Intractable Pain Public Comments - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Intractable Pain Potential Patient Comments

Comments posted 8/10/15

  1. Hello, I would like to get information on how to attend a listening session and submit a written comment on using Medical Cannabis for intractable pain. I suffer with fibromyalgia. On a recent trip to Colorado, I was delighted to find that a small dose of cannabis allowed me to be pain free for 4 days! I would love to be able to access this medicine regularly at home. I am eager to share my experience with this panel to encourage them to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying medical conditions.  While I was excited that Minnesota enacted a medical marijuana program, I was disappointed to learn that political compromises resulted in unnecessary restrictions. One extremely troubling aspect of the law is the omission of chronic and severe pain from the list of conditions for which a doctor could recommend medical marijuana. I advocated for the passage of SF 545 and was greatly disappointed when it did not pass. There are 24 jurisdictions that have effective medical marijuana programs (23 states and Washington, D.C.). Minnesota is one of only three of those jurisdictions that do not allow patients suffering from chronic or severe pain to use medical marijuana if their doctor thinks it is the best treatment option. Marijuana has proven to work well to treat severe pain, both in the real world and in controlled studies. I have personally felt the relief. Please make this treatment option available to our trusted health care professionals so all Minnesotans suffering with fibromyalgia can get relief legally.  Please support adding intractable and chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions for our medical marijuana program. Thank you. (posted 8/10/15)
  2. To whom it may concern, I am writing this letter in support of the addition of intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions to Minnesota's Medical Marijuana legislation. I currently survive with fibromyalgia, an incurable medical condition that causes intense, widespread pain throughout my entire body. I have sleepless nights, and days where I feel as though I haven't slept even after being in bed for ten hours. My head pounds frequently and I always have to be able to know where the nearest restroom is located in the event that my irritable bowel syndrome flares up- another part of this multifaceted illness. For me, the pain is the worst part of this illness. I have no bruises to show, no sling nor a cast. I do not "look sick", but I feel as if I have been beaten. My muscles ache with such intensity that at times it is difficult to even shower. The pain is very much real. Completing my daily tasks can prove to be quite difficult at times. I have followed my medical providers protocol. I exercise frequently; I have tried nerve pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication, medications for muscle spasms, anti-depressants proven to help the pain associated with fibromyalgia, anti-seizure medication that is supposed to help with fibromyalgia. Currently I am taking 26 pills per day. I am having to take medications to compensate for the side effects of my medications. Where I am grateful that not every day of my life is a "bad" fibro day, as more time goes on, the more "bad" days I seem to have. I am a wife, a mother, an employee. I want to get back to living my life, not simply surviving it. It is my hope that you will add intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions to the Minnesota Medical Marijuana Program to help me, and others like me. Thank you for your time and consideration. (posted 8/10/15)
  3. I’m from Minneapolis and have been in remission for Crohns’ Disease for six years exclusively on cannabis, so please keep an open mind. Don’t assume everyone on cannabis is lazy and unmotivated. I wouldn’t have graduated and gotten work or even be here without it. Please leave your assumptions at the door. (posted 8/10/15)
  4. I suffer from spinal degenerative disease, I constantly am dealing with leg spasms and chronic pain of doing everyday tasks.  Medicine of cannabis should be one of my choices. But instead I am on so many other medications that in the long run are bad. I may have kidney failure and have dialysis by the time I reach the age of 40. This should be an option for all Minnesotans suffering from the same thing. (posted 8/10/15)
  5. Please consider adding intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the State of Minnesota. My chronic pain (stomach and joint mostly) began a little over three years ago, but began more mild. Since then, it has slowly gotten worse. I have undergone many diagnostic tests and countless hospital trips but no doctor has found a cause or a cure for my pain. Currently, I am in so much daily pain that I am not working and may not be able to go back to college in the fall. My days are spent in bed with a heating pad, and a short trip to the grocery store takes all my energy. I have not experienced a single day being pain free in nearly a year now. No pain medication has affected my pain levels except for marijuana. Marijuana is truly the only thing that gives me any relief from this hellish state I am in. With marijuana, my pain is greatly diminished and I am able to actually do things. But unfortunately, my only form of pain relief is illegal. I would love more than anything to go back to work and school in the fall, but it will not happen until I have relief from my pain.  Please, please consider how medical marijuana can help so many citizens of Minnesota. (posted 8/10/15)
  6. I suffer from Fibromyalgia like pain and chronic headaches. I am in pain everyday and have been for the past five years. I have had great success with cannabis in treating my chronic pain versus the prescription pills I was taking which had horrible side effects. Medical Cannabis could help all of those who suffer chronic pain even though we may not be terminally ill, we are dealing with pain that will not go away. (posted 8/10/15)
  7. I would like to provide written comments or in-person testimony encouraging the Advisory Panel to consider adding Intractable Pain to the list of qualified conditions for medical cannabis use in MN. I am a 51 year old woman, a parent to two teen-aged daughters, and a Registered Nurse for 23 years. I also have a genetic condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) that runs in my family and affects my daughters, my sister and myself. We know that the syndrome runs in my mother’s side of the family and that my mother and her relatives were also affected. EDS is a collagen deficiency. Collagen is the supporting structure of all organs in our bodies. The genes of people with EDS are mutated/defective. Symptoms of EDS are numerous:  from velvety/stretchy skin to spontaneous rupture of organs including the aorta, easily dislocated joints, bleeding disorders, multiple GI problems including chronic nausea and inflammatory bowel syndrome, and complications in nearly every system of the body. The most pervasive symptom is chronic joint and muscle pain which progresses and worsens over time. The degree of each of these symptoms varies from person to person with EDS.  EDS affects one of every 5000 to 10,000 people. There is no cure. Our bodies simply do not make or make enough of the “glue” that holds together and strengthens our bodies. EDS is a disorder/disability covered under the American’s with Disabilities Act. Many EDS patients are fully disabled, are unable to work, care for their families or get out of bed.  We don’t look sick. We don’t look like we are in pain. Even though I am a nurse, I did not realize that people were not in pain every day of their lives until my daughters and I were diagnosed with EDS in 2004. There are very few EDS specialists in the world. EDS patients are endlessly referred to Rheumatologists, Pain clinics, Orthopedists, Gastroenterologists, etc., often with the frustrations of misdiagnosis, being told it is all in our heads and that we are drug seekers.  We are not drug seekers; we are simply seeking pain relief. The stories I have heard and read from EDS patients about seeking pain relief are heartbreaking. Narcotics impair our ability to function and worsen chronic nausea. Patients develop tolerance to gabapentin and it becomes ineffective requiring increased dosing. Pain patches are not covered by insurance or are cost prohibitive. And then there are the stories of people with EDS at some point being told they are drug abusers, and doctors stop assisting/prescribing for their pain.  All narcotic meds make me nauseous, sleepy and unable to function. Believe me; I am not looking for a “high”. I am currently using low dose Naltrexone (LDN) for my pain. Naltrexone, is a medication for opiate addiction, similar to methadone. For addicts, it is prescribed in 50 mg doses. For pain it is prescribed in 3-4.5 mg doses. It is not commonly prescribed; Low dose use of conditions such as mine is off label.  I found ONE doctor who was willing to prescribe LDN after my primary care physician and rheumatologist refused. I am very new to using it and although I hope it will be a solution for me, I would like to have other alternatives available to me for pain control. I would like to be able to try medical cannabis in the future. I would like my daughters and sister to be able to try it for relief they may be seeking. I would like for other persons experiencing intractable pain to be able to try and see if they find relief in medical cannabis. The state of Illinois has added Ehlers Danlos Syndrome to the list of conditions being considered for the dispensing of medical cannabis. I appreciate the panel’s consideration of adding intractable pain to the qualifying conditions for the dispensing for medical cannabis in Minnesota. (posted 8/10/15)
  8. I firmly believe that people with pain that is hard to control with pains meds should be added to the list. I have had 12 back surgeries all fusions. And have been told that nothing more can be done I have degenerative disc disease I would rather take your pill then popping pain pills to make it through my day. I haven't not really had a full life for several years; my last surgery was in March 2015. I had 2 in just one week. Please consider this even if it brings back just part of my life it would be a god send!! (posted 8/10/15)
  9. I along with thousands of other suffer from pain from hidradenitis suppurativa, an uncommon chronic disease that tortures us. Please add it to the list of qualifying diseases. Cannabis does soooo much for us! (posted 8/10/15)
  10. I have Multiple Sclerosis and am confused as to why muscle spasms is the only acceptable side effect for the Medical Cannabis Program. The whole disease can be very painful for no reason. The medication(s) for the treatment of MS are painful, not just the delivery of the medication but the medication in general. I take 19 medications a day. I'm tired of being tired. I’m tired of taking meds to offset the side effects of another medication. I haven't felt what it's like to be 'normal' in years. When I have marijuana, my body just relaxes and I can take less pain medications. I just want to have the opportunity to feel normal again. Medical Cannabis could be beneficial for the following MS flare ups, relapses, and the general effects of Multiple Sclerosis: 1. Fatigue 2. Walking (Gait) Difficulties Related to several factors including weakness, spasticity, loss of balance, sensory deficit and fatigue, and can be helped by physical therapy, assistive therapy and medications. 3.  Numbness or Tingling Numbness of the face, body, or extremities (arms and legs) is often the first symptom experienced by those eventually diagnosed as having MS. 4. Spasticity Refers to feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms; can occur in any limb, but it is much more common in the legs. 5. Weakness in MS, which results from deconditioning of unused muscles or damage to nerves that stimulate muscles. 6.  Vision Problems--the first symptom of MS for many people. Onset of blurred vision, poor contrast or color vision, and pain on eye movement can be frightening — and should be evaluated promptly. 7. Dizziness and Vertigo 8. Bladder Problems Bladder dysfunction, which occurs in at least 80% of people with MS. 9.  Sexual Problems Very common in the general population including people with MS. Sexual responses can be affected by damage in the central nervous system, as well by symptoms such as fatigue and spasticity, and by psychological factors. 10. Bowel Problems 11. Pain syndromes are common in MS. In one study, 55% of people with MS had "clinically significant pain" at some time, and almost half had chronic pain. 12. Cognitive Changes 13. Emotional Changes Can be a reaction to the stresses of living with MS as well as the result of neurologic and immune changes. Bouts of depression, mood swings, irritability, and episodes of uncontrollable laughing and crying pose significant challenges for people with MS and their families. 14. Depression Studies have suggested that clinical depression — the severest form of depression — is more frequent among people with MS than it is in the general population or in persons with other chronic, disabling conditions. 15. Swallowing Problems— referred to as dysphagia — result from damage to the nerves controlling the many small muscles in the mouth and throat. 16. Tremor, or uncontrollable shaking, can occur in various parts of the body because of damaged areas along the complex nerve pathways that are responsible for coordination of movements. 17. Seizures— which are the result of abnormal electrical discharges in an injured or scarred area of the brain — have been estimated to occur in 2-5% people with MS, compared to the estimated 3% of the general population. 18. Pruritis (itching) is one of the family of abnormal sensations — such as "pins and needles" and burning, stabbing or tearing pains — which may be experienced by people with MS. 19. Although headache is not a common symptom of MS, some reports suggest that people with MS have an increased incidence of certain types of headache. (posted 8/10/15)
  11. I have a health issue known as FIBROMYALGIA. As far back in my life I can remember there was something wrong. Some thirty years ago it got to be a problem. I have tried over the counter drugs, but nothing worked. I have had some real problems with side effects. Then I tried the doctors. I had to tell the doctor what I had. I spent three days in the hospital with severe stomach pains. I think the doctors used every machine they had in the [city redacted] hospital. Three doctors could not tell me what the problem was. I now use 15mg Morphine Sulfate ER and acetaminophen. Very poor results. I don’t know why I take it. Better than nothing. I get some relief driving short distances in my car. I sleep on a sofa in my basement 12 to 14 hours a day. I am sure my grandfather had what I have. He spent the last ten years of his life in bed. All I want is to try Medical Cannabis. I can’t sit at meetings because of pain. I am 85 years of age. So I might be another Veteran dying before I can get relief. I have had no quality of life for many years. I have read many books and magazines on Medical Marijuana. There are a number of people getting relief from Medical Marijuana. I don’t go to church anymore. Or attend funerals of relatives or friends. So let's get something going to help me. (posted 8/10/15)
  12. I have been dealing with increasing neuropathy pain in both feet since the late 1990's as a result of my type 2 diabetes. I have tried dozens of drugs in scores of combinations.  I've worked with top neurology & pain clinics. I have tried everything but opiates.  I made a living as a computer programmer for 30 years.  I'm currently unable to work on a daily basis & am receiving SS disability. I try to help out my previous employer by working remotely from home, but can only work an hour or two a day at best.  It is hard enough to concentrate with the pain, it would be impossible under the influence of opiates. I have taken Vicadan, Percadan, Percacet and Tylanol 3 for dental work over the years & know how it affects me. I know that I cannot function taking opiates.  My pain comes in 4 distinct types. My base pain is pins & needles.  This is the pain that is always with me, it runs from a 3.5 to 4 (on the 1 to 10 scale) in the mornings to a 5 or 6 in the evenings. This is a steady, fuzzy, almost comforting pain that is the background of my life. The second is a throbbing or chewing sensation. It feels as if an animal is chewing on one or both of my feet. This can run from a 5 up to a 7 or 7.5; lasting for a few seconds to many minutes. The third is the stabbing pain.  This shoots up to an 8 or higher & only lasts for a second or two but can take many minutes to fade away. The last & scariest is the crushing pain.  This happens in my ankles & feels like being in a vice. Where the jaws are slowly tightened until the bones begin to crack & the ankle is smashed. Ease off the jaws, just a little, then tighten again a quarter turn more than before.  Repeat for 5 or more minutes.  This is the hardest pain to deal with, it usually leaves me a writhing mass of tears. I used to say my pain went to a 10 until the crushing pain started; now I only admit to 9.9 as this pain seems to push the boundaries. I have started to smoke marijuana to help manage my pain. I do not believe that it shields me from any pain. I do believe that it helps the worst of the pain subside quicker. Side note - my A1C numbers have never been better. The main problem I have with marijuana is the excessive cost & variable quality available. Sometimes $500 will buy me 2 weeks of relief, other times only 7 days or less. I would switch to legal opiates tomorrow if they didn't deaden my brain & expose me to such a high risk of overdose. I cannot imagine that marijuana is more dangerous for me than opiates, just the overdose risk alone.  I am 53 years old & am looking at another 20 or more years of pain management. Can I have the use of this valuable tool & the expertise to use it to its fullest? (posted 8/10/15)
  13. As a person who has suffered with chronic pain for many years, multiple neck and back surgeries, severe muscle spasms , nasal cancer, mild stroke, etc. You spend your life trying every kind of thing from shots, and other medications that have just as many side effects! I think we should have an option to try for something that may help! When our quality of life has been altered due to health problems please give us an alternative for something that may help! (posted 8/10/15)
  14. I would like to see this go through with no further issues. I suffer with Tourettes and do not want to medicate myself with anti-psychotics that have multiple side effects. (posted 8/10/15)

Comments posted 8/20/15

  1. Hello. I have suffered from CRPS pain since 2010 following testicular surgery. I lost the dying testes in 2012. My pain doctor has tried every drug available, along with lots of physical therapy, etc. We've run out of options. I'm currently using Fentanyl and Oxycodone for pain control, but it is not very effective, and has considerable negative side effects.  I became "permanently" disabled in 2012, and retired on Social Security disability now (at age 45, with a wife, and three children to raise), and had to give up my rewarding engineering career. My pain and the side effects of my medications make it impossible to maintain employment in our current world.  I admit to being naive about the likelihood of cannabinoids helping me, but I don't think it is unreasonable to give my doctor the option of prescribing them as a possible helpful agent. The available scientific studies seem to be rather limited due to the listing status of marijuana by the FDA and/or DEA.  The medications I've taken and am currently taking are more dangerous in many ways than cannabis, to my understanding.  Therefore, I would request than the panel currently considering whether to include intractable pain as a qualifying condition consider my plea to put this in my doctor's medicine bag. It could be helpful to me and others in the near term, and certainly, trying cannabis in clinical settings will help identify the types of pain that it can and cannot treat, increasing our medical knowledge.  I can tell you that living with intractable chronic pain is an horrific experience that deeply harms the lives of the sufferer and his loved ones, and every reasonable effort should be made to treat it if possible.   I'd also like to suggest that at the earliest time possible, the legislature consider allowing euthanasia to be considered for non-terminal patients suffering from intractable pain. I expect to have to live a long time yet, without adequate pain relief. Just knowing that I had a safe, legal way of ending my life and my suffering in a dignified way when I felt I really no longer had anything positive to contribute to the lives of my family would be comforting. (Please note that I am not suicidal, and I do have adequate psychological support at this time. I'm just trying to underline the nature of the suffering that long-term chronic pain patients feel everyday, and why we so fervently hope for treatments that provide significant relief from suffering, for long enough to have an enjoyable moment.)  Thank you for considering my comments. (posted 8/20/15)


  2. I am writing to beseech the committee to include "intractable pain" in your approved list of conditions eligible to be treated with medical cannabis. I have been on disability since 2008 as I suffer from Trigrminal Neuralgia, an excruciatingly painful syndrome caused by the fifth cranial nerve. It is like having an abscessed tooth and a migraine headache on the entire right side of my face ALL of the time. Opiates are ineffective in treating it; the only available treatments are surgical, with a high risk of facial drooping and an even higher risk of the condition returning after surgery.  My most immediate concern, however, is that I suffer from severe, irreversible spinal stenosis and disc degeneration. After desperately trying to avoid surgery for three years-pushing through numerous herniated discs and pinched nerves-with epidurals, hot baths, Vicodin and physical therapy, I finally succumbed and had disc compression and lumbar spinal fusion surgery on Feb. 11, 2015. The surgery was successful, but unfortunately resulted in permanent serious pain on a daily basis, due to an almost two lb. cage that was inserted into my back. My neurosurgeon, Dr. Kyle Nelson has explained to me that I should expect to be in pain for the rest of my life and continue to require opiates which make me sick, because I am very thin which is causing the cage to create this level of pain (I weigh 84 lbs, in large part due to the constant pain and intestinal side effects of the meds.) I am in physical therapy which isn't making a significant difference. Apparently the only possible solution would be to remove the cage next Feb (you have to wait a year),which would require another seven hour back surgery and recovery, which both of us are loath to consider.   I should add that I am the author of 20 books in fourteen languages and had a thriving career until these medical conditions hijacked every aspect of my life, which has been reduced to spending many hours lying on ice packs in bed, going to doctor appointments and physical therapy, unable to work, socialize or actively engage with my young adult children except for on the rare occasions I am able to go out. My life is all about managing pain. I live alone and am becoming increasingly depressed and isolated; I have never been a recreational user of marijuana nor do I have any history of opiate abuse or any other addiction.  I have and continue to try every possible legal pain medication: I have been put on morphine, dilauded, a fentanyl patch, Vicodin and Valium-all of which have horrible side effects, as well as alternative modalities including massage, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, supplements, etc.   I am seeing my pain management doctor, Dr. Jason Wolff, at ISpine this coming Monday, July 13th and am planning to ask him to write a prescription for medical cannabis. I expect he will agree (unless he wants the surgeon to handle it, who will also agree), but according to my understanding, the drug has not been legalized in Minnesota, in which case I am not sure how to proceed. I understand it is being considered and I hope you will take my situation seriously and consider this letter a petition for medical care that I badly need.   In the meantime, I am wondering if the condition you list as "muscle spasms" which is a large part of what causes the pain would be considered if the source is severe spinal issues and not specifically MS. I would also like to ask that you consider adding Trigeminal Neuralgia to the list of acceptable conditions. It is commonly referred to as the "suicide illness;" more information can be found at www.tna.com.  I realize that these comments are being collected as part of a fact finding mission, but I hope someone will respond so that we can discuss this on the phone. I can be reached at [redacted].  Many thanks [name redacted] (posted 8/20/15)

  3. YES!  Intractable pain should be added to the list of qualifying conditions.  I was hit by a drunk driver and left for dead (in the ditch) in a hit and run.  Many of my joints have osteo-arthritis, my neck was broken and all of my lumbar discs were destroyed.  I am in pain 24 hours a day, 7days a week.  My doctors have prescribed oxycodone, tramadol, and hydrocodone to try and give me some relief.  Nothing helps!  I even took a trip to Oregon and was instantly accepted.  Upon trying medical marijuana l was able to feel relief for the first time in over 10 years.  I understand what it is like to be tortured, as l suffer pain without relief.  PLEASE, add pain to the list of qualifying conditions.  It should not matter if a person's pain comes from cancer or another health problem.  Pain is still pain.  Please l beg you. (posted 8/20/15)

  4. I have had two surgeries to get rid of unbearable shocking nerve pain over the last 5 years. Nothing has helped. I sleep only 3 to 4 hours a night. If this would help I would sure be willing to try it and should be allowed to. (posted 8/20/15)

  5. I am a man in my mid- 30's suffering from chronic back pain after a failed back surgery. I moved to Rochester to receive the "best" care I could find. I also moved here from a state which had a substantive medical marijuana program.  I was encouraged when Minnesota undertook this plan, but unfortunately it comes up very short to help the most patients possible. That is patients in pain. When the doctors basically said they've tried everything, and it got me to a certain point after multiple rounds of physical therapy and tapering off the narcotic pain medicine about 3 years ago, I am left to suffer the terrible daily, constant & debilitating pain that has become my life. I thought the medical marijuana program here in Minnesota would help me greatly in my attempt to live as "normal" life as possible with a decent quality of life.  One in four Americans suffers from daily back pain. That is a lot of people. Sadly the medical establishment has left us behind. I ask that you not leave us even further behind by giving patients like me access to safe, regulated, medical grade cannabis. Thank you. (posted 8/20/15)

  6. I'm 61 years old. I suffer from autoimmune disease that affects my joints.  I also have liver damage due to the autoimmune disease.  Taking the NSAIDs that helps to relieve my joint pain, does more damage to my liver.    I didn't ask for this disease - fate handed it to me.  It's a no-win situation that medical marijuana could resolve. (posted 8/20/15)

  7. I have been going through intractable pain for almost 9 years. I have suffered a back and neck injury from an accident with a semi truck. I think intractable pain should be on the list of qualifying factors. Intractable pain is something we should be able to get some relief for. I have consumed oils in the past and it helps tremendously with pain. I hope that intractable pain is approved and put on the list of qualifying factors for medical marijuana. It would be a major help to those of us that suffer from severe/chronic pain. Thank you. (posted 8/20/15)

  8. Qualifying Conditions of Intractable Pain Concerns To Whom it May Concern:  My name is [name redacted], I am 71 years old and live at [redacted].  My phone number is [redacted] and my e-mail address is [redacted].  I would like to add my comments and concern to your study of the influences of intractable pain on patients so intractable pain can be added to the qualifying conditions in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program.  I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and costrocondritus at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Mn 1996 and have lived with its effects for the last 19 years.  With the above diagnosis of ailments, comes excruciating pain in my sacrum, tailbone, buttocks, head, shoulders and neck with muscle spasms in my buttocks, sacrum, rectum and bladder tinnitus and pain throughout my whole body.  At times, the pain is more intense than at others and I have lived with the pain ever since being diagnosed.  I have tried many things over the years to alleviate this pain without success.  Due to my poor health condition, I am for the most part home bound as I find it very difficult to drive, cannot get comfortable in any position, find it hard to sit, stand, and lay for any length of time,  I find it hard to read or watch TV due to neck pain.  I can't comfortably sit in a vehicle seat, but must lie down on an air mattress in the back of our vehicle to go anywhere.  The ever present pain rules my life as I cannot escape it except while sleeping and then I wake up intermittently due to the pain and find it hard to go back to sleep.  I presently take Gabapentin daily and Valium when the pain get too intense and unbearable.  Those medications along with Advil and Tylenol, at times seem to give me a measure of short term relief.  I would like to see intractable pain added to the Qualifying Conditions of the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program.  I have never tried to use Medical Cannabis before but now that it is legal, I would like the option to try it to see if I can get some relief from the ever present pain by its use.  The Medical Cannabis is my last hope to try to regain a life without the constant pain and agony I now suffer with.  Please add the effects of the intractable pain of fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and costrocondritus to the Qualifying Conditions of the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program.  Thank you for your consideration in this matter. Sincerely,  [name redacted], St. Cloud, Mn. (posted 8/20/15)

  9. As a 40 year old female diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I cannot understand why it is a debate to allow Medical Cannabis for intractable pain.  Why would you allow it only for patients with cancer and severe pain and not the rest of us who deal with chronic pain EVERY day for the rest of our lives?   There are days when it is near impossible for me to get out of bed to take care of my family.  There are days when my body hurts so bad I wish it were terminal.   There are days my muscles hurt so bad I want to tear off a limb.  Cancer with chronic pain is horrible.  So is Chronic Pain without Cancer. (posted 8/20/15)

  10. Hello, My name is [redacted]. I am eighteen-years old, and have been suffering with chronic pain and digestive disorders for over two year now. I have been tested for Crohn's Disease and Celiac Disease, as well as ulcerative colitis, but have only been diagnosed officially with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) - nobody knows what is wrong or how to help.   I want to strongly urge the MDH to consider adding intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program. I have been unable to be an active participant in my own life for two years now. I have lost more than 30 pounds and experience constant nausea. I have not gone a day without gas, bloating, abdominal distention or diarrhea in over a year. By the age of eighteen, I have already had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, as well as countless other tests, procedures and hospitalizations due to my gastrointestinal problems. I am barely capable of eating, and even when I can eat, my diet is so restricted as to allow for almost no variety, variation or true enjoyment.  I am barely a legal adult, and I am unsure how much longer I can deal with the pain I am in. All I want is the ability - if not for myself, than at least for other people with uncontrollable chronic pain - to have access to something that might help. Please considering opening up the qualifying conditions to include intractable pain, if medical cannabis is recommended or referred by a doctor.  Thank you for your time and consideration. (posted 8/20/15)

  11. Hello, I am writing to you to include my voice in the discussion about Medical Cannabis in MN. In 1999, I injured my neck moving a LOT of computer equipment in one day, 7000lbs to be exact, and it caused my C5-6 disc to rupture, it took the DR's 9-10 months to figure out what was wrong, and after 14 months, the disc was removed and fused together...  I have been on numerous different prescription medications since then, with the ONLY relief from the constant muscle spasms and pinched nerves coming from Cannabis.  ALL other medications have had numerous side effects that make me unable to do most anything.  I have not worked in 6-7 years, and have been disqualified from different jobs due to the requirement of drug-testing and knowing I would not pass. If Intractable Pain was included as a qualifying condition then I may be able to go back to work again, without fear of losing my job for seeking relief from the daily pain I experience.   I would like to have intractable pain included in the qualifying conditions so that I may start back on the path to employment knowing that I will both not be disciplined for using this medication, and by getting the relief I need and deserve...  thank you for your time! (posted 8/20/15)

  12. Hello. I just wanted to add and say that I suffer from chronic pain and arthritis, I have been on multiple medications for arthritis and have been seen by a doctor multiple times for chronic pain... result prescription pain pills and cortizone shots... I have indeed tried medical before and actually order it from Colorado.. yes doing so is illegal and I know that.. result- I feel better, my joints don’t hurt and my arthritis doesn’t flare up... I also have social anxiety disorder along with a slight bipolar disorder... results more medication and side effects I don’t want to deal with... please help! Chronic pain can be fixed by medical marijuana and helps me do my job every day let alone play with my 2yr old daughter... it’s hard for me some days to even. Get down to her level or on the floor to play with her.... when I vape, 5 mins later everything is better.. please feel free to contact me [redacted]. (posted 8/20/15)

  13. I have degenerative joint disease in my right shoulder, right wrist and left knee currently.  My right knee is soon to follow.  My condition makes it difficult for me to sleep and my waking hours are filled with constant pain and aches in my affected joints.  The cartilage in my right shoulder and left knee are gone.  This causes me to have little range of motion a lot of the time.  I max out doses of OTC pain relievers and sleeping pills with no relief.  I currently receive Kenalog injections that provide minimal relief.  I am only 38 years old and my condition will continue to worsen as I age.  Cannabis bath soaks (Epsom salt infused with cannabis oil) as well as edibles or smoking allows me relief I cannot get otherwise.  I will not take opiates.  The only 2 choices I seem to have currently are to become a legal opiate addict or exist as a criminal.  The thought of leaving Minneapolis to move to Michigan where my condition qualifies me for MMJ is heartbreaking.  My daughter lives here and I can't imagine having to move 5 hours away from her to be law abiding.  Please consider the thousands of Minnesotans like myself who would benefit from the addition of intractable pain to our MMJ Law.  Thank you (posted 8/20/15)

  14. To whom it may concern, I am a 33 year old father of 3 with ages of 14, 3, and 17 months. My 14 year old lives out of state while the little ones live in the home. Since my first time dealing with back pain at the age of 18 while working plastic injection molding machines, I have had to deal with the everyday aches and pains. My work history has always been labor intensive. Poor young guy from the slums of Duluth, MN it was the best way to make my way through life. My paternal grandmother did the same and always said " they don’t call it back breaking work for the hell of it, go to school, get a desk, and a gym membership. You’ll thank me even though it takes longer to make the money, you will have your body, and health to spend it". That was usually followed by watching my mother spend 3 days on the couch, or her comfy chair resting her back because it went out again simply carrying in groceries. Over the last 15 or so years she has had 2 fusions of the lower spine (L-4 to S-1 fused). And 2, or 3 (can’t remember for sure) Laminectomy/Discectomy's. Now I’ve always strived to work hard to make enough to make it. Before kids 9-10 bucks an hour being a shovel jockey, or press operator, or warehouse worker, even running a recycling intake processing plant. All strenuous, highly labor intensive positions. In 2010 I made a change to telemarketing. My daily pain level had risen to the point I was using all the common over the counter pain relievers, multiple times a day to keep going. I thought maybe, just maybe Grandma, and Mom may have been right. So I figured sitting at a desk not lifting anything heavier than a toner cartridge, would be better for my back. Then came my 2nd child. In 2012. By then my pain had become unbearable with several trips to the Emergency Room.  One very nice, no-judgmental (Very RARE) ER Dr. that had seen me go farther and farther down the pain path told me to seek a dr. and find out why I’m having the issues. He explained they cannot look into why, can only give me a "pain band-aid" and since I was now making bi-weekly sometimes weekly visits the hospital could refuse to treat me and label me a "drug seeker". I took the advice and after countless missed work days for tests, MRIs, Injections (mid 2012 I was placed on a narcotic opiate pain reliever contract) and Physical Therapy. The dr. could see lots of degeneration in my discs( L3,L4-L4,L5-L5,S1) but with all the injections, tests, and PT I was making very little progress, and nowhere near my goal of a daily pain level of 3-4 without medication. I was referred to a neurosurgeon and he performed a few more tests (was hesitant to even deal with me due to my young age). Finally pinpointed my most bothersome issue (loss of feeling, and reduced function in lower left leg/foot, with nonstop pain radiating down my left lower back thru my buttocks, down my leg (felt like hot lightning bolts shooting anywhere from multiple times an hour to multiple times per minute). I was hardly able to walk. Was offered to have my Sacro-Illiac joint fused (connects hip bone to bottom of spine). This resolved the main issue but still found myself waking up at a 7 reaching for my pain pills and waiting 20-40 minutes for the pain to subside. In 2014 I brought my daughter sledding and we hit a small jump that we did not see. I immediately felt that "Please God not again" pain that people like myself fear the most. After not getting better I asked to have another MRI, within a week I was undergoing a Laminectomy/Discectomy on L3,L4. I welcomed my youngest child a week later. Now with 2 children I needed to increase the household income. My Dr. and Surgeon both agreed it would actually be good for me to work labor (theory being stopping the labor, sitting at a desk and not exercising caused my spine to loosen and promote degeneration). Did some PT to learn how to take care of my back. We all agree this is nowhere near over, continuing this line of work, or even getting out of it, eventually there will be more surgeries, for now we medicate with Norco up to 5 times per day so I can get out of bed,  and make it 8-10 (occasionally up to 14) hours as a construction laborer. I have flare ups when I have a week of heavy lifting, or carrying lots of heavy stuff longer than usual and still need the ER for rescue meds. I hate those days. I technically could go into the ER more than I do (1-3x per year). But with pain killers there are a lot of people who fake illnesses to sell them, or use them recreationally. Makes it hard for people with my kind of history (my age and younger looks make it even more trying) to go into there without getting the "yea right" looks from other patients, nurses, even drs. I’ve been accused of coming in to get high. So there are days where I come home near the end of the week, and my meds are unable to keep be below a 7 on the pain scale, where I am justifiably able to go get help. I lay uncomfortably with tears flowing, while my children (that breaks my heart every time standing there knowing daddy’s not going to play with us for a while), along with my fiance (with a look of helplessness and hurt that kills me every time I see it) beg me to go in so they don’t have to watch me suffer. But because I’m too scared to lose the help I do get, or risk being harassed by ER staff for having a contract and coming in, I cry, get no sleep, miss work, and deal with it. Now that you know me let’s talk about adding this to eligible diagnosis for Medicinal Cannabis here in Minnesota. I know so many people who I have met through pain support groups, and in life in general that have raved about its capabilities for relieving pain. I do not like relying on some test tube chemical compound to give me the mid-level quality of life I suffer in. I do not like fearing talking to my dr. about my pain levels. I have only asked for more or stronger once right before my second surgery, and have lied to my Dr. telling them they can take 1 away per day and I can live. Right now at my dosage 7.5/325 5x daily as needed my average (measured hourly over a 30 day period scale is 1/1.5/2/2.5/3 etc.  to 10) pain level is 5.5. For me my comfort level where I do not notice the pain consciously, and it does not interfere with daily life is between 3 and 4. Sounds insane to some who a 4 on the pain scale is equal to being run over by a car. But to me it is pure bliss. Please allow us to try something different. You know long term tylenol, ibuprophen etc...use can actually harm the body. Besides at 33 the efficacy of opiates is low. I’d like to know when I’m on my deathbed there will be a pain reliever that works and I’m not immune to. I like how this program is set. I’d like to feel comfortable talking about my medication, rather than feeling like I’m being judged just for saying I’m in pain. There are many other factors but these are the most bothersome. I wish to use a natural, God given plant based pill received from a friendly open-minded environment, that sounds like it will be much more proactive and open to my feedback, suggestions, and most of all concerns. I don’t have the money to uproot a family to move where I can seek it on my own on a it-might-help basis. I understand the hesitancy, that Minnesota!! We may not be the first ones to jump into uncharted waters, but when we do we’ve already learned from other mistakes, and improved, or added quality to what others have begun. I am all for a slow wade into this. Although the tax dollars I see coming in the full legalization states looks real nice, let’s do this right. At the least open this up to trial basis. Nothing has to be forever. For my family and myself, I ask you to please just give it a chance. Let’s test, let’s learn. New diagnosis a year perhaps to try opening up. In 10 years we could be the go-to plan for any states that are still on the fence. Thank you for your time, and consideration, [name redacted] (posted 8/20/15)

Comments posted 9/2/15

  1. Hello.  Why is my State of Minnesota making this so difficult? The bureaucracy is ridiculous and really needs to be streamlined. It is probably easier to go to the hood and buy a bag of pot than it is to get on this program. The people should not have to resort to a criminal act to get pain relief. I'm 61 years old, I've never broken any law not even a speeding ticket but to get a medication that could possibly get me off of the physical dependence to opiates, I either risk the relationship with my doctor or become a criminal.  Not all doctors that have not already signed up for the program, are going to jump right on the old bandwagon when one of their patients ask them to. It's a ridiculous and dangerous expectation and depending on the doctor, it could damage the doctor/patient relationship beyond repair, because the doctor doesn't treat "pot heads."    Every day I take the below listed medications for chronic back pain and accompanying leg spasms that I've had since 2004 and three operations ago. Four times a year I get an epidural needle shoved into my spine at the pain clinic. On top of that joy I am oh so so lucky to be physically dependent on these opiate medications.   12 - 10mg Tablets of Methadone an OPIATE Analgesic  2-4 - 20mg Tablets of Oxycodone an OPIATE Analgesic as needed for 'over the top' pain. 6 - 2mg Tablets of Tizanidine - a Muscle Relaxant (to try and keep the leg spasms/spikes to a minimum.)  Add three more prescriptions for my major depression, that I was blessed with once my back was ruined. I am homebound. Going to the doctor to get the damned prescription slips, for the opiates is the extent of my outdoor experience. My wife goes to the drug store for me. And does the shopping, and...  The bureaucracy just to get this medication is ridiculously difficult for some people that could possibly benefit from it.  For someone to get a medication that was originally established as illegal by racist scare-tactics that perpetrated all the way into laws, should be an easy affair not like a run for the governorship. It's beyond unreasonable, it's inexcusable in this day and age of "equality" that the State of Minnesota continues to hold on to racist laws that have been on the books for too long.  3.4 black men in prison for every 1 white man, over marijuana.  Thank you for your time. Have a pleasant day. DLL One angry white voter.

