I’d like to share yet another story of how cannabis has helped a member of my family – even if she was only a temporary one. Ages ago, it seems, I was married. Not for very long. Five years. There was no animosity and no kids, so it was a clean split. I haven’t seen or heard from her since the afternoon we both walked out of divorce court. I honestly hope she found the happiness I know she deserved.
During our marriage, I was active in the cannabis community in Rhode Island and we decided to make the capitol of Little Rhody our home. The east side of Providence was a short drive away from Johnson and Wales University, the worldwide renowned culinary institute, and Thayer street, the main college drag that had everything from the best sandwich shop in the state, Geoff’s, to a mom and pop headshop desperate for business but, at the same time, desperate to avoid attention of any kind.
Back in the day, bongs were called water pipes – or water filtration systems if you wanted to get technical. The B word was forbidden and was clearly listed as such on signs taped all over the headshop’s front doors. This particular headshop was in the back half on the second floor of a converted house. They were so nervous about their inventory that they practically begged me to buy a book about hemp when I expressed interest during a visit. “Hemp: A Lifeline To The Future” by Chris Conrad was the first textbook in my self-education about cannabis. The book covered cannabis uses such as food, fiber, fuel, and medical marijuana (a term that was starting to make the rounds when the book was published in 1993).
Considering cannabis a medicine was nothing new. It used to be listed in the US Pharmacopeia. The tome, established in 1820, contains legally recognized standards of identity, strength, quality, purity, packaging, and labeling for drug substances, dosage forms, and other therapeutic products, including nutritional and dietary supplements. Prior to 1937, it listed cannabis, too. But the Marijuana Act of 1937 made cannabis illegal, and its medical benefits were largely forgotten. That was until books like “Hemp: Lifeline To The Future” and “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” by Jack Herer started appearing on headshop shelves.
It was during my self education that I discovered cannabis could help with menstrual issues. My ex had debilitating monthly visits. The kind that could leave her bedridden for up to a week. During the last year of our marriage she acquiesced to my request that she try cannabis for some relief. She had grown up in a “Just Say No” household just as I had and my activism wasn’t exactly changing her mind. But after four days in bed during a particularly bad visit she asked for a few puffs. The results were immediate. Through the comforter I could see her body relax. The tension in her face eased and she was able to drift into a more peaceful sleep. I cried a little at her bedside when I saw the change overtake her. I can only hope that she now lives in a state where cannabis is legal.