Patient Success Story: Elmer

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Elmer has been a long-time patient of High Mountain Health. After Elmer began using cannabis in 2012 to help with a combination of PTSD, pain and muscle spasms, his quality of life has improved immensely. Here, he describes overcoming addiction, taking control of his own health care and living life to the fullest. Elmer's unique perspective on life and his positive attitude make him an ideal and inspiring patient success story.

High Mountain Health: How has cannabis improved your life?

Elmer: Cannabis has certainly improved my daily life. Living with chronic pain, muscle spasms and PTSD can get very difficult for me at times, especially when all three are at their height. Cannabis has provided me with the euphoria I need to keep my mind at ease. I believe if I can control and manage my PTSD on the daily, I can better manage my pain and muscle spasms. What I feel in my mind affects my body easily, so controlling my thoughts and emotions help me a lot. This practice has helped me become more aware and focused on what I am doing, rather than just zoning out. Using cannabis has made my life enjoyable

HMH: What particular strains do you find are the most effective?

E: I have found that ACDC and Harlequin are great for pain. I like to mix a little of those with other strains so I can get the maximum strength I can for my back pains and spasms. I haven’t tried Critical Mass CBD yet, so I’m looking forward to using that. I know that Indica strains are great for my pain and muscle spasms and the Ensalada Verde is great for my PTSD all-around.

HMH: What would you tell a friend who could benefit from cannabis, but is nervous to try it?

E: I told a few friends about the benefits of being a medical cannabis patient. I told them it was great to select from the vast assortment of medications -- from flower to concentrates to edibles. The selections are always awesome from HMH. I try to explain to my friends how the medication works on the body. I try to be open and honest with my friends about the benefits of marijuana, but most of the time they just want to know which ones will give you the best euphoria. (Ha ha)

HMH: What do you see as some common misconceptions about cannabis?

E: One big misconception of medical cannabis is that some people think you are pot head and a druggy. That thinking really devalues your opinion on how you want to manage your own health care needs. I sometimes think maybe those assumptions are made by people who do not have any health issues like chronic pain, muscles spasms or PTSD. But for some of us that do have major health issues, this is the safest alternative overall. Medical cannabis is safer than prescription medications such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone, NARCO, Morphine, etc.

I have been on a ton of those narcotic pills in the last couple of years and I hated it. They made me depressed and very angry towards people. I became addicted to Oxycontin, then to Oxycodone, then to Percocet. The withdrawals were horrible, but it was how I managed my pain before cannabis. Now, I don’t deal with withdrawals nor do I feel depressed or angry towards people. I love people and I’m happy.

HMH: Do you have any advice for other medical marijuana patients?

E: I think safety is probably the most important advice I can give. Keep your medications in a safe place away from children. I think most patients are aware of the legalities behind possessing a cannabis card. There were many stakeholders involved in starting up this medical cannabis program in Arizona. The way I see it, possessing a cannabis card is a privilege that can easily be taken away if we are not careful on how we use it. So, please take care of your medications and be responsible for your safety as well as the safety of others while medicate

-- Interview by Taylor Haynes