Anna May MeadeThrough my work as an environmental scientist, I traveled all over the world. I enjoyed this herb in many places. Over the past few decades, our thinking has evolved. In some places, cannabis was decriminalized, allowed for medicinal uses, or legalized for general adult use. It is known as an ancient herb, used by early Egyptians and is even mentioned in the bible. It was criminalized for political reasons and social justice must be part of the end of prohibition. In May 2015, my sister Mary was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. It was a difficult few years. Between pain and drug side effects, Mary was having trouble sleeping. She began smoking herb to relax before bed. When a person is very sick, sleep can be the best medicine. I was happily surprised how much cannabis helped her. She told me: "It helps me relax and get deep restful sleep, which helps healing. In the morning, I wake up clear, without brain fog or exhaustion. If the only thing cannabis did was allow people to get a good night's sleep, it would be amazing. The only side effect is that there is less morning stiffness in my feet." I have been a cannabis enthusiast for many years. I enjoy cannabis to feel more creative, to de-stress, or just relax with friends. I live in a state that has legalized cannabis and was developing new cannabis businesses. Suddenly, cannabis was also a way I could help my sister. My sisters and I often support and coach each other, so it was natural for us to work together to explore cannabis. The upside of this whole ordeal is that we became much closer. We realized that many people could benefit from cannabis and might need a coach, but may not have a sister to help them, so we decided to write a book to answer basic questions. Our friends were excited and everyone seems to know someone who could really use this information.
Mary MeadeMy journey from stage four cancer to cannabis started with pain associated with a non-healing wound. I asked my son, a millennial, what did he know about cannabis? It turns out he had done a lot of research, knew all about his favorites, and how they affected him. We went out to lunch with his friends; they all shared their best ideas. I wanted to sleep better without resorting to pain medication. Stage four patients often get prescribed strong medications like morphine. That worked for me but it made me feel dopey all day long, even though I only took it at night. Every other pain med made me feel like I had the flu. The first time I smoked a bong I had no pain, just a comfortable feeling, then a feeling of wellness. That's something cancer patients rarely feel: wellness. I wanted to figure out how best to use cannabis: I complained to my son. I needed a coach! He said the problem is people would rather not have a candid conversation because it is illegal in most states. After all, people will tell you not to mix beer and liquor, or where to get the best prices on rosé. There are a lot of choices; bongs, pipes, what's best? I explored cannabis and discovered I like edibles. A few gummies combined with lower doses of opioids helped me get to sleep and stay asleep. Less pain meds meant less brain fog. Sleeping well was a big part of my recovery from two major surgeries. When I dropped the opioids, I had very small withdrawal symptoms. I took more cannabis, which smoothed out those side effects, headaches, muscle aches, restless leg, and insomnia.