When I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 14, I figured the required corrective surgery would be the end of my pain. My cervical (top) and thoracic (middle) spine had curved a dramatic 70 degrees, forcing my rib cage to infringe on my lungs and other organs. My lumbar (lower) spine was, in less technical terms, totally fucked.
Luckily, one of the top orthopedic surgeons in Michigan was able to perform a procedure which involved lifting my spine out of my body and fusing it to some titanium rods with what looks like a hodgepodge of nuts and screws from the hardware store — and for the love of god do not YouTube this procedure, you will vomit. My recovery was long and was made longer by my refusal of the forever refillable Vicodin that had been prescribed to me. I relied only on the occasional over-the-counter pain reliever. I assumed, over time, it would only get easier.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Program was two years old by the time I became a patient in 2010. I was 21, making my operation nearly seven years old and my pain levels hovering around a hard eight. I had smoked weed before and had treated it like a party favor. In fact, I was notably pretty stoned when I had my first kiss at 16, finessing the joint between my rubber band-bound braces. A few years later, I learned that marijuana could help with my pain, nerve damage, daily migraines, and inflexibility. As it turns out, I was among the earliest batch of patients to take advantage of the program.
Almost immediately, I found my go-to dispensary, and my pain was quickly becoming something I could manage thanks to my new friends indica and sativa.