You Can't Spell Healthcare without THC
"You can’t complain when you’ve got Mary Jane.” — Unknown
Mary-Jane is my favourite name. I'm not ashamed in saying I LOVE smoking cannabis, but not for recreational purposes. I live in England, so it is completely illegal. Nevertheless, as of 2018, the medical use of cannabis through the NHS was legalised. The smell of cannabis in England is not an uncommon one. 98% of cannabis in Britain is homegrown, and we now have more cannabis in our country than in The Netherlands. When they announced the changes and started selling CBD oil in shops, for people like me (disabled) this was hope that one day we wouldn't have to separate ourselves and feel bad for wanting to be out of pain just to go about our day.
Yet years on and cannabis on the NHS is not fully established enough and it's very difficult to get it. Not to mention it costs way more than what it does on the street. It just seems to me another way of exploiting vulnerable people, who don't have much money as it is. It's as if they are using pain relief as poly to gain profits. It feels rather American to me, and as a Brit, I am horrified. Our NHS is one of the best things about Britain, we all pay taxes for it, now some of us (mainly the vulnerable) are having to pay ridiculous amounts on top, never mind the bloody parking fees!
I do have a blue badge which gives me free parking, but I still got to pay for the said badge. Accommodating disabilities is not a privilege, and I hate that it is perceived that way.
I remember the first time I tried cannabis. It was right after a music concert that I was a part of, I felt like a rock star. I was still in my school uniform (not good I know) but I distinctly remember munching on a bag of chips (fries if you're American) and thinking God these are the best chips I've ever eaten in my f*cking life. I ate the whole bag, which for me was unusual at the time because back then I didn't know that I was suffering from an eating disorder. When I stood up to walk home, I was free. It was a 'huh? I can move...the pain is gone...holy sh*t I can move!'
I made it home in ten minutes when usually it would take twenty. To my horror I realised, sh*t got to hide from mum; she never noticed. Anyway, I remember spending the next two or so hours dancing in my room so freely that I can see myself clear as day twirling around, lip-singing my way around my room as I put on the most epic performance for the ghosts of the house, that it felt like I was headling at Live Aid 1985.
There's nothing more infuriating than being in a body that you can't change. For me as a disabled person, my body is my prison. Chronic pain sucks and so does Cerebral Palsy and everything else that comes with that. What makes it worse is that people think being disabled means free sh*t, which it definitely does not. The number of people I know that openly fake having a disability, while I have to prove my pain, prove that I was indeed born with this body, and no matter how many operations or hospital appointments I have is never going to change that.
I've had morphine from the age of eight, so when I ring 111 (NHS helpline) they always suggest paracetamol or ibuprofen, as if that's going to do anything. When I ring my GP they suggest codeine, or co-codamol, something I have been familiar with since my first operation. It works but not for long, and that shit is so addictive, that people die from it. How many celebrities have become addicted because of it? Or died because of prescription drugs? Nah, I found the relief for me.
I'm the type of stoner that does the washing up after I smoked. I clean the house and write non-stop. I make sure my little one has everything he needs and he is happy. He is never near me when I do smoke and I go to extra lengths to ensure the smoke is confined to one room, which is well ventilated. When I smoke it's as if my disability goes away, and just for a while, I feel like a 'normal' person in a 'normal' body. It's amazing and most liberating.
Yet I feel like a criminal, I am not ashamed, but I do feel guilty, because of the stigmatisation still surrounding cannabis. Despite the numerous health benefits, studies and results that have been released over the years, people still have this idea that a stoner can't be productive, and that are lazy losers who will never amount to anything in life. I smoked it now for ten years, and I am in the last year of my Masters'. It lets me live my life free of pain, and the bonus is it helps with my eating.
Imagine spending your days with what feels like a metal rod up your back that is full of electrical currents. Now and then this rod sends shocks to your brain, your back, and your legs. You have no control over this. Your mind understands why it happens. You cannot do anything about it. So you move to get comfort. You find a hint of relief only for the currents to spark up again. You then repeat this all day, and people will ask 'Why can you never stand still when you're talking?' This is life. It has been for as long as I can remember and it will be like this forever.
Until - smoke. The metal rod vanishes, and the current short circuit loses all its power, while in turn, I gain mine. You cannot spell healthcare without THC. CBD is a start, but it needs to be better. I and many other disabled people rely on cannabis for relief. It is not a drug, it is nature, and the idea that nature is illegal makes me think, we should all be then? We are nature are we not? It's just beyond our comprehension as to why. Cannabis is not for everyone, but that's why there are different medicines out there, that's why people receive different treatments, therapy etc. If it didn't smell you wouldn't know and perhaps wouldn't care. Most people I meet are fairly understanding, but others just don't get it. They just see someone they can look down on, which I am very much used to.
In Britain, 53% of policing is spent dealing with binge drinkers. I have cerebral palsy and I am constantly asked if I am drunk. You know there's a drinking problem in your country when people can't distinguish between drunk and disabled. I a stoner, am breaking the law for sitting in my home, smoking in my jim-jams watching Doctor Who or Merlin, while Dave and his mates from the pub are shouting, falling all over the place and picking fights because so and so lost the match today.
You see the problem too right? Now, whenever you smell weed in public just think, at least I'm not sober in a room full of drunks. At least we got good tunes, and great snacks, those guys got dehydration and probably an unwanted STI. Yet we are the baddies yes? Of course.
I've been putting off this article for a while, but I realise how important it is to speak about things we are afraid of for the fear of being judged. But judge away, I don't care. You don't pay my rent. My house is clean, my child is cared for, and I am proactive and productive. Judge as you please. I am a disabled person just trying to get through life, one joint at a time.
Check out Professor Green's documentary on cannabis, it's amazingly informative, and shows that stoners exist everywhere from the bottom of the working class all the way to the top!
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Hey hey! My name is Laura, and I like to write about things people don't want to write about.
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