Finding Relief and Advocacy: My Journey with Cannabis and Functional Neurological Disorder

In 2013, my life took an unexpected turn when I was diagnosed with cancer. The successful removal of the cancer was just the beginning of a much longer battle. In the aftermath, I was left with depleted energy levels and was soon diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), a condition I had never heard of before. This blog post shares my journey through the challenges of FND, the relief I found in cannabis, and my advocacy for its acceptance as a medical treatment.

The Onset of Functional Neurological Disorder

My journey into the world of chronic illness began in 2013 with a cancer diagnosis. Although the cancer was successfully removed, the following year brought a new challenge: Functional Neurological Disorder (FND). FND is a condition second only to Parkinson’s Disease in terms of neurology visits, yet it remains relatively unknown. It presents in various ways, requiring management rather than cure, leading me down a path of exploring numerous treatments with varying degrees of success.

Discovering Cannabis as a Treatment

After experimenting with several medications, each with its own side effects and withdrawal symptoms, I discovered cannabis. Unlike traditional pharmaceuticals, cannabis offered me relief without harsh side effects or withdrawal experiences. While acknowledging the potential risks of cannabis, particularly for those predisposed to psychosis, it became clear that these risks were, in many respects, lower than those associated with many prescribed medications.

Advocacy for Medical Cannabis

My positive experience with cannabis led me to advocate for its consideration as a first-line treatment. I argue for easier access to medical cannabis prescriptions through the NHS and improvements in the private prescription service. Despite the hurdles in accessing cannabis oil and the return of my seizures in 2022 due to stress, cannabis has significantly improved my quality of life.

Navigating Stigma and Legalization Challenges

The path to acceptance and understanding of medical cannabis is filled with obstacles, including stigma and myths from years of prohibition. It’s disheartening to witness patients being turned away due to misconceptions about cannabis. My advocacy focuses on its classification as a medicine and the rights of patients to use it publicly when necessary.

Towards a Future of Acceptance and Support

My experience with cancer and FND has made me an advocate for medical cannabis, believing in its potential to provide relief where traditional medications fail. By creating a resource hub, compiling campaign letters, and sharing valuable resources, I aim to support the decriminalization or legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. My journey is not just about symptom management; it’s about advocating for change, reducing stigma, and ensuring access and support for those who could benefit from this treatment.

Ali Taylor x

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