  2. hi i am a disabled vet  and   i have  ptsd     will this program benefit people like me    could this help people like me who suffer from this  illnesses and will the V.A cover this or V.a cover this for  one of these illnesses list so far

  3. As a small child I was injured and started having migraines daily. Nausea, stabbing pain through my eye, dizziness, irritability... I suffered for 20 years, every day. At one point I was taking 9 prescriptions until a friend offered me marijuana. One tiny amount and I had relief. I never tried "drugs" so I had no idea. It was a miracle. I dont have to take prescriptions anymore at all and get maybe 3 headaches a year. I'm a working professional. I'm a mother of a straight A student. I'm active in my community. This medication saved my life and I should not have to access it illegally. Every doctor I've ever had agrees that it's effective for pain. Please fix this law. Get rid of the pill requirement too please, I want what I know works in a form where I can control how much I need. Other states have seen no issues from legalization. Other countries have studied marijuana and it's a safe herbal treatment for so many things. Don't let politics get in the way of public health and blind you from the science. Americans can't study it, but Americans aren't the only ones who know how to perform research!

  4. too expensive......state discounts registration from $250 down to $50 .....so there should be some kind of similar discount, similar in % off on products . that would be step 1. at the current rate of $250-500 per month id be better off saving my money to relocate to colorado the cost on meds alone would be $3000-6000 per year. Just saying don't forget about free will, math, and google. fyi with new 25% discount adjust my numbers by 3000 -750 or 6000 -1500 . seems predatory to me, at least very disingenuous taking advantage of a situation for profit and playing on ignorance. considering the scientific data exists and there is no need for experimentation beyond personal tolerance level and individual health issue. I cant afford to take part in this "drug trial" until the numbers get below the cost of relocating i will consider and possibly (or luckily?) relocate as another refugee. I have been to both dispensaries for leafline and minmed. between both these companies as far as i see it they spent millions so that i can say the only redeeming thing i got out of my visits was leaflines stellar free coffee. not for nothing but if they have 100 patients maybe to split between 2 companies maybe they should lower over head like  having 40,000 sqft of crops proves 2 things to me you have have way too much over stock for the market and it doesn't have that long of a shelf life they must be planning to throw away ALOT of medicine. at least its biodegradable.(not sure if they would be allowed to transport to NY maybe). if they cant move it then the argument is again.... PRICE POINT.

  5. Dear Committee,    Thank you for taking the time to read my comments on Intractable Pain.  I believe the work of this committee can advance Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabidiol, and Cannabinoid as medically accepted treatment option for the many people that suffer from Intractable Pain, Chronic Pain, and other diseases for which standard medical treatments have fallen short.   Since 2004 I have been in a battle with a form of inflammatory bowel disease called ulcerative colitis. (Crohn's disease's evil step brother). UC is inflammation of the large intestine and anus that causes extended periods of bloody diarrhea, lesions and ulcers in the colon, lack of appetite, malabsorption, fatigue, accompanied by extreme abdominal pain.   I am at a loss on how Crohn's disease got on the current list of certifiable conditions and ulcerative colitis and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease did not considering the similarities between the two diseases.  Most gastroenterologists recommend the treatment of the diseases with the same pharmaceutical biologic drugs called Remicade or Humira.  There is a comparable number of studies on the therapeutic effects of THC and CBDs for colitis as there is for Crohn's. (See References: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11)   Prior to getting UC in 2004, I was healthy, active and productive.  I weighed 180 lbs and biked over twenty miles a day.  My lowest point so far was in 2014 when I was admitted to the ER weighing a 108 lbs after a week of bloody painful diarrhea.  My current weight  fluctuates around 120 to 135lbs ( I'm 5'11" tall).  The last two years have been the most difficult.  My ulcerative colitis causes lack of appetite, malabsorption, fatigue, joint pain, muscle wasting, diarrhea, painful bowel movements, and extreme pain in my abdomen during and after bowel movements that I rate at a 9/10 with my average, day to day pain level at or above 5/10 on the pain scale.  Over the counter or RX NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve. Asprin, etc) and acetaminophen make my GI symptoms (diarrhea) worse so I'm unable to take them for pain. (See References: 1,2) Prescription pain pills give me hard painful bowel movements and/or diarrhea so they are not a good option for pain management.   The following is a summary of the drugs prescribed to me for UC and the adverse effects they have had on me.  Prednsone; temporary psychosis, insomnia, loss of muscle mass, hair loss, water retention, osteoporosis.(I have the bone density of a 70 year old woman).  Metronidazole; an antibiotic used to treat bacterial overgrowth in the intestine caused; diarrhea and abdominal pain and cramping.  Mesalamine(Asacol) common anti inflammatory drug used for GI diseases; made colitis worse, diarrhea, bloody stools, and abdominal pain.  The first thing listed in the medication guide for mesalamines is a warning that this drug is known to cause or make symptoms worse for colitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's.  Sulfasalazine caused loss of appetite, nausea, urinary and GI distress.  Diacyclomine (Bentyl) used for GI pain; it caused blurred vision, confusion, drowsiness, and difficulty operating a motor vehicle.  Above is my personal experience, I encourage you to see reference 3 which provides a more detailed comparison between conventional GI drugs used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease and medical cannabis.   In comparison I feel THC/CBD treatment would have far less if any side effects and would allow me to heal so I can resume a normal life. (See References: 4,5,7,8,9,11)   I hope my point of view will be helpful in providing recommendations on what conditions qualify for MN medical marijuana.  References (1) Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and exacerbations of inflammatory bowel disease. Kvasnovsky CL, et al. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2015 PubMed Article Number: 25314574 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25314574/ (2) Exacerbation of inflammatory bowel diseases associated with the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: myth or reality? Kefalakes H, et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2009. PubMed Article Number: 19711064 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19711064/ (3) Gastrointestinal Disorders & Medical Cannabis.  Published by American for Safe Access. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/gastrointestinal_disorders_booklet#compare (4) Marijuana use patterns among patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Ravikoff Allegretti J, et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2013. PubMed Article Number: PMC4126607 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24185313/ (5) Cannabidiol, a safe and non-psychotropic ingredient of the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa, is protective in a murine model of colitis. PubMed Article Number: 19690824 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19690824 (6) Experimental colitis in mice is attenuated by changes in the levels of endocannabinoid metabolites induced by selective inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) PubMed Article Number: 24530133 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24530133 (7) Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases: a brief overview. PubMed Article Number: 22815234 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22815234 (8) Endocannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract. PubMed Article Number: 16751708 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16751708/ (9) Cannabinoids cool the intestine PubMed Article Number: PMC2516444 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2516444 (10) Cannabidiol Reduces Intestinal Inflammation through the Control of Neuroimmune Axis PubMed Article Number: PMC3232190 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3232190/ (11) The effects of D9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol alone and in combination on damage, inflammation and in vitro motility disturbances in rat colitis PubMed Article Number: PMC2931570 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931570/ -end of letter-

  6. This is my story from 5/4/14 that I was going to share in front of our representatives but was unable to.   Hello!  My name is [name redacted] and I Thank you for allowing me to speak before you today and share my story. I am here to put another face on medical marijuana .  I am a 57 year old mom of two adult children and I am here to ask you with great humility to pass the medical marijuana bill.  I don't have time for this to be put on hold. Marijuana has been used for 1000's of years for medical purposes and 21 great states have passed bills and allowed the suffering citizens the ability to use the herb to help with many medical problems. It is not easy to sit before you today but this is something I have become passionate about and researched in depth and even have taken the time to talk with caregivers that provide medical marijuana to chronically sick people. They taught me about the different strains that help with different problems. They explained about THC and CBD's and how they affect the body. They told me stories of people they are working with and how marijuana has helped them. I heard some pretty touching and amazing stories. This is not about getting high at all!  It is about providing compassionate care for people that have tried for years to get help with little or no relief. This is where I will tell you about myself. I started getting sick in 1986 after the birth of my daughter. She was 8 months old, that was almost 30 years ago. I have been diagnosed with distal myopathy, which is a form of muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, and Lyme disease and along with these comes depression and all these have affected me in every area of my life. I need help on a daily basis with basic personal needs. I need help washing my hair, getting dressed, doing basic household cleaning and maintenance.  I don't drive anymore and have lost a lot of independence we take so for granted. I don't go any place alone anymore for fear of falling or that some problem will come up that I will not be able to handle. Everyday I wake to pain, that's if I sleep at night.  I have trouble keeping weight on and as time goes on I don't know what the future will bring. I have used many, many, medications and dealt with many side effects. The damage to my joints has lead me to having ,I think it is 13 surgeries now to try to keep me moving. I'm afraid to think about it but I am sure I have more ahead of me. I tease people and tell them I will be bionic some day. These health issues put a strain on my marriage and I was divorced in 1989. My children have grown up with a mom that has not always been able to play with them or provide for them the way every mother would like to for there child. My children, family, and friends have watch me go thru times of such pain that I have been bed ridden and I have seen the frustration in there eyes of not knowing what to do and how to help.  You all have an opportunity to help me and many others improve our lives. I hope with all my being that you would pass a usable medical marijuana bill that will give me a chance for a future of less pain and more joy. That is how important this is for me. Please give me hope and thank you for this opportunity. [name redacted] Please add intractable pain to the present bill. It truly has the ability to change my life. Sincerely and with great hope, [name redacted]

  7. I am asking that you add to the list of qualifying medical marijuana requirements people with Chronic pain. I suffer from degenerative disc disease which leaves me  but only one choice to take opioid pain meds continuously now for the past several years. I had a back surgery in Sept. of 2010 that not only did no good but only made things worse. After which I spent time at the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Center which taught me the mind reactions to opioids in that they actually start causing the mind to think it is in more pain than it is really in. Also with the use of pain meds, I still am limited to what I can accomplish throughout the day. With the use of marijuana I can accomplish more things in a day than I can in a few days with the use of opioid treatment..So with this in mind I ask that you add Chronic pain to the list.

  8. I am disabled for over 11 years and have tried many, many pain killer medicines, including some antidepressants known for pain relief as a side effect.  I've pain from a spinal chord injury, peripheral neuropathy in arms, legs and feet, and suffer from fibromyalgia.  Specialists in pain and neurology have called this the "trifecta" of nerve pain.  Lack of sleep and no relief from nerve pain is with me 24/7, with no relief.  Doctors have tried everything.  I have tried acupuncture, aromatherapy and anything short of suicide (not an option).  I can either suffer a pain many of you will never know, or have pain and be a zombie from pain killers.  I participated in a three week long pain management hands on course at Mayo, Rochester.  They told us a doctor only gets about three days of pain training.  If so, let them have this as a tool.    Although I am not dying from cancer, als, I need relief from this nightmare, even if it helps me do the laundry, dishes, or ply a minute longer with a grandchild.  PLEASE HELP PEOPLE LIKE ME.

  9. I would appreciate the opportunity to try medical marijuana for fibro pain. The prescription pain mediations that are currently available have too many negative side effects, so I was very happy to learn recently that medical marijuana can be talked in pill form and you do not get "high" from it. Please allow this very promising approach for chronic pain.

  10. Why is no one, apparently, with intractable pain part of the panel? You are asking the general public, of whom certainly very few have experienced intractable pain, to decide if those of us with this pain deserve relief. That's crazy.  The pain feels as if a red hot, electrified screwdriver is being jabbed over and over and over into my right eye.  I wrote to Governor Dayton several times about my pain and invited him to have his staff contact my neurologist to learn about one of the most horrific pains in medicine that occurs with Trigeminal Neuralgia. No response - no interest in hearing what my experiences were.  So now you want the public to decide, along with your panel, if I can have pain relief ... The kind of pain that makes me scream at the top of my lungs, bite and squeeze pillows, all to try to get through the pain until it happens again, the pain lasting up to 15 minutes without relief before there us a break for a few seconds or minutes.  This has been called the "suicide" disease because before drugs were developed to treat it many suffering from it killed themselves because the pain was too awful. But prescription drugs become ineffective over time.  I'm taking several prescription drugs, including a narcotic, that all have side effects that prevent me from being very functional. I can't lead anything close to a normal life or risk having visitors who would freak if the saw me run screaming to my bedroom. I black out and fall in my home from the drugs. I fell on the front steps as I was passing out and injured my ankel, it still hurts and us swollen 3 1/2 weeks later. Where will I black out and fall next? On the basement steps taking laundry down?  You all must know that medical marijuana doesn't make people high. But my prescription meds have for the past 4 years. And they are dangerous. The narcotic is addicting. Is this the future you you want to keep me in? Medical marijuana won't kill me but the prescription drugs eventually will.  Do you want to chose a dangerous, addicting narcotic for us over a harmless plant?  I took a job at Colorado Public Radio but returned to Minneapolis a few years ago. I truly regret not staying in Denver. Colorado lawmakers and voters are apparently much more enlightened and compassionate than their counterparts here.

  11. I am a 21 year old college student pursuing a degree in deaf education. I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease in 2013. I am in chronic pain all the time. It's sometimes unbearable and gets in the way of things I want to do. Physical therapy doesn't help because it causes more pain, and surgery is out of the question until I finish school. What does help me at the end of the day when my pain is at it's highest is, marijuana. It's not the most ethical or legal, but it's the one thing that relaxes me and subsides my pain. Before I was diagnosed I was receiving pain killers from my doctor. I developed a dependency on them because they were strong and really got the job done. I got off of those in fear it'd develop into a worse problem and switch to marijuana. I haven't developed an addiction to that, and it doesn't leave me feeling drowsy and worthless. It's helped me in more ways than just pain, it helps with my high level of anxiety as well. Just take into consideration the positive attributes it has, they out weigh the negative greatly.

  12. I support adding intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijauna.  I have tried most of the medications approved for the chronic pain I've suffered from since 2007.  After physical therapy, injections, and surgery have all failed to significantly improve my neck pain and resulting chronic migraines, medication is my last resort.  My family had a history of addiction which causes me great anxiety when I consider the prospect of using narcotic pain medicine long term.   I also worry that one day I will become tolerant to the medicine and get no relief at all.  My medical expenses out of pocket average $5,000 annually.  This takes away from my family's ability to pay for thing hat others get to enjoy, like vacations, time off from work, clothing, anything that people with disposable income typically enjoy. I believe marijuana would be a safer, cheaper alternative that could improve my quality of life with less risk than my current options.

  13. I would greatly appreciate adding intractable pain to the list of approved conditions treated by medical marijuana. I have chronic lower back pain caused by pre-arthritis and spinal stenosis, and have struggled to find lasting relief for 7 years. Painkillers only mask the pain, and it's rumored to even make it worse, and they're highly addictive as I've found myself. Medical marijuana can be very helpful for pain, and even in treating opiate addiction, and it would be nice to have another weapon in the arsenal to help fight it.

  14. I have suffered from chronic pain for years, as well as other issues. I think chronic pain should be considered for medical marijuana. I do my best to deal with my pain without any medication, but it is often quite severe.  I know that other states have chronic pain as eligible.  I think it should be an option for people who deal with pain everyday.

  15. I do agree that medical Marijuana be prescribed for patients with intractable pain. I  myself suffer from degenerative disc disease, and feel the pain killers and  injections are much worse for our body. I also didn't feel they worked the best and can be addictive. Please pass this!

  16. I have stage IV breast cancer with mets to my bones.  YES, this should be available for unmanaged pain!  I have never smoked pot, or tried it, but the worse my pain gets the stronger the narcotics needed to manage it.  It scares me to know the problems this is causing to my liver and kidneys when I have no other options.  I would much rather have the options to try medical marijuana.  Pain is exhausting!  Truly, truly exhausting.  I have a high pain tolerance, I've turned down my doctors suggestions to do stronger meds at this time.  To me, this seems much better then moving up the narcotic scale of pain meds.  Please say yes to this.  Please.

  17. I personally experience intractable pain and I believe that medical marijuana can help relieve my pain.  Marijuana not only helps with pain, but also helps with inflammation.  I have tried physical therapy, pain medications (with very addictive properties) and have also tried the chiropractor.  None of which has helped relieve my pain like marijuana.  Not to mention it doesn't have the addictive properties that pain medications have and also it is very hard if not impossible to overdose from marijuana use.  I have also done research on patients with scoliosis and have found that patients that were prescribed marijuana over pain medications not only found more relief , but there was also a significant decrease in pain medication dependency.   Allowing individuals with intractable pain will not only help the patient feel better, but it will help reduce pain medication addiction which I believe is a big problem in the United States.

  18. I wish the people that will be deciding whether Minnesota Medical Cannabis will be available to chronic pain patients could live with what we have for 24 hours.  Pain so sever at times you just lay there praying for some relief.  Maybe one of these people could tell me something. The doctors always ask my pain number, from 1 to 10 with 10 the worst.  and sometimes i have no answer, because if you wake up in the morning with a pain number of 10 and all day long the pain keeps getting worse and worse, is my pain level still a 10.  Please Please try to see our side. We just want to be able to have a normal life.   Thank you

  19. Medical marijuana needs to be available to a broader base of health issues.  Having nueropathy in my feet along with chronic pain due to Fibromyalgia, my life is a constant struggle.  Taking opiates is an option but the side effects are horrible.  Please consider opening medical marijuana up for more conditions.  AT least let us try it.

  20. Intractable pain should definitely be one of the conditions allowed for MMJ. As a chronic and intractable pain patient already, my only medication options are opioid based pain meds and muscle relaxers. Often these are inadequate and I have to just lay around in pain. I would very much prefer another alternative to opioids, especially an all natural medication that does zero harm. The ability to supplement my current meds with MMJ, would likely mean less need for opioid based meds, better quality of life(with another med option I can get out and do more things with my family), and safer as there is zero risk of overdose. Please help all the patients who would really benefit from inclusion of intractable pain, get some relief and allow us to enjoy more things in life.

  21. My name is [name redacted], I am 34 years old and I have been stricken with 4 autoimmune diseases. Including IBD, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritus,  and psoriatic spondylitis. Some days when I am having a bad flare up I would gice anything for some relief from the pain and symptoms I deal with ever single day of my life. My options? Take biologics  to supress my immune system that then in turn leaves me susceptible to other side affects and symptoms. I can do a pain regimen which includes taking NAIDS daily and also has its set of side affects and most the time don't even dull the chronic pain.   I think people who have to deal with this chronic pain should have the option for medical marijuana. I have been able to access oil and butter that friends of mine have made and I can assure you it gave me more relief than any pain pill I have taken. Please think about this and how you cpuld.impact thousands of people that live with chronic pain daily. Yes we look like we are fine on the outside but inside we fight a daily battle. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a struggle.   Thank you  [name redacted]

  22. I believe the use of Medical Cannabis should be use the same as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and other pain killers. The lasting effects are greater with Cannabis and are far less addictive. I personally suffer from chronic back pain and would benefit from the use of Cannabis as I do not like taking pharmaceuticals due to side effects and them being chemicals. With Cannabis, it is a natural pain reliever and could help with regaining some daily actives I am now limited at. Please consider the natural benefits over the chemicals being pumped into individuals with chronic pain. Thank you!

  23. Yes mj helps with pain in 2 ways. I am an intractable pain patient and mmj is one of the best treatments I have had. There is a catch though. Certain strains of mmj work better than others with out a doubt. I believe certain strains help reduce inflammation. One of those strains that really works for me is northern lights number 5. It helps with rest also in the best way possible. This has been my number 1 pain relieving strain I have tryed. Other strains do work but northern lights by far works the best. The other way mmj works is on the brain.it works by making it possible to be happier even in pain and also helps by helping a person not concentrate on the pain.if you think about the pain it will be more intense and if you don't think about it witch is really hard to do while in pain then you have reduced pain or a dissassociation from mind and body pain. Every ones chemistry is different so each will have trial and error of there own in seeing what does and does not work.  Northern lights is one exceptional strain for pain.   Thank you

  24. I think that intractable pain should, and must, be added to the list of qualifying conditions. I have degenerative disc disease in my lower back and have used marijuana for years to help with the pain. With this disease, two of my discs have disintegrated completely so there is no "cushion" between the vertebra. The pain never goes away completely, but is noticeably reduced after marijuana use and I feel like I move about more freely. In addition to using marijuana, I swim, walk, and use resistance training -- enough that I can get the medical discount most months! I have also owned a business for the past 20 years, raised three outstanding citizens, and been an interested and involved person regarding community issues. I must also add that, along with prescribed Paxil (used for anxiety and depression) and hormones (due to menopause), marijuana has greatly helped lessen my depression and anxiety issues. I must say (and I'm not ashamed) that I already use it as a daily medicinal aid. It helps me focus on the daily tasks at hand, and generally makes my life better.

  25. I dont know if cannabis would work but would be willing to try. I have a crush scaitic nerve thats compressed with my main artery and its inoperable. I also have a SI Joint fusion that did not fuse. I have been on fentanol patches and was finally able to eliminate them but still need six  7.5mg vicodin a day which causes stomach problems and constipation. I have had ulcers and have Lupus. This would be great if it works. I tried pot when I was 15 and it scared me, Im now 56 but would be willing to try if it would be better on my body and would help control the pain.

  26. In 2009 I was involved in a car accident.  Currently, I am 26 years old and I have had 10 spinal fusions, an intrathecal pain pump implant, and I suffer from other conditions from the accident and surgeries such as numbness in my legs, spasms, and nerve pain.  For three years I dealt with the pain by taking high doses of pain medication such as 60 mg of morphine and 30 mg of oxycodone multiple times per day that did not resolve my pain.  For 6 years I dealt with extreme pain and this by far has been the hardest part of my life.  I became dependent on narcotics that made me feel disconnected from myself, the people around me, and reality.  There has been a few times that I had to visit the emergency room because I was going through withdrawals from the pain medication due to insurance and provider issues.  I can think of nothing worse. Unfortunately, I did not discover the wonderful properties of cannabis until this past year.  I turned to cannabis because there was nothing else that could help me at that point.  I was in severe pain, depressed, and locked away in my apartment because any movement was excruciating.  I had suffered so much that I didn't have the strength to pull myself together. Cannabis changed my life.  It helped me with my pain but more importantly it allowed me to find myself again, and soon my situation didn't seem as bad because I was able to see things differently; I finally found something that actually made a difference.  It would be a shame to not share this miracle plant with people that suffer from any condition.  Before, I only saw cannabis as a drug, but now I have devoted my life to this wonderful medicine.  My last surgery was three months ago and I am finally able to move on with my life.  I have changed my major from medicine to plant science at the University of Minnesota.  I am pursuing a career in cannabis because of my experiences and to help people obtain cannabis.   I believe cannabis should be available to everyone and every person deserves the choice to purchase cannabis for its beneficial properties for any ailment and recreational purposes.  It should not be available in only pill form because everyone reacts differently to different strains and types of cannabis.  For instance, one strain might be better for pain but it also may cause a person to become hungry which is an effect that not all people want.  It would be much more beneficial for people to consume the flower for specific properties that are needed rather than disguising cannabis in the pharmaceutical industry.  Our society needs to be informed about the positives and benefits of this medicine or else people will remain scared due to years of wrongful propaganda.   Thank you for taking the time and consideration of this important matter.  I look forward to addressing this issue in person.

  27. I am a 67-yr old disabled woman; I was the victim of violent crime back in 1974 & in 'healing' from that attack I developed related inoperable spinal disabilities. I am in pain 24/7, and have been in that situation for over 2 decades. I suffer from: cervical bone spurs, cervical nerve-channel narrowing, cervical degenerative-disk disease, as the result of the attack. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, and a chronic sleep disorder. I developed fibromyalgia during the past ten years, primary manifesting as painful cramping and spasms in my lower legs; the cramps are sometimes to serious that I have to stuff my pillow into my mouth to keep from screaming. The cramps wake me up from deep sleep, and then persist usually for at least 45 minutes to an hour. That cramping acts as a trigger to activate my sleep disorder. I had to take early retirement due to increased pain levels including being held on stroke-watch in a local-area emergency room due to severe migraine headache; again, this symptom tends to be triggered by back spasms or lower-leg spasms increasing stress and ruining sleep. After a battery of tests, some quite painful, back in the 1990s, the *only* recommendation that the specialists were able to offer me was a referral to a Pain Clinic at which all they could offer me was *OXYCONTIN.* I am a retired chemical-dependency treatment counselor:  I know all too well what ongoing use of oxycontin does to a person's life and well-being. I was never an addict or an alcoholic - I have *zero* interest in being made one by the medical establishment - not when the best option for me would be *medical marijuana.* I have dear longtime friends who are disabled and who live in California; they have been on prescribed medical marijuana for over a decade - they receive *high-grade* medical marijuana and it gives them relief I can only dream of.  As a fully-trained, certified & licensed chemical-dependency treatment professional I am in absolute and total *disagreement* with the illogical and unscientific category limitations for who "qualifies" for receiving legal access to medical marijuana here in Minnesota. I am deserving of medical marijuana for the following clear reasons:  (1) chronic severe pain 24/7 in my cervical spine, upper-shoulders, neck, and related *triggered* migraine headaches; (2) chronic severe pain from back spasms; (3) chronic severe pain in lower legs due to spasming caused by fibromyalgia; (3) longterm PTSD including startle-response, nightmares, flashbacks, and chronic struggle with self-isolation due to panic attacks; and finally (4) sleep disorder including inability to go to sleep normally or stay asleep without use of OTC sleep/pain meds e.g. Tylenol Pain PM which contains *Benadryl* and which I only take at a 1/4-dose of what is directed on the bottle, re: my professional training & related understandable fears that I may become habituated to Benadryl.  I am willing to appear to give personal testimony if need be, in order to move forward legal initiatives to expand the list of categories of those who *qualify* for medical marijuana in Minnesota. I wish to assist others who suffer, and I feel an obligation to do so based upon my past professional training and practice experience.  I am an experienced public speaker, and have taken part in lobbying efforts years ago on community & public-health issues.[name and address redacted]

  28. I am all for the use of Cannabis for intractable pain conditions. I want Cannabis legalized for medical conditions. I have Fibromyalgia and I cannot take pain medications due to allergic reactions and I would welcome the chance to try medical marijuana for my sleep issues and severe pain. I am unable to get deep sleep due to the pain I have from my condition and I know that there are certain kinds of marijuana that will help me sleep and help with pain relief. I think it is sickening that THE PEOPLE do not get to choose their own medications. Marijuana is a plant, it should NOT be illegal.

  29. In 2003, I was hit by a drunk driver in a hit and run.  I was left for dead in a ditch by the road.  Along with a C2 fracture, most of the discs in my spine were severely damaged.  Also, many of my joints were damaged and developed Osteoarthritis – the “rip and tear” arthritis.  All of these injuries are permanent.   I am in severe and chronic pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Since then, my doctors have prescribed me combinations of several pain medicines and symptom relievers including: Baclofen, Meloxicam, Tramadol, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone.   Some of these medicines are highly addictive, have harsh side effects to the body and liver, are responsible for leading many people into Heroin and Methadone, and have several negative reports by Time magazine regarding their dangers.  As such, I'm not able to relieve my pain sufficiently without the danger of becoming addicted myself.       Minnesota Medical Cannabis without the THC, but high in CBD and CBN would be a much safer and more effective pain reliever without the risk of addiction or side effects.  Medical cannabis would allow me to be removed from Opiate medicines altogether.  Please, please include intractable pain as a qualifying condition in the Minnesota Medical Marijuana Program – as it successfully has been in all the other states with the program.  I would like to experience what it’s like to be free from pain again.  Thank You!

  30. I live with degenerative arthritis from a sports injury. I am too young to have surgery as the only thing that can be done is a knee replacement. Cortisone injections help but can only have so many of them because of the bad side effects on a persons body. Pain killers are hard to get because of the addiction rate and health issues, understandably so. Having a natural form of pain relief would help me function in less pain on a day to day basis. My bones are literally grinding on each other, do you know how painful that is?

  31. Eight years ago I was injured on my job as a nurse.  At that time, I had maintained my nursing career for 22 years.  After my injury I had to learn how to walk properly again.  My injury caused me to have 5 herniated lumbar disks, torn rotary cuffs and extreme exacerbation of what was minor arthritis.  I had 2 surgeries and spent 2 years in physical therapy.  I was unable to return to my nursing profession.  I then struggled through billing, coding and computer retraining.  Unfortunately the intractable pain i have been suffering from since the day of my injury has not allowed me to work for more than 2 hours at a time.  I was unable to find any job that would accommodate my health issues.  I was put on Social Security Disability and receive $948 a month.  Of course, this income is very much less than what I was able to earn when practicing my profession.  My life has completely changed.    I am now tied to a life of pain medicines and inactivity.  Nurses are very much in demand in MN.  I continuously receive nursing job offers by email and in my UPS mailbox.  If I was able to use medical cannabis and lessen this never ending pain, I could return to work.  I could have an actual life again.

  32. I am a 52 year old chronic pain patient and I have had a couple scares with taking my meds and forgetting and taking them again. I am on such high doses of narcotic pain medication, I am terrified I might overdose on my medications. Please, include the use of marijuana so that I can get off these horrible opiate medications and use a safer, non addictive substance to manage my pain and spasms. No one has ever overdosed or died from using marijuana. The same can not be said about the morphine sulfate and oxycodone I am currently taking.  It messes with your head and you forget that you've taken it so you take more. Then you die. I've seen it happen to others. Please give us a choice.

  33. I have a serious back injury that ive been dealing with for over 18 years along with a partial amputation of my right foot.  Both injuries have created intractable pain.  I had an accident that caused multiple fractures along my spine as well as multiple disc injuries. I was told im lucky to be walking.  As lucky as i am, i still deal with a great amount of pain daily.  My foot amputation causes me to walk different which translates into unnatural motion into my back. These injuries play off each other in the worst way.  I do feel fortunate to be able to walk and move around yet pain is always a constant.  I took the medication for pain the doctors prescribed.  The usual progression from mild pain killers to debilitating opiates.  Having to take these rotton pills for relief became too much.  It didn't take long to realize that i was becoming more and more dependent on something that was also killing me.  I had to stop taking them.  Ive used cannibis with resounding success.  I personally would love to see cannibis used widely for pain relieving.  The benefits are too many to deny.  I would also like see see regulation, quality control, and tax revenue on the substance. I really would.  But at the same time, if the powers that be cant see the benefits of including cannibis as a pain relief option, that will be their loss. Because, at the end of the day, i will still seek it out, i will always find it, and i will use it as freely today being illegal, as i would if it were not illegal.  The state of minnesota can take advantage and gain revenue or, not include it as a viable pain relief alternative and lose out on revenue and spend more money TRYING to police it.  History shows that prohibition fails miserably, and is always a costly mistake to make. Sadly, this warped way of thinking is still failing miserably, and costing the tax payer dearly.

  34. To Whom It May Concern:    I'm here to give a personal testimony about intractable pain and medical marijuana use in Minnesota. I have been diagnosed/living with Fibromyalgia, IBS, Idiopathic Hypersomnia, Degenerative Disc Disease, Depression and Arthritis to name a few. I'm in favor for the use for us to have the choice to try/use medical marijuana if we choose to. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to try it but I'm completely for it. Right now I'm on Lyrica and Fentanyl (patches ever 24 hours not the 48 hours because it wears off too fast) and that's not enough to help me. Look at the current states who already are using this-their patient's have nothing but good feedback from it. I would love to get off some of my meds and try this one. I've been living like this for over five years, I can't work and have no personal life and I'm only 41 years old. In the past, I was a very active person who never sat still, worked three jobs, got married and me and my husband had three kids. I worked in child care and even at work, we were always on the go! Then for some unknown reason I became ill and my health just kept going down and down. It's sad when your youngest child-for me it's my daughter-who comes to me, crying, asking when I can get better so I can go to her school concert, take her to the park, go for a bike ride or what she really wants is for me to be normal again like other mom's. The pain I'm in daily is hard to explain but it's from head to toe and at times my hair hurts. The pain varies from a dull muscle ache to feel like you been hit by a 2x4. The weather changes really throws another loop in there for people like me who live with pain every day to deal with.The fibromyalgia intensifies the pain-if I stub my toe it actually feels like I broke it. It's hard for me to explain what I live with, we'd be here forever. Just imagine, it's even hard for me to take a shower because the water that comes out of the faucet hurts as it hits your body. NO ONE should have to live like this and obviously they can't figure out a cure or even how to really treat patient's like me. I've tried so many different meds and tried so many different types of treatments and it's not working. I would give anything if I could have one day (and not have any issues the following days) to be pain free and normal again (well as normal as I was before) to spend with my family and friends I would. I guess I would say, what if you were in my/our shoes, what would you do, what would you want...what if this was your parent/spouse/child/friend what would you do? Please Please Please take this into careful consideration for chronic pain patient's like me and pass this medical marijuana bill so we can have a better chance living with less pain each day. I want to THANK YOU in advance for reading this and giving me a chance to speak about this issue.

  35. I support the addition of intractable pain to the list of treatable conditions for medical cannabis. I believe it could help thousands of people to reduce the use of harmful opiate drugs. I am a sufferer of intractable pain. I have neen taking Tramadol for many years as a treatment. I would be so grateful to have a safer option for relief of my pain.  Thank you for your consideration.

  36. I have been diagnosed with Multiple Muscle Myopathies. I was on morphine for a couple years and when it wasn't helping, I started weaning off. I went to Percocet, then added Cannabis. When I went off the Percocet, I had no change in my pain. The Cannabis works as well, no BETTER than the opiates, as it has no side effects.  I implore you to consider opening the avenue to Cannabis for anyone with chronic and irreversible pain.  Thank you.

  37. I have fibromyalgia and RA.  Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition/disease that cause widespread pain.  It's pain that is deep, aching and chronic. There is no cure for fibromyalgia. This is a condition that I'm going to have for getting rest of my life.  The symptoms vary from person to person.  The common denominator is the pain and fatigue.  Most people with fibromyalgia try many different avenues to get relief.  I am no different.  In the eight - plus years that I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I've tried everything that's been approved on the market as well as other medications that doctors prescribed just for the pain.  Nothing helped.  Every day excruciating pain.  In reading online,  looking for anything that would help,  I found a group on Facebook for people with fibromyalgia. In the states where marijuana is legal, it has been very successful relieving the pain so that they could function.  I had to  try.  Trying marijuana in tincture form was amazing pain relief when nothing else worked.  I worked as a court reporter for 18 years.  I worked very hard and enjoyed my job.  I had to give up my job because of the fibromyalgia and the depression that comes along with it.  I used to garden,  ride bikes with my kids and take them to outings. I can't do that anymore. I can't do housework or take care of my grandkids.  The pain is just too much.  I have a great,  supportive family but it doesn't matter. The pain has taken over my life.   I know medical marijuana works.  I could have a part of my life back.  I can live life instead of just exist.  Please consider medical cannabis to treat fibromyalgia and other chronic pain that falls under the meaning of "intractable pain."

  38. Please consider the addition of medical marijuana for Intractable pain. I am 41 yr old female with psoriatic arthritis & hip dysplasia which both cause constant pain. I have been seeing both a rheumatologist & an orthopedic for over 15 years, I'm on a number of medications which can damage my liver & also take narcotics daily for pain management (also hard on the liver). I work full time but struggle daily with pain control & sleeping. I would like to see an opportunity to try another option.

  39. I have been on opoids for many years now and they are a very nasty cycle with little to no relief I would love the opportunity to try this.

