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Adventures in Medical Marijuana

By Susan Skoney
August 23, 2017

When I made the initial appointment at Bloomfield Industries, I was told to bring the script from my doctor and cash. Oh, and a picture ID issued by the State of New York that identifies me as a registered user of medical marijuana.

That’s right. I was going to a medical marijuana dispensary.

It all started in my neurologist’s office when she was reviewing my meds and discussing my painful spasticity. She pulled her chair up right next to mine, got very close and in a hushed tone asked how I felt about marijuana. She began to laugh and quickly explained she wasn’t referring to the kind you smoke recreationally, but medical marijuana. She explained that I would be a good candidate for its use, as other patients in my situation experienced substantial relief.

Several of the doctors in my neurologist’s practice are among the few in western New York who are licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but MS is among the handful of medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed in New York.

I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at Bloomfield Industries. I just knew that I would be meeting with a nurse and pharmacist and was told $100 cash would be enough to cover my first month’s supply. Located in an upscale medical building in a suburb of Buffalo, NY, the abundance of security cameras, locked electronic doors and the well-armed receptionist who escorted me in left me feeling a little edgy.

I can’t recall ever being in a medical office where the staff at the front desk was armed. However, my angst quickly dissipated when an older couple emerged from one of the rooms. Talking loudly as they passed by, they started to discuss how to use their newly purchased medical marijuana. There was a lightness and humor to their exchange that put me at ease.

I no longer felt apprehensive, but amused. Amused that once again, my MS had taken me on yet another adventure.

My medical marijuana comes in the form of a clear, tasteless oil.

While researchers continue to study the benefits and risks of medical marijuana, I can only speak from my own experience. For me, it has helped with MS pain and spasticity. I feel like I’ve regained a quality of life.

What surprised me most was how some medical professionals still don’t know much about medical marijuana. Even my pharmacist told me he needs to know more about it, as did my primary care physician. 

Medical marijuana is, in any event, a controversial treatment that is gaining more attention and will likely be here to stay. With more studies in the pipeline, it’s hard to know what the future will look like.

But for me, I will continue to make my visits to Bloomfield Industries for my monthly purchases. While driving there, I will continue to listen to classical music. I’ll keep my Pink Floyd albums on the shelf and leave the Doritos at home–the 1970s are over. This is 2017, and medical marijuana may be something you and your neurologist discuss sooner than you think.

Susan Skoney

Susan Skoney was diagnosed in 1999. She lives in western New York with her husband Michael and daughter Hannah. She worked many years in public relations and advertising, and has just started writing about her MS in the last few years.

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