Prohibition Makes My Struggle Harder – A Medical Cannabis User Speaks

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Hello, my name is Tina Mendes. I have always had medical problems since I was born. When I was a baby I had whooping cough then at the age of 6/7 I had what we were told was scarlet fever. Since a very young age I wore specially fitted boots and a leg straightener to correct my legs and feet. During my teenage years my right knee kept dislocating and that happened on and off until I was 18.

Then In 1990 age 18 my right knee dislocated again except this time it would not go back on its own and I had to be taken into hospital, where I had an ostoroscopy which was when  the orthopaedic surgeon discovered that I had a rockery knee cap which was prone to dislocate. Which I now know to be part of joint hypermobility syndrome type 3 or also known as Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS).

In 1994 my daughter was born, all my symptoms got worse and I also had symptoms I never had before. I went to my GP and requested that I get seen by a specialist.

In 1995 I was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, (CMT) is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders and one of the least well-known.

The disease is named for the three physicians who first identified it in 1886 – Jean-Martin Charcot and Pierre Marie in Paris, France, and Howard Henry Tooth in Cambridge, England. CMT, also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN) or peroneal muscular atrophy. This  comprises a group of disorders that affect peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves lie outside the brain and spinal cord and supply the muscles and sensory organs in the limbs. Disorders that affect the peripheral nerves are called peripheral neuropathies.

In 1996 I had two major feet operations known as corrective pes cavus. Where a year later I was told I may never walk again. After many years serving as a guinea  pig for the medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies I decided enough was enough, as I felt my body could no longer cope with all the abuse I it was being submitted to. At this stage of my life I had 8 specialists and 1 professor.

In the year 2000 I was admitted to a private clinic in Portugal to get detoxed as after all the years on pharmaceutical medication I had become addicted not only to legal pharmaceutical heroin but illegal heroin too. Drastic measures patients have to resort to after they become addicted to legal heroin and once on the maximum dose there is no one to turn to for help. This is not an isolated case.

This is why I decided to use cannabis as medicine and to start growing my own, so I would not have to deal with “drug dealers” and have safe, quality, clean medicine.

Since being diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-tooth CMT I have also been diagnosed with other connecting illness.

  • Primary Parathyroidism
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS, also postural tachycardia syndrome)
  • Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS)  Joint Hypermobility Syndrome Type 3 which I should have been told back in 1990
  • Musculoskeletal Pain
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Osteopenia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • High Cholesterol

After my detox in Portugal I went to the family DR and we asked  if I had taken the medication as I was meant to, would I still be alive to which the Dr replied, no I would have been dead.

I am reviewed once a year by three professors; Rheumatology, Neurology and a professor of CMT. All three know I consume cannabis to treat myself in various ways. They support my choice of medicine as they can see the positive effects it has had on me and my health. I was told I would never walk again and to some extent they were right. Due to the pharmaceutical medication I would have been bed ridden for many years. Since using cannabis I am able to live a dignified life, It frees my body, eases my pain, I am able to walk and to be as healthy as I am able to be. For these reasons alone I have made the conscious decision of using this plant.

The day the police raided my house

On 1st july 2010 I got up and it was just like any other Thursday morning,  I needed electric so I went to the shop before setting off to the Youth Offending Team where I had worked  for 18 months as a youth worker volunteer due to. I love my job and I felt that at least I was putting something back into my community. That morning I had to do a young person pick up.

As I was driving out of Swanage there were two police vehicles parked on the left side of the road: a van and car. I just went about my business and carried on driving and a few minutes later I saw another three police cars driving into Swanage and my heart sank. But I just kept driving.

After driving for about 30/40 minutes I received a text from a friend telling me that the police were in my back garden and in my shed, I immediately made a u-turn and drove back to Swanage. During this time I made some calls and spoke to some friends and instructed them to deal with my child. Before arriving home I deleted all calls and messages from my phone.

On arrival at the house there were police cars and vans around and when I entered my house there were about 12/14 police officers there. I was arrested for production of  cannabis and possession with intent to supply a class B substance.

I later found out that the police had also arrested my 16-year-old daughter and my husband. My daughter was street bailed and had to go to the police station two days later. A close family friend came to the rescue and went with my daughter,  where no further action was applied.