  40. I played high school and college football before a severe back injury ended my career forever.. Now because of what doctors call degenerative disc disease along with my injury i suffered I am in severe pain every single day.. I cant bend over without wanting to scream heck i cant walk without wanting to cry... life shouldnt be this hard for me, people suggest go see a doctor.. well i have they treat you like crap.. they lecture you about the dangers of pain medicine.. yes i understand it can be addicting but I'm in pain im only 22 freaking years old I cant freaking work anymore! i havent worked in 2 years the pain continues to progress and doctors fear of losing their license after the dea cracked down on pain killer prescriptions if you walk in there and say hey i hurt they treat you like you dont know what youre talking about.. as if i dont understand why own pain.. I wanna be able to work.. but i cant do that being in so much pain.. I shouldnt have to feel like a drug addict even though im not at all its just how the doctors treat you... it makes you feel worthless along with the pain its not a fun feeling.. id rather die some days.  Is it really too much to ask that a person who suffers from chronic pain every day just gets the same treatment as any other person.. I dont have a life i barely can get out of bed some days.. is that the american dream? I've strongly considered moving to a medical state in which I would be approved for my severe back pain.. but i also dont wanna move away from my family.. I love minnesota i love the weather the vikings the food the people.. please allow me to take this medicine and treat my pain so I can live a full happy life.. I shouldnt be forced to suffer because doctors want to judge somebody in pain.. if you dont feel pain  every minute of your life you will never understand just how hard it is to survive everyday I'm tired of the suffering.. Please Minnesota GIVE ME MY LIFE BACK!!

  41. I take prescription drugs for arthritis, it continues to get worse day after day. I'm 50years old and I would like other options for my pain control. I've had a back surgery and I currently suffer with a sore left knee, left shoulder and my right hand, any option is a good option. I have 5 children under the age of 17 so I take this very seriously, I need to continue to work and provide for them.

  42. I have Fibromyalgia and Myofacial Pain Syndrome and deal with chronic pain. I would like to see our current Medical Marijuana law expanded to include irretractable pain as the current prescription medications given are laden with side effects and do not reduce the amount of pain.  The current pain medications that are often prescibed are given to chronic pain patients reluctantly as it is and when all the hoops that us patients have had to jump through to get them, they are not even as effective as a natural plant in reducing chronic pain. We deal with bad side effects from some of the prescribed  medications that can cause addiction, liver and stomach damage, and some of the side effects are the same as what the medication was trying to help with in the first place! Medical Marijuana can be literally a lifesaver for those with chronic pain. The research on it is out there, I did a research paper back in the 80's on the Medicinal Value of Marijuana and even then there was enough evidence that it does help chronic pain  as well as glaucoma and MS. I encourage you to please listen to the people of Minnesota and expand the Medical Marijuana Law to include those with chronic pain and have us improve our quality of life without the bad side effects of prescription pain medications. Thank you for giving us thsese opportunities  to share our voice.

  43. I pray that everyone has an open mind and votes to legalize marijuana for us whom suffer constant and debilitating pain. I've suffered from fibromyalgia and its pain for 22yrs.It has changed my life and my family's life drastically. Yes I've tried many of those wonderful drugs from the pharmaceutical companies. No relief what so ever! And those wonderful companies Do Not tell you about the horrible withdrawals you will go through when you discontinue their wonder drugs would be so happy to have a some what normal life back. It would be great to not miss work because of pain. Not to miss important family events because of pain. To actually get some sleep because you are not in pain. I could go on forever, just stop and really think if I were your family member and in constant debilitating pain, wouldn't you want to help me?  This would help so many chronic pain suffers. Please stop and think really hard and legalize marijuana for us.

  44. I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia since 1994 and I know I have had it all my life.  I am basically bed-bound with pain and researchers are beginning to say opioids don't help.  Dr. Daniel Clauw of the University of Michigan who has studied Fibromyalgia for years said in a keymote lecture that medical marijuana would help us.  Please me a chance at life!

  45. Take colorado's lead... Make money by legalization of marijuana. It helps Cancer patients and people in pain all the time. I myself know how much it helps with chronic pain. It's a new world when you smoke and don't feel that pain. Stop thinking of your own beliefs and start thinking of the millions that need it! It's a plant... Educate yourselves!

  46. I have chronic pain (fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and spondylosis) and medical marijuana needs to be made available to chronic pain patients in the State of Minnesota!

  47. I have had numerous surgeries (including 2 organ transplants) and procedures over the past few years, which has resulted in chronic pain. I have been on an opioid pain killer for almost a year, and am now dealing with addiction/dependence on my medication. If an option like medical marijuana were available as an alternative, I could wean off my opioid medication and not have to worry about things like running out of my medication or, even worse, a potential overdose, since, over time, my body has built up a tolerance to the medication, which means I require higher and higher doses to effectively manage my chronic pain. This is NOT a safe method for managing pain, especially if a safer, more effective option could become available. Please consider adding intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions in the MN Medical Cannabis Program! It would benefit so many people, including me, and prevent potential life-threatening accidents.

  48. I have been diagnosed with a congenital spine disorder and stenosis that leaves me in constant pain (7 to 8 on a 10 point pain scale). I have tried all of the traditional remedies such as physical therapy, injections, surgery, implants and a myriad of other treatments to alleviate the pain, including a list of prescription “pain-killers”, all with no substantial relief.  All of this has progressed over a period of about ten years, beginning with occasional mild pain, to a point where the pain today is constant and extremely intense. I have gone from being very active, enjoying any outdoor activities such as golf, hunting and fishing, hiking, etc., to now sitting in a chair watching movies on Netflix. If medical marijuana is capable of returning a minimal part of my past life to me, I don’t understand the hesitation by some who would refuse to permit it.  My goal would be to get my pain back to a level of 3 or 4 on that same scale – probably the equivalent of be run over by a UPS truck. At least I could set aside my cane, stand in line at the grocery checkout, and carry a gallon of milk from the car to my house when I get home. And I could even throw away many for the number of medications I have to take every day, some which are to offset the side effects of others.  I read one comment by a physician who opposes including retractable pain to the uses of medical cannabis who stated pain is subjective and it is difficult to sort out those seeking pain relief from others who seek only to get prescriptions to get “high”. Since the psychoactive THC is removed from the drug in Minnesota, the argument doesn’t wash. Opiates are prescribed daily and regulated, why would medical cannabis differ? Especially since the opportunity to use such a drug recreationally has already been negated by removing its psychoactive component. It is difficult to stress the desperation felt by someone who bears no visible scars, wears no outward medical device, or does not walk around with both arms in a sling. It is also difficult to express what it is like to walk into a clinic seeking relief from this all-consuming pain and have that clinic staff give you a sideward glance of suspicion that tells you they believe you are some sort of drug-seeking con artist looking to “score”.  Intractable pain may be subjective as the doc said. But that certainly does not mean for many persons that pain is not real. If doctors are willing to treat pain, and Minnesota law allows them to do so, using much more dangerous and addictive drugs such as narcotics or opiates, medical cannabis seems like a better alternative, and in many cases, finally a place to get relief from the nightmare of constant pain.

  49. I have lived with intractable pain since a head on car crash in 2010.  I have found that marijuana has helped not only with my chronic pain, but also with my nausea I experience every morning.  Right now I spend my days fighting my pain with opioid medications which do help but have addiction possibilities and is not good for my well being or my families.  Having a natural source of pain relief without the addiction possibilities would be a great addition to the bill and would also help the two companies that have started to supply the product.  As of now I don't see how 539 people can possibly spend enough money to keep these companies afloat and will eventually they will loose money and other patients will suffer and go back to the street.  I recently was arrested for using marijuana and it is going to hurt my future.  But when you wake up feeling terrible every morning breaking the law is the least of your concerns, you would do ANYTHING to feel better and progress as a citizen.  I also recently had my best friend die of cancer and he used it illegally until he passed.  I do believe that if he have had access in 2010 to the drug of better quality he would have had better living in his last years of life.  This state is following others to be safe while other states make the path, I don't think that's the best idea be forth coming with this medicine and be a leader in the industry.

  50. Has there been any thought to adding Parkinson’s Disease to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana?   As you may be aware, Parkinson’s is the “other side of the coin” with Tourette’s… PD is a shortfall of dopamine, and Tourette’s is too much dopamine. (simple explanation)  So, some of the symptoms have similarities. particularly dyskinesias and dystonia.  I was dx’d with PD in 2/08 and now experience dyskinesias daily (what I call “the wiggles”, or “Michael J. Fox movements”), as a side effect of taking Sinemet, the gold standard treatment for PD.  I understand there have been studies done in Israel demonstrating the usefulness of MM (particularly in vapor form) in lowering/ treating dyskinesias and would like to suggest you consider adding PD to the list of conditions qualifying for MM.  Don’t know if a high CBD/ low THC MM would help me personally, but as a 65 year old who doesn’t use drugs recreationally, I would be interested in seeing if it would.  Thanks for your time & attention.  Regards,  [name redacted]

  51. Good day, Here is  a short version of my story and the help marijuana gives me. Over my lifetime I different surgeries including 14 on my spine. I have take and continue to take prescription pain medication. I have found that a certain strain of marijuana helps me with my pain more than any pain pill or combination of medications.  I currently have a negro simulator implanted, take morphine, oxy-codone, trazadone, I was taking Lyrica also but developed an allergy to it so I had to quit taking a med that helped with some nerve pain.  I also take Cymbalta, Trazadone and a couple other medications. I am considered 100% disabled but cant live on social security so I work as I am not terminally ill just in pain.  One of my pain doctors told me to explain to people the amount of pain i have like this. Imagine being in labor for childbirth 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year for the rest of my life. Marijuana helps more with my pain than any combination of medications.   I have had to stop smoking in case I have to take a drug test for a job so my pain is excruciating.  I don't know what else to say except please let me get legal marijuana as I hate being a criminal but I hate that life is so limited.  Thank you, for your time and consideration.  Sincerely,   [name redacted]

  52. MDH:    I am 65 and suffer from osteoarthritis in knees and shoulders, and have one knee replacement. No pain medications were able to help me when I had severe knee pain from an injury. Oral and intravenous narcotic meds make me throw up and really don't do the job. Even cortisone did not touch my pain before surgery and has bad side effects for me. Synvisc helped, but it needs replacing every 6 months.    After knee replacement surgery, all meds made me sick during recovery. I would really like to try high cannabidiol (CBD) marijuana to try to relieve pain before and after surgery. CBD does not make one "high" or alter perception like THC. There is a whole bunch of Baby Boomers who cannot take or tolerate traditional pain medications. Minnesota should allow CBD cannabis to be grown and sold by vendors (as edibles) and prescribed by physicians, as well as eventually allowing patients to grow their own plants. Thank you. [name redacted]

  53. Hello, I have been in chronic pain for all most three years now. I have tried every pill the my doctor can think of giving me, but have been allergic to all of them. From itching to puking to not being able to use the bathroom. The list goes on and on. I have begged the doctors for something organic to try and there is nothing out there. He tells me people in my situation with this disability do not work anymore. I cry and tell him what is the point of not working. I will still be in pain at home then get depressed  and gain weight. Yes this is a long story, but what I am getting at is I having no other option. I will try anything and this could be my prayers answered. What is it going to hurt. There has all ready been such a positive out come. Please help me continue life. I am 34 years old and still have a long life a head of me.

  54. I'm just starting to research Medical Cannabis.  I am interested in the use for Pain Management.  I currently work with a Medication Assisted Treatment Center for Opioid dependence, using Methadone and Buprenorphine.  So I see first hand how the use of controlled substances can and do help people to make it past the addiction and pain in order to continue living, to find and keep a job, save relationships, and start living and enjoy life again.   I am also a sufferer of Chronic pain from a spinal injury, C4 & C5, and now have life long pain in my hands and feet from neuropathy.  I don't know if I would qualify for the program or not, but wanted to state I think this should be passed in order to help those suffering with pain.  I personally have spent years in pain and at times unable to function.  I spend to many days trying to sleep away the pain, missing events and time I could have spent with my kids.  I have missed work due to it.  The meds I take make me tired all day long.  I take several meds to try to control it, but don't get any relief at all.  I have taken up to 5000mg of Gabapentin daily, along with Amitriptyline.  I would give anything to spend even one day without the pain.  I have been an EMT since 1993, and now am considering giving up my license due to the pain in my hands and feet and lack of feeling.   I hope that this is looked at very carefully and put in place for not only the worst of the worse, but for those that have moderate chronic pain as well.  I believe the way that you are able to tailor the medication by % of THC /CBD that you could help those like myself to return to full function with this.  As one person at the forum on 8/26/15 said, they often think of suicide because of the pain.  It does cross your mind on how am I going to spend the next 30 years like this, and what am I going to be like when I am elderly.  If it can help, then for goodness sakes make it available to those who need it. The insurance companies also need to look at covering the medication.  It is far less expensive than the cost of the opioids and the addictions and treatment caused by the opioids and heroin.  Thank you for what you do, and please continue to battle for this.'

Comments posted 9/11/15

  1. I would first like to thank all of you for this opportunity to share our experiences and for the consideration of including intractable pain. In 2009, I was rear ended in a motor vehicle accident. At the time there were no apparent injuries but a couple months later I began to experience pain and discomfort. I had no clue that the accident would change my life forever. I am currently 26 years old. I have had three back surgeries, 10 fusions, over a half-million dollars in medical expenses, and I have had a narcotic pump implanted that delivers an opioid to my back. The pain I experienced is indescribable. The best words to describe the pain are excruciating, torture, absolute misery, and hell. Due to the pain there was no other option than to become dependent on opioid medication. A year ago I was taking 60 mg of morphine twice a day and 30 mg of oxycodone four times a day. We have become a pharmaceutical nation. Because of this we are forced to deal with doctors that treat patients like drug addicts. I spent a year with one of the top neurologists in the state who only saw me as a drug addict because he didn’t take the time to take an MRI of my upper back, so I suffered for a year without any pain medication. Fortunately, I have been off of oral narcotic pain medication for six months thanks to the pump implant, my recent back surgery and cannabis. Eight months ago, I was trapped and stuck in my apartment with no escape from the pain. At that point I had been suffering for a few years and I was fed up. I lost all hope long before this point and I was full of anger, self-loathing, and I feared that this was what the rest of my life was going to be like. It’s hard to comprehend but for me, my condition became my life. I endured endless appointments with weeks where I would have an appointment every single day along with excruciating pain while trying to live my life.   Years of this would take its toll on any individual. I knew something had to change and I was willing to try or do anything for relief so I decided to try cannabis. Cannabis saved my life and my sanity. When I use cannabis the pain and discomfort melt away. Due to the trauma and the surgeries the muscles throughout my back, down my sides and in my legs become extremely tight and cause severe spasms. Cannabis allows my muscles to relax along with my entire body. It is not only good for pain but for the mind and the soul as well. It gave me enough of a distraction from the pain that I was able to focus on everything that was happening around me instead of only on myself and my condition. I was able to find myself again, and soon the weight on my shoulders began to disappear. It gave me a different perspective and a better outlook on life. Currently I am a student at the University of Minnesota. This summer I changed my major to plant science to grow medical marijuana because I have decided to devote my life to this miraculous plant. I am going to help as many people as I can to inform everyone about the benefits of this God given plant. [later in the conversation] Marijuana—I would choose it over an opioid any day. I’ve been through it and I was super depressed and it helped me find myself.
    • Follow-up question: Are you still on the pain pump as well? Yes.
  2. I am a pain warrior. I have really bad neuropathic pain. It’s in my hands and my feet and testicles and legs. Putting on my socks is torture; so is showering. There is no medication to take care of this. I take gabapentin at the maximum dosage that I can take—I think that a human can take—and it provides nearly no relief. Cannabis works. It helps me live my life and put on socks—you need to put socks on to live your life, right?—and shower. And because of this I run the risk of a felony. I’m just trying to treat my own pain, and I risk going to jail. So I ask you to take my pain and anyone else’s pain into consideration when you make your recommendations.
    • Do you experience any side effects?
      •  No I do not. None.
  3. Thank you for letting me speak. I have had a severe back pain issues that have haunted me for the last 10 years. I had an interesting experience over this last year where I travelled out to the west coast and for the first time in my life was able to get relief that didn’t require the typical process. I usually get Vicodin and Flexeril. The issues I’ve developed over the last ten years have been liberated. When you take Vicodin and hydrocodone you take in acetaminophen that damages the liver. When you take it over the long term it almost certainly will, and that’s irreversible. When I experience what a mild drug—not just the physical effects but the personal effects than hydrocodone and how it carries over into you own life. I’m just hoping that we move forward and include intractable pain for individuals so that no one has to go through the problems I have and the liver damage that I’ve experienced. There are ways to go about treating people with chronic pain. This is going to take a movement forward that we’re all going to have to work together on it. Our society has created a view on medical cannabis that is outdated. Recognizing acetaminophen all by itself and the damaging effects it has on an individual and not limiting this [medical cannabis] and restricting it to such a small portion of the population and allowing it to treat people like myself. [later in the conversation] One of things we’re missing here is that in response to the comments about addiction the opiates are much more addictive, and not only do people experience liver damage but constipation issues, limited ability to drive. Any type of substance that you’re adjusting to, you have to be respectful of that, and that’s where the medical community comes into play. The patient-doctor relationship needs to be tight. No one is discounting that importance. Vicodin was a much more powerful drug and in itself very addictive. So the argument of the slippery slope and with narcotics already being issued for pain seems a little lacking. If you have a milder drug and compare it to harder drug—I can only speak for myself, and I know there are other types of drugs for relief and there really are the strong drugs that are issued and they are issued right off the bat for people. Most people are not in a position to voice their experiences. And I didn’t have the option of the Fentanyl patch at the time. I accepted Vicodin as it is was the options. We just need to encourage viable options for use. This is another tool in the toolkit to treat pain and expansion to treat people with back injuries. Seems like a no brainer.
  4. I’m a mother of 6 children ages 7- 17, and up until this last year I’ve been a full time mom and home-schooling them. In 2012, after going to a Mothers of Preschoolers group—I was going Christmas shopping—I got hit by a drunk driver and I was hit on the driver’s side door. Ever since then I’ve been plagued by chronic pain, mainly on one side and pain under my shoulder. I’ve been trying to treat it with physical therapy and massage therapy and anti-inflammatory diet because I didn’t want to go to the harsh pain medications. And I ended up in the emergency room. And now I got rear ended and I have migraines from pain in the right side of my neck. I have been so desperate and my doctor said I have depression and anxiety after living with this. I have tried other medicines, and they don’t work. I usually end up in urgent care getting shots for migraines. I would do everything for my children. And I finally tried cannabis. My husband was very leery and even locked it up because we have children in the house. But he said I am a better mom. I can talk and engage with them and sweep the floor and play. I think it’s almost inhumane not to use something so effective.
  5. [Second public testimony] I’ve been in remission from Crohn’s disease. I’m actually testifying in memory of my father who passed away suddenly one year ago at the age of 46 from a form of arthritis where the vertebrae fuse together. My grandpa has the same condition and Crohn's disease as well. He never went to the doctor for this because he knew that all he could get were opiates. He raised us while my mom worked. The definition of intractable pain in Minnesota is so restrictive that if he wanted to try it he wouldn’t have ever had that opportunity. I know the advisory panel has the option to change that definition and I am asking you to do that and there’s no reason to send people to get opioids when cannabis is a perfectly nonlethal form of treatment. Which parts of the definition do you find most restrictive? The definition now requires two pain specialists to sign off, which is a massive barrier. People can’t even find one doctor to certify them. It also forces you to go through all other standard means of treatment. I would suggest not forcing people to go through opiates first.
  6. I grew up here in Minnetonka. I’m 54 in Minneapolis, and at 17 years old I broke my back, my neck, jaw, arms, elbows, knees, and ankles. I’m a professional. I’ve worked in corporate America my whole life and managed professionals on opiates and was stoned out of my mind. I was in California visiting my friend who had cancer, and I said let’s get some for you to smoke to help you gain weight. I told her it was just like we did in high school. My friend has since passed away, but what we learned is that it became another avenue for us with chronic pain, like me. I visited with people that also came from other states. We have the most restrictive program in entire country and Canada. Look at where the movement and where the business has gone. I‘ve moved my businesses to another state. I focus on environmental sustainability in growing cannabis. I think that having a restriction on smoking the cannabis flower is too restrictive because I like the flower. There are differences, and people have different types of reactions. I don’t like the vaporizer, but I use it because I talk to all those people around the nation, and it helps them and their communities. [later in the conversation] I’ve taken all the opiates and all the drugs I have taken trying to get over pain. I told myself—I want you to take note—my doctor and I counted, and we went from 7 pain medications per day down to 1. I lost thirty pounds. I don’t have to take Prilosec anymore because they took—the side effect of that is low iron and magnesium. Everything you see on tv are all the drugs I was one of the first people on. There are drugs that are blockers to put on top of that. People here have asked how I’ve been this past week. I’ll be honest. On my way back my back went out, and I literally was spasming for 4 days. I had to take prescriptions from the drawer—the big drawer—you don’t ever want to open it. I am so much happier I lost weight, and I painted—I was on a ladder 30 feet high. We should at least have a choice.
  7. I’m 33 years old and a disabled citizen of Spring Lake Park, Minnesota. For over 5 years I’ve been using cannabis to treat my life threatening gastrointestinal autoimmune disease; Crohn’s disease; and 3 inflammatory diseases associated with my Crohn’s disease; sacroilitis, cervical spondylits, and pancreatitis. I was also born with a genetic mutation, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 2 and live with chronic intractable pain every day. My life almost ended prematurely because of conventional pharmaceutical drug treatments due to the dangerous side effects with anti-TNF biologics, steroids and anti-cancer medications. I’m also unable to treat my chronic intractable pain with oral opiate based pain medications due to my pancreatitis. The medical option to treat with cannabis is the right of any Minnesota patient suffering from chronic intractable pain of any medical condition. Cannabis protects my universal right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness by returning a sense of normalcy to my daily life by treating my chronic nausea, chronic intractable pain and deadly inflammation from my complex medical conditions. I was able to get my medical conditions, Crohn’s disease and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome legally covered by Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Law, under the limited qualifying medical conditions of Crohn’s disease and severe and persistent muscle spasms. The only reason I was able to become certified into Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is because our state’s law discriminates in favor of my medical conditions. Patients don’t get to choose or decide if we want to become ill, disabled, or have our lives prematurely come to an end due to any medical condition. Minnesota’s medical cannabis law discriminates against a patient’s medical conditions. Patients of Minnesota might not share the same exact medical conditions, but the one medical condition we all share and have in common is chronic intractable pain. Chronic intractable pain does not discriminate. Every patient has pain, every patient lives, breathes, eats and battles chronic intractable pain, every moment of our lives. Imagine suffering from the second you wake up, every decision you make is based off pain, to the second you fall asleep, (if you sleep). Your whole life is filled with a never-ending battle with chronic intractable pain. Patients living with pain understand there’s a natural cycle to life. We’re aware everyone dies on our planet, all the stars, and everything in the universe. Death comes for us all and we accept it. The one thing we cannot tolerate, not can we accept, is the unnatural progression of the end. The State of Minnesota can end the premature loss of life, please expand Minnesota’s legal definition of intractable pain and please add chronic intractable pain to Minnesota’s medical cannabis law. Thank you for your time.  How does medical cannabis help you? Relief of pain now. The two manufacturers are not producing strong enough products. [Showed strongest product.] One gram of this is $200, and I would need 10 per month, so I need $2000. I live on $799 per month from Social Security Disability. So I’m not sure where extra $1300 will come from let alone the money for other things. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have cannabis. I’d be dead. Minnesota has lots of problems that have to do with costs and potency. I was chemically burned in my mouth due to additives added by MNMed. It’s been reported and led to MNMed changing the additive in its products. There are very powerful emotional stories.
  8. I’m playing this by ear. One of the things I, myself, feel I have intractable pain. A while back I hit my head on the roof of the vehicle, and I’m missing 2 parts of my brain and was in a coma for 5 days. I was married to a person from Germany, and I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times and I noticed smoking pot helps a lot. I enjoyed a lot more things. But there’s always a way to change structure. As far as street drugs we’re hoping to not have to buy it on the street because we’re worried about what gets put into it and street gangs. I moved to another state, but my family helps me and they’re here and my friends are here. I went last Thursday night [to the intractable pain listening session] when they were closing. I’m thankful you’re listing to all points of view. I would have liked to be here earlier. I could probably get a lot more focused. I had 5% or less chance of survival.

