Jonathan Liebling

Jonathan Liebling

Hi. I'm Jon Liebling, and I am a Medical Cannabis Patient!

I have suffered with varying degrees of stress migraines, back pain, anxiety and depression and suicidal thoughts for most of my adult life, which I have adequately and effectively self-managed through my choice to consume cannabis.

I discovered cannabis at university, learning 2 things:

1: I much preferred being stoned to being drunk and

2: For the first time in my life, I was able to concentrate and focus on whatever I wanted/needed to focus on, my thoughts were significantly calmer and all the pain in my neck and shoulders vanished - immediately. My social anxiety had also, simply, gone.

The only problems I have ever experienced with consuming cannabis have been related to its legal status:

Firstly as a student, caught in possession where the police took my 14 grams of "Soap-Bar" hash and proceeded to steal half, and then charge me with possession of the other half. I received a fine that I could not afford and a conditional discharge. You know, I wouldn't have minded so much if either they had charged me with the whole lot, or taken my stash and let me go, but to do half of each was simply wrong and frankly criminal.

Secondly when I was about 30 for growing 4 plants, outdoors, on a farm in the middle of nowhere. This time I was threatened with imprisonment but after making grovelling apologies and promising that I would seek help and never do it again, I received another (bigger) fine that I could afford even less and another conditional discharge. This is something that must be considered when listening to the number of "Cannabis users seeking help with their addiction", how many of those were just saying they had a problem to avoid imprisonment? I have to say that this was ultimately an act of perjury in court - of course I wouldn't stop; It is medicine for me and I didn't need any help, I just needed the law to leave me be. My own sense of justice has suffered for those lies for many years. It has always felt like I betrayed my own beliefs, sensibilities and this wonderful, beautiful, medicinal plant.

There were more and on each of those occasions the impact on me was loss of a job or education and loss of motivation combined with an increase in my anxiety, feeling disenfranchised from society and let down by our social and justice systems. Other than on those occasions, I have never really stopped consuming cannabis when I felt I required it. I have never had a problem with it and it has never affected my motivation or anything else negatively. In fact for the last 17 years or so I have built a very good career in IT and until recently was a Senior IT Manager for a well known international retailer and for the last 9 years an attentive, present and good father to my daughter. Before that I was a hard working and enthusiastic Psychiatric Nurse - never a day (or night) off sick! I loved that job until my legal issues made it impossible for me to continue. I've also learnt to dance in that space of time, even getting to the finals of a national competition and in all other ways have remained physically fit and healthy. There are times I don't take it at all for weeks or months, and there are other times when I take it most evenings after stressful days to help me relax and sleep. At other times it helps to remove physical or emotional pain and to manage the rest. It is also the only thing have ever found that will stop a migraine or a panic attack in its tracks.

More recently a number of significant personal life events had a devastating impact on me and my anxiety and depression reached unmanageable levels. I knew I needed help and sought it from my local GP. I was honest with him about consuming cannabis and explained what it had been doing for me most of my life. He did not want to listen and chose to respond by telling me that he would not help until he was certain that I was not "using" cannabis. He also told me that he could not refer me to "Talking Therapies" for the same reason, which would have been exactly what I needed and what I was asking for right then.

I went back for a check up and thanks to my regular doctor being on holiday was able to get a second opinion. This lovely locum whom I saw in a bit of a state spent some time to actually talk and listen to me. She took me off all medications immediately and stated that there was nothing she felt that prescription medications could do to help me and what I really needed was therapy. "I know", I replied somewhat ironically. She also recommended that as I already knew it worked, and was relatively safe, I'd be better off continuing to take cannabis to calm my anxiety and manage my mood. Unfortunately, as she was worried about the impact on her career, she was unwilling to put this in writing for me.

Now, when you buy cannabis "off the street", you have no idea what strain it really is, what strength it is , what THC/CBD balance it is with no guarantees on quality, no idea what chemicals have been used either to boost growth, or in harvesting to retain smell (sometimes sprays of 'god only knows what' are used to make the product heavier and pretty and sparkly). In addition one has to mix with some questionable people in questionable places which is not great for anxiety or safety, and, of course, the price is ridiculous. So I made a benefit/risk judgement call and decided that I'd prefer to grow my own so that I could guarantee high quality, know exactly what strains I was taking, and grow organically rather than to have to buy sub-standard "I don't know what" from "I don't know who" off the street.

I think it is important that you understand that I would not have made this decision if I could not keep it all (logistically) away from my family. I had a house I was in the process of doing up for rent and I knew that it was going to take about a year to complete - perfect! The only person exposed to any risk of any nature was me!

In any case, I agreed and completely stopped "using" cannabis as directed by my doctor. My anxiety inevitably increased to the point where I stopped sleeping properly and didn't want to leave my home for anything and my doctor prescribed an anti-depressant medication called Fluoxetine (Prozac) together with Valium (Diazepam) to help me sleep. All the diazepam ever did was knock me flat out and gave me a really bad hangover the next day. I stopped those almost immediately! As for the Prozac, at first whilst having little impact on my anxiety did make it impossible to think, move too much, work or play with my daughter and he told me that the dose may not be right, so he upped it. This made the anxiety much worse to the point where I was planning suicide. The "Happy Pills" had made me happy with my suicidal thoughts - Thanks Doc!

