At the age of fifteen bowel issues began to control my life.
Every morning would be a living hell, while the rest of the day I'd be fearful of the possibility of being stranded without a washroom in sight.
I knew I had to do something about it when it started to interfere with my education and social life.
I became depressed and my life came to a stand still.
A couple years went by and I was desperate, looking for answers that could bring my life back to normality.
Vulnerable and slightly embarrassed I got a referral from my doctor to see a gastroenterologist to receive a colonoscopy.
Sitting in a waiting room full of middle-aged men and women waiting for the same procedure as I, all anxiously waiting for their turn to be violated.
Sparing the details, I was instructed to sit in a waiting room after the procedure to await the doctor's diagnosis.
Vulnerable as could be, and weighing out all the possibilities in my head the doctor quickly entered the room.
He sat down and immediately starting asking questions about my lifestyle. When it came to drug use I made the mistake of mentioning that I use cannabis to relieve my issues.
At this point in the discussion, the doctor had already made up his mind. He continued to explain to me that my IBS was caused by my cannabis use.
Confused, I explained to him that there were thousands of fellow Canadians that claimed cannabis helped their bowel issues.
To which he replied, "You can't believe everything on the internet, there's nothing more I can do for you."
I left the office enraged, could I be causing my bowel issues? Is this all my fault?
Years went by, while the symptoms continued I became to realize that my bowel issues became much worse when I was experiencing anxiety.
Finally, I decided it would be time to talk to a psychiatrist about my issues, the Dr. explained to me that I was likely suffering from Anxiety Induced IBS.
"Some people feel nauseous while experiencing anxiety, others have bowel issues."
The Dr. insisted that I be prescribed an SSRI even though my main issue was anxiety and not depression; he claimed it was a common practice to experiment with SSRI's before introducing more serious drugs like benzodiazepines.
At first, I was prescribed Prozac, after experiencing some negative side effects my doctor prescribed me Zoloft instead.
These medications were not for me, they didn't ease my anxiety or bowel issues and instead caused me to enter what I call "Zombie Mode."
Where emotions like happy and sad went away and I was stuck with one emotion, "Zombie."
I shared these concerns with my Doctor and he decided it was time for my to try a benzodiazepine.
He prescribed me what he described as "the weakest of the benzo's with the longest half-life."
It's a drug known as Clonazepam or Klonopin.
This medication helped my anxiety slightly but caused me to be drowsy and forgetful.
During this whole medication experiment I couldn't help but think that cannabis was much more effective for my issues, it also had much less undesirable side effects while being also being nonaddictive (unlike Klonopin).
Fast forward a few years and my suspicion of the medicinal benefits of cannabis became a conclusion.
Now, twenty years old and still suffering from IBS I was told it would be very difficult for me to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana through the ACMPR due to the federal government's opinion that Cannabis could negatively affect the developing mind up to the age of 25. This opinion causes many medical marijuana doctors' to avoid prescribing it to young individuals.
I did research on the local doctors in Toronto and noticed that some clinic's required fees up to $250 while others are covered under the provincial health care system.
I booked an appointment with a Doctor that was known to be willing to prescribe medical marijuana to patients under the age of 25 and that was also covered under my health plan.
The day finally came, as I sat in the waiting room of the doctor's office I couldn't help but feel anxious.
When I finally met the doctor I was welcomed with open arms.
She explained to me that when it comes to the developing mind it is a matter of weighing out the positive and negative effects case by case.
We both came to the agreement that the positive aspects of medical marijuana outweighs the possible negative in terms of everyday life.
I left the office in absolute relief.
For the first time in my life, I felt like my life was now manageable, that the paranoia of being caught with the only medicine that helped me was finally lifted off my shoulders.
I now consider myself a medical marijuana advocate, going to marijuana-related events and trying to spread the good word of this plant has become a passion of mine.
If you're reading this article and you've previously found relief using marijuana, or if you are suffering and are desperate for answers, I urge you to go to a medical marijuana clinic and at least speak to a doctor about it.
Who knows... maybe it will save your life too.