Comments posted 10/2/15

  1. As a person with Fibromyalgia, access to medical cannabis has been the sole reason why I have been able to stay employed.  Cannabis allows me to function normally and dulls my pain.  It has allowed me to go off of dangerous narcotics and other pharmaceuticals such as Lyrica and Cymbalta (both did nothing for my pain, and both caused side effects that prevented me from functioning normally).  Cannabis helps me get to sleep, decreases my pain, and lifts my mood…all of this with out adverse side-effects. I use cannabis when pain is especially bad, but if I do not use it for a day or two I feel no withdrawal symptoms.  It is not a gateway drug, it is medicine, and it has helped me more than any other treatment that I have sought out.
  2. Our Great maker did not create bad things. Only our perception of things make them bad. Everything has a purpose for our greater good. Cannabis should be legal to be used in whatever form for what ever condition that may improve a quality of life for all. I am a chronic pain sufferer who has my own horror stories of seeking help for relief and trying to live a "normal" life.  I try to find a legitimate explanation of why society is so against someone suffering in pain or seizure, or mental pain, to be denied a substance that makes them feel good, or normal or relieved. More people than not reach for some sort of liquid alcohol   which is legal for the same purpose of some relief, to feel good, normal, relaxed, good.  This is accepted by society.  Unfortunately a cp sufferer cannot as they need it all the time. So therefore, we would like a product that relieves pain, allows us to drive, be considered for employment without "failing" a drug test, be a parent a positive person to society without being considered "under the influence", a pill seeker, or alcoholic, or lazy and the many other titles we are labeled.  I think of how this product in a liquid form would provide life altering relief to the burning lungs of my step child who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Or how it may  stabilize a OCD or ADHD person. And to be selfish, to help alleviate my pain.  This substance needs to viewed not as a gateway drug, or street drug, but as a normal medication that Doctors's aren't afraid to prescribe, to help the quality of life for their patients.  We cannot let the past or thrill seekers to deny the majority of society the benefits from the expansion of cannabis for pain and other health issues.
  3. Intractable pain should be added to Minnesota's qualifying list of conditions to be treated with medical cannabis. As a person that suffers from chronic migraines, this would be very advantageous. I have spent decades looking for treatment in conventional areas, but have found little to no success. Marijuana is the only thing that has ever made a solid difference. Marijuana is also successful in treating my anxiety. I firmly believe there is a relationship between my anxiety and my migraines. It is ridiculous that people are so afraid of this drug, but will gladly stuff their face with all manner of traditional medications that are more toxic to their bodies and minds than the natural healing components of cannabis.
  4. I suffer from Anxiety Disorder which causes a pounding heartbeat, nausea, headaches, feelings of panic, shortness of breath, and disrupted thought process.  I have been reading information that Cannabis treats this well. I currently take an anti depressant which takes 4-6 weeks to be affective. I would appreciate a more immediate result.  Thank You!
  5. I have had lower back pain for over 10 years and been to several Dr. And get nothing for my pains. This may help me and hundreds of others because if you're always in pain and they won't prescribe something its always a pain, and I'm tired of this bulls***. Give me something. Over counter meds  do nothing, tired of Dr's not prescribing opoids or whatever to relieve pains, and they wonder why people go bizerk. Change the laws for us poor people.
  6. I have suffered from migraine headaches since I was 17. I am now 58 years old. I have been using the same prescription drug since 17.   I would prefer the use of medical marijuana to treat these migraines because my understanding is that side effects are minimal (if exist at all) and it is a less intrusive treatment with no side effects.   I am grateful that you are taking a second look at adding this to uses for medical marijuana as it seemed glaringly obvious that it was missed in the first place. I'm not sure what the fear is here; consider the opiates prescribed for pain and the deaths associated with these opiates.    It seems a no brainer to make available a more effective drug with less (or no) side effects available to those who suffer from pain on a very regular basis with no real and reasonable solution.   Please make this available to me and the thousands in Minnesota who suffer from migraine headaches. Thank you for your time.
  7. I have been diagnosed with multiple health issues the past 5 years while doctoring with Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I have some very unique diseases, but also some that are fairly well known. I have suffered with chronic pain for quite some time now. Chronic pain takes a toll in so many facets of ones life.  I would not wish the pain that I experience daily on anyone. Just recently, I have been diagnosed with a couple more forms of arthritis on top of the one I already was treating, plus I also have fibromyalgia. I also have a rare vascular condition. Manmade drugs for pain scare the dickens out of me, with all of the side effects, and risk of damage to other organs in my body. Besides the fact that in some cases, manmade pain meds do not cover the pain, I feel that all viable options should be available to those with the need for relief. I would like to commend our state for taking a very conservative approach to implementing medical cannabis. I sat in at the meeting in Rochester this past week to learn more about what is occurring, or being considered. I can see how a program, such as this, could become a problem if not handled correctly. I was shocked at how some were voicing their grievance's about the fact that our state does not allow it to be provided in a smoke able or edible form. When it comes to relief, and if it works, WHO CARES WHAT FORM YOU RECEIVE IT IN. My greatest concern is that not enough existing conditions are on the state qualifying list, and that patients who are truly in need are unable to find a doctor to help them do what is necessary to receive it. I would like to ask you to consider and add more conditions to the list, or even chronic pain in general. I am not an illegal drug user. I do not use pain blockers and/or killers on a daily basis. Why? Because I have to ingest enough other Rx's that are damaging organs in my body while trying to handle what I have been diagnosed with already. I have no idea if cannabis would, or will be, a viable option for pain management for me. For as the standards are set-up, as of today, I would not qualify, besides the fact that I do not have any doctors in my area that are even considering being involved with registering, which makes it further impossible. I am hoping that educating the medical profession becomes a top priority, so that it will be an available option when and if it would help me. Living with pain is a nightmare. Educating our doctors in the state is of utmost importance. A little more background on myself: I have private insurance, I have a full-time job (self-employed), I do not get any state or county assistance, I am your average middle aged mother and grandmother, with a large family, living the American dream. (but with chronic and serious conditions) I have no encounters with the law, except a couple of speeding tickets, in my younger years.  I am not in favor of legalizing drugs to everyone, or just anyone, but I do feel that if there is viable proof that cannabis can help more individuals live quality life, get back in to life, and support their own life, that we need to keep broadening the terms of qualification. I am not an expert on any of this, by any means. I am, however, suffering with pain and am willing to do and/or try anything to get rid of it, within legal law. Please consider giving me, as many viable options as I need to be able to do that.   Besides intractable pain, please consider chronic pain, too. For if we can get a handle on chronic pain before it settles in to the intractable state, or treat pain without as many damaging side effects, shouldn't that be an available option in those case, also.  If you are only going to add specifics, and not a generalization, please add: Fibromyalgia Osteo and/or Rheumatoid Arthritis  Thank you
  8. I have arthritis or Fibromyalgia from the time I wake up until I go to bed.  Lately I've been having carpal tunnel in both wrist and planters fasciitis in the right foot.   I wiped out in May and damaged my rotator cuff.  It seems like all my extremities are falling about.  I have also suffered from IBS since I've been 18 years old.  I currently take Ultram and Naproxen along with ice  to elevate the symptoms.  Without the meds I can't think straight.  I've tried all sorts of antidepressants and other pain killers. All of them make me sick with indigestion.    I really feel medical cannabis should qualify for symptoms like my and any other medical conditions that are similar.    Thank you for listening, [name redacted] age 59
  9. For years I have suffered, first undiagnosed for YEARS, then finally diagnosed with both stage 4 endometriosis and a uterine fibroid tumor.  I have found that cannabis helps the pain better than anything else out there.  Opiates constipated me, worsening the condition, and NSAIDS are very hard on my kidneys and stomach.    Despite having had laparoscopic expoloratory surgery and cauterization of endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus, the endometrioma has already grown back on the left ovary and the fibroid cannot be removed safely if I want to have children someday until I've given birth.  So every month I go through the pain of my body trying to get rid of it and not being able to do so.  I also have endometriosis near my liver attached to my diaphragm that could not be cauterized due to risk of pneumothorax.    It is very important for patients to be able to obtain cannabis extract legally.  In 2010, I was ""burned"" badly when someone decided to sell me cannabis laced with PCP (it was oily, not sticky,  and had a very bad chemical taste and I lost fear of God and developed all sorts of mental and dermatological  problems.  I went crazy.  I subsequently was sold cannabis that tasted like other manmade chemicals, as I like to say, it tasted like Monsanto took a p*** on it (pardon the French).  I tried turning the bad stuff into the Board of Pharmacy, pleading for medical marijuana to be legalized in the state of Minnesota, and eventually lost my license to practice as a pharmacist because I was too sick to attend the hearings.  My parents called the cops on me when I was off Facebook for three days and they put me in the county [expletive and medical facility name redacted]  (again, pardon the French), where I was Jarvised into taking anti-psychotics and held for eight weeks straight.  I was tortured within the ward.  Every time I ate or drank something I felt internal pains like something was attacking me from the inside and when I reported this to the doctors they simply Jarvised me into risperidone which elevated my prolactin into the 90s and turned me into a zombie.  Needless to say, I quit complaining to them just so I could get the hell out of there.    When I got out of the ward, my parents in Iowa decided to apply for guardianship and conservatorship over me and took away my vehicle.  I met someone on the bus who agreed to give me cannabis in exchange for housing, since my parents were now watching my money like a hawk, but he took advantage of me and eventually raped me.  Afraid to say no, I found myself pregnant with his baby despite the endo, the fibroid, AND a kinked Fallopian tube. I did not want to get pregnant by him as he already had five kids with four baby mamas, but after being raped was afraid to say no and he refused to pull out.  I got pregnant with cannabis in my system.  When I went home to Iowa for the holidays, I left my cannabis in Minnesota since Iowa laws are so strict and so are my parents.  Three weeks later, I lost the pregnancy in a painful miscarriage.  It was later revealed that I had bacterial vaginosis.  My hypothesis is that the terpenes in cannabis made it possible to get pregnant and then when I was without them, the bacterial tendencies due to the fibroid took over, bacteria overgrew and killed the embryo. But Allah knows best.   This is what happens when you apply red tape to patients who really need it and are forced onto the black market for product.  I encourage you to help and not hurt further patients as I am now stuck in Iowa, had to sell my home and go on permanent disability. And am now living in this crappy backwards republican state with my parents after making over 90k a year at a busy uptown 24 hour pharmacy.   Thanks for reading.    For more information regarding the numerous benefits of cannabis, please visit my website: [contact information redacted]
  10. To Whom It May Concern:  As someone who deals with the difficulties of both Multiple Sclerosis and PTSD, I was happy when MN finally passed a medical marijuana bill. However, when I realized how burdensome and limited the actual program was, I decided against it. I've read national news sources citing MN as having one of the most confusing as well as limited programs. Did politics get in the way (again)? I understand the DEA and local PD's feel strongly about their "turf" considerations, but please let's consider the greatest good.  When Big Pharma routinely hooks people on dangerous opioids such as Oxycontin (also called legal heroin), it's time to put aside marijuana propaganda and listen to the scientists. Throughout time, people have turned to naturally occurring plants for medicinal purposes, and pot is certainly MUCH less dangerous than even alcohol, by any measure.  People continue to deal with pain. Will you--our representatives--continue to insist we keep pharmaceuticals content by only taking legal heroin? Really? How can you possibly rationalize that?  And yes, of course chronic pain should be included if we're not barbarians. Why not leave such decisions up to actual DOCTORS? (My own neurologist was originally going to be one of the doctors prescribing for the program, but when he saw all the knots and tangles involved, opted out.)  People before politics, please!  Sincerely, [name redacted]
  11. I was prescribed 600 mg of oxycodone a month, including 300 mg a month of Valium and also robaxin from a doctor in health partners. Why is something that has zero addictive qualities and side affects, and I can not take and have been unable to take them for two years ago. I was on that dosage for three years as an eighteen year old and it had ruined everything that was going for me, mother of my child, school, work, friends, families respect for not being as successful. It should be my right to choose wether I can choose opioid narcotics as a masking medicine(destroyes brain stomach ect). I have signs of scoliosis, degenerate disc disorder, ptsd, post concussion disorder and oic. The doctors will kill me if I stay on the path of long term opioid dependency, it should be my right to choose a natural alternative. Cannabis oil or extract.
  12. Suffering from Spinal Bifida and haviing undergone 5 Surgical interventions for spinal surgery, after 7 years of 480mg/day of Oxycontin. I find that marijuana has prevented me from shooting myself in the head from the Severe and Chronic pain! I have been using Marijuana for the past 13 years INSTEAD of the Massive dose of Oxycontin every day that I use to take, I find relief from Marijuana use Much better than the Drug! I would like to stop being made as a criminal for this and would like to see the MDH include Intractable pain as a Legitimate reason for the admission of the Mn Cannabis program! Thank you very much fopr your time! Sincerely, Mr Dr. [name redacted]
  13. I have 24 hour a day intractable pain from multiple sclerosis, so please add it to the list of qualifying conditions. Thank you.
  14. I experience chronic pain 24/7. I have more than one condition causing this, but none of them are curable. I have put off summiting this form due to the pain I experience and the brain fog that muddles my brain. This will not be a long submission and I will need a long time to finish this. I would love to come and speak to you in person but my pain prevents me from doing that. Please remember that many of us will not be able to come to a meeting or even summit this form.  I am a 69 yr old female whose quality of life is very poor due to interacting pain. If I did not have pain I would enjoy good general health. I have 4 children and 8 grandchildren. I am unable to be an active parent or grandmother. I want a better quality of life so I can be of support to my family, friends and the community. I want to travel with my husband. A weekend getaway would be a treat, I would even like to go for a long ride. I have been totally home bound for 9 months. But the pain has been going on for years. I spend 95% of my time on my sofa. Even sleeping there rather than my bed. Going out only for my appointments to my pain clinic. What kind of life is this? Most of the time I want to die.  My conditions are in no particular order or detail of symptoms - Fibromyalgia, severe Osteoarthritis, various disc issues from my cervical spine down to my lumbar. They include bulging discs, stenosis, spurs, I have had already had 3 back surgeries. I have an inoperable reoccurring Anachrgiod cyst in the Thoracic area of my spine. I have had one surgery for this but no further surgery is recommended after seeing 4 doctors. Due to this cyst my spinal cord is impinged 40%, the spinal cord is swollen and causes pain and spasms in that area of my back. I have numbness and tingling in my right leg and both feet due to this impingement. Due to my first surgery in that area I have a nerve condition called Anarchroiditus. I also need a total shoulder replacement, I have been having injections every 3 months for years but if I get a few weeks of relief I am lucky. I know I may be able to correct my shoulder issue but I am afraid of more surgery (I have had generally about 7 in my lifetime).  Ok now what pain medications have I tried with no success? All the Opiates except morphine, I am allergic to that. I last tried Fentanyl patches which didn't work on the pain and made me sick. As of the last two days I am trying Dilaudid 2 mg. Not only do I have to suffer with chronic pain I also suffer from trying all of these medications that don't work. Why do I have to go through all of this pain and suffering when we know that Medical Marijuanna has a huge success rate for intractable pain. I know people in other states who use MM who get great relief. Wouldn't it be great to get a huge population of pain patients off of opiates?   Please allow all of us who have intractable pain some hope. You know how hopelessness leads to depression and suicide. Who would want to live years and years in constant pain. I surely don't. Thank you for reading this and your consideration.
  15. I have been suffering chronic pain for several years. I have fibromyalgia, neuropathy, osteoarthritis,  peroneal tendinitus,  planter faciitus, SI dysfunction,  chronic back pain from SI joints through the lumbar and in my neck. My cirvical spine lost the natural curve. I have been deficient in vitamin D for these last few yrs. and my body is not obsorbing it... I take 50,000 iu of vitamin D a week and my levels stay between 26-34.  With my muscle spasms and all the chronic pain I am in on a daily basis, I can say that marijuana has helped me in many significant ways.  Relaxes my body and mind cause chronic pain does not just affect you physically, but also mentally.  Dealing with all the conditions I have that result to my chronic pain never allows me a pain free day and it is mentally antagonizing. marijuana has been a  regiment I use to help with my chronic pain on a daily basis.  I rather have my pain bearable from medical marijuana than continue to take all the several meds I am on that can and has created more medical problems for me and maybe will stop the abuse of pain medications in MN that is a gateway to more severe addiction problems.
  16. To Whom It May Concern:  I am a 61 year old woman who contracted Hodgkin's Disease at the age of 21.  My treatment consisted of many doses of high cobalt radiation.  Radiation Fibrosis Syndrome afflicts me and has caused my disability.  Muscles that not longer work and pain from nonviable nerves are a constant contribution to my pain.  I have been on Hydrocodone, Gabapentin, Ibuprofen and Effexor for over 10 years for terrible muscle and nerve pain in my shoulders, neck and upper back.  I am concerned my body has built up a tolerance for the opioid pain medication and is not working as well as it should due to that tolerance.  I would greatly appreciate the ability to determine if medical marijuana will take the place of the opioid and other pain medication.  The depression from intractable pain is also a part of my daily life.  Sadly my health and quality of life will continue to decline if my pain is not under control.  Please consider medical marijuana for the sake of people suffering like me.  Thank you for your consideration.
  17. I am 22-year olds and I suffer from carpal-tunnel. It causes me severe pain every day. This is something that I know I will have to live with for the rest of my life, and most likely it will only get worse. My doctor here in Minnesota recommended that I take Ibuprofen multiple times a day in order to reduce inflammation and lessen the pain. I am still young. I have done the research. I know that it is absolutely unhealthy for me to be taking Ibuprofen all day every day for the rest of my life.  Not only is it unhealthy, but I do not feel relief. I believe there is a better way. A green way. I recently lived in Colorado for a short period of time and was fortunate enough to have access to a medical cannabis program. I learned so much about the benefits of the plant and the different compounds that specifically help with inflammation. They actually have edibles that I ate regularly in small doses to prevent inflammation, which in turn prevented a lot of pain. Which means not only is cannabis successful as an immediate reliever of pain but it is actually more useful a preventative tool. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay in Colorado. I was born and raised in Minnesota and do not plan on moving again any time soon. My family is here, my school is here, and my life is here. I think that it only makes sense that I should be able to have good health here too. I believe that this program would dramatically increase my standard of life. It would give me, and countless other Minnesotans, the chance to wake up in the morning feeling pain free again. Please, just give us a chance.
  18. It is 3:15 AM and I am unable to sleep due to chronic pain. I have multiple spinal conditions, including degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis, which began with two car accidents. The only thing I'm able to do without pain is lie on my back with legs elevated. I'm only 38 years old, yet disabled by this condition and accompanying depression. Not only is the condition irreversible, according to doctors, it keeps getting worse.   If medical cannabis can help someone like me to sit, walk, and bend without pain, it could put disabled people back into the workforce. I believe this option could help me to regain function and get my life back. Moreover, cannabis is safer and far less toxic than the narcotics that are prescribed to me despite their minimal effectiveness.   Unlike cancer and ALS, intractable pain isn't likely to result in death; but that's all the more reason that pain suffers need access to medical cannabis.People like me live in agony, bearing the unbearable, with no end in sight. That's not really living at all.   Please don't deny us the right to something most people take for granted: living free of pain.   First do no harm.
  19. That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.” taken from The Fault in our Stars. (2012) by John Green.  My pain began seven years ago.  I had extreme fatigue and my body hurt everywhere.  My doctor sent me to a lot of specialists and I was seen at a large medical facility in our state, they were all unable to help me.  No one knew what I had that gave me so much pain.  After a lot of research we find that I fit the criteria for a very, very rare fat disorder.  It is a disease of unintended weight gain of painful fat and can be very disabling.  There is one doctor in the world that specializes in this disease. .  There is no cure and no treatment other than the alleviation of pain.  It has been difficult for me to find a pain management doctor that understands this disease or is willing to learn about it.  I hope that the state will add intractable chronic pain to the marijuana program.  I will have medical approval from my doctor.
  20. I am here to testify in support of including intractable pain in this program and I really do appreciate the opportunity to testify.  My name is [name redacted] and I am a 47 year old grandfather. Just to tell you a little bit about who I am, my wife served 23 years active duty, I am proud to say in the program here at the National Guard. I have a few degrees, bachelors in chemistry, MBA from Carlson and a MBA from a conservative seminary in the twin cities. I try and volunteer in the community and stay involved in different roles and I say all that to thoroughly impress you with just how relatively boring I am.  Like most cannabis users, I know I’m not the stereotypical pot head, but most folks I do know who use it are like me. I’ve been on both sides of this issue as a police officer for decades in the twin cities, I fought the drug war right when it was heating up in the 90’s and now I use cannabis for pain relief. This is my story. 5 years ago in 2010 I suffered severe herniations of multiple discs in my lumbar spine and I spent a week doped up, which is a common story out there.  The surgery was very effective of getting me back on my feet but as happens I had severe pain that gradually got worse and I also had some residual secondary nerve damage in my left foot.  Soon I was taken two oxycodone’s a day, and I did that for 3 years, and eventually it didn’t keep up with the pain any longer, I was afraid it was no longer going in a good direction.  Not only did I fear addiction but I feared the side effects.  I think it is appropriate we are discussing this the very week we are having the so called pain killer summit in the twin cities, on Tuesday. I felt trapped between the excruciating pain that often left me flat on my back and this drug that seemed to be slowly taking my life away from me, you can ask my wife what that was like.  Tylenol was never a good option for me I used it a lot but that may be one reason I have mild liver damage.  Ibuprofen is not good either since I suffer from girth. So in 2012 I began researching alternatives and found out the benefits of medical cannabis and to my surprise its remarkable benign side effects.  I finally made the decision to try a tiny bit of it in October of 2012 I was surprised by how much it helped me with the pain.  It didn’t make my pain go away, like oxy could, if I took enough, but it did take the edge off and help me to push through the pain that remained and I quickly learned how to measure the amount of cannabis that I use to obtain pain relief without becoming intoxicated.  2013 is a good example of how this can help, I bought a fixer-upper of a house, that demanded more physical exertion then I had anticipated when I bought it and thanks to cannabis I was able to get that job done. If you think that cannabis always makes you lazy, come hang out with one of us who is working hard.  When that work was done, I ended up quitting oxy cold turkey, nearly 2 years ago and I have discovered what many others have experienced that cannabis is an excellent gateway drug to get off of hard drugs, that our doctors are forced to prescribe to us for intractable pain here in MN. I really appreciate it if we could include the intractable pain provision in the medical cannabis program in MN for all sorts of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is quality control right now, for those of who are buying off the street, you just don’t have any idea really what you are getting like you do in states where it is legal, where you get an analysis of what you are purchasing. There are also some very significant social factors here, the fact that it is still illegal to have a small amount of cannabis even though it is a petty misdemeanor has resulted in a lot of trouble in my personal life. I testified on this about a year and a half ago, I paid a heavy price in my personal life because people around me saw me as a heinous law breaker.  The people around me took it more seriously, and so I am eager to get through this program, not only because we have had great quality of control but also because I would be sanctioned by the state and can make a tremendous difference in my life personally.  Thank you very much.
  21. I have had a few different experiences, which have brought home the benefit that this could offer a lot of individuals.  My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2005 and she passed away in 2007 and during that period I watched her develop a bit of an addiction of morphine, which was prescribed to her.  Now the seriousness of the pain at some point may have required that but as she evolved through that illness, I certainly think that this could have been a usable solution for her earlier on, in some sort of a form.  My brother suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome as well as some neural muscular problems and he’s been prescribed codeine as well as a whole slew of other pain killers, that have been stopped and issued again and stopped and he has never really able to keep a handle on his pain so her more or less suffers from it on a daily basis without any viable alternatives to codeine or the Vicodin.  My personal experience, outside of my mother and my brother, has been one in which I also had herniated discs and suffer from back pain on a regular basis and I had traveled out to the west coast and with the recommendation of a friend, revisited the use of marijuana as a result of not finding relief in the normal medications that are prescribed, oxytocin, oxycodone, and other various pain killers.  I was remarkably surprised of the benefit and when I was in high school, I smoked, and took a break.  I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t use drugs, so I was cautious as to involving myself in that because I always think there is a risk of addiction in any kind of chemical that relieves pain that can relieve a condition that helps you live better.  I was also very surprised of the progressive knowledge that existed in CA when I was out there as well as when I traveled up the west coast and then through CO visiting various shops last fall and winter, doing a little personal research on the process and each state is a bit different, but in the end, I think intractable pain is probably one of the conditions that gets to benefit the most.  It blows me away that we can have a system that relies on hard drugs to alleviate pain.  We’re all in denial, I think, the interesting thing is if you talk to the majority of people in the state, I think the majority of the population is ok with this but for some reason it gets stopped up when its caught up in the politics. You listen to law enforcement officers that are advising political individuals that are following a role that is so outdated, my hope is that we will actually take a close look at this as a viable alternative to these hard drugs that are being prescribed right now. People are going to find out eventually, across the country that it is a very mild drug.  You know you compare it to alcohol, you compare it to these pain pills, and there really is no comparison and the hype and the high precaution and the fear can only be eliminated through what is being done at Mayo clinic but also through personal experiences that go on and unless people are able to go through that experience, they will never know.  It’s one of those things where you have to have actually gone through this process of dealing with pain, going through all these prescribed methods that are used, and then visit this to realize the real benefits and there are a lot of additional benefits of this, that I don’t want to get into since this is focused on intractable pain.  But my hope is that people will open their eyes to the benefits and at least give it a chance so that it could be looked at in a serious manner.  Thank you.
  22. I want to thank both of you for sharing your personal stories.  I’ve been dealing with pain for probably 20 years, this last year has probably been the hardest. I had 3 knee surgeries in 6 months. My drug of choice, well if I’m not awake I don’t have to feel the pain. Every day I look forward to going to sleep, because that is the only time I am not in pain. When you talk about pain, it is not just your own pain, its family members that deal with it. I was dealing with doctors around the metro and I was on dilaudid at the time and I could hardly make it through the day. I wouldn’t take it during the day just so I could take it at night to go to bed, because without sleep, there is no pain relief. I sat and looked at my husband and he said you got to do something for her. It affects the family, it really does. And you know what, I am looking forward to the day where I can get up in the morning and not wonder what kind of day it will be, just one day to wake up without the pain. And the side effects from the narcotics, and I hate drugs, but just to be able to control pain. I have fibromyalgia, from other medical things and back injuries, you learn to deal with the pain. But when it gets beyond the point where there is no relief, there has got to be something out there.
  23. Almost 3 years ago I was hit by a drunk driver. I was T-boned on the driver’s side. And since then I have been dealing with chronic pain. After over a year, I went in to see a primary doctor.  I’ve been trying to use chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy and acupuncture and after evaluation, she said well I think you’re dealing with chronic pain and depression from dealing with pain day after day. I have 6 children, ages 7-17, I was a homeschool mom, I had just built a new house, we were just trying to get settled in and this accident happened like a month after we moved in. my life has since been on hold, my children are now in school. I couldn’t teach them while I was in and out of town for appointments for chiropractic care and all these things and my dad who is 62 just passed away this year and it was really due to side effects of prescription medications for years. He has spent his last few years in a nursing home. I have resisted wanting to use prescription drugs to treat this chronic pain because I have seen how it took my dad’s life and I want something that is safe, natural I want to be able to be a good wife and mother.  I just went into the ER a couple weeks ago in Willmar.  I called and talked to someone at rice institute on the phone, he said to me, come into the ER we can help you. I spent 2 hours in the ER before a doctor finally said there are no beds in Rice institute, you can spend the night in the ER, tomorrow morning we will have to probably take you by ambulance to Fargo or the twin cities just so I could see a doctor who could help me with chronic pain and depression and anxiety. So I said my life with 6 kids does really allow me to go on vacation to Fargo or the twin cities to deal with this so what are my other options. He said well I can send you home with this bottle of anti-anxiety medication, but are you suicidal? Because if you take the whole bottle it can kill you. So I went home with that but I couldn’t even take anything because I couldn’t drive with the medication. I definitely think there needs to be something to allow, sooner than later, marijuana for intractable pain because there are people who are using it for their sanity and just to be able to function on a daily basis and it needs to be legal, it needs to be safe. Like you said you don’t want to have to get it off the streets from somebody.  I’ve tried different kinds that have made me more high than any pain relief and that’s very frustrating and I wish as an honest citizen I could show up and say I would like to go to a dispensary, I want to find something that would give me more pain relief and less high so I can function with 6 children. I think it just can’t be legal soon enough.
  24. I am not able to get the right type of help.  We have tried different types of pain medication. And when I tell the doctors what I am dealing with and other things they think, they don’t really believe what I am telling them about the pain and if I take a higher amount of a dosage like Vicodin 10-6-60 is what it was at the time, it doesn’t really do much for me.  I was injured really badly while going 65 miles an hour and later on I fell and hit my head and was in a coma for 9 days, missing two parts of my brain, 5% less chance of survival.  I’ve always wanted to be prescribed the medication that is prescribed to only 7 different groups are able to get it (cannabis?) considering more than the type of pain.  I think it would be good to allow people, such as myself, to be able to try this medication because what I’ve been doing just doesn’t work for me.  I’m just hoping to try a type of pain medication and the thing that would help as much as pain would be it would help relax me which is good.  The pain medication I was on was helping as an anti-depressant, but I am not able to cry or feel normal emotions since my injuries 
  25. To Whom It May Concern,   I am 51 year old woman who has suffered from chronic Pain for over 15 years.  I had a hysterectomy and a laproscopic surgery that left me with very large amounts of scar adhesions and nerve damage.  I have had SEVERE CHRONIC PAIN ever since.  I have attended a pain clinic for just as long.  I take about 14 medicines daily many are directly a result  of my CP.  Throughout this time I have tried MANY treatments, therapeis, shots and I even have a perephreal stimilator that was surgically implanted.  My condition has gotten  worse every year despite  all these treatments.  I have been taking opiods in one form or another for all of these years.  I have become disabled as even with all of the medications I still cannot function.  I am VERY uncomfortable taking all of these pills.  I am running into kidney problems and God knows what other of my medical issues we're aggravated by the medications. I have done my own research  and feel that medical marijuana would be a safe alternative.   I'm not sure it would  help but I would like the option.    Basically I am writing this to implore you to add chronic pain to the list.  People with my condition need as many alternatives as possible and in my case, it may be a last resort.  I am a very logical person and as such have to point out that there are millions of overdoses on opiods not to mention the long term damage. You have many restrictions on them as it should be.   There are thousands of people killed by ALCOHOL,  either from the physical ramifications or drunk driving.  I have yet to hear of one documented case of death by marijuana.  You already have regulations in place for opiods and other drugs, It should be quite simple to just add marijuana to mix.
  26. I think intractable pain should be added to the list because since I was 37 yrs old I have suffered with Fibromyalgia, RA 4th stage in my hands, Osteoarthritis in my feet. Im 43 now and all of this pain has caused me to become totally disabled which i no longer can work, and ive tried many different medications that didnt help. I know my diseases have no cure and my quality of life is very poor. I would like the chance to try medical marajuiana for it is natural and has no side effects. Thank you.
  27. I now live in Garland, Texas.  Have been diagnosed with acute fibromyalgia.  I cannot tolerate any oral drugs normally used to treat this chronic dehabilitating disease.  Because of an ultra sensitive stomach and urinary tract system the narcotics and nerve meds cannot be used.  This "new" type of legal treatment would make me move back to Minnesota.  I am 67 years old and desperate.  We would pack up as soon as this policy would be added.  I wish everyone on the board could experience acute fibromyalgia from head to toe just for one day and you would add it to your list in a second.  Our extended family and old friends live in Minnesota so this state would be a more common sense residence as I know no one in Colorado, Alaska, etc.
  28. I'm 44 years old, and I was born with a rare genetic disorder called Camurati-Engelmann's Disease, or CED. I causes an over-abundance of bone mass, which causes chronic pain, fatigue, and weakness due to low muscle mass (wasting). Because of its rarity, the vast majority of physicians did not know what it was, let alone how to treat it, when I was a child. Because of this, I wasn't on any medication and had to rely on OTC meds such as Tylenol and Advil until I was age 34 and could no longer deal with the daily pain. I was taking mega-doses of Tylenol until it no longer worked at all, and at best it only made the pain marginally manageable. When Advil no longer helped, and due to the dangerous amounts I was taking, I asked my doctor about pain management. This started an over 4-year period of opioid use, beginning with Vicodin and ending with high doses of OxyContin. Oxy's adverse affects were so severe that my pain came back and I was having periodic, borderline hallucinations. I sweated profusely. It affected my GI tract, and I felt literally toxic all the time. I would have sudden attacks of nausea and vomiting seemingly from nowhere. My appetite declined... being 6' 4" and 150 lbs. at the time, I could ill-afford to lose weight. My depression, which was completely managed for years, came back with a vengeance. All the while I was trying to hold onto my job as a graphic designer, but after two years of declining attendance, I lost my job of over six years. That was 2008. Once I lost health coverage I tried to pay retail for my prescriptions, but with one month of Oxy costing nearly $800, I had no choice but to go cold turkey. The withdrawals were a nightmare, and they're everything you've ever seen in movies. When I finally got Minnesota Care and tried to get my Rx filled, MN Care wouldn't pay for Oxy until I tried 2 of 3 other meds first, including morphine. When that didn't work, and with everything I had gone through, I gave up and quit opioids for good, with no medical management or assistance.   I'm affected by the long-term affects still today. It took over a year for my body to readjust, but my muscles had atrophied which mainly affected my back... it's worse today than ever. And my mental health took over six years to achieve stasis. I've been unemployed most of the last seven years, minus a couple part-time/seasonal jobs thanks to Vocational Rehab Services. My physical pain is managed to a point  thanks to a non-opioid medication usually prescribed as an anti-convulsant or for nerve pain. But it only works to a point. When I have flare-ups, it's mostly ineffective. My pain doctor originally prescribed Tramadol for breakthrough pain, but due to it being in the opioid family, I refuse to take it because of past experience, let alone that it's not very effective. That leaves me with three choices: 1) drink heavily, 2) do nothing and lay in bed till the pain subsides, or 3) use illegal cannabis. Since cannabis is both illegal and expensive (especially when you're unemployed), I don't use it often. But when I have, it's been the best, most effective pain relief I've ever used. Nothing has ever come close to being as effective as it is with very few and manageable side effects. I had high hopes when Minnesota was working on legislation for legal medical cannabis, but was frustrated when the bill was gutted to cover only a select few patients. Politics should not determine health care.   Those of us with intractable pain need a BETTER alternative than what's available. Had I continued with opioids, I have no doubt they would've killed me, one way or the other. We need help, REAL help. We need common sense, not ideology. You can help us.   Thank you.
  29. [Already submitted written comment] I am here requesting that Minnesota add intractable pain to the list of conditions for doctors to prescribe for medical cannabis. I have been a registered nurse for 23 years. Every day my job involves assessing patients’ pain and talking to patients about what works and what doesn’t work to manage their pain. Pain management is difficult. Pain is subjective and invisible. We have to find the balance of helping patients maximize their ability to function while preventing side effects, dependence and addiction. It takes multiple interventions to manage pain. While I have a professional interest in including cannabis as a therapy for pain patients, I am also here to speak to you as person living with pain. I was born with a genetic condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. My sister, both of my daughters and I are living with it. For simplicity, I will refer to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as EDS. EDS is a collagen deficiency. My body is simply lacking the “glue” that supports every system of my body. My skin is fragile and stretchy, I bleed and bruise easily, I have hyperextensive joints which dislocate easily. I have had painful Gastro Intestinal problems including GI bleeds, gastroparesis, IBS, fistulas between organs, I have lost my sigmold colon to diverticulitis, and I have had 3 feet of small intestine removed due to tissue pathology consistent with EDS. My most persistent symptom is joint pain, which I feel mainly in my knees, hips, hands and neck. Please know that I am not just advocating that cannabis be available for those only with EDS, I would like to offer to you that I am here thoughtfully pointing out that current paid meds available are not enough. Narcotic pain meds exacerbate GI problems including constipation and nausea, NSAIDS don’t’ work for some of us because of bleeding complications; muscle relaxants and pain meds can be too sedating and prevent us from functioning. I don’t tolerate opioids. I use low dose naltrexone which was very hard for me to get. I understand the concerns that people have legalizing the use of cannabis. I am looking for relief and the continued ability to function. I would welcome the opportunity to try cannabis under the supervision of a physician and pharmacist. Those of us living with pain need cannabis as an option. Thank you for considering adding intractable pain as a condition for the use of medical cannabis in the state of Minnesota.
  30. I would first like to thank all of you for this opportunity to share our experiences and for the consideration of including intractable pain. In 2009, I was rear ended in a motor vehicle accident. At the time there were no apparent injuries but a couple months later I began to experience pain and discomfort. I had no clue that the accident would change my life forever. I am currently 26 years old. I have had three back surgeries, 10 fusions, over a half-million dollars in medical expenses, and I have had a narcotic pump implanted that delivers an opioid to my back. The pain I experienced is indescribable. The best words to describe the pain are excruciating, torture, absolute misery, and hell. Due to the pain there was no other option than to become dependent on opioid medication. A year ago I was taking 60 mg of morphine twice a day and 30 mg of oxycodone four times a day. We have become a pharmaceutical nation. Because of this we are forced to deal with doctors that treat patients like drug addicts. I spent a year with one of the top neurologists in the state who only saw me as a drug addict because he didn’t take the time to take an MRI of my upper back, so I suffered for a year without any pain medication. Fortunately, I have been off of oral narcotic pain medication for six months thanks to the pump implant, my recent back surgery and cannabis. Eight months ago, I was trapped and stuck in my apartment with no escape from the pain. At that point I had been suffering for a few years and I was fed up. I lost all hope long before this point and I was full of anger, self loathing, and I feared that this was what the rest of my life was going to be like. It’s hard to comprehend but for me, my condition became my life. I endured endless appointments with weeks where I would have and appointment every single day along with excruciating pain while trying to live my life, years of this would take its toll on any individual. I knew something had to change and I was willing to try or do anything for relief so I decided to try cannabis. Cannabis saved my life and my sanity. When I use cannabis the pain and discomfort melt away. Due to the trauma and the surgeries the muscles throughout my back, down my sides and in my legs become extremely tight and cause severe spasms. Cannabis allows my muscles to relax along with my entire body. It is not only good for pain but for the mind and the soul as well. It gave me enough of a distraction from the pain that I was able to focus on everything that was happening around me instead of only on myself and my condition. I was able to find myself again, and soon the weight on my shoulders began to disappear. It gave me a different perspective and a better outlook on life. Currently I am a student at the University of Minnesota. This summer I changed my major to plant science to grow medical marijuana because I have decided to devote my life to this miraculous plant. I am going to help as many people as I can to inform everyone about the benefits of this God given plant. [Follow-up question: Are you still on the pain pump as well?] Yes. [later in the conversation] Marijuana—I would choose it over an opioid any day. I’ve been through it and I was super depressed and it helped me find myself.
  31. I am a pain warrior. I have really bad neuropathic pain. It’s in my hands and my feet and testicles and legs. Putting on my socks is torture; so is showering. There is no medication to take care of this. I take Gabapentin at the maximum dosage that I can take—I think that a human can take—and it provides nearly no relief. Cannabis works. It helps me live my life and put on socks—you need to put socks on to live your life, right?—and shower. And because of this I run the risk of a felony. I’m just trying to treat my own pain, and I risk going to jail. So I ask you to take my pain and anyone else’s pain into consideration when you make your recommendations. [Follow up question: Do you experience any side effects?] No I do not. None.
  32. Thank you for letting me speak. I have had a severe back pain issues that have haunted me for the last 10 years. I had an interesting experience over this last year where I travelled out to the west coast and for the first time in my life was able to get relief that didn’t require the typical process. I usually get Vicodin and Flexeril. The issues I’ve developed over the last ten years have been liberated. When you take Vicodin and Hydrocodone you take in acetaminophen that damages the liver. When you take it over the long term it almost certainly will, and that’s irreversible. When I experience what a mild drug—not just the physical effects but the personal effects than hydrocodone and how it carries over into you own life. I’m just hoping that we move forward and include intractable pain for individuals so that no one has to go through the problems I have and the liver damage that I’ve experienced. There are ways to go about treating people with chronic pain. This is going to take a movement forward that we’re all going to have to work together on it. Our society has created a view on medical cannabis that is outdated. Recognizing acetaminophen all by itself and the damaging effects it has on an individual and not limiting this [medical cannabis] and restricting it to such a small portion of the population and allowing it to treat people like myself. [later in the conversation] One of things we’re missing here is that in response to the comments about addiction the opiates are much more addictive, and not only do people experience liver damage but constipation issues, limited ability to drive. Any type of substance that you’re adjusting to, you have to be respectful of that, and that’s where the medical community comes into play. The patient-doctor relationship needs to be tight. No one is discounting that importance. Vicodin was a much more powerful drug and in itself very addictive. So the argument of the slippery slope and with narcotics already being issued for pain seems a little lacking. If you have a milder drug and compare it to harder drug—I can only speak for myself, and I know there are other types of drugs for relief and there really are the strong drugs that are issued and they are issued right off the bat for people. Most people are not in a position to voice their experiences. And I didn’t have the option of the Fentanyl patch at the time. I accepted Vicodin as it is was the options. We just need to encourage viable options for use. This is another tool in the toolkit to treat pain and expansion to treat people with back injuries. Seems like a no brainer.
  33. [Second public testimony] I’m a mother of 6 children ages 7- 17, and up until this last year I’ve been a full time mom and home-schooling them. In 2012, after going to a Mothers of Preschoolers group—I was going Christmas shopping—I got hit by a drunk driver and I was hit on the driver’s side door. Ever since then I’ve been plagued by chronic pain, mainly on one side and pain under my shoulder. I’ve been trying to treat it with physical therapy and massage therapy and anti-inflammatory diet because I didn’t want to go to the harsh pain medications. And I ended up in the emergency room. And now I got rear ended and I have migraines from pain in the right side of my neck. I have been so desperate and my doctor said I have depression and anxiety after living with this. I have tried other medicines, and they don’t work. I usually end up in urgent care getting shots for migraines. I would do everything for my children. And I finally tried cannabis. My husband was very leery and even locked it up because we have children in the house. But he said I am a better mom. I can talk and engage with them and sweep the floor and play. I think it’s almost inhumane not to use something so effective.
  34. I grew up here in Minnetonka. I’m 54 in Minneapolis, and at 17 years old I broke my back, my neck, jaw, arms, elbows, knees, and ankles. I’m a professional. I’ve worked in corporate America my whole life and managed professionals on opiates and was stoned out of my mind. I was in California visiting my friend who had cancer, and I said let’s get some for you to smoke to help you gain weight. I told her it was just like we did in high school. My friend has since passed away, but what we learned is that it became another avenue for us with chronic pain, like me. I visited with people that also came from other states. We have the most restrictive program in entire country and Canada. Look at where the movement and where the business has gone. I‘ve moved my businesses to another state. I focus on environmental sustainability in growing cannabis. I think that having a restriction on smoking the cannabis flower is too restrictive because I like the flower. There are differences, and people have different types of reactions. I don’t like the vaporizer, but I use it because I talk to all those people around the nation, and it helps them and their communities. [later in the conversation] I’ve taken all the opiates and all the drugs I have taken trying to get over pain. I told myself—I want you to take note—my doctor and I counted, and we went from 7 pain medications per day down to 1. I lost thirty pounds. I don’t have to take Prilosec anymore because they took—the side effect of that is low iron and magnesium. Everything you see on tv are all the drugs I was one of the first people on. There are drugs that are blockers to put on top of that. People here have asked how I’ve been this past week. I’ll be honest. On my way back my back went out, and I literally was spasming for 4 days. I had to take prescriptions from the drawer—the big drawer—you don’t ever want to open it. I am so much happier I lost weight, and I painted—I was on a ladder 30 feet high. We should at least have a choice.
  35. I’m playing this by ear. One of the things I, myself, feel I have intractable pain. A while back I hit my head on the roof of the vehicle, and I’m missing 2 parts of my brain and was in a coma for 5 days. I was married to a person from Germany, and I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times and I noticed smoking pot helps a lot. I enjoyed a lot more things. But there’s always a way to change structure. As far as street drugs we’re hoping to not have to buy it on the street because we’re worried about what gets put into it and street gangs. I moved to another state, but my family helps me and they’re here and my friends are here. I went last Thursday night [to the intractable pain listening session] when they were closing. I’m thankful you’re listing to all points of view. I would have liked to be here earlier. I could probably get a lot more focused. I had 5% or less chance of survival.
  36. To whom it may concern,  Until seven years ago I was a successful 56 year old man who ran a large family business. Because of severe chronic pain from a failed spinal fusion and severe arthritis in my hands and knees I was forced to give up the business and go on disability. Since that time my life has been reduced to just trying to manage pain through pain doctors, Pain psychologists, several pain programs, Internal pain pump trials at the Mayo Clinic, etc., etc. I'm now waiting for two knee replacements. All of this has had very limited success.  A few years ago I finally found a pain clinic willing to prescribe narcotics at a high enough dose to help keep the pain some what under control. I have done this for a few years now without abusing my medication but I am worried what would happen if my doctor retired or if Minnesota changes the laws on prescribing Narcotics like they are talking about. I also worry about accidental overdose or pain control if I got Cancer or during surgery recovery.   This led me to go to Colorado to try Medical Marijuana. It worked very well for me on pain with a great side effect. During my back surgery recovery in the hospital my nurse emptied the urine from my catheter bag and forgot to remove the clamp from the hose. This caused nerve damage to my bladder to the point I was thinking of using a catheter every time I went to the bathroom. The Marijuana not only helped the pain but practically cured the nerve problem with my bladder!  My wife has a very good job here in Minnesota and I have two daughters that live within a few miles of us. We just became grandparents. I think having my family close to me is important when I'm struggling with chronic pain.   Please add Chronic Pain to the list so I don't have to decide between family or moving for pain control!  Thank you for your work on such an important issue.  sincerely,  [name redacted]
  37. I am a 60 year-old former Minnesota resident, with all of my family still in Minnesota. As a Colorado resident, I first tried medical cannabis 5 years ago for my chronic back pain due to degenerative disk disease. It worked well, and was much less impairing than the hydrocodone prescribed by my physician. My physician had zero knowledge about the medical use of cannabis, so I saw a knowledgeable specialist for the first of my annual recommendations. IT WORKS, and I believe it is demonstrably safer than the alternatives commonly prescribed for chronic pain patients. I now use hydrocodone only when traveling out of state.   The primary objection to adding intractable pain is the concern that some people will "fake it" to gain access to medical cannabis for recreational purposes. This objection is unfounded. There is no shortage of recreational marijuana in Minnesota, and it is readily available if you know a college student or a musician.     There is much to be fixed in the Minnesota law, but adding intractable pain is a good start. I have many family members in Minnesota who could benefit from this useful medicine. They need safe and legal access. It is more important to help the sick who benefit from medical cannabis, than it is to punish those who may use marijuana for recreational purposes.
  38. I am 65 year old Native American female that has broken neck in 67 atb17 and suffers daily from nerve damage pain is so great I cannot eat for 3 to 4 years and it is hard to seek medical care without of being accused of drug seeking behavior because i use cannabis medical marijuana would benefit my chronic pain will ease my suffering

