Nicole Blair’s physician recommended she try medicinal marijuana to provide some relief of the pain associated with her cancer — as well as the complications of chemotherapy and radiation. She initially said no. “I once had an unpleasant experience with marijuana and I did not want to try it again,” she recalls. Her physician told her that medicinal marijuana is pharmaceutical grade and not the same as “street” marijuana. After 18 months of suffering, she decided to follow his recommendation. “And, after I took the marijuana, for the first time, I slept for four hours in a night.” She says the pain dissipated considerably, allowing her to more fully live her life.
“I told my doctor, ‘I should have listened to you 18 months ago.’ I went from not getting out of bed to having a life. It’s not a normal life, but it’s a life,” she says. Even as medicinal marijuana has become more accepted, Nicole said some stigma still exists.
“When you step outside to smoke and people can smell it and they give you that look,” she says. Nicole uses cannabis strains during the day with low levels of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. At night, she prefers strains with higher levels of THC that she finds help her sleep. “With cannabis, my cancer pain went from a ‘10’ to a ‘5.’ You can’t ask for more than that,” she says. “I’m so thankful it’s here for me.”