Profiles in Courage

Patient: Elysia Skye.

Age: 29.

Condition/Illness: Breast cancer.

Home: Los Angeles.

Using medical cannabis since: 2005.

Why did you start using medical marijuana?

Chemotherapy was making me nauseous and I had no appetite. The first time through, I took a Zofran capsule to avoid nausea, but I was allergic to it and it made me constipated for nine days. I had to be re-admitted to the hospital for enemas, etc. It was awful. I needed an organic solution to nausea and mint tea wasn’t working. I had never smoked pot or done any drugs before that, so I didn’t know what to expect!

How has medical marijuana helped the quality of your life?

Medical marijuana saved my life. It cured my nausea and I was able to eat again. Before I started using my vaporizer, I lost close to 15 pounds in two weeks. I looked like an alien Holocaust victim. But I did fit into jeans from high school! I renewed my prescription for a few years, as it helps a lot after surgery (and I have had six reconstructive surgeries). Anesthesia also makes you sick and constipated.

But the renewal is $150 and for a once-a-year use, it wasn’t worth the money. Especially when I have friends who can get medical-grade marijuana. I am not a recreational drug user, and when I have smoked it outside of having a prescription, it has been in my own home. I did not drive and it was for medical purposes.

Did you try other methods or treatments before marijuana?

Yes, as I said before, Zofran. It was toxic and I have a severe allergy to it. In May 2008 it was put in my IV during surgery and I went into anaphylactic shock. It is also $100 a pill!

What’s the most important issue or problem facing medical marijuana patients in California?

Overall misunderstanding of its real medicinal purposes. Also, kids abusing it, people driving while under the influence of marijuana, selling it to youth, etc. It should be treated like alcohol. Make it legal, and give consequences to people who abuse it.

What campaigns, groups or advocacy organizations are you involved with?

None specifically for medical marijuana. I created a non-profit called Laugh About Cancer. It’s to raise awareness for people under 40 with cancer, and also share a message of love and laughter. With a change in your perception and sense of humor, you will lessen the severity of any illness or trauma.
I’m also active with Fertile Action, an organization that helps prevent fertility issues for women undergoing chemo. There’s another group I love called Stupid Cancer; I’m Too Young for This.

What do you say to folks who are skeptical about marijuana as medicine?

It saved my life. I would have spent chemo being fed by a tube, and would have wasted away to nothing. It is a must for anyone going through chemotherapy. (Jasen T. Davis)

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