[Ed. note: We get a lot of emails from cannabists across North America who want to share their experiences. This one just came in from a reader named Shawnti who came to medical marijuana as a complete novice and whose life was changed by products made by Squamish-based Liberty Farms.]
Repulsed by the ingredient list in my pain medication, I knew something had to change. It had been two years since the car accident and – after rigorous rehabilitation, hospital visits, spinal needling etc. – the conclusion was grim.
The hospital told me to embrace my “new normal” and accept there wasn’t further treatment to help my disability. I was fed up and sick of feeling like shit everyday, regardless of having pain medication and decided to look into a more natural approach. At the time, medical marijuana was very new and still heavily underground. I had my envelope of qualifying papers but even then, I was nervous and not sure what to expect. The interview was straightforward, it was decided that I qualified and was signed up with .05 gram a day.
Looking back, I was such a newb, it’s laughable. I’d never seen a grinder before and was shown a basic “how to medicate” process and that was that. This was still early days where 12 Licensed Providers were the only gatekeepers to our meds and the process very quickly became extremely frustrating. My first provider was Tilray which was a rough introduction to the world of medical marijuana. Within 15 minutes of releasing new flower, it would be sold-out due to too many patients registered and not enough to produce for the demand. New patients were still being taken on regardless of this oversight.
I went from paying $1.77 a month for meds to well over $300 for natural medication but with no guarantee I would be able to get any product, let alone consistent product. My final straw with Tilray was when they released a pre-grinded cocktail to appease the masses because they were running out of fresh flower. I reluctantly tried it and finally had enough. It had been months of frustrating, panic-ridden internet sessions, hoping to be one of the lucky few to get my medication but the cocktail was nothing short of straight-up shake. It tasted like rotten fish that had been left in the garbage. I vowed that day I would never be left in a predicament of no medicine or forced to live off disgusting scraps.
It took a year of tinkering around with different contraptions and strains but I had developed creams, tinctures, butters, oils etc that all yielded a high return for minimal flower used. I was on disability and getting barely enough money to survive let alone enough to support a legal natural alternative. It still seems ludicrous to me that governments feel they still have the right to control something in nature, but that’s a whole other story. When I realized I could make one litre of oil with just 20 grams of flower, it changed the game for me.
I was committed to seeing the legalization of marijuana in Canada and proud to fight for patient rights. Now, many years later, we are on the brink of legalization and our country is facing an opiate-addiction crisis. The doctors who were once so rigidly opposed to medical marijuana are starting to come around, slowly. A government town hall meeting was held in our province to address the opiate crisis and one doctor who was in his late 70s got up to address the packed house and what happened next I am not sure anyone was expecting. He apologized. The crowd was silent. He spoke from the heart and was a man torn inside by a lifetime of doing what he felt was right but now seeing the damage he helped contribute to. I’ve only heard that one apology ever in the community but that simple act was so powerful and appreciated.
It’s been a difficult road, still rife with misinformation left, right and centre. I heard one doctor suggest taking 1ml of Phoenix Tears for the first time; yes, you read that correctly!
With the introduction of legal oils from LPs, I was initially excited that oils could finally get to patients who needed a cheaper alternative. I was shocked and disgusted but not that surprised to see the price per unit. One example is Tweed, which sells a 100ml oil for $185. Ironically, the more patients enlisted didn’t bring down the price at all; if anything, it lead to price gouging across the board.
I am now pushing for a subsection in the legalities to allow under 18s to access CBD-only medication. I’ve seen first accounts of children with debilitating disorders such as spasticity/epilepsy who were able to have some solace and relief with the CBD oil. The stigma is finally changing but there is still a lot of work to be done.
I wasn’t planning to write my story, I just wanted to say my sincere thank you to Liberty Farms for creating Charlotte’s Web. It’s been almost five years since my accident and, after trying almost everything out there, this shatter was phenomenal. For the first time in years, I am able to have my pain subside considerably thanks to them. They’ve given me a portion of my life back I never thought I could see again. It is a sacred gift and one I treat with a great deal of respect.
Hearing the story behind the name for Charlotte’s Web moved me to tears. I want to say thank you for being a pioneer in the industry. The green rush is in full swing; what stays and what falls away will be interesting. My hope is that patients one day will be able to access the medication they need for a decent price but I am not holding out for that. Instead, I pass on information to patients about cost effective strategies for people on a tight budget. I am cautious but optimistic for the future of marijuana.