The Unconventional Healing: My Journey from Addiction to Medicinal Cannabis


My journey into the world of medicinal cannabis began a few years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Initially, I found myself caught in the throes of addiction to pain medication and alcohol, a stark contrast to my intermittent, recreational use of cannabis over the past 40 years. The turning point came from a life-threatening moment that prompted a desperate plea for help and a subsequent fallout with the healthcare system. This experience set me on a path of anger, resolution, and ultimately, healing through cannabis.

The Depths of Addiction

At my lowest, I was consuming 22 pills a day, including gabapentin and pregabalin (Lyrica), in an attempt to manage my pain. The medication created a buffer of apathy around my pain, allowing it to persist unnoticed until a nearly fatal overdose sparked a drastic change. This overdose, discovered by my daughter, was a wake-up call that I could no longer ignore. As a widower and single father grappling with MS, drug addiction, and unresolved grief, the complexity of my situation was overwhelming.

Seeking Help and Facing Rejection

In a moment of vulnerability, I sought assistance from my general practitioner (GP), hoping for support to overcome my addiction and explore medicinal cannabis as an alternative. Contrary to my expectations, my GP not only dismissed my request but also reported me to the police and social services, exacerbating an already dire situation. This response, coupled with the challenges of having an autistic daughter, fuelled a deep-seated anger that became the catalyst for change.

Turning Anger into Action

The aftermath of my GP’s betrayal led me to eliminate alcohol entirely and significantly reduce my dependence on prescription pills. Cannabis emerged as a viable substitute, offering relief not just from physical pain but from the emotional and psychological turmoil that had dominated my life. My journey through addiction wasn’t new; I had survived heroin addiction in the ’90s. However, overcoming opioid addiction proved to be a more harrowing experience, highlighting the destructive potential of legal drugs.

A New Lease on Life through Cannabis

Adopting cannabis as my primary means of pain management and emotional support marked a significant turning point. The impact was so profound that it rekindled a passion for learning everything about cannabis, leveraging my extensive experience to navigate the complexities of its use. This exploration was not just about personal healing but also about reclaiming a sense of agency and purpose that had been lost to years of addiction and systemic failure.

Navigating Legal Challenges and Personal Convictions

Despite the legal changes regarding cannabis use in 2018, my journey was fraught with legal hurdles and societal judgment. My commitment to cannabis, born out of necessity and conviction, stands in defiance of a system that once sought to dismantle my life. Regular monitoring due to my MS medication confirms my clean break from all substances except cannabis, underscoring a transformation that prioritizes my health and my role as a father above all else.

Conclusion: A Call for Understanding and Respect

My story is a testament to the power of personal transformation and the potential of alternative therapies in the face of conventional medical practices. While I acknowledge the potential for abuse, my experience as a seasoned drug user has equipped me with the knowledge to navigate the use of cannabis responsibly. My message is clear: judge less, understand more, and allow those of us who have found solace in unconventional paths to continue our journey unimpeded.

Jason Turner

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