The holidays are a time of high stress for all of us. This is especially true for the many Californians who suffer from chronic illness or disease. It's well documented that stress can aggravate a wide range of chronic ailments, both physical and psychological, such as back pain, cancer, PTSD or immune system deficiency.
These conditions cover the gamut from dealing with nausea in a season when food is the centerpiece of most gatherings, to PTSD patients whose lingering dark memories blot out the holiday spirit. Seasonal stress can be devastating to those most in need.
Garden-Gateway.org of California, an association of community farmers and a new online order and delivery resource for cannabis herbal remedies, believes the time has come to change all that.
"Holidays are meant to be a time of year to celebrate with family and friends, enjoy wonderful meals, and participate in festivities," says Mathew DePores of Garden-Gateway.org. "Through Garden-Gateway, herbal remedies like cannabis can now make that a reality for many Californians who might otherwise spend them in pain, depressed, and alone."
Most chronic sufferers are treated with prescription drugs that can come with debilitating and serious side effects, which can linger for days or even months. At the holidays we all want be present and fully enjoy our family and friends. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the CNN Health expert, "sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works." Cannabis is an herbal remedy that can offer the chronic sufferer an alternative to prescription drugs that can ensure relaxation thus making enjoyable, stress free holidays a real possibility.
Cannabis is known for its anti-nausea qualities, as well in stimulating appetite. More and more it is being accepted as an effective treatment for muscle spasms associated with serious illnesses such as MS and Parkinson's, and is recognized as having anti-seizure effects. It is also proving to be an effective analgesic with excellent anti-inflammatory qualities. In recent tests at the Center for Cannabis Research at the University of California at San Diego and other laboratories, the THC and increasingly the CBD elements of cannabis have proven as effective and in some cases more effective than prescription drugs in treating neuropathy, a painful and debilitating ailment often associated with HIV and other immune disorders.
Cannabis is also proving to be a very effective alternative to prescription drugs in treating Vets suffering from PTSD.
"Marijuana saved my life," said Marine Corps Veteran Staff Sergeant Mike Whiter, who was diagnosed with PTSD after serving in combat in Kosovo and Iraq. "And when I say that, I'm not exaggerating at all. The medications I was taking to deal with PTSD would have killed me if I didn't take my own life first."
Whiter credits cannabis with not only relieving his PTSD symptoms, but also enabling him to survive the trauma of withdrawal from numerous medications. He has been able to stop taking all of his prescription medications. No more sleepless nights, no more flashbacks, no more isolation in his home. The holidays can now be something he fully enjoys again.
"Marijuana got me through opiate withdrawal, it got me through benzo withdrawal, and it got me through SSRI withdrawal," he recalls. "It's my medicine."
The benefits derived from cannabis in addition to it's relaxing attributes are not known to many people because of past stigmas associated with cannabis, which more and more are proven to be false. Garden-Gateway.org is working to educate sufferers on these benefits herbal remedies like cannabis have to offer.
On Garden-Gateway.org, a collective of community farmers, potential members can view news and informational videos filled with details about the use and benefits of cannabis as an alternative herbal remedy to coping with their illness whether it be a minor one or more serious in nature. The site also offers discounts to seniors and veterans and is actively developing specific informative informational materials for these groups as well as a Compassionate Program for those in need.
The number of Americans who could benefit from the service is huge. According to a 2012 Gallup-Healthways poll, 47% of Americans deal with at least one type of chronic pain, and according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, National Center for PTSD, 5.2 million Americans suffer from PTSD in any given year.
At present, however, Garden-Gateway.org functions under strict guidelines where their remedies are only available to those living in California and only to those registered with a valid California ID and a current physician's medical cannabis recommendation. They have also worked to avoid the "pot shop" presence by only making their remedies available by ground delivery, preferably next day, freeing the client from the need to have to physically go to a location to purchase their products. The site also offers step-by-step instructions on how to apply for the California ID card and in streamlining the member application process.
"Easy, convenient, reliable, safe and discreet access to cannabis is in itself a stress reliever," says DePores. "These are issues that are of particular concern to those patients that cannot or do not wish to seek out or visit traditional sources. As a population we are still in transition when it comes to cannabis relief and some patients still feel the lingering stigma. Private delivery is the answer in countless ways."
Garden-Gateway.org of California