After arriving at the house I cooperated with the police, I stated to them that I was a medical cannabis user and that I had an incurable untreatable neurologic condition it’s all for my personal use. I also explained that I was allergic to many medications, that I had letters and that I had attended many pain clinics and tried many conventional medical and homeopathic medications; none of which had worked and therefore there was nothing that they could give me apart from oral morphine for chronic pain, so it’s either cannabis or morphine.

I explained that all my doctors knew that I was growing and that I took cannabis for pain. I have self-medicated for many years, my specialists and my professors of neurology all agree that if cannabis is working for me then I should carry on doing so and that I must not stop I explained all this and said I have letters to prove I’m not lying.

I was manhandled by the police and treated like a criminal.

Both myself and my husband were taken in separate cars to the police station, we were strip-searched and kept apart. A doctor had to be called for me when I was so ill due to being kept in the cells for 6 hrs. After we had been interviewed we were released on bail pending further inquiries.

The police informed the housing people and social services that they found a factory at the premises and I was treated like a criminal; the housing people threatened to seek repossession if I was found guilty and social services told me they were concerned with my child. I have never had social services in my life and now they were because of the police – it was horrible.

On the 26th August we were charged and re bailed until 21st September.

We went to Magistrates court which was adjourned and my solicitor after a few weeks managed to get us a caution for production of cannabis.

My daughter had to receive counselling to help her deal with what happened and both me and my husband have been diagnosed with chronic depression since.

Now I ask how much did the police spend on:

  • Man Power
  • Helicopter
  • Warrant
  • Processing this case
  • Going to magistrates
  • How many man hours were spent investigating this case

Basically how much money and man hours were spent on the raid to my house.

My MP, Houses of Parliament, Home Office, drugs minister, health minister didn’t want to talk to me or know what was being said to them. They would not work with me or help me; I was treated like an inconvenience, a problem. So sad that none of these people were willing to help me, and all saw me as a criminal.

Video courtesy of Cannabis Cure TV 

I would like to know why we are treated like common criminals, rather than patients. Where is the crime? Where is the victim?

I’m a medical cannabis consumer and I would like to know why we are treated like common criminals, rather than medical patients? NO victim NO crime!

We are victims of an unjust law and government. How can my doctors (who are specialists and some even professors) say and even give me letters saying I need cannabis and therefore should not stop using it as it reduces the amount of morphine I need for pain?

Why does the government insist on saying that cannabis has no medical purpose when that is not true? How can the government deny someone in chronic pain,  their right to medicate? I feel that this is a breach of my human rights.

I would like to ask something…. where am I supposed to get my medical cannabis from legally?  Because my doctors say that I need it and I say I need it.

So am I to turn to organised crime to get my medication? Don’t these people realise that was the reason that I was growing? So I was able to medicate without dealing with street dealers who charge extortionate prices and sell lower quality, possibly contaminated cannabis with little to no medicinal value…

I’m ashamed of how my government stated before the elections that they were compassionate towards medical cannabis users and once they got into power we were shoved in a draw, locked up and the key was thrown away. It’s sad that we have to live in chronic pain everyday, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It is sad and barbaric.

Politicians… what do they  know about pain relief or cannabis as a medication?  Why do they not listen to their Drug Advisory Council?  These are the scientists!! Surely politics should be left to politicians and medicine and science to doctors and scientists?

I asked my GP to refer me to the pain clinic as I was trying to get Raw legal cannabis from Bedrocan International, a pharmaceutical company in the Netherlands that allows patients from other countries to gain access to medical cannabis. With which I would still need an import licence from the Home Office.

Once at the pain clinic  the first half of the appointment was dominated by the consultant, who made notes on my answers. He then went on to offer me Tramadol, ketamine, and oral morphine. Now let’s remember I have been off all pharmaceutical medications for 12 years. This was best they could come up with. The offer of Sativex never even crossed the table (which I don’t qualify for anyway).

The second half of the appointment was dominated by me, as it was time to educate; I politely declined the offer of pharmaceutical medication.  I then went on to ask the specialist to look into Bedrocan International, as I wasn’t interested in any other medication and I felt cannabis did all I needed as a patient.  He agreed he would look into this and we would review this situation again in October 2012.

I am also meant to attend a pain clinic program for 3 weeks while staying in hospital, during which I shall make a video diary to document my experiences with the pain management program

 

The above is a guest article. If you’re a medical user and would like to see your story on The Cannabis Geek, please get in touch via the Contact Us section of the website.

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