In December 2015, I started suffering from tinnitus - an unpleasant phantom noise that rings and whistles inside the head. I am fairly certain this problem arose after too much exposure to loud noise. As I am a musician/songwriter, this is an occupational hazard; many musicians unfortunately develop tinnitus. If only I had taken more precautions to protect my ears when I was younger!
As I began researching tinnitus, I was horrified to learn that there is currently no medically-recognised cure for it; there are only various procedures designed to help patients "come to terms" with the condition. Well, I simply did not want to accept this diagnosis. As a relatively young man, the prospect of living with this condition for the rest of my life is horrendous. I tried several treatments without any success and began to despair.
Eventually, while looking for possible remedies online, I found testimony of a Canadian man called Rick Simpson who had developed tinnitus after a work-related accident. He claimed that cannabis had greatly reduced the volume of his tinnitus. Intrigued, I sought out cannabis and, to my delight, I found that it did indeed lessen the volume and intensity of my tinnitus for hours afterwards. As tinnitus is a form of neural hyperactivity, perhaps cannabis works via its anti-seizure properties.
Given this breakthrough, it became intolerable to me that I was a criminal in the eyes of the law for nothing more than legitimately treating a medical condition when no other effective treatment was available. I had no other option to help reduce my tinnitus. This is why I feel compelled to become an advocate for cannabis decriminalisation, as I hate having to sneak around like a criminal.
On this issue, the law is criminal, not me.