Cannabis Patient Care - March/April 2021

Cannabis Patient Care - March/April 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 34

32 cannabis patient care | vol. 2 no. 1 caregiver focus I N 2016, THE Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there was an estimated 20.4% of adults in the United States living with chronic pain. The painful condition has been linked to numerous mental and phys- ical conditions, which can result in a lower quality of life (1). Conventional treatments for chronic pain are often opioids and other prescription medications that can cause their own side effects. To escape the negative side effects of prescrip- tions, more and more patients are beginning to look into al- ternative natural remedies such as cannabis. Through working in a women's prison using her master's degree in criminolo- gy, Jessica Mandile witnessed the devastating effects of her- oin, opioids, and other hard narcotics. Mandile was troubled by the hold those drugs had over people's lives and saw that a large amount of addiction was coming from prescribed phar- maceuticals. As a caregiver for her husband, Stephen Mandile, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and veterans' advocate (2), she became uncomfortable with the idea that her husband was on some of these addictive medications that caused side effects and turmoil in people's lives. Here, Mandile shares how her and her family came to find relief with medical cannabis and the benefits she's seen firsthand. The Journey to Medical Cannabis In her younger years, Mandile had used cannabis a few times recreationally and was not of the belief that it was a danger or drug of abuse. When her husband Stephen was suffering from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), she thought medical cannabis might be a good alternative treatment plan to look into. Through studying up on medical cannabis, Mandile learned that there was no harm in trying the option. The main concern was what would Stephen get from using the plant. There were far fewer negative side effects and no chance of over- dose death. The benefits of cannabis outweighed the cons. After his military career, Stephen was diagnosed with anxiety, chronic pain, and PTSD. He tried 57 different medications to treat the variety of his symptoms, but instead of helping him feel better, Stephen felt numb and not his normal self. This is when Jessica stepped in and suggested he give medical cannabis a shot. "His chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and PTSD controlled his life. All the prescribed medications that were supposed to help him had instead made him an empty shell of a person. He was angry, could not concentrate, would go days with no sleep and would then have days where he slept most of the day while on conventional treatments. He had no enjoyment in life. This is no way for anyone to live," said Jessica. Jessica noticed a huge change in him the first time he used medical cannabis. "I saw him come back to life. He was able to play with his daughters and laugh again," she said. "The change was from physical pain relief and physiological. He could think clearly. He barely left the house for 10 years on opioids. Just going to holidays with families was a struggle for him mentally and physically." Stephen eventually took himself off all of the prescribed medications and swapped them for medical cannabis. See- ing these benefits firsthand, he was inspired to help his fellow veterans. His goal became to give them hope that there are other methods to treat health conditions and that cannabis could be a potential remedy. Jessica explained that her hus- band knew that he had to show other veterans there is hope. "Cannabis can help change your life. He came up with crazy ideas to hold signs in Boston in front of the Statehouse. For someone who struggled to leave the house, now he was go- ing to Boston almost daily," she said. "It seemed a little cra- zy to me at the time, but he was right that veterans deserve to know there is safe medicine. For all those that sacrificed so much for us, it was time to sacrifice things to bring them re- lief. They deserve better." The Path of a Chronic Pain Caregiver B Y M A D E L I N E C O L L I An interview with Jessica Mandile, a Veterans Affairs (VA) caregiver with experience helping her husband use medical cannabis as a treatment for his chronic pain.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Cannabis Patient Care - March/April 2021 - Cannabis Patient Care - March/April 2021