My name is Nathan Ward; I’m 34 years old and use Cannabis as medicine. I am a full time family man, professional and a volunteer of many sorts. My own experience with Medicinal Cannabis started when I was 17 years old after being hit by a drunk driver at over 50mph while riding my bike through a residential neighborhood. He failed to realize that there was a stop sign and was speeding. The driver never applied the brakes and by the grace of some heavenly energy I was spared. However, it forever changed my life and the way that I viewed Cannabis.
I have always been sensitive to medicine; after all, most of it is poison. The pain medications (Oxycodone, Soma and a multitude of other narcotics) they had me on had severe side effects and were never enough to treat the pain (due to nerve and back damage) without them consistently increasing my dosages and forcing me into an addictive cycle. My mind, body, soul and spirit were deteriorating as well as friendships, relationships with my family, and my work life. Legal drugs, ones approved by the FDA , were ruining my quality of life.
I had heard the horror stories about using Cannabis through D.A.R.E., commercial advertising and the propaganda left over from “Reefer Madness” growing up, but thankfully due to experimentation while I was younger I understood that Cannabis couldn’t hurt, could it help? I quit taking their medicine and started medicating myself. About that time (1996) California passed their Medical Cannabis laws protecting its residents from “Our” own government. Thank you California!
Around the same time in 1996 I was arrested for possession of Cannabis-less than 20 grams, adjudication was withheld and I only ended up with fines, I did the wrong thing and accepted a plea bargain, another statistic to the state. Never accept a plea bargain. I was not aware at that time that you didn’t have to. You are not guilty for improving your quality of life and should never be discriminated against nor exploited for using a safe, effective and non-toxic medicine that helps you.
I resorted back to the Pain Management doctors in fear of ever going through that experience again once I had a family of my own. I was not getting better and it all started once again to wither away. Thankfully I have an outstanding family that has been by my side through thick and thin, I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself for the way I acted towards them while my doctors just sat back knowing what was happening, I was miserable and ready to take my own life. I suffer from neuropathy and peripheral nerve damage to my entire body as well as a serious reaction to Cipro by the Bayer corp and have also just recently been in a serious accident that has presented a new set of challenges.
This is what led me to my current conditions that have had me on long term disability for the last 8 months.
Narcotic Bowel Syndrome (NBS) Fluoroquinolone Syndrome (Cipro) By Bayer as well as herniated discs in several locations in my spine and awaiting another surgery in my back and knees and a recent serious car accident resulting in more back injuries.
Narcotic bowel syndrome (NBS) is a subset of opioid bowel dysfunction that is characterized by chronic or frequently recurring abdominal pain that worsens with continued or escalating dosages of narcotics. This syndrome is under recognized and may be becoming more prevalent. This may be due in the United States to increases in using narcotics for chronic non-malignant painful disorders, and the development of maladaptive therapeutic interactions around its use.
NBS can occur in patients with no prior gastrointestinal disorder who receive high dosages of narcotics after surgery or acute painful problems, among patients with functional GI disorders or other chronic gastrointestinal diseases who are managed by physicians unaware of the hyperalgesic effects of chronic opioids.
Cipro by the Bayer Corporation (Fluoroquinolone Syndromes)
The serious adverse effects that may occur as a result of fluoroquinolone therapy include irreversible peripheral neuropathy, spontaneous tendon rupture and tendonitis, QTc prolongation/torsades de pointes, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme, severe central nervous system disorders (CNS), including seizures and clostridium difficile associated disease (CDAD: Pseudomembranous colitis) photosensitivity/phototoxicity reactions, fatal hypoglycemia, kidney damage, rhabdomyolysis (muscle wasting), as well as anaphylactoid reactions and myasthenia crisis.
Peripheral Neuropathy (PNP)
Peripheral neuropathy has been reported a significant number of times. Symptoms may include paresthesia (tingling),hypoesthesia (numbness), dysesthesia (pain), and weakness. Therapy should be discontinued if any neurological symptoms develop in order to prevent the occurrence of a possible irreversible condition. Cases of sensory impairment involving taste or smell have been reported with a number of fluoroquinolones and may last for up to several months.
Fluoroquinolones have been shown since 1998 to cause irreversible peripheral neuropathy. Typical symptoms involve fasciculations, paresthesia, tinnitus, hyperacusis, and other sensorimotor problems. Symptoms usually occur after a delayed onset, and continue to worsen. Quinolone-induced peripheral neuropathy usually presents as burning pain and numbness, and in some cases this becomes an irreversible condition that disables the patient for life. Most often this is the result of quinolone-induced damage to the peripheral nervous system (as noted above), manifesting as painful burning, cold, stinging, tingling paresthesias, or numbness. This may also result from muscle and tendon damage as well
if the pain is of a burning or stabbing nature upon use of the limb affected.
My doctors failed to realize these syndromes existed and I have been misdiagnosed on several occasions and that is what led to my Cipro poisoning, I never even had an infection, it was a misdiagnosis when it should have been treated as NBS.
Cannabis is my medicine and it belongs in the medical field, not the legislative councils. My doctor’s are aware that I use Cannabis and we have had extensive conversations regarding its efficacy. I can keep a good attitude, move easier, have an improved quality of life as well as continue my day to day activities if I were legally allowed to use Cannabis.
I decided to let my new found knowledge of all of the benefits of the Cannabis plant be known to all. I work with multiple groups here in Florida and currently lead the Space Coast Chapter of People United For Medical Marijuana (www.PUFMM.org). I also started a website (www.TheHempConnection.org) to publish all of the documentation I had been researching and as a tool for anyone that needs it, we only ask that you share that information with others.
On November 10, 2011 I was pulled over for a tag light by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. I was (as I always am) respectful towards the officer and presented him with my information. When he came back to the car he asked me to step out of the vehicle so I could sign my warning and be on my way. After signing the warning and receiving my information back I was walking to my car and the officer asked “Do you have any bombs or anything in the vehicle?” and I laughed and said no. He asked if he could take a look around in my vehicle and I said “No”, he then asked me to place my hands behind my back, handcuffed me and put me in his car. I was charged with “Possession of Cannabis-Less Than 20grams and taken to the county jail that night over my medicine, I refused their immediate plea bargain (Pre-Trial Intervention) and bonded out.
I refuse to take a plea bargain and am happy to say that Michael Minardi is my Attorney and is helping patients’ all over the country with the cases he wins. Our next “Docket Sounding” will be March 5, 2012 9am at the Viera Courthouse. We all need to be supportive of each other and only move forward. Many blessings to each of you
1/31/2012-To Be Continued-Rear Ended at 45mph while sitting at a red light=More Damage!
Thank you to all of you doing your part, have Cannabis conversations with as many people as possible and we will once again have Hemp mainstream!