epidemic

Cannabis Conversations: Meet Joan- Cannabis Patient and Mom

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Welcome to Cannabis In Life. Joan Barron is a survivor. She’s also a fierce advocate for medical cannabis. You see she has to be one because she lost her son to the opioid epidemic.

He got the opioids from her purse and took them and as a result, he died. She had been prescribed the medication for severe and chronic pain as a result of a fall that left her badly injured.

Listen to our Cannabis Conversation

Joan doesn’t want anyone else to die that way. The opioid epidemic is real and it’s growing at an alarming rate. She sees cannabis as a safe, non-lethal way to deal with pain and thinks every patient deserves to have it as an alternative to dangerous pharmaceuticals. Please listen, to or read her story below. Share with your representatives, your friends, your doctor, your family. With knowledge and information, we can all help end the opioid epidemic. Thank you-Dan Larkin

Cannabis Conversations: Meet Joan- A Cannabis Patient & Mom

What are they supposed to take for a safer alternative? If they’ve tried everything, what, what would be a safer alternative? I mean stop and think about it. Cannabis hasn’t killed anybody. Let these patients see if it works better than what they’re taking from the pharmacy.

Joan

Cannabis Conversation: Meet Joan (Transcript)

DAN: I’m Dan Larkin and this is Cannabis Conversations from CannabisIRL.com. Cannabis in Real Life- Real People. Real Stories. Real Life.

DAN: We’re here at the Minnesota State Capitol. We’re talking with Joan Barron, who was one of the speakers today. Joan, you have a unique story. Maybe you could briefly explain why you are involved in this movement.

JOAN: Yeah, in 2001 I took a traumatic fall off my front step and I damaged the main motor and sensory nerve of my pelvis; the pudendal nerve, and it causes horrific burning and cutting rectal and vaginal pain, and I also have obstructed defecation syndrome, so going to the bathroom is very difficult and painful.

Within six months of that fall, I bet I had tons of stuff in the cupboard- fentanyl patches, opiates, narcotics, you name it, we had it, and back in 2001, I didn’t know kids were stealing medicine out of their parents’ medicine cabinet. I just didn’t, and my son got into those medications. I was in a pain clinic and they’re the ones that told me to keep these medications locked up. No one had ever told me that. I just didn’t think about it. I kept it up in the cupboard just like with all the other medicines. And one day, yes, he did get access to it and he died; in 2014 at the age of 29.

So it was about a year after, I had back surgery in 2015 and then, I think the year after is when intractable pain became a qualifying condition in Minnesota, and I was able to reduce my opiates from 80 milligrams of methadone, three times a day to a 110-milligram tab and some hydromorphone for breakthrough.

Thank God, my pain clinic is allowing me to do both. Most patients aren’t able to do that. They are given a choice; one or the other. I feel so sorry for those patients and I count my blessings every day that I’m able to do that. But my $40 at CVS should not cost me $400 in a dispensary.

Here we have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the opiate epidemic. I’m tired of paying. Everyone should be able to have access to this. They shouldn’t have to just have money in their bank account, because that’s what it is right now. It’s only for the people that can afford it.

We go without. My husband and I. I’m still unable to work. We sacrifice a lot for me to choose a safer alternative and so that I don’t have to stare at that damn bottle every day; when I have to take one out of it, and knowing that’s what ended up killing my son.

Here’s the thing. He became addicted from my medications and he ultimately died from my medications. All it took was one quick toss of my purse. It was a stressful situation. We had brought him back in the house. He was having seizure after seizure. It was a really stressful time and I just didn’t think…I just forgot because he hadn’t been in the house and he got into my methadone and he put it in a spoon and injected it into a needle and put it in his arm and he never came back up those steps again. October 22nd he died in our family room.

DAN: I’m so sorry for your loss. Obviously, it’s something that will always be painful for you to talk about but you’re very brave to come forward, sharing your experiences, both about your son and about your own condition and some of the things that have happened for you because of medical cannabis.

If you would tell any legislators anywhere in the country who were looking at making cannabis legal, is there something you want to say right to them?

JOAN: I want to say wake up. Educate yourself. We have an epidemic in this country and we’re addressing that epidemic. We’re creating another one. What are chronic pain patients; patients that are in acute pain; what are they supposed to take? What are they supposed to take for a safer alternative? If they’ve tried everything, what, what would be a safer alternative? I mean stop and think about it. Cannabis hasn’t killed anybody. Let these patients see if it works better than what they’re taking from the pharmacy. That’s what I’d tell them.

DAN: Thank you so much for your time.

JOAN: Thank you.

DAN: Cannabis Conversations from Cannabis In Real Life. Learn more at CannabisIRL.com. Cannabis In Real Life- Real People. Real Stories. Real Life. I’m Dan Larkin. Thanks for joining me.

Listen to the conversation on SoundCloud here.

Read more Cannabis In Real Life articles about opioids here.

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