Marijuana plants, and the buds and leaves that come from them, offer significant pain relief for a variety of ailments as diverse as Cancer and Epilepsy.
South Jersey's Compassionate Care Foundation dispensary in Egg Harbor Township offers its patients a card with six animated faces on it attached to a clipboard. The expressions range from smiling to wincing to sobbing and are intended to ascertain and rank the degree of pain that patients endure on a regular basis.
When they return to the dispensary, having used the marijuana for a couple of weeks, they are handed the same clipboard and are asked to again circle the appropriate face that represents how they felt since using the marijuana they were prescribed.
According to Suzanne Miller, a researcher who sits on the dispensary's board of trustees, the results are "absolutely dramatic," reflecting the fact that 145 patients who completed the face tables notes significant improvements.
Miller confirmed that, although data is still being analyzed, most patients report a decrease in pain of around 30 to 50 percent: "You usually see smaller results, about 10 percent, or 20 percent," she said.
The dispensary, which has 600 registered patients, distributes the marijuana in plastic bottles at a cost of $428 an ounce. Gary Carnevale, a multiple sclerosis patient from Bayville, Ocean County, said: "I was addicted to Vicodin," until he picked up an ounce of "Red Cherry Berry" marijuana from the dispensary.
"I took three or four hits. I laid in bed, and I could not believe the pain slipping away. My pain was like ten.... But when I smoke marijuana, I swear it's zero," he said.
Jacqueline Angotti, a nurse-practitioner from Robbinsville, was moved to tears when she was asked what effect marijuana had on her 9-year-old son, Miles, who had suffered multiple, daily seizures since he was 2. "He's been seizure-free; he's had none for the past 31 days and has had no side effects. And he's better cognitively," she said.
There is no doubt that medical marijuana is transforming the lives of many people who, until now, were unable to get the drug and had to make do with powerful and damaging pain killers which lack the soothing qualities of the THC found in Marijuana plants.