August 8th, 2008
It's 8:00 am. My step father, mother, and I are in the doctor's office. I've just had blood work done and are awaiting the results. The doctor comes into the room with a serious look on his face, lacking his usual playful attitude. I've been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It is eleven days away from my eleventh birthday. The rest of that day is a blur of lab work, education classes, shots, and paperwork. That was 9 years ago. Since that day I have had at least 3,650 syringe injections of insulin, 728 insulin pump sites, 19,710 finger sticks to check my blood sugar levels, and 270 doctor appointments, that's 30 a year. These numbers are a rough estimate, but I'm sure it's more.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It is genetic. It is not contagious, there is nothing that can be done to cause or stop it. A diabetic's immune system begins to attack the pancreas and insulin producing cells within the body. Without the insulin produced within the pancreas, the body cannot process any glucose being put into it. Since the body cannot process the glucose, it will begin to use ketones (toxic acids) as a source of energy. If this continues for any extended period of time, the person will develop Diabetic Ketoacidosis. This happens when ketones build up in the blood, turning the blood toxic. Some symptoms include constant vomiting, migraines, nerve pain, muscle spasms, severe dehydration, coma, and even death. I once quit taking care of myself and fell into Diabetic Ketoacidosis, causing me to be hospitalized for three days. I almost died. I had been vomiting for almost six hours with no stopping. I was only dry heaving at that point, as my stomach was empty. My magnesium phosphate level had fallen very, very low and took an entire week to return to normal. The insulin pump site I had on had malfunctioned, and due to my lack of caring, I was no longer checking my blood sugar levels and did not know my site was bad. To this day I still have nerve pain, muscle spasms, and migraines caused from the episode. Diabetes is a painful, awful, chronic illness.
Marijuana is not a cure all. It is a tool, like any other medication. However, it is one of the best, if not the best, tools out there in my opinion. Marijuana has many amazing therapeutic uses including pain relief, nausea, seizure relief, inducing appetite, dependency and withdraw from addictive substances, and many other afflictions as well.
Marijuana is actually a flower. The part people smoke is actually the flower itself, hence the nickname "bud." When smoked, marijuana users feel the effects within seconds to minutes. There are a multitude of ways to ingest marijuana. The flower itself can be smoked, pressed between two hot plates to extract the wax from the flower, typically called dabs, or it can be cooked down and made into butter, oils, or other ingredients and food items. Different strains of weed do different things. A strain with a higher count of the psychoactive ingredient THC, is a great anti-inflammatory, pain killer, and in recent studies has even shown to reduce brain cancer cells. CBD is more of a relaxant than THC. It is better known for its ability to calm severe seizures, treat anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat. These two substances are believed to have a synergistic effect. This means that when present at the same time, it is believed they work more effectively than if taken apart.
How Do They Relate?
At this point, you may be asking yourself, how does this all tie together? Here is how. As a young, otherwise healthy diabetic, I struggled to find a doctor who took me seriously. My hometown has problems with heroin lately, so doctors are reluctant to take younger people asking for pain medicine seriously. Then a friend introduced me to marijuana. There are days I could not walk due to my legs and feet being in excruciating pain. I had crippling migraines that caused me to miss school and work on many occasions. Once I began smoking marijuana, I felt like me again. I can now stand to be on my feet and moving all day again, go on adventures with my friends, and enjoy my life again. Marijuana treats my nerve pain, muscle spasms, and all of the other issues that may arise with my diabetes. When I had no other option, it saved me. Every day it helps me eat, get the energy and motivation to start my day, and keeps me in a good mood. I don't know where I would be without it. Marijuana is not for everyone, and it is not a cure. I still take my other medications and have discussions with my doctor about it, just like every other medication, but if it is available, I highly recommenced it to anyone looking for relief.