’s not all that’s...

World’s First Psychedelics PR Agency Launched By Canadian Cannabis Professionals

A team of Canadian cannabis industry professionals have launched the world’s first public relations agency focused on cannabis, psychedelics and...

Cannabis Pitch Live, Los Angeles February 21-22, 2020

Are you ready to go to market with your Cannabis Enterprise? You need to be at Cannabis Pitch Live in...

Get a Booth at O’Cannabiz Toronto, April 23-25th International Center

O’CANNABIZ Treating Yourself is an official media partner for O’Cannabiz Toronto Apr. 23-25 2020 at the International Center If you’re...