Comments posted 10/7/15

  1. I am very interested in the Medical Cannabis, and I would very much like intractable pain to be added to the list.   I have had a continuous, awful,  24/7  headache for 2 years and 9 1/2 months.   I have been seen 22 times by my Headache Specialist in Neurology at Mayo Clinic. We have tried many things to try to relieve the pain:  many medications that didn't work,  and 9 injections including:  one behind my eye, injections in cervical 1-2,  cervical 2-3, 3-4, and 2-3 again. Also an occipital nerve block which didn't take away the pain, either.   I also get frequent migraines along with the continuous pain.  On my own, away from Mayo, I have had chiropractic, acupuncture,  and  electro-stimulation therapy.  These did not give long -lasting relief. As you know, it's very hard to have a headache, and a continuous one has changed my life completely. I can't listen to music, read a book, sing in the church choir (after 30 years of loving it)  or many other things I've given up.    I have asked my doctor twice to see if he could get me some Medical Marijuana, to no avail. Now, I'm 'begging' for you to try to get headaches on the list, at least so we could try it and see if it works for us.  I didn't mean to sound so desperate, but I guess I am.   Thank you for your work in this much-needed area.   [Name redacted] (75 years old)
  2. I am A Minnesota Veteran, A Veteran Law Enforcement Office and Now a Pain Sufferer. I of Course recommend Marijuana for Pain Patients and All People that can get Relief with the help of Marijuana. I also believe Cannabis should be treated as any other plant in the woods for personal use. I urge All Citizens of this State and Country to not create Laws that tell others how to treat their personal bodies. It’s time for Minnesota to tell the truth about Marijuana as other States already have.
  3. I suffer from this condition.  I would like to have this condition added to the list !!!  If it was added to the list I could possibly benefit from this change.  I believe the PROHIBITION of MARIJUANA is an UNJUST LAW !!!  It is MORE STUPID than the PROHIBITION of ALCOHOL was !!!  Only STUPID PEOPLE & IMMORAL PEOPLE believe that the PROHIBITION of MARIJUANA is a Good Policy !!!  I always remember those who show me kindness.  We should work to end the REFFER MADNESS !!!
  4. I suffer from Neuropathic pain caused by a genetic disease named CMT. CMT is a muscle/nerve disease covered under the umbrella of MDA.  Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves (those outside the brain and spine).  The disease involves damage to the covering (myelin sheath) around nerve fibers.  In some, the disease causes destruction of the myelin sheath. In others, the central (axon) portion of the nerve cell wears away.  Nerves that stimulate movement (the motor nerves) are most severely affected.  The nerves in the legs are affected first and most severely.  Neuropathic pain is a subset of Chronic Pain.  However, there is a huge difference between someone whose knee hurts and someone who is suffering from Neuropathic pain.  Please consider adding Neuropathic Pain as a qualifier for Medical Cannabis if the broader term "Chronic Pain" is not ultimately adopted.  Medical marijuana can help relieve some symptoms of CMT:  Cannabis extract helps stop muscle cramps Cannabis extract helps relieve neuropathic pain in the legs and hands Cannabis extract stops spasticity Cannabis extract relieves depression associated with CMT  Please add CMT and Neuropathic Pain as qualifiers for Medical Cannabis.
  5. To whom it may concern Re: Consideration of Intractable Pain to list on Qualifiers in the use of Medical Marijuana, although I am an active and practicing Dr., I find the use of Medical Marijuana to be the Best Choice for me in the relief of My Intractable Pain from Multiple (5) Surgical Interventions resulting from Spinal Bifida, Compressed Discs, etc. Spinal-Fusion is NOT possible due to the vertebra and bone insufficient to hold the procedure in place = (a sneeze could result in the paralysis of my entire body)  I have been prescribed Massive doses of Oxycontin = (Oxycontin - 6 x 80mg/day = 480mgs/day + 4  x Percocet/day + 4 carosoprodol 350mgs./day + other Rx's) for 7 years I suffered whilst taking the above-mentioned prescriptions.  When I started to use cannabis in place of the Pain-Relievers I FINALLY found some relief, equaling Much More Pain relief than the Rx's being prescribed to me. Although I continue to use the Carosoprodol (Soma) I have found Monumentious Relief in the Use of Medical Cannabis in place of Prescribed Pain Relievers. They do not even compare to the relief I get!  If this isn't argument enough for me to legally use Med-Pot, I not sure what is!  Thank you for your time!  Submitted this day,   Sincerely, Dr.[Name redacted]!
  6. CANNABIS FOR AUTISM PLEASE (I have Autism and it makes my brain work more normal. There is scientific proof that Autistics have a deficit in our cannabinoid receptors. Cannabis helps this in a lot of Autistic people.
  7. Hi I'm am writing because I have a chronic facial condition called trigeminal neuralgia and have been denied the medical marijuana witch would be very beneficial to this disease . my Dr. and I believe that with this medication I would be able to function better at work and with my life I have a hard time Evan playing with my three children because of the pain. There are surgery's that can be done but there is NO cure for this. If I would do one of them there is no guarantee that it would even work or it could turn me in to a fruit loop.. Does not sound like a great idea since I have three kids under seven.. for them to have to maybe grow up without me. I think that this needs to be considered please help me
  8. I'm a person with diabetes and I'm an amputee because of diabetes. Ever since I've had my amputation in 2010 I been in a very great deal of pain in my stump. I've tried pain meds to try to help ease the pain such as Percocet's and Aspirin and I have no relief at all from pain and on a scale from 1-10 I'm always at a nine(9) to ten (10). My doctor discontinued my Rx because she didn't want me to become addicted to them if she increased the dose. I asked her if I could try medical cannabis and she said NO because it was not available for me because I wasn't terminally ill and she gave me other options that are very scary such as some kind of spinal injection or some kind of nerve meds. But Intractable pain is specifically defined by Minnesota law as:  “a pain state in which the cause of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and in which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts. Reasonable efforts for relieving or curing the cause of the pain may be determined on the basis of, but are not limited to, the following:  (1) when treating a non-terminally ill patient for intractable pain, evaluation by the attending physician and one or more physicians specializing in pain medicine or the treatment of the area, system, or organ of the body perceived as the source of the pain.
  9. To whom it may concern: I am writing to state my reasons as to why I believe that intractable pain should be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. Around 2012 I was diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome and have had multiple injuries to my back as a child, my first injury: Caused from falling from the top of a play structure not only falling on my back but hitting the back of my head on each bar of the play structure on the way down. Second injury: Caused from falling from a tall step stool, resulting in my landing on my back to land on the sharp corner of a shoe rack.  Third injury: Caused from a girl, who was the same age as myself at the time, slamming me down on the ground. Each one of these events has contributed to the ongoing pain I am forced to live with. Hypermobility syndrome (HMS) causes my collagen to be faulty, my ligaments to stretch more so than a "normal" persons would allow ,the insides of my body are stretchy as well, and causes my joints to come out of place very easily for example: laying on my side, and even standing and walking. And because my joints can come out of place or "overextend" beyond their natural limits this puts me at risk for becoming injured quite easily. This is an illness that is not visible by a glance. This illness is quite painful for me to live with, there is no cure for this illness and it will only get worse and more difficult to deal with as I age. I have been in such intense pain throughout the years and have been to the hospital many times and each time up until I was diagnosed with HMS all that would happen was me getting sent home with painkillers that would never really help the pain I was in. I finally was diagnosed when my primary doctor referred me to a physical therapist, I was told there was no cure and that this pain will always come back no matter what. I am currently in physical therapy again and this time along with already knowing about my HMS my doctor and physical therapist have told me that I have a rotated pelvis, it has been this way for almost a month and I did not know or suspect that it was a rotated pelvis, with this illness you never know the difference between intense pain that may come from my joints sitting in an odd position for too long, such as sleep, or if it's something that's severely wrong with your body. Point being it's hard to distinguish what pain will fade come the end of the day or week and what pain is something that should get immediate attention, but neither situation can be dismissed as "not as painful" as the other. Having HMS is often dismissed by people in my life that don't truly understand the pain that constantly comes and goes in my life. I believe that medical marijuana makes a major improvement in the lives of so many people who have to live with constant pain and illnesses that people can't always physically see, adding intractable pain to this list will mean no more suffering with taking multiple pills, experimenting with different pills trying to find one that remotely works. Though there are many people who frown upon marijuana being used for medical reasons what they fail to see is that it can prevent a lifetime of, multiple medications that need to be taken to solve one problem, it can prevent multiple drug overdoses, it can prevent severe side effects that can cause death or the need to take additional medication, and most of all it prevents the pain and suffering many of us with "invisible illnesses" live with every day.
  10. Regarding whether or not people with chronic pain should be allowed access to Medical Marijuana:  As someone who endures Chronic Pain daily along with severe fatigue and side effects from all the pain meds I'm on, I know from trying it, that it helps my Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue immensely. I would love to be able to just take a safer alternative, that being cannabis.  While I think it's very wise to do a lot more research, most of the public knows that this is a much safer option than so many other medicines out there.  No one that we know of, has ever died of an overdose. It is also non-addictive. Another really important aspect of the effects of this drug is, my change in mood. Suffering from Fibromyalgia can be a very depressing life, it actually improves my mood and attitude significantly.  I would love to be able to stop taking my high dose prescriptions and see if Cannabis would be all I needed. I strongly and emphatically believe that it will.  I believe God made this plant for many reasons, just like all of the other medicinal plants out there.  Lastly, we need to improve our record of helping people who have chronic pain. Most Drs won't prescribe anything stronger than Tramadol for pain, and people are having to live out their lives suffering because there is a law against using Cannabis for people like me,  not to mention all of the other chronic conditions it helps.  We are finding that it is an excellent and safer alternative than having to take high doses of anti-depressants, Gabapentin, Tramadol, and Muscle Relaxers.  As a society, we need to start helping all of those people like myself, who suffer from a very low quality of life, and would love the option of a natural alternative to help deal with our conditions.    So to whom it may concern:    Please help this law to pass so we can have a chance for a happier and more productive life.  Life is too short as well come to feel this when we reach our fifties. Please let me and many other sufferers, have the option to use this medication lawfully. Very Sincerely,  [Name redacted]   Minnesota resident
  11. Please add intractable pain as one of the qualifying conditions for the MN Medical Cannabis Program.  I suffer from intractable back pain and have seen many other people who would benefit from addition.  End the Drug War, [Name redacted]
  12. In 1979, when I was 19 years old, I was involved in a fatal car crash. Heading back to college with my best friend, he fell asleep driving and drifted into an oncoming semi truck, killing him instantly, and putting me in the hospital for 2 months with numerous broken bones.  Essentially, my feet were crushed, multiple broken bones, including the talus bone in my boot, according to my foot doctor, "cleaved in two vertically", yet this went unnoticed with so many other injuries. This bone healed crooked, eventually chewing away the cartilage in my left foot.   I recently had foot fusion surgery, but am still in serious and incessant pain.  I have found marijuana helpful in a number of ways;  a. A small dose of marijuana generally relaxes my entire body, helping reduce stress and assisting in getting my body relaxed enough to maintain the posture and body awareness to prevent worsening of the pain.  b. I've done edibles high in CDB and low in THC, and have found this medicine a great tool to help me sleep through the night without being disturbed by pain.  I've been unable to utilize the excellent benefits and no side effects of this herbal, traditional medicine. My healthcare provider, Fairview Systems, insists that I test clean for marijuana use in order to get a prescription to narcotic pain meds, in spite of my doctor's view that marijuana is not a harmful drug and would probably be very beneficial to my condition.   This proves to me that the "traditional" health care providers are more interested in maintaining their cozy relationships to drug companies than they are supportive of finding useful, non-traditional medicines with virtually no side effects.  With so much attention being given to the epidemic of opiate pain med abuse and addiction, it seems mean spirited and arbitrary to deny chronic pain sufferers a potentially valuable remedy. If nothing else, allowing medical marijuana for chronic pain would force the big health care providers to recognize that marijuana could supplement or even replace the need for narcotics by removing the stigma and the risk of losing your pain medicine if you even try marijuana.  I know it works for me, and I believe it would work for thousands of other Minnesotans. How can we deny something so beneficial, something relatively risk free (at least when compared to long term narcotic use), and something that could bring hope to so many people who have suffered in silence for many years.  (By the way, after my surgery, I'm trying to wean off the Oxycontin I've been on for more than 5 years. I don't know if I could do without the help and pain relief I get from marijuana, but at the same time, I risk arrest or denial of my current prescriptions if were to test positive, and one joint will stay in your system for almost a month, so the whole thing is frightening and stressful, but I know marijuana is better for me than years of long-term Oxy use.)
  13. I suffer from intractable pain due to a difficult birth that damaged my coccyx (tailbone). I've had to completely reorder my life including giving up a dream job because I could no longer handle the commute. I have two small children and my quality of life as well as my ability to care for them has been severely altered. I am taking Tramadol daily and was taking the maximum amount of Advil daily until I started to have issues. Tailbone pain is a special kind of hell. I've had 4 cortisone injections that have improved things a little. While living in Denver I had access to cannabis lotions, tincture for tea and other items that were amazing at treating the muscle spasms associated with tailbone/low back pain. A simple move to MN to be closer to family meant that I gave up the ability to access this medicine. My health has deteriorated, my problems have increased due to side effects of taking such high doses.
  14. I believe that medical marijuana use SHOULD be available to those with chronic pain. We are given VERY VERY few options other than very invasive temporary fixes such as painful injections that often do NOT work and then you can only have them only every few months so if it didn't take u sit in severe pain for 3 months and that's IF they work for you which for me they don't. My dr has offered me mscontin but only so for a short time as they are all afraid of losing their licenses for prescribing these and this med for me doesn't work either. I have kidney failure also so medicine wise my choices are very limited. I have never smoked this to even know if it works but I am told by many friends in legal states that it does. I used to be a nurse and be able to be on my feet running two days straight now I'm lucky if I can stand the pain to go to the store for 10 mins. I can't stand to cook in my home as the pain is too much. My life is limited greatly and if there is something like this out there that can help me I don't think it's fair if it is a non-harmful substance and not addicting like mscontin not cause the side effects mscontin does why we have to fight for a right to have something to let us live a more productive life and have a life without all those severe pain. If it was you in this situation or your loved one and this was your one shot at changing it for you or your loved one would you then pass the law? I'm pretty sure you would. Why would anyone ever leave people to suffer when they don't have to.. If you had a cure for diabetics would you hesitate? Or for cancer?
  15. Hi MN Cannabis Programs. My Intractable pain is Chronic Neck/Shoulder Pain since I was about 16 and Chronic Migraines since I was 12, I am 34 years old and I suffer from neck/shoulder pain as my primary pain that I got in a 4 wheel accident when I was 16 or so, Cannabis is the only thing that helps me feel better from being in pain and helps with nausea too. Also I even suffer from Arthritis, which is painful when it acts up, but my doctor says it’s a different type of arthritis where it’s my muscles acting up in pain where the joints are that imitates the arthritis effect, which is painful, even in my neck.  The problem I may have is polymyositis where my joints act up in my body but it’s the muscles.  I even have terrible migraines, so I need to smoke cannabis every day to keep it away and it really works, if I deprive myself from smoking cannabis in long term, I will have terrible Aura to tension headaches I rather have cannabis than pain medication for intractable pain, when I was in Washington state I even ate edibles and drinks they were the best relief for pain and made me sleep very good, the best in my life.  Any pain in my head above even my shoulder/Scapula can cause terrible Migraines which make me very sick where I cannot take any pills or medication because I vomit it all up and I have to go to Emergency room for relief, which I don't want to go there, but medical cannabis can help the pain and nausea I get, I hope you consider intractable pain for neck/muscle pain and Migraines pain category.   I hope you consider adding intractable pain for the conditions I listed above.  I tell you that cannabis does better and improves my life than opiates.  Thank you MN Resident (60+ Miles away from Moorhead)
  16. In 1999 had Metastasis Inflammatory Breast Cancer with less 3-6 months to live, after receiving chemo & radiation treatments. Was given a chance be a part of clinical trial for (stem cell transplant) which I accepted (death wasn't an option without a fight). Yes I am still alive & understand that my cancer can come back. I'm surviving the war of which I battled & some of my war wounds are visible it's what isn't visible which has taken biggest toll on my mind & body its  ongoing relentless pain! I'm alive & know that quite lucky & very thankful for surviving a horrible cancer ordeal. Had bilateral modified radical mastectomy also reconstructive (tram) surgery. DUE TO CANCER/STEM CELL TRANSPLANT TRIALS:-THE DOWNFALL OF HEALTH ISSUES HAS MADE LIVING LIFE QUITE DIFFICULT! I WAS PUT ON SSI UNABLE TO WORK & HAVE HEALTH HOME CARE help. THIS IS WHAT I LIVE WITH EVERDAY NOW: Chronic Pain Fibromyalgia Arthritis Rheumatoid Factor S Osteoporosis Depression & my list goes on. I have been seen by many doctors help with my health issues, have been on so many (Narcotics) pain medication for years which has caused me other health issues! To point I knew had to get off pain medications. I ASK MY DOCTOR HELP ME WEAN OFF ALL PAIN MEDS BECAUSE I COULD NOT FUNCTION ANY  LONGER  Emotionally Physically & Mentally; I'm off of all Pain Meds yet my body endures unbearable chronic pain! I have gone to several Pain Clinics Acupuncture & Complementary & Alternative treatments, nothing has helped. As others left Minnesota to live Michigan & got my medical marijuana card & must say it helped reduce my stress depression & pain was quite beneficial to me. Now live Minnesota back with my family, in hopes that I would be on the list of who can receive medical marijuana. I can't express the need for the changes in marijuana laws for people like me the SURVIVORS OF CANCER & It should be addressed swiftly! Thank You for taking the time to letting me tell you my story. I no longer get to enjoy living my life instead I'm just surviving life, almost impossible to live my life this way. Sincerely,  [Name and contact information redacted]
  17. I suffer from chronic pain due to a workplace injury in 2001.I am on disability and will not be able to be employed again due to this injury and the continuing pain and weight  restrictions placed on me. I do the  best I can there are good days, bad days and days that I just want to give up. Recently they have reduced my pain medication due to policy changes I guess this has happened to others I know one of close friends who suffers from cancer so I know it isn't just me. I have been through pain mgmt. class's and therapy and a lot of different medications and at lot of side effects over the years; with limited relief. The last time I visited my Doctor I was in bad shape just from gardening, he said I would be a perfect candidate for medical marijuana but chronic pain is not recognized by Minnesota as a qualifying condition. My question is this why can't I have a better quality of life in Minnesota.
  18. Going to sign up to get medical cannabis can be very hard for some to fill forms out and all that. It should go see your doc. If he or she says its ok, then you see another doc who will help find a form of cannabis that may best work for them. Some need more CND, others need more THC. Some can only eat it, others drink or smoke. There should be other ways to take it. If you have Medical Assistance or something like that or anything, ya need to bring it should be told to ya by not only your doc but the one you are going to see as some may not have a pc or unable to finish the forms. Get someone that has been doing this for some time. The way it is, it is very stressful. One wrong tip or spelling of anything it could take a long time to get what will help you. It’s been way over 30 days and I got nothing. Not a word or call. And when I did, I can’t finish the 2nd app that the first app you can get the same things from that was faxed by the doc ya first seen to get to fill out the form. I know this is long and ya may not get it all but this is something I myself have studied is medical cannabis on my own time with ones that have been doing this for years in states that have it.
  19. I am a 47-year-old grandfather and, incidentally, a lifelong Republican. My wife of nearly 28 years served 23 years active duty, I'm proud to say, in the AGR program of the Minnesota Air National Guard. I have a few degrees – a BS in Chemistry from the University of MN, an MBA from the Carlson School of Management and an M.Div. from a conservative seminary in the Twin Cities. As I've reared my children and worked hard for a living, I've tried to remain consistently involved in the community, serving as a volunteer in various roles over the years. All of which is intended to thoroughly impress you with just how relatively unremarkable and boring I am, just like most cannabis users I know. The stereotypical pothead is just that – a stereotype.   I've been on both sides of this issue. As a police officer for a decade in the Twin Cities, I fought the drug war right as it was heating up in the 90's. Today, I use cannabis for pain relief. This is my story.  In 2010, I suffered severe herniations of multiple disks in my lumbar spine. After a week in the hospital doped up on Dilauded, I underwent surgery in the Twin Cities. This helped get me back on my feet, but I was left with nerve damage in my left foot and sciatic pain that gradually got worse. Soon I was taking two Oxycodone pills every day, but even that did not keep up with the pain. I was afraid of this narcotic; not only did I fear addiction, but I feared the side effects—especially after a physician explained to me that Oxycodone would eventually reduce my pain-tolerance. I felt trapped between the excruciating pain (that frequently kept me flat on my back) and a drug that seemed to be slowly taking my life away from me. Tylenol was not a good option for me, since I have mild liver damage (very likely from Tylenol use when I suffered back pain as a police officer – Tylenol, notably, has more dangerous side-effects than cannabis); ibuprofen and naproxen were poor choices as well, since I suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux disease.   In 2012, I began researching alternatives. I learned about the benefits of medical cannabis and—to my surprise—its remarkably benign side effects. When I finally made the decision to try a tiny bit of it in October, 2012, I was surprised by how well it helped me with my pain. It did not make my pain go away so much as it helped put my pain in perspective; it reduced my pain, yes, but it also helped me push through the pain that remained. I quickly learned how to titrate the amount of cannabis I used, obtaining pain relief without becoming intoxicated. In 2013, I bought a “fixer-upper” of a house that demanded more physical exertion than I could have imagined a year before. Thanks to cannabis, I was able to get the job done (if you think cannabis always makes you lazy, you should have seen me working my heart out that summer!). When the lion’s share of the work was finally complete and we were moved in, I knew the time had come to get off Oxycodone.  I quit “cold-turkey” back then, nearly two years ago now. Ever since switching from Oxycodone to cannabis, I feel like I’m getting my life back. I have discovered what many others already know from first-hand experience—that cannabis is an excellent gateway drug to get off the “hard drugs” our doctors are forced to prescribe here in Minnesota.  Ironically, when I shared all this with my doctor he immediately suggested that I try getting Marinol from a nearby pain clinic. I eventually did consult with that nearby pain clinic, only to learn that they did not in fact prescribe Marinol off-label because they feared legal repercussions. That's okay by me – I’ve read about Marinol. It is pure THC! By all accounts I’ve read Marinol would stone me out of my mind, sapping my productivity. But by offering me Marinol, my doctor confirmed what I had already learned—that cannabis is medically valuable and belongs in our doctors’ arsenal. Yes, it can be abused, and yes, some people will take advantage of the system by faking intractable pain to obtain cannabis – but that's what they already do to obtain prescription narcotics, right? Which would you rather have people using?   Please make it legal for responsible, hard-working patients like me to use this medicine for intractable pain – medicine that is so helpful and so much less harmful than the hard drugs my doctors were forced to give me. Have compassion on patients like me with intractable pain who could benefit so much from a well-regulated system that would assure the quality of our medicine and that would rescue us from the black market.
  20. I have severe arthritis of the spine, shoulders, and knees. My body will not tolerate any opioids or NSAIDs. I have found that vaporizing cannabis gives me relief from pain and helps me to get several hours of restful, therapeutic sleep. Since insurance will not pay for cannabis, we need a state law that will allow the patient or an appointed care giver to grow a limited number of plants for the patient's medical usage. Just legalizing expensive oils or extracts doesn't do anything to help the many chronic pain patients who cannot afford these expensive preparations.
  21. Late in 2008 I had surgery on my right foot. Still in the healing process I had an incident where I had to come down hard on my foot causing severe pain.  I was diagnosed with CRPS, (complex regional pain syndrome).  In 2010 I had a spinal column stimulator surgically implanted. I do depend greatly on this stimulator, it is on all the time unless I accidently let the battery go dead, then I charge it immediately. The stimulator does distract and change the feeling of my pain most of the time but it does not take it away and sometimes it amplifies it. To say I live every day in pain, rather it be mild or severe, does not even touch the depth of what that means.  Pain causes your muscles to tense, sooner or later they cramp or even worse spasm, I get both at different times, not sure why.  Stress is a given when you live with pain.  You never know what you are not going to be able to do each day and who you are going to have to let down.  Depression is fought daily.  Self-worth is debatable every day.  But you have no time to think about that because you are trying to ease that damn constant pain.  I don't know if marijuana treatments will help me or not, but I would like the chance to try it.  I jumped through the hoops and took the opioid pain killers they prescribed for me for 6 years.  I spent 6 years unable to concentrate, unable to hold conversations, vomiting, dealing with an upset stomach, and taking antacids so I could take the pain killers.  The pain killers did not kill the pain but really messed up my mind and social life. On my own, in October of 2014, I decided to quit jumping through their hoops.  I threw away all my opioid pain killers. As of today, Sept. 2015 have not taken any narcotics. I live with the pain, some days I whine and cry all day, some days I just cry and want to be alone but there are a few days where I can get out and enjoy life, but I do this with a great deal of pain.  But I at least know what is going on around me.  I went to the meeting in hopes of hearing there might be a chance to get the option to try this treatment, but all I saw were a lot of very desperate people, like me.  If there is a chance, even a slight chance this marijuana treatment could offer some relief to so many suffering so much.  I beg you to give us the option to do so.  Just because you can walk away and go on with your life does not mean my pain goes away, you can forget about me and my pain, but I live it every second of every day.
  22. I have suffered from debilitating chronic pain since an accident over 11 years ago. I've undergone significant medical treatment these past years.  I alone have incurred nearly a quarter million dollars of medical care, even though I have never had surgery or been hospitalized overnight.  Although I have been able to regain function, the only thing available to lessen the intractable pain I've battled each and every day for 4,078 days and counting is opioids.  I have stayed on short acting hydrocodone because I hope for an alternative someday.  Although I am not addicted to opioids, I am definitely wholly dependent.  I begin withdrawals if I take my pills too late.  I have read summaries of multiple studies indicating the active ingredients in marijuana can help me.  My understanding is that the marijuana is grown by approved growers in safe sanitary conditions.  I would be required to visit multiple physicians until I coincidently stumble upon one who has been approved to certify my condition. That physician & I would then discuss my condition to determine if medical marijuana would be appropriate. I would then visit a dispensary where I would work with a specialized physician to determine what medicinal marijuana would work best.  I would remain under the care of at least 1 physician.  This system seems well equipped to address concerns, particularly given my only alternative.   More than 15,000 Americans die of prescription opiate overdose each year.  Many more are dying when they turn to heroin.  Yet I have never heard of anyone overdosing on marijuana. Many states allow medical marijuana for intractable pain.   Minnesota should as well.  Please add intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions on January 1, 2016.  Please give me, and thousands like me, a safe and effective alternative.
  23. Please consider adding chronic/intractable pain to the list of approved conditions for medical marijuana.  I have suffered with a severe & continuous headache accompanied by extremely loud ringing in my ears ever since being rear-ended in a car accident in January of 1994.  I have been to every type of doctor (plus a complete workup at the Mayo Clinic) including chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists & have been through Mayo's Pain Clinic with little to no relief.  I currently take Vicodin daily just to function &, even at increased doses, it only makes the pain barely tolerable.  I would love to be able to try marijuana in conjunction with the Vicodin in hopes of getting better pain relief & to possibly be able to reduce the amount of Vicodin I have to take.  Thank you for considering this request.
  24. Dear Minnesota Department of Health, I am a 35 year old female who works full-time and I have resided in Minnesota since 2004.  At age 12 I was diagnosed with scoliosis and underwent a spinal fusion (full fusion from base of neck to waist) with a long and painful recovery.  The curve in my back was 55 degrees pre-surgery and is 35 degrees post-surgery.  On one side of my body, my shoulder, ribs, and hip are noticeably misaligned and cause ongoing pain in my neck, shoulder, and hip.  As each year goes on the pain becomes worse to the point that it interferes with me working at a desk and sitting all day.  I hate to think that the only option available to people like me is powerful and addictive narcotic drugs with many side effects.  I am not interested in taking them.  I am however, interested in having a natural plant-based option available that I can take at night to help me relax and rest.  I have used products from other states and they have proven to be effective with minimal side effects.  Minnesotans deserve better, and working Minnesotans should be taken care of so that they don't eventually become disabled.  Please provide alternatives to dangerous prescription pain medications that are currently available.  No one will die from this proven medicine and many lives will be improved.    Thank you, [Name redacted]
  25. I am a chronic pain patient and I am presently on medication for lower back arthritis, and I do not like taking opioid based pain meds. I recently went to Colorado to visit my brother and he had me try marijuana for the pain. It worked wonderfully and I would really like to see Minnesota allow it for chronic pain patients. I really hate taking the pain medicine I'm on right now and think medical marijuana is a healthier and safer choice. Please consider it!  Thank you
  26. I come across this survey today after having lost several hours of sleep a night, for at least the past month, and it is so frustrating that I scoured the internet this morning for any answer on Minnesota's current status on pain management options.  I have an injury that is a pain in my neck, literally: I almost sheared off the top of my spine in a snowboarding accident about five years ago.  While I have made great strides, and come out of daily headaches that stopped me from doing much of anything, I still go through periods of mind numbing pain.  This most recent time I simply picked something up wrong, and woke up with the side of my face and my hand tingling the next morning.  I do not know if I will ever be completely healed, so for now I continue to do my best to stretch and pace myself, and then get on and live my life (as best I can).  Now that I've gotten a little bit of my daily struggle described, allow me to share a dichotomy that I find terribly interesting: I may take gabapentin to try and make it through my day, or I can take a form of cannabis.   Gabapentin is a manufactured drug which is approved of by the DEA and sold to me legally, whereas the cannabis is still in the process of decriminalization, and the state would rather I bring home the latter in my trunk.  I've actually read the law about cannabis being put in the trunk, unlike most 24 year old males, and I'm sincerely proud that Minnesota wrote in something like that when it did... but this is no longer enough.  Like I said, I am a 24 year old male, and I understand that these legal systems have entropy beyond my understanding... but I hope that using words like "dichotomy" and "entropy" can help my appeal to reason without seeming too immature for the situation.  So I would like to humbly say that the current situation does not support me managing my pain, and I would be able to follow our societies rules much more easily if our legislature would find due sympathy for chronic, intractable, neuropathic pain felt by me, and other people in similar and even worse situations.  To go into more detail about my own experience, let's start with my injury.  It is not a common thing, what happened to me, and it took around half a year to figure out I'd almost died that day snowboarding.  My physical therapist pulled on my head and asked if I felt "scared, nervous, sad..." and I noticed that he was using more emotions than feeling descriptors.  The nerve issue and skeletal issue I have apparently elicits emotional reactions along with pain.  I've got a high pain tolerance, and I barely managed to choke out a "yes" to that physical therapist.   He said he'd been working for plenty of years, and only ever seen something like this one other time.  My issue is not common, as I said before, and therefore I am hardly represented.  I have trouble feeling hungry, if I close my eyes my body feels like it is twisted, I can't even draw on those "mark your pain areas" spots on the doctors evaluation sheets without qualifying notes or big clouds scribbled across multiple body parts.  For most of the day I am a 24 year old male who is in shape, has a good attitude, goes out of his way for strangers, generally a regular Minnesotan... but then I will pick up that gallon of milk wrong, and suddenly I don't want cereal, even though I logically know I was just hungry.  Some days I go to bed, excited to get good sleep and get up for something I'm looking forward to the next day... until I try and lay down and relax, and a muscle moves wrong and I'm suddenly aware I will have a few hours of misery and be tired the following day.  My point again is that this is not a good life for me, it is hard to hold down a full time job or go to school, and the best tool to manage my pain is not readily available or publicly acceptable.  I'm ineligible for jobs that I have work experience in, so long as that employer tests for "illegal drugs" even though it is supposedly decriminalized.    In order to get back to a full time job to actually feel secure and fulfilled, under the current system: I need to take many more pills and cut out cannabis regardless of health ramifications, lie/cheat and cause legal liability issues with that company, or take a labor job that doesn't go by the books and will leave me out in the cold when (not if) I get even more hurt.  I do not like any of these options.  My ideal option would be that I could legally use cannabis on my own time, go to work and be a regular person during the work day, and go back to school. Perhaps school is where I should end this dissertation (I apologize for the length, and any typos, while we're at it).  I'm trying to get back into school, but it is so hard to fight the pain all day and get much of anything done for work or school or my personal life.  I used to have a medical card, when I lived in AZ for a while, and it was a great step forward.  I know people my age lie about injuries less pervasive than mine, and I know that there is a stigma about all of this... but I'm sincerely trying every day, and I just want one of the effective tools back. The pills just aren't a good thing, if I take three of what I'm prescribed, that is 900mg of gabapentin: almost a gram of concentrated chemical that was originally designed for something else, and can give seizures to people who take high doses then go for a while without.  The other option works better, is silly to keep away from adult human beings it is so safe, and has been an herbal remedy across the planet for one of the longest trial runs any scientist could hope for (thousands of years).  I tried to stay human, and explain my situation; I hope it helped.  I'm not here for a soap box, I'm not here to give raw data... I sat here and typed because I would like your help.  If you ease up on all of this legislation, if you could ignore all the panic and doctrines and tradition, please, please help people like me, even if it's imperfect. Please take at least one more step, because it would immediately help me take some important steps. Thank you.
  27. I am an individual who experiences severe chronic pain from multiple conditions:   - Fibromyalgia - Interstitial Cystitis - Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Raynaud's Phenomenon - Sjogren's Syndrome - Neuropathy - Fluid Retention - Rheumatoid Arthritis  I currently take over 17 medications to cope with my conditions.  However, from my own research, and testimony from online friends who have been able to use medical marijuana in other states that allow is for pain, I believe I could stop several of those medications if I was able to access and use medical marijuana for my pain.  My pain makes it difficult for me to even move much in the winter time.  I have to dress in layers inside the house, wear insulated slippers, cover my lower body in a blanket, keep my feet on a heating pad, and wear a hoodie with the hood up - inside my house - to feel warm AND to help reduce the pain.  The 'to feel warm' part is due to neuropathy that is greatly exacerbated by the cold of winter.  Despite being in a heated home, my body senses the cold outside.  Perhaps it is barometric pressure affecting me not just the cold.  I do not know.  All I know is, despite the pain medication I have much more pain in the fall/winter/spring time.    Even in the summer, I will have many days during each month where I have constant dull, acting pain in my hands, arms, lower legs, ankles and feet.  My lower back has so much pain I have to have corticosteroid (sp?) shots every three months to just cope.  Otherwise I can't stand except for a few minutes.  Even with the shot, I cannot stand at any one time long before I feel pain in my legs, feet, and lower back.  When I have been unable to get into the doctor on a timely basis to get my shot, I have suffered not only low back pain but sciatica down my right buttock and deep into the back of my upper leg.  The dryness of my eyes and mouth due to Sjogren's makes my life even more difficult.  Due to lack of saliva I lost ALL my teeth and have full dentures now for the past 4 years, since age 52.  Despite using Restasis, my eyes still require OTC eye lubrication to cope.  Even with my prescription eyeglasses, it definitely affects my ability to see clearly.  I have to suck on throat lozenges and sip water throughout the day otherwise I choke and cough from not only a dry mouth but dry throat.  I have no idea how much Sjogren's may have damaged me internally, which it can do.  I would have that checked out but do not know how.  PLEASE:  Please seriously consider and allow chronic pain as valid criteria for use of medical marijuana in the state of Minnesota!!  For me and for the many others who suffer greatly from pain...
  28. Yes, intractable pain should with no doubt be added as qualifying conditions. I've suffered from chronic pain for 20 years but in 2008 I had back surgery that resulted in Chronic Adhesive Arachnoiditis and I've steadily have gotten worse with pain and spasms. There is nothing that can be done for that condition except pain management. Sufferers need more options. As you hopefully know some of us cannot use all available pain medications because of the P450 liver enzyme abnormalities that we inherited. More information can be seen on genelex.com. That means that I do not metabolize Vicodin, OxyContin, codeine, and others normally and do NOT have many choices in pain management. Plus there's evidence that with medical cannabis you don't need to increase due to tolerance. I really need something to help me. I don't know how much longer I can go on like this. Thank you.
  29. I have been suffering with chronic pain for over 4 years, and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 3 years ago. I have tried very nearly every medication available for chronic pain, and yet over the last few years the quality of my life has only deteriorated. I have difficulty with simple everyday things like getting dressed and preparing meals, and only with the aid of opiates am I able to occasionally get out of the house and socialize with people. I also suffer from severe treatment-resistant depression and a circadian rhythm sleep disorder; both of these conditions get worse when the pain gets worse, and vice versa. I have exhausted my medication options for these diagnoses as well, and with the addition of the fibromyalgia diagnosis I have had an extremely hard time finding hope for my future. Please add "Intractable Pain" to the list of approved conditions for medical cannabis; I truly believe it may be the last best hope for improving my quality of life and allowing me to regain more of my independence.
  30. I have had severe back and hip pain along with Severe Restless Leg Syndrome. I have dealt with my pain alone until I could no longer manage my pain alone. I have had to try multiple medicines for my legs, most causing severe augmentation and others severe symptoms from the meds. I have also been taking multiple long term opioids for my back. Also, I have received a spinal cortisone injection that only controls the inflammation and pain for about 3 months. Now I have to get a spinal epidural in hopes it will help my debilitating pain for at least another 3 months. If medical marijuana could help without having to keep trying drugs that have serious side effects, it would be worth it for me. At this point I'm facing having to get a handicap sticker because I can't walk far, I'm suffering. The pain meds only take a slight edge off the pain. Because the pain, my anxiety and depression have worsened and I'm afraid I won't be able to keep my job much longer if this isn't under control. I deserve a shot, hopefully it works. Surgery is definitely last resort as I'm only 40. I'm an Army veteran and most of my pain is contributed to my service time. I'm writing this with the hopes I can help compel you and the board to add severe chronic pain to the cannabis list. Thank you for listening.  Sincerely [Name redacted] Chronic pain sufferer of 9 years In Blaine, MN
  31. I believe that Intractable Pain would be added to the list of qualifying conditions in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program. I am a 57 year old woman. Married with two grown child and three grandchildren. I have been disabled for 20 years. I do some volunteer work at the library bookstore. I have been to collage. I do not drink or smoke.  I have fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, degenerative disc disease, RA, bursitis and TMJ. The medications I've been given cause more harm than good. I have tried cannabis oil in the past. The oil took away my pain, anxiety, and withdrawals from prescription medications... I perform at a higher level when using cannabis oil. I just want to be able to be more productive in my life. Plus I wish I could find a doctor who wasn't afraid to talk about cannabis oil as an option.  Cannabis oil doesn’t make me sick or high. It seems like the doctors I have had a afraid to lose their jobs. Please be compassionate.. Thank-you.....
  32. I am a breast cancer survivor.  I had a radical bilateral mastectomy and it left me with serious chronic pain, Impringement Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Rotator Cuff Syndrome with Tendinopathy.  I also have Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis, I suffer from migraines, have significant scapular protraction, mechanical back pain and osteoporosis  I have lived with all of this for several years and there is nothing that anyone can do for me.    I find it only human to allow people like me with chronic pain, nerve damage and all of my disorders, caused by cancer, to be allowed to try cannabis that just may help them feel better.  I have been on every medication known to man; of which most have had serious side effects, which of course is something no one wants to do to themselves.  Living life like this is difficult at best, and I am sure you will find most people in such pain at the end of their rope, looking at greener grass in heaven. Thank God I am mentally stable and have my children or I might have contemplated doing something irrational as well  There are days that are simply unbearable and for those that are mentally unstable, it must be horrifying.  Please hear my voice when I ask, please consider allowing those with complicated medical histories like mine to be allowed the opportunity to try medicinal marijuana.  Thank you.  P.S.  I signed my son up for medicinal marijuana months ago for his Tourette Syndrome and to date, we are unable to find a doctor to go to.  Are you able to help me with this???       [Name redacted] St. Michael, MN
  33. I believe that intractable pain should be added to the conditions list for medical marijuana patients. I myself deal with chronic joint pains. I've tried numerous pharmaceuticals and they don't help like they should. I would rather be in pain unable to write or walk properly then to be puking, nauseous, dizzy or any other side effects caused by them. However I've found that marijuana helps my pain and still allows me to go through with my daily life. I also believe that they need to consider adding mental issues to the conditions list.
  34. I don’t want to but feel I like I should say something. I am a physical therapist that happens to have a crappy spine, and I qualify for medical cannabis because I have to have muscle spasms.  But I can’t find a doctor to qualify me. I’ve had five surgeries and need at least three or four more. You’d think one would say, “Let’s do that to help people instead of being a hindrance.” I was in the med field, but not anymore. I got injured at work and had a ball explode under me. We’re not very good at diagnosing pain. I read in a surgical medicine textbook that they’re right about 18 percent of patients. I would support intractable pain, so that maybe doctors can learn more about it.
  35. Opening the avenue up for other diagnoses: We’ve talked to at least five of different doctors. They’re all open to it, but they see it as big hoops to jump through. If we can open it up to other conditions, diseases or pain, doctors may also be more open to put their names out there and prescribe the way they should.
  36. Thank you to the doctor for standing up. We need more doctors like you who are passionate about this enough to stand up and speak up because doctors are scared to do this for multiple reasons. I have chronic pain. I worked with a lot of chemical s in Vietnam. I’ve been on pretty much every opiate. They can’t find a specific diagnosis for me. I’m in a tone of pain; some days I can’t get out of bed. And our children can get anything they want at almost any time on the street. And if you’re worried about driving intoxicated, you’d be surprised about how many people every day drive intoxicated. My doctors are affiliated with one of most famous facilities in world, and all of sudden they stopped prescribing opiates. So they send their patients to the pain clinic in Minneapolis. So if a doctor is not prescribing opiates, are their superiors going to allow them to prescribe medical cannabis? We the people have been screaming this for over 20 years. What it will take are passionate doctors like we have here to have the balls to stand up and speak up and tell the powers that be that we need this. Minnesota set it up to fail, and we should follow Colorado.
  37. [Addition to previous comment] I am not able to get the right type of help.  We have tried different types of pain medication. And when I tell the doctors what I am dealing with and other things they think, they don’t really believe what I am telling them about the pain and if I take a higher amount of a dosage like Vicodin 10-6-60 is what it was at the time, it doesn’t really do much for me.  I was injured really badly while going 65 miles an hour and later on I fell and hit my head and was in a coma for 9 days, missing two parts of my brain, 5% less chance of survival.  I’ve always wanted to be prescribed the medication that is prescribed to only 7 different groups are able to get it (cannabis?) considering more than the type of pain.  I think it would be good to allow people, such as myself, to be able to try this medication because what I’ve been doing just doesn’t work for me.  I’m just hoping to try a type of pain medication and the thing that would help as much as pain would be it would help relax me which is good.  The pain medication I was on was helping as an anti-depressant, but I am not able to cry or feel normal emotions since my injuries.  I got rear ended pretty bad at 60 mph as I was stopped in traffic, and I had my seatbelt on and hit my head on the top of the vehicle. The medics came and looked at me and I was in shock. I was drugged by people I called friends when I didn’t even know about it. I can’t cry or feel normal emotions. I know from smoking marijuana in the past that it helps with so many different ways. It helps me sleep a lot better and is better for me. Now I’m only on aspirin. Even if I was able to go out in the sun I deal with safety factors. I’m a traumatic brain injury survivor. And I’m not saying I’m any worse off than anyone else, but I feel from my not sharing whatever amount of chemicals or THC or whatever. Everyone has their own story. I know it would help a lot. My last job was for a sleep lab as a sleep lab technician. The people training me in told me I learned it the fastest. This was a gold standard lab out of thirteen labs. For myself, I don’t feel like doing lots of things many days. I’ll wake up and just not feel like doing anything. And I haven’t had marijuana in a long time, but I think it would help from my previous experience. I brought my hydrocodone and Vicodin, and I can get new ones. But if I take two or more than two at once—and it doesn’t even help.  I can drink a little, and I try not to do that, and the doctors don’t help me because they don’t even believe me. I haven’t even had a speeding ticket in ten years—well maybe one. Prescriptions with this other medications that I hear about on tv; I’ve just given up on it and don’t even look into what’s available anymore. My family owns a bunch of different properties like cabins, and the authorities up there don’t believe me. They say I’m intelligent, so I won’t use violence. Those of us with intractable pain will be more involved with friends and family if we could get over the pain, but I haven’t had any marijuana in a long time, so I’m not sure of the outcome. But I’m pretty sure that would help quite a bit.  I’m not actually sure what’s wrong with me. I know I have pain all the time. I don’t know really what caused it. I have a list of medications from the pharmacy, and the list when I got it sent in the mail, it was so many types and it was about an inch thick with pieces of paper. That’s a lot of medicine that hasn’t really done anything for me to get me to the point where I need to be. Medical cannabis is being used by myself and whoever needs it. All it takes is one time using wrong meds to cause long term complications that we have to deal with for the rest of our lives. I have thoracic pain and I have problems with my knee, and that never got treated properly--maybe because doctor wants insurance money, I don’t know. I’ve gotten pain cream for my knee, but even if I did it’s not as good as I and others could receive from proper amounts of medical cannabis. I feel my chronic, consistent pain is so severe that it trumps my emotional senses. If one of my pets or if someone in my family were to die, I wouldn’t be able to cry. In 2007 I fell and hit my head and now am missing part of my skull. I need a fresh chapter in my life, and I think from previous experience from marijuana, it helped a lot and I’m able to relax. There’s many different types, like in Colorado I could benefit. I could get a job. I haven’t worked since late part of 2005. Thank you. If I was able get medication I would have a lot more to say as to the positive things about it. One of my brothers and his wife and three kids live in California, so I go and visit them and I imagine I could try it but I don’t know what type of standards they have. My sister lives just outside of Madison. I can buy a house in another state. My parents would buy me a house if I want it, but I want to be close to them. I’m 36 years old. I’d have gotten earlier today but I’m dealing with major complication with multiple things and everyone has their own situations.
  38. I have fibromyalgia. I’ve had it for a long time but didn’t know it until six years ago, when I was diagnosed. My doctor told me to sleep, exercise and decrease stress. I asked for a prescription, but he said there was nothing he could give me. It’s been getting progressively worse. I was an avid gardener, but it got to the point where I had to sit on a stool to do a simple task. A friend of mine gave me a marijuana brownie one night. I was up the next day in no pain and was pain free for four days. Out of curiosity, I went to Colorado. And I started to conduct my own experiments on cannabis and my endocannabinoid system. I have found if I keep a steady dose in my system, I do well. I was doing ten grams a week, and I was pain free. If I stop I’m in pain. If found if I do it twice a week I am able to function. I am still in pain but can function. I experimented a little further with a friend of mine who is works full time who makes sure to keep it in her system and says it’s a miracle. Another friend was struck by lightning and, he always says “you can’t un-cook meat.” He was on opioids and ended up having to go to treatment for addiction. I gave him some marijuana and he said it was a miracle that he was a pain free. I think people with intractable pain should have the opportunity to participate in this miracle. Have a good day.
  39. [Addition to previous comments] My last surgery was a ds-9 level fusion. I suffered major anxiety and PSTD, and the only thing that kept me through it was medical cannabis. Everyone is different, but the only sided effect I’ve noticed is fatigue. But I’ll take that over opiate addiction every day
  40. I’m a farmer from Zumbrota, and about 2 years ago I was diagnosed with bilateral nerve entrapment, so on occasion I experience the sensation of being shocked with the equivalent of 5000 volts of electricity in my arms and hands. When I talked to the doctor, and he recommended I take some ibuprofen and use one of those wraps for tennis elbow and wait. And if that didn’t work there was nothing he could do. It is a genetic, pure pain. I could get surgery but that would take me out for two to four months, which is not an option for a farmer. I found that nerve pain causes a great deal of difficulty in work and, as luck would have it, I work with electric fences every now and then. But I did go to the doctor and get a diagnosis because I was very worried for caring for my infant daughter. After the NIH found low doses of medical cannabis work for neuropathic pain, and I tried it,  it almost immediately reduced the amount of pain. With continued use I found almost complete cessation of pain, so I encourage you to include intractable pain to the list of qualifications for medical cannabis.
  41. I have three forms of arthritis and fibromyalgia. I’m allergic to just about every narcotic out there, and all the other medication. I’ve tried many different things and been battling for about 18 to 20 years now. One thing that has given me relief is oxytocin--the other thing that has given me a lot of relieve is marijuana. I’ve had two doctors tell me off the record that because I’ve come to the limit of what I can do--come to the winter time I don’t move. I don’t move at all, so I’m all for it. But I am worried about the price because I’m on disability and wouldn’t be able afford it .I’d have to give up my home and my food. Something has to be done about that because I think it’s something for the rich. So if you rich and got money go ahead, and if not---. So I am for medical marijuana for pain.
  42. I’m sitting here experiencing a lot of pain. It goes from mild to intense and it drains me. I don’t know where to go with that along with what it does to quality of life.
  43. I’m just so happy to see that there are possibilities. I’ve had 50+ years of chronic pain, muscle spasms and now neuropathy which has causes extreme pain I’ve had medication injections and excited for opportunity for some relief.
  44. All I have to say is thank god for decriminalization because some of us are taking this into our own hands. I have severe fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and PTSD, which research is showing now is actually a traumatic pain injury. I feel like I have to sneak arounds to be able to walk. Sometimes I have to use a cane. I’m known to walk 3 to four miles when I take things into my own pain. I’m a better mom and a better person. I’ve been known to stay in bed all day. Even my hair hurts. Cannabis helps. It needs to be used for these things because there are so many people that are suffering and could be out there and working because they’re stuck on a couch because it hurt so much.
  45. I’ve had three major back operations and now 15 seizures and am now taking 100 mg doses of codeine and hydrocodone. Last year my friend who is dealing with cancer gave me a cannabis cookie. I could not believe how that help me. I could not believe I felt good and slept that night. I talked to my doctor a few weeks ago. He said “if I could I would give you this.” and when I ate that cookie I thought I could at least getting a menial job somewhere instead of sitting home and hurting all the time.
  46. [Already submitted written comment] I am here to testify in support of including intractable pain in this program and I really do appreciate the opportunity to testify.  My name is [name redacted] and I am a 47 year old grandfather. Just to tell you a little bit about who I am, my wife served 23 years active duty, I am proud to say in the program here at the National Guard. I have a few degrees, bachelors in chemistry, MBA from Carlson and a MBA from a conservative seminary in the Twin Cities. I try and volunteer in the community and stay involved in different roles and I say all that to thoroughly impress you with just how relatively boring I am.  Like most cannabis users, I know I’m not the stereotypical pot head, but most folks I do know who use it are like me. I’ve been on both sides of this issue as a police officer for decades in the twin cities, I fought the drug war right when it was heating up in the 90’s and now I use cannabis for pain relief. This is my story. 5 years ago in 2010 I suffered severe herniations of multiple discs in my lumbar spine and I spent a week doped up, which is a common story out there.  The surgery was very effective of getting me back on my feet but as happens I had severe pain that gradually got worse and I also had some residual secondary nerve damage in my left foot.  Soon I was taking two oxycodone’s a day, and I did that for 3 years, and eventually it didn’t keep up with the pain any longer, I was afraid it was no longer going in a good direction.  Not only did I fear addiction but I feared the side effects.  I think it is appropriate we are discussing this the very week we are having the so called pain killer summit in the twin cities, on Tuesday. I felt trapped between the excruciating pain that often left me flat on my back and this drug that seemed to be slowly taking my life away from me, you can ask my wife what that was like.  Tylenol was never a good option for me I used it a lot but that may be one reason I have mild liver damage.  Ibuprofen is not good either since I suffer from GERD. So in 2012 I began researching alternatives and found out the benefits of medical cannabis and to my surprise its remarkable benign side effects.  I finally made the decision to try a tiny bit of it in October of 2012 I was surprised by how much it helped me with the pain.  It didn’t make my pain go away, like oxy could, if I took enough, but it did take the edge off and help me to push through the pain that remained and I quickly learned how to measure the amount of cannabis that I use to obtain pain relief without becoming intoxicated.  2013 is a good example of how this can help, I bought a fixer-upper of a house, that demanded more physical exertion then I had anticipated when I bought it and thanks to cannabis I was able to get that job done. If you think that cannabis always makes you lazy, come hang out with one of us who is working hard.  When that work was done, I ended up quitting oxy cold turkey, nearly 2 years ago and I have discovered what many others have experienced that cannabis is an excellent gateway drug to get off of hard drugs, that our doctors are forced to prescribe to us for intractable pain here in MN. I really appreciate it if we could include the intractable pain provision in the medical cannabis program in MN for all sorts of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is quality control right now, for those of who are buying off the street, you just don’t have any idea really what you are getting like you do in states where it is legal, where you get an analysis of what you are purchasing. There are also some very significant social factors here, the fact that it is still illegal to have a small amount of cannabis even though it is a petty misdemeanor has resulted in a lot of trouble in my personal life. I testified on this about a year and a half ago, I paid a heavy price in my personal life because people around me saw me as a heinous law breaker.  The people around me took it more seriously, and so I am eager to get through this program, not only because we have had great quality of control but also because I would be sanctioned by the state and can make a tremendous difference in my life personally.  Thank you very much.
  47. I have had a few different experiences which have brought home the benefit that this could offer a lot of individuals.  My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2005 and she passed away in 2007 and during that period I watched her develop a bit of an addiction of morphine, which was prescribed to her.  Now the seriousness of the pain at some point may have required that but as she evolved through that illness, I certainly think that this could have been a usable solution for her earlier on, in some sort of a form.  My brother suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome as well as some neural muscular problems and he’s been prescribed codeine as well as a whole slew of other pain killers, that have been stopped and issued again and stopped and he has never really able to keep a handle on his pain so her more or less suffers from it on a daily basis without any viable alternatives to codeine or the Vicodin.  My personal experience, outside of my mother and my brother, has been one in which I also had herniated discs and suffer from back pain on a regular basis and I had traveled out to the west coast and with the recommendation of a friend, revisited the use of marijuana as a result of not finding relief in the normal medications that are prescribed, oxytocin, oxycodone, and other various pain killers.  I was remarkably surprised of the benefit and when I was in high school, I smoked, and took a break.  I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t use drugs, so I was cautious as to involving myself in that because I always think there is a risk of addiction in any kind of chemical that relieves pain that can relieve a condition that helps you live better.  I was also very surprised of the progressive knowledge that existed in CA when I was out there as well as when I traveled up the west coast and then through CO visiting various shops last fall and winter, doing a little personal research on the process and each state is a bit different, but in the end, I think intractable pain is probably one of the conditions that gets to benefit the most.  It blows me away that we can have a system that relies on hard drugs to alleviate pain.  We’re all in denial, I think, the interesting thing is if you talk to the majority of people in the state, I think the majority of the population is ok with this but for some reason it gets stopped up when its caught up in the politics. You listen to law enforcement officers that are advising political individuals that are following a role that is so outdated, my hope is that we will actually take a close look at this as a viable alternative to these hard drugs that are being prescribed right now. People are going to find out eventually, across the country that it is a very mild drug.  You know you compare it to alcohol, you compare it to these pain pills, and there really is no comparison and the hype and the high precaution and the fear can only be eliminated through what is being done at Mayo clinic but also through personal experiences that go on and unless people are able to go through that experience, they will never know.  It’s one of those things where you have to have actually gone through this process of dealing with pain, going through all these prescribed methods that are used, and then visit this to realize the real benefits and there are a lot of additional benefits of this, that I don’t want to get into since this is focused on intractable pain.  But my hope is that people will open their eyes to the benefits and at least give it a chance so that it could be looked at in a serious manner.  Thank you.
  48. I want to thank both of you for sharing your personal stories.  I’ve been dealing with pain for probably 20 years, this last year has probably been the hardest. I had 3 knee surgeries in 6 months. My drug of choice, well if I’m not awake I don’t have to feel the pain. Every day I look forward to going to sleep, because that is the only time I am not in pain. When you talk about pain, it is not just your own pain, its family members that deal with it. I was dealing with doctors around the metro and I was on dilaudid at the time and I could hardly make it through the day. I wouldn’t take it during the day just so I could take it at night to go to bed, because without sleep, there is no pain relief. I sat and looked at my husband and he said you got to do something for her. It affects the family, it really does. And you know what, I am looking forward to the day where I can get up in the morning and not wonder what kind of day it will be, just one day to wake up without the pain. And the side effects from the narcotics, and I hate drugs, but just to be able to control pain. I have fibromyalgia, from other medical things and back injuries, you learn to deal with the pain. But when it gets beyond the point where there is no relief, there has got to be something out there.
  49. Almost 3 years ago I was hit by a drunk driver. I was T-boned on the driver’s side. And since then I have been dealing with chronic pain. After over a year, I went in to see a primary doctor.  I’ve been trying to use chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy and acupuncture and after evaluation, she said well I think you’re dealing with chronic pain and depression from dealing with pain day after day. I have 6 children, ages 7-17, I was a homeschool mom, I had just built a new house, we were just trying to get settled in and this accident happened like a month after we moved in. my life has since been on hold, my children are now in school. I couldn’t teach them while I was in and out of town for appointments for chiropractic care and all these things and my dad who is 62 just passed away this year and it was really due to side effects of prescription medications for years. He has spent his last few years in a nursing home. I have resisted wanting to use prescription drugs to treat this chronic pain because I have seen how it took my dad’s life and I want something that is safe, natural I want to be able to be a good wife and mother.  I just went into the ER a couple weeks ago in Willmar.  I called and talked to someone at rice institute on the phone, he said to me, come into the ER we can help you. I spent 2 hours in the ER before a doctor finally said there are no beds in Rice institute, you can spend the night in the ER, tomorrow morning we will have to probably take you by ambulance to Fargo or the twin cities just so I could see a doctor who could help me with chronic pain and depression and anxiety. So I said my life with 6 kids does really allow me to go on vacation to Fargo or the twin cities to deal with this so what are my other options. He said well I can send you home with this bottle of anti-anxiety medication, but are you suicidal? Because if you take the whole bottle it can kill you. So I went home with that but I couldn’t even take anything because I couldn’t drive with the medication. I definitely think there needs to be something to allow, sooner than later, marijuana for intractable pain because there are people who are using it for their sanity and just to be able to function on a daily basis and it needs to be legal, it needs to be safe. Like you said you don’t want to have to get it off the streets from somebody.  I’ve tried different kinds that have made me more high than any pain relief and that’s very frustrating and I wish as an honest citizen I could show up and say I would like to go to a dispensary, I want to find something that would give me more pain relief and less high so I can function with 6 children. I think it just can’t be legal soon enough.
  50. "To: Minnesota Health Department