It became quickly apparent that I have a passion and a talent (thanks for the green fingers, mum) and it also became very clear very quickly that I had a deepening relationship with this plant. In fact the mere process of growing was having a very positive effect on my overall well-being and for many extended moments whilst tending my plants or just sitting amongst them I would say I experienced a level of peace and calmness, sadly missing from much of my life. It was an effective medicine and occupational therapy all rolled into one.

Just as the first 4 plants of my grow were beginning to mature, there was a knock on my door, and there were the police who "had received a tip off" and I was arrested. They were more interested in whether I had guns, weapons or was stealing electricity than asking why I was doing what I was doing. I tried to mention my health condition whilst being pinned to the floor and handcuffed, but of course this was totally ignored and my "anxiety" was cruelly mocked. They proceeded to treat me like a hardened criminal and turn a newly decorated house upside down in their search for evidence of my criminality. They spent 18 months deciding what sort of a criminal I am, whilst withholding my passport, driving licence and my mobile telephone? As you can imagine, this has not done much for my mental well being nor, as previously, my motivation and faith or engagement with "the system".

On Feb 5th 2016 I received a 12 month sentence for Production of a Controlled Drug, class B, suspended for 2 years!

I have broken the law. This I freely admit. However; 

As far as I am concerned, it is and has always been an unjust law, and I no longer wish to apologise for doing something that improves both my mental and physical well being and does no harm to me or anyone else. I prioritise my health and well being as more important than an unjust law against growing and ingesting a natural and medicinal plant.

When left alone by the law, and in every other aspect I have been and am a productive, tax paying, law abiding citizen, father, son and brother who has never done anything to harm anyone, and don't accept why I, or the countless others who benefit, have to suffer more as a result of this uninvited restriction on liberty. From my perspective, the law itself is a crime. How can you outlaw a plant for goodness sake, especially one with so many far reaching benefits and so little risk. If one believes in a God, then presumably this law implies that God got this one (among others) wrong. It you don't then presumably the blame rests with this beautiful, perfect, little green planet's nature?

Prescription medicine has made me worse. The law has threatened me, hurt me and taken my medicine away. Cannabis has done nothing but help - Ever!

Alex Fraser

Alex Fraser

My name is Alex and I am a Crohn’s patient who uses cannabis to relieve my symptoms.

Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the bowel, gut or intestines. It causes severe weight loss, diarrhoea, and means those suffering with it cannot take in the nutrients they need to be healthy, other symptoms include chronic pain and fatigue.

Cannabis means I have an appetite, it reduces my pain dramatically and it helps me get to sleep. I usually smoke or vaporise before & after most meals and before bed to help me get off to sleep without any pain and it also seems to reduce my night time toilet trips. It also helps me keep my weight up. Without it I fear I might waste away and become scarily underweight, as many Crohn’s patients do.

I smoke, vape and eat it. I would much rather have safe, legal access to oils, dabs and other potent medical-grade cannabis. Having to pay a fortune to get illegal cannabis that is not grown for medical purposes is incredibly frustrating as I know (having on occasion been lucky enough to try it) medically grown cannabis would be a much more effective medicine.

Through being on a number of forums for those with Crohn’s, and the other form of IBD Ulcerative Colitis, I have discovered that a great deal of people suffering with my condition use cannabis. People from all over the world of all different ages and walks of life are using it to help them get by day to day. Some live in countries where they can get it on prescription, and others like myself are unable to due to the archaic, out-dated laws that are still in place today in the UK.

I often wonder how we can consider ourselves forerunners of modern society and healthcare here in the UK when our fears and the stigma attached to this plant, that is repeatedly proven to be both of massive medical use and also harmless compared to many prescription meds, stop us from allowing those who are suffering to alleviate their pain and discomfort. As far as I’m concerned it should be a criminal act to prevent people from reducing their own pain with laws that follow no scientific data whatsoever.

The UPA is doing great things just getting the word out about how drastically myself, and others suffering with a huge array of debilitating and awful illnesses need this plant as our medicine. I think the hardest obstacle in our way is simply social stigma; people have been conditioned to fear cannabis as some kind of hellish “gateway drug”, which, anyone who’s tried it knows is simply not the case. We need to normalise use and end the stigma, be proud of our cannabis consuming and educate as many people as possible about how much it helps us and the difference it makes to our lives.

I was a recreational user before I became sick, but even before being diagnosed I knew that my smoking was helping me deal with my condition. I fell sick at the end of my first year of university studying at Sussex in Brighton. I was in immense pain and was in and out of the toilet more times than I could count in a day, it was truly horrible. I noticed that when I smoked the pain was drastically reduced and I was able to get to sleep or have a few hours without needing the toilet. I had my first year exams to get through before I had a chance to see a specialist doctor and get a proper diagnosis (I’d actually been given laxatives by a foolish NHS GP in hove, with horrific consequences). I realised that the only way I was going to get through my exams was to smoke beforehand. It worked too, I smoked about half an hour before turning up to my exams and was able to get through them in minimal pain and with few enough toilet trips that I was able to finish the exam papers in the allowed time.

