Activism Canada Medical Politics

To whom it may concern – a letter from a medical patient

Written by Jamie Goyman

This letter was written by a medical cannabis patient and sent to Carol James and the Victoria City Council; its message is powerful and we are honored to share it with you. 

Good Afternoon,

I want to write a million words to show you how important this issue is, but instead I will try and keep it short and sweet.

I am 32, female, law abiding, and I have Multiple Sclerosis. Sometimes I can’t feel my limbs, other times I can’t sleep or think clearly, even worse? Sometimes my symptoms can make it feel like the tingles, much like when your leg falls asleep only 10x worse, while accompanied by shooting pain that feels like a hot dagger is digging into my muscles OR better yet as if lightening or fire were striking through my veins causing the neurological pain to strike through what feels like my circulatory system (that is the easiest way to try and explain how it feels). Even better? When my muscles feel like something is wrapped tightly around me squeezing everything out of them. Sound fun? It isn’t.

Want to know what an MS attack can vaguely feel like?
I would challenge you to try and get the softest idea of the discomfort caused from Multiple Sclerosis by trying a Niacin flush pill (completely legal and safe).

One day I took one, without knowing much about Niacin other than we should have it in our diet (it is injected in all cereals). I took the vitamin, shortly after I told my husband I thought I was having an ms attack because everything began to tingle and feel very strange. My husband was very concerned as last time he had to take me to the hospital where I was injected with steroids and felt like I couldn’t breathe. (Sound fun? I know you, as a smart and compassionate person knows it doesn’t)

He contemplated taking me to the hospital, however on our way down the stairs he too began to feel “weird” and had to lie down. It quickly dawned on me to read about Niacin, what we had both taken, and the symptoms online were in line with how we were feeling. I remember loudly exclaiming “This is kind of, sort of, not really, but it’s the best example I can give you. THIS, is what an MS attack can feel like.”

It is horribly uncomfortable and can debilitate a person until it decides to subside, which can be hours/days/weeks (I kid you not, weeks). Want to know what fixes it almost instantly? Marijuana.

Here is the tricky part, not all marijuana is the same, there are some that do nothing (Strains from Farm in Victoria have little to no effect – probably because the quality is not as good, the curation process is not adhered to [you can tell if marijuana is ready for consumption based on smell, texture, colour, trichomes] Same sort of situation with Trees and the Government supplied Marijuana I have had from out of province. The effects are minimal, and capsules do not work and edibles are not for me (make me too much like a couch potato). When I am mid attack I need the effects to be immediate. 3 puffs of quality product can see me change from being unable to use a limb to completely functioning. One thing Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club has always done is ensure the products sold are top quality for the patients who use them.

Legalization has brought on a flurry of recreational use that closets and overshadows those who need it most, patients. What it seems to have done is make it more difficult to gain access to quality medicine that even my Neurologist says to “continue doing what you’re doing, as it seems to really be working for/with you”, but won’t sign paperwork to prescribe it in fear of the bureaucratic push back regarding her license etc.

I would urge you to and am pleading with you to please stand up for medicinal users, who may not want to have the only option for purchasing to be online where you have no guarantee of product quality, no chance to discuss or even look at product before purchasing. I personally love Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club because I don’t have to hear a random recreational user talk about using what I take as medicine like a party drug to get “so high”. I don’t smoke, or preferred, vaporize to get “so high” I do it to alleviate or keep at bay symptoms of my life long illness. To close down something that has been running for over 20 years because of legal “loop holes” or what I call “fancy law speak” seems like a big disservice and a bit of a slap in the face of the over 7000 patients who are sick with “top tier” ailments and use this club full of compassionate people to help keep them going through their day to day struggles.

Photographed by
Rick Collins is an editorial documentary photographer based in Victoria-Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

I said I would keep it short and sweet, I think I held my end on that. I am hoping you and the team you work with can help patients across Canada have fair access to GOOD, CLEAN, QUALITY products. Medicinal cannabis users deserve to have ease of access when trying to make the best out of some of the worst situations life can bring.
If you or anyone in your team would at all want to talk further on this topic I would be more than happy to speak with you/them.

Thank you for your time and have a great week.