    Office of Medical Cannabis
    From: [name and address redacted]
    Date: 15 September 2015
    Subject: Adding intractable pain to the list of medical conditions qualifying people for the medical cannabis program
    I was encouraged to learn that severe pain will be considered for treatment with cannabis. To suffer with constant daily pain is a living hell that is usually not understood by those who are not afflicted. It changes every aspect of your life: physical, spiritual, emotional and social. It drains your energy and your main focus becomes finding some relief.
    Eight years ago I walked into a hospital to have a knee replacement. I walked out four days later with a sharp specific pain that has only increased in intensity. I have sought relief from many different doctors and have tried many opioid and other means of pain relief. Here’s a list of medications tried:
    • Darvocet
    • Lyrica
    • Hydrocodone
    • Morphine
    • Dilaudid
    • Oxycontin
    • Neurontin
    • Fentanyl patch
    • Ibuprofen
    • Cymbalta
    • Oxycodone
    • Aspirin
    Other attempts at relief include: ice, tens unit, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, trigger points, cortisone shots, phenol injection, topical creams.
    Even at age 83, I would love to go grocery shopping, visit my children and just be able to walk or stand without pain. I would enjoy being independent again instead of hiring help for all my needs. I plead with you to include intractable pain in the list of conditions that qualify for using cannabis. People of all ages who have severe pain issues deserve an opportunity to improve their quality of life. Clearly the opening of new pain clinics in every town shows there are many people seeking help.
    These are the activities I lost by having a TKR. These are the activities I could do until August 28, 2007 when I had my surgery.
    • Going for a walk
    • Cleaning my own house
    • Mowing my own lawn
    • Going to the library
    • Going to church
    • Having my wonderful piano students
    • Going to visit family and friends
    • Entertaining
    • Going out to lunch, a movie, concert or play
    • Being able to focus on reading, writing, or painting without pain
    • Living free from painor drug induced nausea
    • Getting my own groceries
    • Getting a haircut
    • Walking my dog
    • Going to the mall or a garage sale
    • The energy lost spent fighting pain and drug side effects
    • Getting a full night’s sleep
    • Going to pool therapy or exercise class
    • Being movile more than 15 or 30 minutes out of an hour
    • Having a long, relaxing bath in my tub
    • Having the money I need to spend having others do my chores
    • Being able to keep commitments or appointments
    • Using my time productively and with enjoyment.

    [The writer also shared two pictures of herself on a page titled “The Changes Because of Pain.” One picture was taken before her surgery, and one was taken on February 15, 2013.]
  51. Hi my name is [name redacted] I had ankle reconstructive surgery seven years ago, and in the process of that surgery they left me with permanent nerve damage in my ankle. I’ve been in a cast since then because it’s the only thing tight enough to [inaudible]. This feels like I have a light socket in my ankle. I’ve been on fentanyl patches so much pain medication that it’s just made me have no quality in days in my life. My doctor certified me disabled because I am no longer able to work because of the pain medication. So I am all for adding this pain and something needs to happen to give me simply a better life. And I would like to do it legally, so if I could get off all those medications, my life would be much easier.