I thank Cannabis for getting my through that tough time. I truly believe I would not have gotten through that week of exams without smoking it and I have never looked back. I now smoke or vape it daily and it has no negative effect on my psychological state. In fact I would say it only serves to calm me and make me happy, something that is much appreciated when you spend your days suffering from any chronic illness. It’s use reducing stress and anxiety is definitely evident to me.

I have tried not smoking, and my symptoms always increase dramatically, my pain is worsened and I often can’t sleep or eat without severe discomfort. I also have taken prescription meds, and have tried not taking those, and the difference is minimal. I can safely say that cannabis is the most effective treatment for my Crohn’s disease that I’ve tried. I hope that, with the help of the UPA I can have safe, legal access to it as soon as possible.

Natasha

Natasha

Hello Readers,

My name is Natasha, and I suffer from multiple health issues, including M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and Migraines.

Most days I suffer with:

Headaches, which can turn into migraines, which can last two weeks or longer if not treated. Cluster headaches are also a threat.
Constant aching and pain.
Constant fatigue and weakness.
Muscle spasms.
Heavy limb sensations (described as wearing a cast iron suit).
Food allergies and digestive issues.
Chemical sensitivities.
Insomnia.
Constant thirst.
Night sweats.
Disorientation and confusion.
Difficulty communicating.
Nausea.
Aura (Visual Disturbance).
Mood swings.
Memory loss.

Before I discovered cannabis, I was taking Co-codamol daily.
I had become addicted to a painkiller that gave me rebound headaches and withdrawal symptoms. I spent two years without pain relief. Unable to take most medications, I became stuck, until I discovered what cannabis can do.

The first time I tried medicating with cannabis, I nearly passed out from coughing! The relief from the cluster headache I was having was a surprise, however.

I decided to have a go at taking cannabis daily, mainly for sleep, as we all know that a good night's sleep is a good first step towards recovery.
My first night medicating, I slept for twelve hours straight, but the one massive change I noticed is that once I woke up, I felt rested which I haven't experienced for years!

On better days I wake up earlier, my joints feel less inflamed and I actually have some energy!

There's no medication for M.E.

Cannabis helps relieve my symptoms, and that's something that in fourteen years of suffering, doctors have never been able to help me achieve.

Migraine relief
I have many triggers that cause different types of migraine. But there's still times when it's difficult to pinpoint what's caused what. Ultimately, I need relief.
I have tried many medications that have only made me worse.

Cannabis doesn't cure my migraines, but I would choose it over any migraine medication in an instant. Cannabis not only lifts my mood whilst having an attack, but it also give me the sensation that I'm having a massage where the pain is, which is an amazing experience that I wish I could have all day!

I never want to stop consuming Cannabis


There are times when supplies are low, and I have to ration. It's the worst thing I have to do. Just skipping one night of cannabis can have detrimental consequences to my health - Taking me right back to the days when I didn't consume.

I'm not okay. But taking cannabis helps. I am proud of myself and fellow friends who are standing up for what we are entitled to. Pain relief that works!

These are the strains that I have tried so far that help treat my symptoms:
Purple Afghani

Blue Dream

Cheese (only for nausea)

My favorite ways to consume
Inhaling herbs through a vapouriser, or from dabs (hash oil)

Chris

Chris

Chris - Primary Progressive MS

My diagnosis is done, my prognosis is bleak, there is no cure or treatment for my chronic desease.

Medics can't help me yet, so I will treat myself with the best medicine I can get, this medicine happens to be cannabis.

Cannabis helps me with my MS, it helps treat my anxiety and depression, pain, spasticity, insomnia, lack of appetite, fatigue, bowel and bladder problem, cognitive functioning, to name but a few.

But surprise, surprise the medication they prescribe to combat these intrusive and disabling side effects, have themselves horrendous side effects and I don't want to live my life in a catatonic, drug induced coma.

People are ignorant to the facts about cannabis, education is the key, but know this, it improves the quality of my life, it allows me to function and enjoy my life, the government is refusing to allow millions of people to access this plant legally.

Politicians should not have the right to play god, but they continue to allow unnecessary suffering. Let me live my life with dignity, that's all I want, I will do what is best for me and it's working. Living an illegal life, is better than living a lifetime in pain.

Jacob

Jacob

Jacob is 27 years old and has been battling chronic and neuropathic pain for eight years.

Sharon

Sharon

I consume cannabis to deal with chronic pain from arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos hypermobility.

Jeanette Clements

Jeanette Clements

Cannabis helps me with severe migraines, RLS, Primary Raynauds, hypertension, oesteoporosis and sometimes depression.

Aaron Nacci

Aaron Nacci

I consume cannabis daily to help treat my anxiety and depression.

Sarah

Sarah

I consume cannabis to help combat the symptoms of Guillian-Barre syndrome

Charlie

Charlie

I consume cannabis for back-pain, Depression and Anxiety.