NILES — The nerve pain shoots through all of Chari Pearson’s right side — her face, neck and shoulder. She can only describe it as “weird.”
It can tingle and have a sharp sting. It can also make her numb, with sometimes zero sensation. Shower water beating on the skin can be intolerable. Yet the lack of sensitivity once left her with a scorch on her chest because she couldn’t feel her skin burning.
The pain is always with her, crowding out almost every other thought, and she has to take something strong for relief.
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There’s a morphine pill, which kills the pain but also pretty much knocks her out. There’s also a gummy bear or a Rice Krispie treat made with cannabis.
Most days she’ll opt for the edible.
A warmth radiates through her, and then it pulses straight to the pain. It soothes, but it also leaves her able to do things, like take a shower, bake cookies or make dinner.
“It’s like eating sunshine,” Pearson says.
Pearson, 50, of Niles, is among the medical marijuana patients in Berrien County willing, when they’re able, to travel 50, 100, 150 miles or more to a dispensary to buy cannabis products, such as edibles, buds, concentrates and topical creams. Those shops have been allowed to operate in some other parts of the state, even if they weren’t quite legal.
But later this year, patients in southwest Michigan might be able to travel just a few blocks to dispensaries in Niles and