Comments posted 10/25/15

  1. I have Crohn’s and still unable to get a health care company to allow my doctor to register me. Maybe if we get intractable pain, they will loosen up and people like me can get help. I think this whole thing is a flop. People who have a qualifying condition like me have to change doctors from the doctor that knows you the best, to a strange doctor , just because the health care company will come down on the doctor for registering me. By that I mean threaten to fire him. That's what my doctor at Allina said. 5000 people were said to qualify and only 600 are actually registered? That's an absolute joke. Stop the health care providers from causing a log jam . Allow intractable pain and more people will request to be on the study , thus putting pressure on the health care providers to allow doctors to register people. Then maybe people like me with a qualifying condition, can actually get on the study. Too much red tape with this program.so far you get an" f " grade from me on this program. You might get a better one if you allow intractable pain. Hopefully changing health care companies policies on this subject.
  2. I am a 65 year old Grandmother, who is currently taking Oxycodone for pain in my back and neck. I am also taking two kind of meds for spasms in my abdomen and leg. I have Working out in the local pool, for over 10 years, just to stay mobile. I have been very active in my treatments and taken many test. My HealthCare Provider says that he wishes all his patients were as involved as I am. When one med doesn't work he prescribes another without hesitation, because he knows that I seek a quality of life. I am now limited to places I can go because I don't know when I will have a violent episode crippling spasms. As well as severe pain. I was a publisher before I took ill. Now my life is so limited, that sitting at the computer is almost un-bearable. When I first heard that Minnesota was considering offering Cannabis. I went to my doctor and asked him to help me get it. I just knew he would after all I've been taking some really strong drugs for many years with no abuse. Instead he said that his medical group would not be participating because they had no control over the amount of Cannabis that would be give. At that point I realized this that something else was going on. I am a private person and do not wish to get into the middle of this mess. I know that eventually it will be worked out. Un-fortunately, I don't have an un-limited amount of time. However, I do believe that helping seniors like me, will help the good citizens of Minnesota see the importance of having Medical Cannabis. It would mean that I don't have to take those meds that are much more addictive and harmful than the cannabis. Please consider me, at least give me an appointment. I will mail my form tomorrow. Thank You
  3. I am a 62 year old female who is suffering with degenerative spine disease and Rheumatoid arthritis. After working all my life I lost my job due to a surgery on my cervical spine, the forth. I am now on disability. I suffer from chronic neck and back pain and advised my condition will continue to deteriorate. The pain continues to be an agonizing reality. To add , I was diagnosed with RA, a debilitating disease that has caused loss of muscle and tremendous joint pain, inflammation and deformity. I lived in Portland Oregon and used narcotics to mass the pain, this created heart pressure, hives and digestive issues.  I chose to try medical marijuana and I was so relieved . I was certified and had no problems with this treatment. I was able to sleep, eat healthy and no fear of narcotics  in my system doing more harm I moved back to Minnesota to find we do not have the same benefits as Portland and now taking more narcotics...hydromorphone. I am urging the state to please amend our law to include chronic pain for those of us with debilitating illnesses. Narcotics are far more dangerous and the side effect more addictive.
  4. To whom it may concern,   I've had Fibromyalgia for 13 years now.  I've also been unable to work and unable to endure things that most people take for granted; For example: just standing or sitting for more than a half hour causes me much pain and fatigue which therefore makes me unable to work and am currently on SSDI.  I take two very effective, but not ideal, medicines Tramadol and Neurontin.  Along with muscle relaxers and klonipin for sleep.  I take the highest dosage allowable for the Tramadol and Neurontin, and they do help control my pain.  However, it makes my fatigue worse, and have other numerous side effects.  To have Marijuana as a viable alternative for my pain and fatigue would be such a Godsend. I would feel much more comfortable taking something that has not been proven to be a danger to my health; the fact that more research will uncover I believe. Im also very intrigued by the different strains that can have different effects; for example: some strains are energizing, some are the opposite and help sleep.  Some strains help with chronic pain more than others.   I'm very glad that the Minnesota governor has called for more research, and I'm very confident that the results will show that this must be considered a choice for people like me. I have trouble sleeping deeply, experience constant muscle twitching and pain, and extreme chronic fatigue.    I'm imploring that you add chronic pain particularly Fibromyalgia, as a choice for us who suffer day in and day out.  Most of the medicines that have been approved for Fibromyalgia, are ineffective, and have TERRIBLE side effects, not to mention very expensive.  I've tried them ALL and was unable to tolerate any of them due to terrible side effects.  I'm honestly surprised that Lyrica hasn't been recalled. Although I'm very thankful that Neurontin and Tramadol help, Both of them are not enough, and wouldn't it be wonderful if I didn't have to be taking both of them; especially the Tramadol, since they are considering it an opiate now, which most people know, our bodies develop tolerance to these types of meds.    Because of my illness, I haven't been able to meet for any of the public hearings on this issue.  However, I'm thankful for this opportunity of writing a letter to share a little bit of my story. Thank-you so much for your time and consideration. I'm hopeful that many people are supportive of having this other alternative to help their chronic pain. Chronic pain has been so notoriously ignored for so long, and frankly, most doctors don't like to treat those of us who do have it; because they like to have cases that offer more alternatives  to offer their patients, and right now, there is something out there that has shown to help us and the Drs would also be able to help us more because there will be another alternative medicine that they can prescribe. One that is not physically addicting or have terrible side effects. Moreover, as of now, not one person has ever died of a Marijuana overdose.  This drug is actually much safer than alcohol, and has numerous medicinal qualities. I strongly believe we should be able to get access to this medicine by lawful means.  Thank- you again for your time and consideration.   Very sincerely, [name redacted]
  5. I would like the MN Medical Cannabis Program to be allowed to open up to chronic pain. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia & Psoriatic Rheumatoid Arthritis 25+ years ago. Everyday I suffer from pain, numbness, burning, tingling fingers and also Neuropathy in my feet from nerve damage caused from my Rheumatoid Arthritis. My stomach doesn't tolerate the medication so they did liquid gold injections for 1 year until my body showed signs of kidney protein levels to  increase. My 86 year old mother also suffer from Arthritis  & Fibromyalgia and would love to enjoy a day without  pain. She to has problems with medication sensitivity.
  6. I believe medical cannabis should be used for intractable pain. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and I have many chronic pain issues.  I can't use many kinds of pain relief as I work full time and most pain relievers make me too tired to function or effect my mental state in a negative state.
  7. Dental pain should be added to the list of qualifying conditions in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program. I have had many problems with gum pain and don't like to use synthetic prescription drugs. I am against using prescription pain medications because of the negative side effects and addictions they can cause.
  8. I am a 58 year old female who had great health until 2006 when I had to have a hemanjioma (non-malignant growth) removed from inside my spinal cord at the T11/T12 location. I had this procedure done at the Mayo Clinic. They informed me I would have some nerves damaged in the procedure and that I might even be paralyzed; on the other hand paralysis was certain if I did not have the surgery. As it turned out I had significant “central nervous pain” due to the damaged nerves in the procedure.   My condition since 2006 includes allodynia (extreme skin sensitivity)  neuropathy in legs, feet and arms. I have chronic pain 24 hours a day, on a scale of 1-10 my best periods of time which are infrequent are about a level 3 and worse are level 10. My average pain level is around 6-8.  To maintain even this level requires multiple opiates. My daily medication regiment includes Nucynta (tapentadol) which is an opioid pain medication, oxycodone which is also an opioid pain medication, diazepam for back and neck pain, zolpidem as a sleep aid and non-prescription aids to help me with constipation caused by the daily use of opiates. I also take Fluoxine for depression. I have appointments at the United Health Pain Center in St. Paul quarterly for prescriptions and any news on new medications. My doctor is a former a Anesthesiologist at Mayo Clinic.  My life is so bad that sometimes I don’t want to continue but what I have is not life threatening so I am forced to live out my natural life with all this pain. I can no longer do housework, cook, drive or do anything productive. My husband quit work in 2006 after my surgery to take care of me. I rarely leave the house or even my bedroom because moving around is so painful. I use a walker and wheelchair when I have to move.  In short my life is watching TV and reading on my ipad in my bedroom.  My Doctor at the United Pain Center has tried every drug that he thinks might possibly help, what I described above is the best we have found even though it isn’t very good. Three years ago I was desperate enough to have a surgery to implant a spinal stimulator, that actually made things worse and a year later I had it removed. Medical marijuana may or may not be helpful, but I am desperate for any opportunity to improve. I have read many articles on-line from people who had pain like mine and said marijuana was a significant help. I urge you to allow me and others who have to have chronic pain requiring opiates an opportunity to see if medical marijuana can help. Thank you.  [name and contact information redacted]
  9. I have a number of conditions that give me constant pain. I'm 67 years old and was in a accident in 1980 that crushed my left shoulder, broke my kneecap and my collar bone. I have sciatica and have constant pain down to my knee on my right leg. My Dr. has prescribed me Oxycontin, Vicodin and codeine. Codeine has seemed the lesser of these drugs and that is what I now have a script for. They replaced my left shoulder in 1996 and gave me Percocet for 6 weeks and I went through withdrawals and had to be weened off of them. Sometimes I wake in the morning with such pain I wish I were dead. My wife worries I may try suicide (I never would do that to my family) and I tell her but she only hears and sees me sometimes crying wishing I were dead and thinks that.   I took a trip to Colorado to see if Cannabis could help. I went into a dispensary and they had about 50 types of Cannabis I could choose from. I told them that I needed it for sleep and pain they had about 10 strains I could choose from and bought 7 grams of it from 7 different strains. I tried them all and found that a 50/50 balance thc to cdb seemed to work best. I went back and got a some sativa strains a few days later because I slept all the time from the indicas 50/50 and I needed something for the day time so it would not put me to sleep. I got that and stayed there for a week. All my pain was gone including my sciatica and arthritis which I did not mention above. I also have sleep apnea and have a cpap machine for it.. First night I used the cannabis I slept 10 hours and I had not done that in years. I went to a park in Boulder, CO and sat down and noticed the birds and just enjoyed not being in pain. Most of my days I can't hear the birds or enjoy life I am to preoccupied (biting the  bullet) just trying to make it through the day.  Right now my wife and I are discussing where to move to where I can get help. From what I see I could not afford to spend a 1,000 bucks a month to the two companies that are set up selling oil that comes from strains that may not work best for me. I just did a search for cannabis seed banks and found one that had seeds for 1500 different strains. I hope you set this up and it helps some people and that is why am writing this. I am retired and can't afford what you offer hopefully others can. I need to find what is the best strain for me and grow it myself and control the cost.  The last thing I have to say is what you do impacts families and may rip them apart. When I got back from Colorado I wanted to grow my own in my house and my wife said no. She said she could not live with the thought of having our door kicked down by the police and guns pointed at us and the handcuffs. I almost moved out and then we had a family meeting and decided we would move to where it is legal. That means we don't get to see our grand kids or two children very often.   I think what you are trying to do, controlling a substance that people want and can make themselves is doomed to failure. You should make it legal for adults 21 to buy and grow and anyone giving or selling to underage kids get charged with a felony. In a few years the states around MN will make it legal and then you will be chasing people making runs across the state lines to get it . Maybe some of you remember when Wisconsin drinking age was 18 and we had 21 and we had all the 18 year old kids going to the bars in Wisconsin and driving back drunk.  I hope you do this to help some people and I figure in about 6 years if I am still alive I may be able to move back because I think the politicians will see they need to make it legal.
  10. I have constant back/neck pain. The entire Cannabis Program needs to be opened up to everyone not just a select group. It makes no sense that you can go to Colorado and buy openly but be under such restrictions as we are using in the State of Minnesota!!
  11. Hi my name is [name redacted],  I am 27 years old and I found out I had brain cancer on the 1st of January this year (great way to welcome in the New Year right!?). I was in a coma for 4 days and also had a stroke and lost some of my eye sight and recently I found out it may never come back (I was just fitted for prism glasses yesterday to help with this) and since then nothing will allow for me to sleep and my mind races constantly throughout the day. I have chronic headaches and neck aches daily due to the surgery (Sitting in a bed for 2 months limp will do this to you). When I woke up from surgery I was told I may never walk or talk again, however I pushed through my therapy and can do both now. I even work full time and was the # sales person at the medical device company I work for right out of surgery. I do yoga, stretch, and walk a lot to help with the after effects of surgery but once I sit down I instantly feel pain in my head again. I have asked my surgeons, primary doctor, and have even called Senator Scott Dibbles office on how to obtain my Medical Marijuana card. The physicians tell me they are too nervous and there isn't enough research in their opinion to prescribe something like that for me, Health partners told me they are unable to fill out the form on the http://www.health.state.mn.us/topics/cannabis/ website because they have signed something saying they will not be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis to patients, and when I called [MDH Communications] office an individual told me they know there is a lot of cracks still in the Bill and are looking at revamping it soon.   My questions if why is it so difficult to obtain this card that I (Need) not want to alleviate my pain? I currently take Keppra which is an anti-Seizure medication and under the current bill says I should be able to obtain my card. Yet, I am still here sitting in the dark with nowhere to go. I have called Fairview, Health partners, Allina, etc and no health care entity has any answers for me or at least willing to help because of the backlash they may get from their counterparts.   Please help!  Thank you,  [Name and phone number redacted]
  12. Please add intractable/chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions for Medical Marijuana. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder that causes a lot of joint pain and neuromuscular pain akin to fibromyalgia. It has been my experience that marijuana has helped considerably in dealing with my pain, resulting in less use of opiates for pain management.
  13. I am a patient with chronic pain issues and have attempted many other the usual pain meds and have not had any success with pain relief.  I would be willing to at least try this approach due to I hate taking the other pain meds.
  14. I am now, and have been for many years, suffering from peripheral neuropathy. As is common the pain began in my feet and is progressive in both the area affected and the level of pain. There is no cure, no pain relief, and no hope of reversing the disease. Research using marijuana-based oil high in cannabidiol CBD) and low in THC used as an oil in a vape pen provides relief to some sufferers. Please consider allowing chronic pain sufferers to pursue this avenue in a legal controlled environment.  Thank you
  15. I am for the intractable pain addition to the program.  I have MS.  I have daily headaches, tight muscles in my neck  and shoulders. This is a daily pain, I consider it intractable pain.  I asked my neurologist for medical marijuana , she referred me to a clinic that prescribes it, I guess only some clinics are able to write prescriptions,  I went there and asked, he did not even consider it.  He touched my shoulders and said that they are tight and I need to get botox injections in them!!  I researched botox, and it is NOT for me.  There are a lot of possible side effects and it seems to me that they would be worse than medical marijuana side effects.  He told me that there is no proof that it works, and there is proof that botox works.  I would like to try medical mj and make my own decision.  I then asked if he would prescribe massage, as I know people who are in car crashes are able to get.  Again my answer was no.  I would like to try a more natural way to cope with this pain, and that is NOT botox!! I am very frustrated that I cannot even consider natural cures, Please approve it for intractable pain, I really want to try it and see if it helps me, instead of injecting poisen into my body that could numb my shoulders forever!
  16. I am 78 years old; although I grew up and went to college in the late 50's and early 60's, I have NEVER used marijuana/cannabis in any form.   Now, I suffer from serious chronic pain in my upper arms and shoulders after a fall one year ago; I have tried virtually everything to relieve it (upon assorted doctors' recommendations) to no avail.   I would STRONGLY endorse adding intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions.
  17. I've recently been diagnosed with a horrible chronic pain disorder- complex regional pain syndrome, and in addition to my other disorder- hemochromatosis and the pain it causes, I'm i unbelievable pain. The only thing that helps take the edge of the pain away is narcotic medication. Unfortunately, I'm a registered nurse and it's illegal for me to work while on narcotics. I'm faced with the decision of being able to move and walk or take narcotics. I'm having to work in great distress if I can move that day, or i'm having to call in sick because I need to use pain medication to deal with the chronic pain.  I'm desperate to find a solution to help with the pain so I can keep my job as a nurse. I hate taking narcotic medication. I use it as little as possible, but my quality of life is decreasing. It frustrates me that there could be a solution available but I do not qualify for medical cannabis. I've always been someone who follows the rules, so I will not obtain the cannabis illegally. But i'm desperate to at least have the opportunity to try to have a natural way to take the pain away. If I can find a way, I'll be able to work without pain. Provide the care and compassion that my patients deserve. I won't have to be looking in to how to qualify for disability. I won't be worried about being fired because I have week long stretches of severe pain.  As a registered nurse with a bachelors degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota, it infuriates me that there is a product available to others that can help me that I don't qualify for. A person's body can not heal if they are in severe pain. They can barely function.  Please consider adding intractable pain as a qualifying condition. I don't know how I can continue to contribute to society without a chance to cope with this pain. Thank you.
  18. My 38 year old son was born with lymphangioma on his left hand and arm.  He has had innumerable surgeries and has recently been diagnosed by the Mayo Clinic to have Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome.  He is in constant pain and would like the chance to try using medical cannabis to see if it would eliminate at least a portion of his pain symptoms.
  19. I worked all my life as a laborer, the last 11 years for the city. I chased trash trucks, I operated everything from a shovel to plow trucks. In that time I could not tell you how many miles I ran or walked, and always with a shovel in my hand. I have dug through sand, mud, clay, class 5 rock and cold hard asphalt. The stress I put on my back is incomprehensible to people who don't work as laborers. Along with the bulls### I have to take from workers comp and their games, I have to take more bulls### from the medical community about how to treat the pain, which since it is mine, all I should hear from the medical community is how can we help you? But it is not. I have to live in my body for whatever time I have left, which as things go I hope won't be long. While suicide is not really a viable option, insurance does not payout for it, the way things go, unless something changes will remain an option of last resort. I do not like it but thanks to the United States medical community there really isn't a lot of hope for me. Between racist and ego-maniac Drs. to the ones that go behind your back by making phone calls and denying medication on groundless reasons. The other doctors made the mistake but she should not have made the phone call in the first place. And they never get punished, while I had to suffer until my doc came back. I do not like taking medication as some make me ill, but weed settles down my stomach so I can eat. I thought that I was going to try to make it to 100 but right now I really don't want to make 60. I am 57 now. The pain starts right after I wake up, that is when I can sleep, because I can only get decent sleep by using both Percocet and muscle relaxer. But thanks to the dumb way you do stuff I must also consider using heroin because it is easier to get and less hassle than dealing with doctors. And what in the  hell DEA is doing making medical decisions? I had a good job and lost it, and that is due to me doing everybody else's work and the city not helping me, and then comes workers comp. The only reasons I'm alive is because of my grandkids, they range from 13 down to two and I want to see them graduate from high school and college. Especially the boys because it is important for young black males to get through school. Now back to pain; I had to give away my tools because I can no longer work on cars. Something I have done since 1972. Those tools cost me around 6000 dollars and took years to build up, I cannot ride a bike, swim, run or walk more than for a block before I have to sit down, I used to start my yard waste pickup off the truck and would not be back on it until my share of the route was done. I used to box a little but now if I hit something it hurts down in the L-4 to S-1. when I stretch my toes go numb, I get shooting pains down to my feet. Personally if I was any less of a man I think I would have killed myself already. I wish like hell I would have got out of that job but I loved it, but dealing with your lousy Drs. and workers comp has changed all that. I have a heating pad and polar ice machine sitting in my chair as I spend most of my day in that chair. I thought some people who were suffering from back pain were just weak, but now I know very differently. I suppose I could deal with it in itself but the medical community and work comp have turned my life into a living hell really not worth living and while alcohol could help, I hate drinking. Not every one who takes meds like or even want to but it is the only things that help get through the day. I would have gone to one of those meetings but driving kills me, I have a class A license with all endorsements except Hazmat and I dropped that because I didn't need it working for the city. But I will not be climbing in a semi again. I have a bunch of junk doctors telling me how and why I should feel and they have no idea, they just say we are white and we are smart and you are not so our opinion matters and we don't care what you think you feel like you are lying or crazy. And then here I am. I have to listen to my body regardless of their stupid opinion. Who in the hell i9n their right mind would leave their high paying job for SSI and disability and all the garbage I have to put up with. Man, I just graduated from Brown College with a tech degree that is now useless. My only thought every day is please god let me get through this day. I no longer plan out, everything is day to day. My grandkids don't understand what is happening and why grand pa can't lift them up anymore and play with them, take them to a park etc. And frankly neither do I. All I know is I will never be the same again, and all I did was go to work and do my job well. I have awards for employee of the month and from the Minneapolis fire department for responding to a fire before them. As I write this I try to keep from crying, which is all I have done pretty much since this started and I have no road back to who I was and I have to deal with all this stupid hypocrisy and bull about pain medication. It is not my job or desire to figure out why things are the way they are, mine is to survive until I can't. Which seems to be getting closer, because I have never been able to tolerate stupid, not to say that I have never been stupid, but I don't need a persons color to not like them, stupid works well to me and that is the way things are. I probably won't apply for medical pot and will continue to buy off the street because I am tired of jumping through hoops like I am a damn animal. I think a lot of times I wish I had been hit by a car and killed rather than have to live my final days as I now have to. I thought doctors were supposed to help, all they have done is make it worse, and you know they ain't hearing that. It seems to the medical community that ego comes before patient care. All they do is tell me how I should feel. That doctor that denied my pain meds should be disciplined for calling and discussing my case without my permission, and they gave her the wrong info any way and she denies meds. And then not even an apology for being wrong. Which by the way I want to file a complaint against her and [facility name redacted] for giving erroneous information to her because it was their fault in scheduling. So no I don't trust any thing out of doctors mouth any more. They always say it ain't about race, but that's a lie to. I am the one who has to wake up every day and combat this and they don't help. At least for cancer patients they know an end to their pain because the cancer will kill them, my cousin died of lung cancer and I just buried two uncles in two years and they were close to me in years and in our relationships. Also my little brother had acute lymphobastic leukemia and was the only one to survive his class at KU. We would smoke with him after his chemo and he would be able to eat and keep it down, and it helped him also with the pain. I probably didn't spell it right but I will never forget the experience, because we thought my brother was going to die, and he is my only brother. Really the way you treat weed is ridiculous, it is far less harmful than alcohol but that is legal? As far as I am concerned, this should not even be a question. I don't care what you say, I smoked weed while I was at work and no one even knew, and I worked around cops and they never knew either. Just about everything bad you say about weed really applies more to alcohol. I am now only seeing one doctor anymore because he is the only one who is not full of it. None of you could have done my job and survived but yet and still everyone is telling me how I feel. One day this constant pain is going to kill me also because not only do I have the pain in my spine but I have to deal with all of this extra bs from medical people and that is what is making it to much for me to take. Every day I wake up I hope it will be my last, because it becomes more hopeless
  20. I greatly urge to allow intractable pain be added to the list of medical conditions that qualify for medical cannabis in Minnesota. I’ve suffered for 3 years with pain from a severe car accident. After trying everything the doctors could think of to treat my pain I found no relief with any procedure or prescribed drug. I have since found great success in visiting Colorado a few times and trying varying forms of cannabis products. It was a very emotional day when I first tried a transdermal patch. It was the first time in years I was pain free. The pain wasn’t masked it was gone. I feel many people would benefit from this being available for pain management here in Minnesota. I ask you to think of the quality of life you would improve for so many people as well as improving the lives of their familys. Thank you for this opportunity to voice my experiences and hopefully we can move in the right direction.
  21. Hi my name is [name redacted] I had ankle reconstructive surgery seven years ago, and in the process of that surgery they left me with permanent nerve damage in my ankle. I’ve been in a cast since then because it’s the only thing tight enough to [inaudible]. This feels like I have a light socket in my ankle. I’ve been on fentanyl patches so much pain medication that it’s just made me have no quality in days in my life. My doctor certified me disabled because I am no longer able to work because of the pain medication. So I am all for adding this pain and something needs to happen to give me simply a better life. And I would like to do it legally, so if I could get off all those medications, my life would be much easier.
  22. I injured my neck, knees, and shoulder in the line of duty as a Mpls Fire Fighter. I was forced off the job with these injuries, and soon afterwards developed cancer. I also suffer from kidney stones for the last twenty years, at least three times each year. To top things off, I developed Grover's disease, tore off my calf and Achilles tendons, and suffer from sleep apnea.    The Doctors have always prescribed Oxey when I tell them I need something  for pain, but I hate the feeling I get from it. I believe I am becoming allergic to it, and just don't like taking it.    I asked my Doctor to be put on the list to try marijuana, but he was shocked, and said that is a narcotic, and they don't believe in it. So I went to Colorado to visit my son, and to visit one of the shops out there. I told my family of my plans, and they went with me to talk to the "experts" at the store. When I told him I was looking for pain relief, his reply was "we can fix you up man, this shit will get you high". I told him I was not looking to get high, I just wanted pain relief. He showed me some cream, and a pill with no THC, which cost three times as much as the products with THC. As I was buying these, he once again told me "but these won't get you high!" Is this what you want someone to go thru?   I was helping a friend build a garage two years ago up in Brainerd. I was the youngest at fifty-five years old. I was also the only one not smoking a joint. These guys never have a problem getting their marijuana on the street. So who are you protecting? If I want to be illegal, I can, but I chose to follow the law. I am also afraid of what might be in this stuff. I would like to buy something from a pharmacist who can tell me what to be careful of, rather then this shit will get you high man! If you guys are honest, you must know you are only keeping this away from someone who follows the rules.
  23. I suffer from TMJ and have found no relief with current medications. I should not have to go to the black market for the one thing that does provide relief. It is not only bad politics but it is inhuman to deny residents of this state the choice. We need this approved and available now not in August of 2016 (as I read).  Antiquated beliefs that don't apply to most of us are handicapping this state from much needed revenue. As Colorado, Washington etc. have shown this fears are not real and only serve to drive this underground to the delight of the criminal elements. Wake up Minnesota and claim your history as a progressive state.
  24. Please add intractable pain to the list of qualifying conditions to Minnesota's Medical Marijuana legislation. I am lying in bed, in pain, writing these comments.  I have been suffering from both worsening painful peripheral neuropathy and painful spinal degenerative disease for over 20 years. Many doctors, including several at Mayo Clinic, have tried to identify the cause of my peripheral neuropathy & spine degeneration and failed. My doctors believe I have a collagen defective disease but cannot identify it.  The list of doctors, treatments, & medications I have tried in an attempt to mitigate my pain is quite impressive: neurologists, chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncture, Mayo Clinic Scrambler Therapy clinical trial, spinal fusion, muscle relaxants, all the non-narcotic medications my doctors recommended, epidurals, pain clinics, etc. I'm left taking the only medications that (minimally) help my pain: OxyContin and oxycodone. These help somewhat but I'm still quite disabled due to pain. By early afternoon, pain has me lying in bed for the rest of the day. Sitting & standing cause so much pain that I cannot do "normal" activities such as attend a public hearing on medical marijuana, go to a restaurant, movie or concert, hold a job, visit friends, exercise, eat dinner sitting at the table, etc. My feet & legs painfully tingle & burn. I have painful numbness & shooting electrical pain in my feet. My back pain is incredible.  I am only 60 years old. I would like to be a contributing member of my community, but the pain prevents this.  To summarize: The medical profession has been unable to diagnose the cause of my neuropathy, thus cannot target treatment & my pain increases. My disc & vertebrae degeneration continues with no way to prevent further deterioration, & the pain increases. All the non-narcotic medications my doctors suggest either don't help my pain, make me terribly nauseous, or both. All of that leaves me with narcotic medications for pain being my only option. The narcotics are only marginally helpful. The pain continues. Please be compassionate. Please let me, and the many others suffering like me, try medical marijuana. Thank you for soliciting public comments.
  25. I was in accident and lost 8 yes 8 fingers! I have severe constant phantom pain, after trying different treatments with my doctors for over 10 years nothing helped until I discovered marijuana. My ability to function and quality of life has improved substantially to say the least. I work full time in health care, I have a family, I vote, I am a positive and active member in my community I am NOT a criminal I need this for SEVERE pain for which NOTHING else helps and making me out to be because of this is completely unjust.
  26. "To whom it may concern. I am sending you a copy of a letter that I sent to Senator Nelson. I never received a reply. This letter was written to bring awareness. It is about our Health Care System, or should I say our failing Health Care System. It has been a few weeks since I sent the letter and I haven't heard anything back yet. Maybe she is too busy, or maybe she doesn't care, I don't know. Seeing as it took me about 3 days of writing, off and on, and several hours for my Wife to edit and spell check it, I am not going to rewrite it each time I want to send it out. Please read it.   Dear Senator Nelson, First of all I would like to apologize if this gets to be a long email, but I have a lot to say on behalf of myself and a lot of other Americans. So on behalf of myself and the rest of the poor, and working class poor, I will begin by saying that I am not a democrat or a republican, I am an independent. I vote for the person that I feel will do what is best for all Americans, not just the wealthy. Now I am writing this letter on the advice of two of the four or five doctors that I have seen in the last two years. When I suggested that they speak to you politicians about fixing the outrageously broken healthcare system in this country, they said : no I needed to get hold of a politician and give you the same ear full that I gave them. Here go's. My name is [name redacted], I was born in Two Harbors MN. I was about 3 when my folks moved to southeast MN. and have lived here ever sense. Some of my earliest memories are from an old farm house between [location redacted]. I remember my dad and the neighbors digging a new hole in the ground and moving the outhouse, I remember my brothers teaching me to ride a bike on the long driveway, the same one that that my brothers and sisters had to shovel out so my mom could get in after work, I remember very well wanting to get on that school bus with my brothers and sisters and go to school, my mother saying to me that I was not old enough yet. Then finally I was old enough and I started school in 1962. I remember my first grade teacher telling my mother that I didn't seem to be picking up on things like the other kids were but not to worry. By the next school year we had moved to [location redacted] so I started second grade there. [School name redacted] was a 3 room school with 3 teachers and a library in a closet. I remember my second grade teacher telling mom that I was not catching on and that she thought I was not trying, the next year that teacher moved up to teach 3 and 4 grade so I was in her class for the next 2 years I continued to struggle, and she continued to say I wasn't trying, I was lazy, I wasn't applying myself, and all that kind of thing. It got to the point that she would call on me to read in front of the class, she and some of the other kids would tease and pick on me to see if they could make me cry, or if I would just go back to my seat, or the teacher would finally just tell me to sit down. Needless to say I did not get much out of class at that time. 5th and 6th grade wasn't much better, another old teacher that didn't think I was trying either, she just pushed me along. In 7th grade they had me tested and found that I have severe dyslexia, This was kind of new and they were just learning how to deal with it. By this time I was already hating school from being picked on, teased and mean teachers. I just wasn't getting much out of school. My mom finally found a tutor that would take a lesser fee and payments, unfortunately I was not interested and uncooperative. That was unfortunate because she tried hard to help me. I didn't realize at the time but some of what she tried to teach me did sink in. I struggled thru school until the 11th grade when I lost half of my left hand in an explosion. I came to the realization I was wasting my time and that of my teachers, so I dropped out.  I figure that I could read at a 3rd grade level. I knew that I had to do something, so I took a shot at a 3 week truck driving school. When I got one of the highest score's on my driving test and failed my written test, my teacher couldn't understand. He asked what happened. I told him that I couldn't read. He said no problem, and read me the questions.  I passed and went on to drive truck for 30 years. It wasn't easy not being able to read bill of ladings, invoices, and all of the other paper work that goes along with truck driving, but I got by. I got married the first time in 1977 and divorced ten years later.  Shortly after that, I was in a severe car crash, causing severe back injuries.  I met my second wife who I am still with after 30 years. We lived together for 10 years, and have been married for 20 years. It was about 3 years after my accident before I could return to work. I couldn't drive truck so I delivered pizza's and my wife worked nights as a cocktail waitress. My wife has two boys and I have two girls.  That is some back ground. Now I will start to tell you some of my feelings and thoughts on healthcare, or lack thereof, for the poor in America. Now I want you to take this in and ask yourself: what would you do? Early one Saturday morning I took our youngest son and left for Whitewater Wildlife Management Area for a day of Grouse hunting.  Knowing the terrain, I told my son repeatedly to stay away from the edge. We stopped to rest, [son's name redacted] was concerned that our dog had not caught up with us yet, so he went to call for him. The next thing I knew I heard him fall and slide over the edge of a thirty foot cliff. I knew where we were and what the edge was like. For me to get to him I had to run 200 yards away from him and down the point and then 200 yards back to were I knew he was. It took what's  seems like forever to run that far thru the woods. You have a lot of thoughts go thru your head, like, is he dead ,is he going to be laying there all busted up, how will I get help, no cell phones, I will have to leave him busted up and run another 300 yards thru the woods to the road, and hope that a car would come by so I could send then to get help. We can't even get mayo one down close and all sorts of other thoughts going thru my head. Thank god when I got to him he was just starting to sit up, t\That was a great relief. I got there and checked him out, thankfully he was able to move all his parts he knew who he was and where he was. After a while, I went down the hill and got his shoe, put it on, and asked him if he thought he could walk. He said yes, so I got him up and we made our way back to the truck. We flew back to town I stopped at the house and went in and told Lori that Jon had just fallen off a 30ft cliff. She jumped up and said ""what""? Now remember she had just worked a full shift at the bar and had only been in bed a few hours, still smelled like smoke, and looked like she had been in a bar all night. Now, seeing as we were not married at that time, and she and her boys were on welfare, she took [son's name redacted] to the hospital, and I stayed at home with our other 3 teenage kids. To my surprise she returned a short time later with tears in her eyes and said that they wouldn't even take an x-ray. Now remember, she pulled up to the ER in an old shit box 1965 station wagon, she looked and smelled like she had been in the bar all night(she was, she worked all night) They took her aside to fill out paper work, and took Jon to an examination room. After she did the paper work she went into the exam room where they told her that she had better take here son out of there or they would have to call child protective services on her because "" there was no way that [son's name redacted] could have fallen off a 30 foot cliff and walk thru the doors of the ER"" She must have someone at home beating on this boy!, those two big bruises in the middle of his back look like fist marks. Those two big bruises are what saved his life they were caused by the two; two liter bottles that he had in his back pack. They kicked her out of the ER without as much as an x-ray! I believe it was because she looked poor, she drove up in a shit box car and she was on welfare, so they assumed that she had a peace of [expletive] old man at home beating on her children. [wife's name redacted] came home and told me what had happened, needless to say I was [expletive] off. I Did what I felt was the best thing I could think of, I called my chiropractor and told him what had happened. He was appalled. He said to get [son's name redacted] right in to his office, where he did a thorough exam. And if you don't think a boy can fall off a 30ft cliff and live or walk away, you need to check out the video on U tube of the man that fell off his mountain bike and down a 200ft cliff, when he hit the bottom he jumped up and said I'm OK climbed back up the cliff with his broken wrist and other injuries, got on his bike and peddled 15 miles back to a car for a ride to the hospital and I am betting that they did not call him a liar. So much for [son's name redacted]'s story. Now I want you to think on it, what would you have done and how would you feel? Now lets talk about healthcare or the lack of if you are poor! Now you remember I am a 58 year old man working a manual labor job for, less then minimum wage, because the GOP was so against raising the minimum wage. The only way it would pass was if the governor would allow businesses to put off raising it to $9.50 per/hr. for two years, and that was bullshit. We the working poor needed that money now, not in two years. Right now I make less then $8.50 per hr.  After I pay my taxes, so that you politicians have the best healthcare that money can buy, and money to wage war around the world, and my federally mandated health insurance, my take home pay is $220.00 per week, give or take a few bucks.  I want you to think, could you pay your mortgage, your utilities all the other insurances, food, gas, etc. Could you do it? Now remember I am 58 years old, I work 40 hrs a week, half of it on my hands and knees. Over a year ago I missed more than 3 days of work because of my back,( you remember the back that the W.F.M.C. told me that there was nothing wrong with), yes they were wrong! so after missing 3 days of work my boss told me that I had to go to the doctor or lose my job! Now lets talk about healthcare or the lack of if you are poor So I went I figured that since I now had to run up a doctor bill, I would have them look at my foot that was so sore that I was having a hard time walking on,  let alone being able to get up and down off the floor to do my job, so I went to a foot doctor. He took x-rays. They did not show any thing. He said lets do an MRI,  I said doc I can,t afford an MRI. His response was"" well you have insurance don't you"", and that is when I layed it on him. I said "" Doc I do have insurance, insurance that I can't afford to have the premium taken out of my check, I can't afford the co-pay, I can't afford the $3000 deductible, How the hell am I supposed to pay everything that the insurance doesn't pay? He didn't know what to say, So he started to give me lesser options a brace for my ankle a cortisone shot, it helped temporarily. I had 2 more over the next year.  One day it hurt so bad I went to him and said lets do the MRI, so we did, it came back showing a break in my foot. Doc ask me if i knew when I did this and how did it happen.  I had to think on it some and then remembered about 6 or 7 years ago, I had jumped down off a big bulldozer that I was hauling on my low boy trailer, I landed on the frozen ground, and thinking that that was going to leave a mark.  I thought that I had just sprained it but apparently it was more then that. Now Doc, he was optimistic, he said there was a good chance that it would heal if I would wear a boot cast for 6 to 8 weeks. So I did as the doctor said and wore the boot cast for 6 weeks, until I couldn't any longer.  Walking in that cast made my right leg 2"" longer then my left and it has blowing out my left knee.   Today I have an appointment with another doctor, that I can't afford to go and see, but have no choice. It has caused me to miss some work when I had to leave early yesterday. My boss asked if I am going to be able to continue to do my job or should they find someone else to do my job. That I did not expect but I do understand. My boss is the best boss I have ever had and I love her for that, in return I am one of the best employees that she has, and she relies on me heavily. She knows how hard I work, she also knows how much pain I work in every day. She sees the pain every time I get up off the floor, she sees the pain in my face every time my knee gives out and I all most fall to the floor, she also knows how much sleep I lose over the thousands and thousands of dollars worth of doctor bills that I have, and I have no idea how I am going to pay. She also knows the constant fear I live in over the fact that we might lose our home because we can't afford to pay our medical bills. When they don't get their money they send your bill off to collections, and when they don't get their money they take you to court and they garnish your wages. When they do that we will lose our home that we have struggled for 18 years to hold on to. This is healthcare for the working poor in America today. You know it really sucks to work 40hrs a week, and that isn't enough, you still have to live so far below the poverty line that when you look up you can't even see the poverty line!  At this point I an going to suggest that you implement healthcare for all. How do we pay for it you say? Try this, make Marijuana legal. It is inevitable. It's happening already.  I am not big on regulation, but some is necessary,and this is one of those times. I don't think we should do like Colorado and just make it wide open. I think, if you started by letting all the people that are in prisons and jails across this country, that are just in for pot charges, and stop paying to house them. Not one's that have other charges! just the one's with pot charges only, stop spending thousands and thousands of Police hours each year spent on just pot offenses, countless hours spent in the court houses by countless people that could just as well be working on other cases. Now look at all the man power and money you just saved, Take that money and all the billions and billions of dollars in taxes and fee's I know you would come real close to covering the cost of health care for all, and if it doesn't  cover it, it would come very close. If you would be interested I have put some thought into a tax plan that would be fair to all and I think with some fine tuning it would come very close to paying for health care and it wouldn't have to dip to deep into your chest or your  'save the world ' funds. You could let the honest, hard working, God fearing,  country loving Americans pay the bulk of the expense. And the rest? Well you have to split up between the rest of the population. It doesn't matter how you do it, you have to get it done. People shouldn't have to work for years on broken feet because they can't afford to go to the doctor, or they should not have to go to the salvation army and beg for an inhaler ($500.00 a month) so they can breathe because they they work for one of the largest school districts in the state, and because of all of the decades of budget cuts to our schools, they have to take all the full time jobs that open as people retire and cut those jobs down to shifts,15 minutes short per day, of having to pay them benefits.  If they have asthma or COPD and want to breath they have to go and beg to be able to breath. On top of everything else, if you don't get health insurance, even if you can't afford it, You get fined by the government. What's up with that? Well I think I will end on that note for now. I do hope to here back from you I would be interested to here what you have to say about healthcare or the lack there of .  Sincerely, Pat Catlin, and all the rest of the working poor suffering the same perils that we are!  I hope that this letter was enlightening to someone that care's. About legalizing marijuana for pain control is long overdue. on a scale of 1 to 10 my pain level on a good day is 3, when I got out of bed this morning it was about a 4! I have 2 broken feet 2 bad knees a bad back, bad rotator cuffs bad elbows not to mention rheumatoid arthritis. When my pain wake's me up in the middle of the night, I can take a few one hit's and go back to sleep. I get up and do a few hits before work and go do my 8 hours up and down on my hands and knees all day, I came home today with a pain level of about 7 or 8 it has been 6 hours and I have it back down to about a 4 or 5. This is my daily routine. Why should I have to be forced to take man made chemicals and support huge pharmaceutical companies. Marijuana is not a cure or wonder drug. But it is safe, I can drive, I have driven over 1,000,000 miles and have a driving record that anyone would be proud of, I can operate heavy equipment, or anything i need to do and do it safely. I am not a bad person and should not be considered a criminal because I choose to self medicate with a 100%25 natural medication. It is time that it is made legal and fairly taxed and the money used to fund health care for all.
  27. Please consider Marijuana as a medical pain control method, I have suffered from chronic pain for over 10 years  deeply dependent on Oxycodone as comfort this drug is more addictive and caused more severe side effects  than anything imaginable, smoking marijuana while in Colorado last year I was so surprised on the pain relief I felt since then illegally obtaining Marijuana has helped my reduce my Narcotic intake by 90% I have less pain and remain  a very successful Manager in the Twin cities no one would ever know of the struggles I have had with prescription  pain killers I am not a addict and have never committed a crime to get drugs when prescriptions run out I suffer  this is frustrating as a citizen of a free country law makers tell me I must either suffer or take OTC pain relievers that  do severe liver damage when taken in doses that off set pain for 4  hours. For everyone out there suffering  from severe pain, migraines for even post traumatic stress disorder including depression this medication should  not only be legal but a supported holistic approach to public health.  Thank you for your consideration [name redacted]
  28. I am a 62 year-old female with a library of auto-immune system diseases. I've been disabled since 2004. My prognosis is death by 2023. I've already outlived 60% of people with my disease. My pain varies and is worse with environmental changes. My disease precludes the use of NSAIDS and have used narcotics for relief. I dislike taking oxycodone and vicodin due to the drowsiness and dizziness, but especially because I cease being able to carry on the activities that define my humanity.  During my college years I used 'pot' and beer and enjoyed the recreational aspects and still graduated with a 4.0 gpa. I've not used pot since before I had children (who are now in their 30's) and think I'm very capable of gauging whether cannabis might help with my pain. Perhaps an experimental program for people in my circumstance, ie. past child-bearing age, already disabled, on a predictable timeline to death, etc. We could be the first to volunteer to use cannabis for pain control and could document our experience for the MN Dept. of Health.  Please consider that it's mean-spirited to believe that I am incapable of overseeing my health and the progress of my disease. I have managed my life and health, my children's lives, helped manage my parent's health problems as well as sat at the bedside of several dying friends. I am quite knowledgeable about life and death issues and should be accorded the dignity to govern my own health decisions. Thank you for a rapid response to the needs of people in my circumstance.
  29. I have a choice. Use THC and CBD's to medicate with, or go get pharmaceuticals -- namely opiates -- from my doctor.  My thinking is that opiates are physically and psychologically addictive. I see a lot of evidence through the newspapers, TV, documentaries, and magazines regarding over-used and over-prescribed pain medications that are handed out like candy to patients who are not given another choice. People who, because of pain, are seeking relief from their doctors, but are led down a path of self-destruction -- a place many of them would never have believed they would ever show up. The snowball effect of pain, depression, quality of life, and addiction to these pain meds are ruining the lives of people with intractable pain.  I choose to use -- and openly support -- a drug that, to my knowledge, is not physically addictive, is not known to cause an overdose, is grown naturally, and doesn't seem to be harmful to anyone! In fact, millions of people -- those not hiding their use -- have given anecdotal evidence of their own success stories due to cannabis. Whether they suffer from cancer, depression, anxiety, or intractable pain, the use of this drug helps people to focus, deal with it, and move through everyday as they need or want to. As I have heard from so many other marijuana users, "It (literally) saved my life. I wouldn't have made it through (whatever bad life experience) without it."  I consider it a miracle drug! Thank God for weed! It helps so many people -- and the evidence is there in the millions of people who use it on a regular basis. I, personally, suffer from depression, anxiety, and lower back pain due to degenerative disc disease and scoliosis. I support the use of medical marijuana as a drug to help intractable pain sufferers, and I hope Minnesota can become a leader in the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana.
  30. I urge the task force to advise the Commissioner to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying medical conditions to receive cannabis medication. I worked as an RN for twenty-five years, even though diabetes had destroyed my retinas, leaving me totally blind. At age twenty-five, after losing my eyesight, living through two strokes and a kidney transplant, I created my position as a cardiac nurse educator and worked 40-hours a week. I took medical leave twice: once to have my second double organ transplant and once because the immune suppressants I have to take for life in order to prevent my organs from rejecting caused me to contract lymphoma. While I was on medical leave treating the lymphoma with chemotherapy, I herniated a disc in my back. I’ve had intractable pain for over two years secondary to both the disc herniation and the damage left behind due to the chemo therapy. The only treatment choices I’ve been given to manage the daily pain are to take dangerous narcotics throughout the day, which can cause liver damage-I really don’t want a 4th organ transplant, or gabapentin. The gabapentin creates substantial cognitive impairments and ataxia. As such, I’m unable to navigate safely as my blindness requires that my brain work properly to maintain my proprioception as well as orientation to my surroundings. I often stagger and slump against walls from the ataxia. Or grope unsuccessfully in the darkness for the corner of a cabinet to hold me up. These are not safe or effective treatments for chronic pain.  Blindness, multiple organ transplants, heart disease, cancer of my native kidney, systemic, aggressive lymphoma and chemotherapy did not render me disabled; I still worked and did not need Social Security-a fact I was quite proud of. Now, with intractable pain, the poor efficacy of the medicines available to treat that pain and the side effects of those medicines have debilitated me to the point of now needing long term medical disability and SSI. If I could use medical cannabis, at the very least I’d hope to live with less pain. At the most, maybe I could return to being self-sufficient and working as a productive citizen despite my numerous medical challenges. I’m not a quitter. I’ve worked very hard; please don’t quit on me. I need the chance to enjoy life again after working doggedly to survive, to retain my zest for life, and my spirit of invincibility despite catastrophic medical challenges. Using cannabis could allow me to be safe in my home again. It could allow me to work again.   Medical cannabis can’t come soon enough for me, and so many others, who are white-knuckling through each day with pain that is raising cortisol levels, which leads to even more health issues.  We are taking toxic drugs that are ineffectual at best and that are putting us at risk for additional medical conditions, all of which are costly to our insurance companies and to the government.
  31. I am an Operation Iraqi Freedom war veteran.  I am nearly VA 100% disabled.  I recently moved to this lovely state to be closer to family from Seattle.  When I got out of the service, my depression as well as anxiety and other mental issues in addition to my chronic body pain became severe.  I sought relief from a doctor who recommended Medical Marijuana.  After being put on the program and paying my 150$ for a 1 year license, I was able to grow my own medicine (up to 15 plants with a valid license) as well as buy edible and flower products from a dispensary.  This allowed dispensaries to offer medicine at an affordable cost and was a huge relief for my pain.  Now that I live in Minnesota, I unfortunately have to resort to "the black market" to get my medicine.  I do not like this and wish to be able to legally acquire my medicine.  I humbly ask you to consider my case as well as the other people in need in Minnesota and expand our bill to allow more people access at affordable rates.    Intractable pain is specifically defined in Minnesota law as:  “a pain state in which the cause of the pain cannot be removed or otherwise treated with the consent of the patient and in which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, no relief or cure of the cause of the pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts. Reasonable efforts for relieving or curing the cause of the pain may be determined on the basis of, but are not limited to, the following:  (1) when treating a nonterminally ill patient for intractable pain, evaluation by the attending physician and one or more physicians specializing in pain medicine or the treatment of the area, system, or organ of the body perceived as the source of the pain; or  (2) when treating a terminally ill patient, evaluation by the attending physician who does so in accordance with the level of care, skill, and treatment that would be recognized by a reasonably prudent physician under similar conditions and circumstances.”  Thank you so much for supporting access to medical cannabis for those suffering from chronic pain. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at [contact information redacted].    
  32. I have dealt with back pain on and off based on a car accident.  I should not have to break the law to ease my pain.  I do not trust the pharmaceutical industry with the addictive, and side-effect laced prescriptions and would often go without and just bear the pain rather than use those pharmaceuticals.   -A vast majority of states that have medical marijuana programs allow individuals suffering from severe or intractable pain to use marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.  -According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15,000 Americans die each year from overdoses on prescription opiates. Recent studies show that states with medical marijuana laws have significantly lower overdose mortality rates when compared to states without medical marijuana laws.  -In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine reported that pain can be mitigated by the therapeutic use of marijuana. Numerous studies have established that cannabis is an effective treatment for pain. Research has also shown that patients may be able to reduce their use of opiates by using cannabis as an adjunct treatment.  -Three University of California studies published since 2007 have found that marijuana relieves neuropathic pain, a specific type of nerve pain associated with a host of underlying conditions that is also notoriously unresponsive to conventional pain drugs, without the side effects associated with prescription painkillers.  -We trust health care professionals to responsibly prescribe potentially deadly and highly addictive opiate-based Schedule 2 drugs like Oxycontin and Percocet to treat intractable pain. We should also trust health care practitioners to recommend medical marijuana, which is less addictive and has never resulted in a fatal overdose, if they think it is best for their particular patient.  -Individuals suffering from intractable pain who have been able to use medical cannabis report being able to use less prescription painkillers or even eliminate their use of them altogether.  -Different people respond differently to different medicines. The most effective drug for one person might not work at all for another, or it might have more pronounced side effects. There are often a variety of drugs on the market to treat the same ailment, which is why the Physicians’ --  -Desk Reference comprises 3,000 pages of prescription drugs instead of just one drug per symptom or condition. Consider all of the prescription drugs available to Minnesota health care practitioners to treat pain: Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet, codeine, and many more. There is a reason why we don’t just determine which is “best” and then ban all of the rest. Treatment decisions should be made in doctors’ offices, not by politicians and law enforcement officials. Doctors must have the freedom to choose what works best for each of their patients.  Do you not trust the medical establishment to know what is best for their patients ?  Especially after we have tried many of the drug companies junk.  Please make A Common-sense decision and allow this to pass and help people get off the drug companies revolving door.  Thank You
  33. Thank you for the opportunity to read my comments regarding intractable pain.  I have been in pain for 8 years since seed implants were placed for prostate cancer.  This resulted in radiation nerve damage followed by peripheral neuropathy.  I have gone to numerous doctors and pain clinics and have had nerve surgery, epidurals, and nerve blocks.  Many different pain meds have been used and I am currently on 2 narcotic pain meds and nothing has helped.    Please consider intractable or chronic pain as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis.
  34. Intractable pain should be added to the Minnesota Medicinal Marijuana/cannabis policy - I am deemed ‘disabled’ by the federal government during an extensive two year process for Soc. Sec. Disability, however ,I do not have enough ‘points’ to qualify. I have multiple diagnosis –Chronic Lyme, Fibromyalgia, Psoriatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Mild and Severe Osteo Arthritis in numerous areas of my body, Neuropathic Pain from my feet up through my jaw, Degenerative Disk Disease C4 area and base up to the L1-5, Sjögren’s, Raynaud’s, Ankylosing spinal stenosis, Lupus and others I can’t remember but it all accounts for my being in a state of INTRACTABLE CHRONIC pain. It is getting worse and will continue, as I am told, and I need to find alternative safer ways to control the pain so I can continue to work - to keep paying my doctor and pharmacy and hopefully medicinal cannabis bills. Though it is at times extremely painful I am blessed to have a sewing machine business where I can work - when I can work. I was told that people want pain meds to get high. I have never experienced this and would think my history would show non-abuse proving I am not a risk and should be qualified to try medicinal cannabis. It is not my goal to get high. I would think that wouldn’t be possible when extreme pain is the prominent front runner. I want my doctor, of long standing, to write out my prescription for medicinal cannabis.  I am at the hands of the hospital/clinic (preferred network) to create their belief which will be based on what MHD decides. They have had meetings to decide this and I read an article where they are playing the passive position and waited to see what MHD will do first before coming to a whole health group decision which will affect the doctors from forward thinking and being able to help many thousand patients that have (can’t think of the medical term) idio or neuro or w/e they don’t’ know what causes it and don’t know how to cure it so you just have to live with it so why should you have to live with it in extreme pain? It is my belief that Big Pharma does not want this to work so they can continue to try and make some synthetic substitute that has many warnings and possible reactions or death and make their Big Money with another pill. I hope you pass this policy because you have a good conscious and don’t want patients to suffer and make medicinal cannabis available to the thousands of chronic or intractable pain patients. This would help to open ALL the medicinal cannabis  sites so those of us who live in the middle of Minnesota have a better drive to be able to fill prescriptions and continue to be a real participating person in society.  I did attend the Moorhead public meeting. Having cameras there was not a plus for attendance. I did not see the turn out I would have like to have seen but many heard that the media would be there and they did not want to be on tv. It is amazing how afraid people are to attend meetings about something their employers may not understand because of the stigma the word has - rather than cannabis it should be simply medicinal. I am equally amazed at how many doctors don't understand what medicinal means to a chronic intractable pain patient! The Health Professionals and all that entails really need to be correctly informed and I do not think that MDH is fulfilling that obligation or vice versa but I believe Heads of the state of MN need to impliment  training about understanding how many people are in chronic pain and how to handle that patient and the natural pathway to help them not have to live in the intense pain when they don't have to and can be more comfortable either in the time they have left or without the seizures they have to endure and can interact with their family members better. It can go on and on and on but there is a natural form of medicine that has the ability to help several thousand people if they are able to have access to it and their doctor has no stigma attached to it and the providers move forward on it now rather than later because there will be a later, this is not going away. If it doesn't come here than I most likely will have to move to where it is acceptable, and I havent even had the ability to see if it will work but have heard of so many it does work for in the states where it has been legalized in other forms. I believe MN has a great way of dispensing it for its consumer and It isn't something a person is taking to get high! I have much more written but hopefully I won’t have to submit more words to fight for what should be a natural pathway. This meeting was worth driving 100 miles for.  Thank you~
  35. Please consider adding intractable pain to the list for medical cannabis usage.  I have a sister who has been in chronic pain for years and is declining rapidly.  I have seen her moods change as a result of the pain medication she is on, seen her fight for the meds at the pharmacy that her own doctors have prescribed for her, seen how the pharmacists treat her as if she were an addict and I would like her to have another option, a more natural option.  It may or may not help, that I cannot comment on, but I would like to see her have this option.  She has several conditions, chronic Lyme, fibromyalgia, disc issues, arthritis and that is not even all of them.  If this could help her even a little to have a better quality of life, I’m in and will fight for her. Please let the doctors that treat these patients make the decision as to whether this could help them.  There are conditions not on the list that can benefit from medical cannabis use and these patients should have a chance to feel better and improve their lives.  Please strongly consider adding this to the list.
  36. I have multiple ailments that result in constant daily pain and have had 2 neck surgeries that did not relieve the pain.  I don't want to take opioid pain pills but I need something that will allow me to work and be a part of society.  Fibromyalgia, chronic migraine, degenerative disc disease, myofascial pain syndrome, neuropathy are just a few of the things cause constant chronic pain daily for me.  Everything I read points towards medical marijuana with specific strains developed for specific types of pain that will give me a better quality of life.  Please add chronic pain, migraines, fibromyalgia to the list of approved diseases that will be eligible for medical marijuana. Thank you
  37. I am a 79 year old woman who has suffered from the pain of osteoarthritis and scoliosis for approximately 30 plus years.  I have had several surgeries - back, knees, shoulders -  that have taken away a lot of the pain, but not all.  My neck pain never leaves even with various physical therapy treatment.  I also have fibromyalgia to compound it all. There have been times the pain is so severe I even thought of ending my life.  The cannabis I have been able to buy only helps so much, which it does by relaxing me.  First, I want to buy it legally.  Second, cannabis in food form would be best.  We, here in Minnesota, should follow the states that make marijuana legal for all.  In my experience, as a retired RN and also as a thinking person, I do not understand why booze is legal and not marijuana.  Alcohol has ruined, or taken, so many lives, yet it remains legal.  No one ever died from marijuana use. I refuse to use opioids as they can be addictive and I do not like how they affect my brain.  MN should do the right thing for us.
  38. Yes I think it should pass I've been in severe pain for 5 years from hernia surgeryI have tried physical therapy I've tried other pain meds And And it does not work I am now going to the Mayo Clinic because of my pain
  39. I am requesting that the State of Minnesota allow medical cannabis use for the treatment of pain. I am a 63 year old male and have observed this debate for years. I was pleased when Minnesota made the decision to allow cannabis use for medical purposes. It seems that this is a case of policy trying to keep up with what is widely excepted and practiced by our citizens already. Cannabis is widely available anywhere in Minnesota. Has been all my life. By codification the State will be able to benefit by taxation and regulation for a quality product.  After turning 60 I as so many others have begun to have more health problems. I suffer from osteoarthritis and have sought treatment through my primary physician. They prescribed an anti inflammatory. For years I have been using Advil for some relief. When I was up to 12 tablets a day I voiced concern about damage to my liver. I was prescribed  Duloxetine (Cymbalta). It is one of those drugs that takes up to 6 weeks to build to a therapeutic level, and came with side effects as long as your arm. I unfortunately experienced many of those effects. I tried to stay on the med and did so for 6 months, suffering nausea, muscle cramps and more all the while. It did offer relief from some of the bone pain but was not worth the side effects. I was weaned off that for 6 weeks. Now I am back to square one. I understand that the CBD strains of cannabis are very effective at relieving inflammation. In Minnesota on the street we find the THC dominate type of cannabis. I among many of my friends and neighbors want access to this type of cannabis. While you are at it make a provision for individuals to be able to grow a reasonable amount of plants, like 12 / year. All this hand wringing seems extremely sophomoric and unnecessary. We have hundreds of years of research and the time is now for our government to allow us this freedom.
  40. I was 15 years old when my parents decided that spinal fusion was the best choice to fix my kyphosis. I did well for about 20 years. My pain started about 7 years ago. The first trip to the ER was 6 years ago. I spent 4 weeks at St Joseph’s Hospital. The spine specialists diagnosed me with degenerative disk disease. I have been told I will always have spasms, herniations, and pain for the rest of my life. After 5 months of taking Oxycontin, vicodin, and other pills, my family and myself, hated me. Then a friend suggested cannabis. Within a week, I was able to quit all of the pills, and instead, smoke and vape cannabis with better relief than pills. The biggest change that happened was my relationships with family members. When on narcotics, I was not a pleasant person. When on cannabis, I'm relaxed, kind, friendly, and nearly pain free. I was once very active in the push for a medical marijuana bill in Minnesota. After the bill that went through, though I am happy that some kids and adults can get help, I gave up in the thought of being able to get my medicine legally. Please help pain sufferers. Narcotics need to be used less, cannabis should be available as a safer alternative.  Thank you for trying to understand, [name redacted]
  41. I have experienced chronic pain for 18 months now due to endometriosis and fibromyalgia. In those months, I have had to switch between dozens of medications, not only for pain but for nausea, depression, and anxiety. Most of these medications wreaked havoc on my body, especially my liver and digestive tract. I have also had to be on numerous medications just to simply make the side effects manageable. Marijuana is the ONLY "drug" that works 99% of the time. It is able to calm my nerves and anxiety, help with muscles aches and pains from fibromyalgia, and even when it doesn't help with the pain, my brain is able to focus on other things besides pain. As many people with chronic pain illnesses know, "brain fog" is very common. Brain fog happens when the brain is too overwhelmed by the pain signals it receives from the body, making it hard to form complete sentences, finishing a thought, or completely forgetting everything that was going on in a conversation you were in the middle of. There are so many people in Minnesota that suffer from these kinds of illnesses that make it hard just to survive. Please, please think of these men and women when you are considering your decision. Thank you.
  42. I have lived with pain most of my life.  When I was 21 months old I had spinal meningitis.  I was in a coma for seventeen days with my head looped back against my spine.  I was in grade school before I discovered that I was the only one whose back hurt at least part of every single day. At the age of 12 I had chemotherapy for cancer.  Whole lot of pukin' going on... Now, in my retirement, I am blessed with osteoarthritis and bursitis in both shoulders and both hips.  And those are only the bits that were x-rayed by the rheumatologist.  We never even got around to discussing the pain in my hands and my back.  I was taking aspirin and Advil but became severely anemic.   My regular doctor has prescribed many pills for pain.  They don't help the pain any, and they have a butt-load of nasty side effects.  Percocet helps a lot, but the doctor is scared stiff that I'll become addicted and she'll be blamed.  The poor princess!  So she doesn't want to increase the prescription to compensate for the deletion of aspirins. I am so tired of hurting all the time.  Usually it is a constant dull pain, but many times each day something happens to cause intense, stabbing, scream-worthy pain. Please have a little mercy and include people like me as candidates for the medical marijuana program.  Maybe it'll help, maybe it won't, but I'd at least like to have the option to try.
  43. We need to take action as other states have and be more inclusive with our qualifying conditions. I suffer from chronic pain and severe, painful IBS. I had to leave my home and move to Oregon last year to get some type of relief.  Marijuana has eliminated my severe stomach pain and helps greatly with my other chronic pain issues. It's greatest help has been with my chronic depression. Please add IBS and Colitis and PTSD as well. I want to come home! .
  44. I am a 67-year-old male living with intractable pain. I have lived with degenerative spine pain for the last 40 years.  I first injured my spine shoveling snow when I was 27.  I herniated the L-5 disc. Over time the disc completely degenerated and left me with chronic pain. The pain was mainly arthritic, muscle pain and cramping into my right butt. I had some functional limitations, but my pain condition was manageable.  At the age of 55 my spine condition, pain difficulties and life radically changed.  In 2003, I consented to a spinal steroid injection to suppress some of the arthritic and nerve pain I was experiencing. The procedure went horribly wrong. A serious medical mistake was made; the wrong x-ray dye (Hypaque) was injected. The FDA had banned this dye for use in spinal injections because of its known neurotoxicity. It was known to cause violent convulsions, kidney failure, arachnoiditis and even death. The violent contractions were also known to cause vertebral fractures and disc herniations.  In my case, I experienced intense, painful contractions. The contractions grew in intensity; my spine and lower extremities jerked repeatedly like a fish out of water. I screamed in agony. The doctors did not know how to stop it. Intuitively I knew my spine would be damaged. The event went on for hours and left me incapacitated in severe, unremitting pain. A new MRI was ordered and it revealed three vertebral fractures and two disc herniations. None of these deformities were present in my pre-spinal injection imaging studies. A later MRI revealed arachnoiditis. Arachnoiditis is an intractable painful condition that occurs when a neurotoxic substance comes in contact and damages spinal nerves. Debilitating back and leg pain is the most common symptom. Arachnoiditis is permanent and has no known cure.  Besides arachnoiditis my pain is further complicated by spine degeneration. A cascade of degeneration has resulted from these injuries. Current MRI images show degeneration throughout my lumbar spine. Previously healthy discs have desiccated and degenerated and the loss of disc height has caused facet joint deterioration with excess joint bone growth that is pressing on spinal nerves. I have been diagnosed with progressive degenerative disc disease: bilateral stenosis at L-4 & L-5 (sciatica in both legs); multiple level facet degeneration (extensive arthritis); fibromyalgia (widespread muscle and connective tissue pain) and chronic fatigue; and arachnoiditis.    I have lived with unmanageable pain since this event. I live with unrelenting back and leg pain that drains and fatigues me to no end.  I never get enough relief or feel comfortable in my body. My time is on my feet always short-lived and painful. On my feet my back is tightening and stiffening; it is always constantly aching. I have aching, burning, numbing and weakness into my legs, too. I am always on the alert for a place to sit or lie down whenever I can. My sitting tolerances are also poor. I am presently lying on my bed typing this statement. Sitting upright would have me squirming and struggling and after 30 minutes and my concentration would be shot. I seldom sit on my furniture. I essentially live on the floor or my bed. This is how I make it through my day. I am either conserving energy for an upcoming task or recovering and rehabbing from the previous task. This goes on constantly from morning to night. I am always in some state of fatigue. I wake in pain. I take it to sleep. It even wakes me from sleep. I can’t remember the last time I was able to sleep through the night without pain waking me.   I am not without pain management skills. Before this terrible event I was a counselor. My practice was about helping people with chronic pain work with physical and emotional pain skillfully. Living with pain previously gave me good insight and practical skills for managing pain. I am no longer able to continue my counseling practice, but I still use pain management practices.   As I have said, I never get enough physical relief, but I continue to try. Gentle stretching on the floor and in a warm water pool provides some relief. Because the physical relief I get is minimal and fleeting, I rely heavily on practices that provide emotional relief and support: meditation, mindfulness, faith practices and friends. I   use Hydrocodone (opioid), but would prefer not to use it. It sedates me more than delivering pain relief. I feel cloudy-headed, too. I have tried marijuana a few times. I would like it to be medically available. My experience: it helped me to relax. I also felt a sense of calmness and well-being. It seemed like more of a bodily experience than a heady high. I felt like my self but without the stress. To people living with intractable pain any sense of respite is invaluable.  I am considering spine surgery again. I will be meeting with a spine surgeon at the University of Minnesota Medical Center this fall. I found someone who may have a less invasive option. In the past I have seen other spine surgeons. All have said my spine condition is complicated and risky and describe surgery as an end-of-the-line salvage thing with rods and pins. They have been reluctant to promise anything. They say I will still have pain and add that my present pain, including arachnoiditis, could be made worse. Does the potential for benefit outweigh the risk? So far I have been hesitant about consenting. I am hoping the University doctor will have a better solution.    I think it is important that Minnesota residents suffering with intractable pain have every option available to them that could help to alleviate their suffering. People living with severe chronic pain often take their lives. I understand their reasoning first hand. I too have contemplated suicide. The truth is people in severe pain don’t want to take their lives. They just want to be free of their pain. Today science supports the regulated use of medical cannabis for chronic pain. Most importantly your decision should be based on compassion.  Thank you for considering my request. [name redacted] 10-25-2015
  45. Hello. I have two chronic autoimmune diseases, one called Lichen Sclerosus (LS) and this causes intractable chronic pain. You will read that LS is a skin condition of the labia with puritus as the primary symptom. I can't begin to tell you how minimizing this is. LS is a skin condition that causes itching and intense burning sensation, not only to the labia but to the surrounding area. Due to all the nerves in the pelvic area, LS, which is highly inflammatory, damages and causes intense pain vaginally, across the buttocks, down the backs and sides of thighs, generally throughout the whole pelvic area. We--I belong to an online support group--are able some days to keep the pain moderate, but to do so we must avoid triggers, such as sitting and walking, and pack ourselves in ice. I cannot hold a job or drive longer than a few miles. Because this condition is chronic, I will have it for the rest of my life and I have spent all my savings on pain management. My ob/gyn is afraid to give me the pain meds I need due to his being "watched" by the state (his words). I have been to pain management clinics with marginal success--remember, getting there involves driving. And the available meds so far work only as long as we avoid triggers.   Let me share with you some of the metaphors used to describe the pain of this condition: giving birth to a cactus, being chewed by red ants, having acid poured on the vulva, pounding a nail into one's tailbone, sticking thumbtacks into our buttocks, to name just a few.   Not every case is as bad as mine--but most cases of LS are far worse than our doctors realize. We have lost patients to suicide; others calmly state that this will be their only option once they run out of money for self-treating. We are treated with a protocol that is over 20 years old and highly unsatisfactory, except for my fellow patients in Oregon who can get medical marijuana oil.  And related to that, you must find a way to provide those of us with chronic diseases who are not dying with a way to pay for this. This disease does not prohibit us from living a normal life span, i.e., it is not lethal, so we have to pay for it and all treatment for decades. Our condition is not recognized by SS as a disability so we don't qualify for assistance. Truly, the chronically ill who are not dying but are in intractable pain are being left out of the conversation. And that is tantamount to torture.   Please consider that you do pay for Crohn's Disease, another autoimmune illness. To extend the logic, please consider LS, another autoimmune illness that truly feels like razor blades are attacking our vaginal skin. Please consider how reasonable this is.  While I respect Law Enforcement's concerns, I can say with conviction there's is a separate problem--my problem is surviving.   I am at your disposal to answer questions, if you catch me on a relatively good day.   Thank you kindly for this opportunity to make a statement.
  46. My name is [name redacted]. I am 54 years old happily married professional and business owner that is functioning chronic pain patient since age 17, after falling off a cliff and breaking my back, leg, jaw and hip. I have spent the two thirds of my life living and unfortunately getting injured along the way. Since the age of 17, I have also broken my arms, wrists, knees, ankles, foot and last year dislocated my shoulder, rib and am currently planning another surgery to fuse my neck in 2016. For 35 years I have been prescribed opiates to manage my pain by the top spine and back specialists including my own primary physician. As a result of daily opiate consumption, I experienced significant stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal and skin problems among others issues as a result of the opiates and other medications I took to manage the side effects. I also now have brittle bones as a result medicines taken that are known as proton pump inhibitor (PPI) used to treat stomach, duodenal ulcers (ulcers in the upper intestine) and heartburn. I took these medications for over 20 years. I require acupuncture, chiropractic and deep tissue massage therapy on an on-going monthly basis as part of my pain management program. The expense of these ancillary treatments have been self-funded and has run into the ten of thousands of dollars over the years. My "normal" life was based upon using prescription opiate medications to function along in society, have loving relationships and successful career, however the side effects of these drugs on my body were making me sick and in pain. I was reintroduced to the use of cannabis in 2010 when a friend was battling lung cancer. We helped her get her medical card to aid in her care. I made the decision to begin using cannabis on a daily basis to manage my pain in 2011 by smoking the cannabis plant and /or vaping the cannabis oil. I prefer the natural cannabis plant material more than the vaporized oil, which gives me a headache. I advised non-smoking husband, our family and my primary physicians that I would like to to introduce cannabis into my pain management regime and that my goal was to reduce if not eliminate all of the pain and other medications used for to manage the side effects from my system. Its currently 2015 and I take a prescription pain medicine once a day aided by use of cannabis approximately once every hour and 1/2 or two hours. I'm healthier than I've ever been, losing 25 lbs and I no longer have stomach problems. My skin has finally cleared (a side effect of one of the pain medications) and I'm able to actually live for the first time in a long time as a result of this plants' properties. I hardly if ever take an aspirin at this point or drink alcohol at this time in my life. I understand the need to restrict and control the access to cannabis products. however as chronic pain patient who has spent a lifetime in pain and under the care of a primary "attending" physician, why do I need yet another doctor to verify my condition? The laws should not discriminate against me as a non-terminally ill chronic pain patient and require additional stamps of approval for access to this program and the medicinal benefits of cannabis. (1) when treating a non-terminally ill patient for intractable pain, evaluation by the attending physician and one or more physicians specializing in pain medicine or the treatment of the area, system, or organ of the body perceived as the source of the pain; or (2) when treating a terminally ill patient, evaluation by the attending physician who does so in accordance with the level of care, skill, and treatment that would be recognized by a reasonably prudent physician under similar conditions and circumstances. 1. I shouldn't have to be dying to have access to medicine that helps manage my pain while still in pursuit of living. 2. The State of Minnesota's medical marijuana program should accept medical cards from other state legalized marijuana programs. We have Mayo Clinic and the best medical communities in the country. It just makes sense! 3. Allow smoking of the cannabis plant material. Vaping is not for everyone! Thank you, [name and contact information redacted]
  47. It seems that the diseases that get the most attention and therefore get the most help for their pain are cancer, Crohn's disease, Tourette syndrome, HIV/AIDs, plus others listed with the Minnesota Department of Health [The Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program]. I have been diagnosed with the following illnesses and I 'm dealing with all of them all at the same time -- NOW! -- Osteoporois [I've lost 3 1/2 inches in height over the years] I was giving myself daily shots of Fortao for 2 years. Next was Boniva by pill. Now it's Reclast by an IV injection each September. -- Ostearthrosis of multiple sites -- Rheumatoid Arthritis -- Peripheral Neuropathy It is very painful -- taking over my feet and legs. It feels prickly-- like pins and needles. I've been taking medication for long time. My hands are also bothered with neuropathy. I can feel it also in my tongue. -- Chronic Atrial Fibrillation with rapid ventricular response. [I've been wearing a pacemaker since August 2010.] I take warfarin which also makes my skin thin and therefore if I run into something or get scraped by anything -- my skin will peel. -- Obstructive Sleep - apnea I sleep with a CPAP -- Polymyalgia Rheumatica -- Primary -- Chondrocalcinosis -- Weakness generalized -- Edema I do have a healthy eating life style. I stopped eating meat as of about 3 years ago. I do continue to eat fish. So -- I am not a total vegetarian. I eat lots of salads, vegetables and fruits. I also eat foods like tofu, eggs and beans. I keep my salt intake very low. I do not smoke -- never even tried! I do not drink alcohol I do nor drink pop/soda I do not drink coffee and I keep away from caffeine. I couldn't walk for 2 weeks when I was in 2nd grade. Most likely it was polio during the 1946 polio epidemic. I've had Lyme’s disease before that disease even had a name. I was treated with antibiotics. I've had Lyme’s disease more than one time. I have pain most of the time and spend a lot of time in bed. I also have many doctors appointments which I go to. I am fortunate to have a team of doctors that work together to deal with all of these health problems. Yet -- some of these illnesses have not been diagnosed as to what they are or -- how to treat them. About 25 years ago I fell on black ice and broke my left femur. I had surgery and had 4 screws put in my left hip. The pain in my legs, knees and left hip is very bad! [I'm dealing with bone on bone] I have an ulcer on my left leg that is taking a very long time to heal! It seems they cannot pinpoint the reason I have a sore like that! And NOW I have one on the other leg too. Both legs have shooting pains and the sores sting and throb! I also have back pain and therefore I have trouble walking. I think it would be good if medical cannabis were available for those who have intractable pain which cannot be cured safely by other means.
  48. This is our one (and possibly only) chance to get/catch a break. This what I just said is much more real and important to those of us that have nowhere else positively to go when dealing with our every-day struggles that we just can't do anything else to correct, especially in a safe way like this. I say this because it is probably the only thing to be able to help us in a positive way compared to other means. I want to be able to Enjoy time with my mom, dad and Friends while I still can. I want to come much more into focus with my feelings which are brought about on to me by having the correct mixture of amounts of feelings that I have not had for many years because of what has happened to me in the past. I have been in a stand-still for over 10 years; it is way beyond just being rear-ended back in July of 2005 and being in a coma in October of 2007 for 9 days after having 2 parts of my brain removed. I have been prescribed numerous pharmaceuticals over the years and none of them have really helped me at all. The only ones that have helped me with my pain have been vicodin; and in order for them to help I have needed to take more than 2 of the 10/660 mg pills at one time, which has I'm sure caused my doctors to feel that I have been abusing them. This is simply not the case, for I have a huge tolerance for probably everything; meaning pharmaceutical drugs (pain killers) and alcohol. I don't like to drink, probably because I drink too much and it costs me the next day; meaning I am shot for the whole next day and I don't accomplish anything at all. It puts me in a depression and I haven't seen anyway out of it because I am not getting the right help (that's all I have to say about that). I'm sure that there are quite a few people in a very similar situation as me, However, I am also dealing with a bunch of other "obstacles"; none of which I want to get into detail about right now (In these obstacles I am not at fault). I don't know if my pain will be corrected my consuming 'medicinal marijuana' because I haven't tried any of it yet. I have a good inkling that it will very safely/properly benefit me and many other candidates much more and better than what they have ever prescribed me/us in the past. I'd like to finally let people know how smart I am; They just don't know it yet (at least the ones that I'd like to have known). I received the second highest score on a neurological test at the Science Museum of Minnesota headed up by the Mayo Clinic. The test at that time as I remember was taken by over 2,200 people and from what I remember I was the only one with a TBI (traumatic brain injury). I write this to let you know where I'm coming from. Beyond all this is that I am a Christian. I have been through a lot in the past few years-  I'm here for a reason. I don't have a regular job because this is what I do. I've been to the top of the IDS building and I was denied help from the attorneys there, even after I explained my situation and what I have been dealing with- Sad I know. I feel I need this properly produced and federally developed/cultivated marijuana would meet my needs for more than just pain. I haven't cried for more than 10 years due to other circumstances. I want to be able to feel 'normal' again. I want to enjoy doing things with my friends and family much more than I do currently or have in the past number of years. I want to get that feeling without having to use illegal marijuana because I don't want to always come off as high like I would with improperly harvested and possibly laced marijuana. I have upper back pain, knee pain, migraines, anxiety (a certain type which is different than other peoples' anxiety), little energy, low amount of motivation, stress, cannot cry and a multitude of other "un-fixable" ailments that I don't believe can be treated/cured/fixed by other means other than the proper types of marijuana which we are currently not legally able to obtain and use here in this great state of Minnesota. I don't get to places at the proper time/s because I deal with all sorts of struggles every day. I try hard but many times I just can't get to where I need to get to at the proper time like most other people. It doesn't mean that I'm stupid or not intelligent like  people might think, it actually means that I'm so smart to the point that I know too much about what I am up against and about what is up against me. I'm actually a genius; just saying... I feel that a lot of very potential medicinal marijuana patients who are prescribed other pain-relieving medications/prescriptions are much more at risk for abusing those drugs in which they are prescribed along with other street drugs as well as alcohol and street style marijuana which may very well be infused with much worse additives than federally prescribed marijuana. I say this because I feel the type of relief they get from not getting the correct amount/type of prescribed medication that they are currently receiving to treat their condition/conditions is not the correct medication. I also feel that they put themselves in a lot more danger by purchasing these types of illegal street drugs considering they may very well be having to keep the wrong sort/kind of company around them in order to get themselves the medication they feel they need to treat their pain and other underlying conditions. I don't enjoy things at all nowadays compared to how I used to. I want to be able to enjoy life the way that I used to enjoy it as I did years ago. I get about 5 hours of sleep on certain nights which I would consider a much better night than other nights. I take 1-2 naps per day, all considering on how well I slept the night before. I am quite a bit of a night-owl. I don't have a very comfortable bed; beds are very difficult for me to pick because I don't have $3,500.00 to spend on a Temperpedic. I am a sleep lab technician or a polysomnographic tech. I was the first person hired by Fairview Riverside to work full-time (they paid me to learn the job). I was told by two trainers that I learned the job faster than anyone else they have ever trained throughout their other 12+ sleep labs throughout the nation. I was also told that patients at our sleep lab in Minneapolis (the one I was the only sleep lab tech at) gave the best positive reviews about their experience and how they felt during their polysomnographic test compared to other sleep labs. Fairview Riverside was to be my sleep labs 'Gold-Standard' and I brought it. I am a Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout. It was one of the main reasons that I was chosen to work for the sleep lab sonograph (later called Neosom). I have also taken pre-med and B.S. biology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. I have worked for an ambulance service as an EMT-B with paramedics for about 2 years while attending the U of M. Currently only medicine I have been on is aspirin, Tylenol, multi vitamins and fish oil. This just shows that I am not on any doctor prescribed medication. I just hope my voice is finally heard.
  49. I was diagnosed in December 2014 with stage 4 endometriosis, a chronic pain disease. This was done with laparoscopic surgery and a method called cauterization, which essentially burns away the infected tissue. My surgeon had to leave a very large amount behind because it was covering my bladder, an area she couldn't operate on with her current surgical method without risking further complications. I was an avid user of marijuana from that date in December 2014 until I was able to see a specialist and have a proper surgery in July of this year. He used a method called excision, which is physically cutting out all infected and questionable tissue. My surgeon found absolutely no endometriosis on my bladder, which had been coated in lesions before. Marijuana may have helped my diagnosis, as well as my life. It helps any symptom I ever have. Please consider it.
  50. I have been on hydrocodone for 5 years but for me, smoking cannabis is most effective.  Seems so logical to me that it would be best to be on cannabis rather than lifetime narcotics.  I also haven’t gotten a decent night sleep for 5 years
  51. I have experience being a cultivator in Colorado, right now I am currently putting together an insurance plan for this particular program.  My boss has been using CBD topical crème for his intractable pain – doesn’t have to wear special shoes, doesn’t have to wobble around.  Doesn’t want to believe it is working for him but it truly is.
  52. Most of my time now will be spent resting in bed I also have many doctor appointments that I go to. I have much pain and trouble walking. I was strong and grew up  on a farm where I could work. When I was in 2nd grade I couldn’t walk for 2 weeks. Other students got diagnosed w polio. I was only able to stand on one leg. I had Lyme’s disease before it had a name I was treated with antibiotics. I do not have the word “old” in my dictionary. I am mature. Some of my major health problems now are osteoporosis. I used to be 5’11” and am now 5’ 7.5.” I have lost 3.5 inches. I have rheumatoid arthritis and neuropathy on both sides. It’s very painful and taking over my feet and legs. It feel prickly like pins and needles. My hands are also bothered with neuropathy. I can also feel it in my tongue and am at times losing my sense of taste. I have an ulcer on my left leg that is taking a long time to heal, and have one on my right leg. I have healthy lifestyle, do not smoke or drink alcohol and stay away from pop and don’t’ eat meat. I do eat fish. I have atrial fibrillation. I sleep with a CPAP. I have sleep apnea.  I take warfarin that makes my skin thin. If I get scraped my skin will just peel. If you see this, this is the list of all that is wrong with me from one doctor. My last remark is many people have more pain than I do. I think it would be good if medical cannabis were available for those that have intractable pain. I am taking potassium, prednizone. Calcium triamterene, metrocropial fish oil, folic acid… I just wanted to say a few more things there. I never mind giving my age I’m 76 but don’t ask me for my weight. I have had many different medications and one now that they are trying on me again because the shunts didn’t work is methotrexate. I’m not a doctor, nurse or in med field. I grew up on a farm and I’m happy I did. I’ve had rheumatic fever, neuritis, skin rash hyperplasticity of large intestine, hypertension, congestive heart failure, amnesia, mental hernia, diverticulitis, osteoporosis, foot pain, osteoarthritis of hip and knee, joint pain, and fatigue. Last night I slept for three hours was an awake and hour and was able to sleep another 1.5 hours. My sleeping has been off for years. You all have your lists from your doctors and I have mine.
  53. I am 38 years old. This is the 10th anniversary of my having degenerative disc disease. It is hereditary and came from my mother. I was a very healthy person that did a good job losing 250 pounds, working full time, in graduate school full time, and a long distance marathon runner until I had a blowout that involved my right sciatic nerve. It feels not like pins and needles but like nails and razor blades. It’s also the site of my next major re-rupture. I have leaks that go every day; the chemical leaking could be compared to battery acid. I’m 6’2.5.” I got down 174 pounds with twenty extra pounds of skin. I had another re-rupture. I’ve become accustomed to pain scale 5, which was grueling but livable. I was at 8-10 or 11 from an injury in my sleep. I had surgery to prevent residual nerve damage to right leg like happened to left. I am on extreme amounts of supplemental vitamins, so even though I can’t get solid food in most days I am at least able to maintain a healthy biochemical makeup. I struggle every day with depression and PTSD. I know this isn’t a gold shovel. Once I got health insurance and could access care, my psychiatric condition has stabilized. If I could do this legally, I could be back to normal. I have a wheelchair but my surgery and hard work and I was able to walk in here today.
  54. I’m 22 and I have cerebral palsy and fibromyalgia and some other illnesses I’ll go into in a minute. I have to say if not for medical cannabis I wouldn’t be alive. I can know I’m telling the truth because not only did it save me from dying, but from an eating disorder where I was down to 80 pounds, and the doctor said I was going to die. And now with cerebral palsy the medications make me so sick I throw up every morning. It’s almost like withdrawl like opiates or something. It’s horrible. And without cannabis I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. I’m a survivor also of PTSD from childhood abuse, and I have pot to thank for that. If I got caught with pot right now I would lose my Pell grant and wouldn’t be able to go to college. I’m not trying to do anything wrong. I’m just trying to go about my life, and I don’t think that’s wrong. It’s good that people are here to listen, but it’s not right to live in fear constantly and be treated by my doctor like I’m a drug addict. And they put me on chemical dependency track instead of the trauma track, so I didn’t have proper treatment for my eating disorder. I hope we can all cooperate and get our heads together on this and everyone can get what they need and get the conditions that need it for. I’ve been robbed trying to get marijuana and I’ve tried every pharmaceutical medication, and I tell my doctor I’m willing to try anything and do what I need to do. Thank you. 
  55. My name is [name redacted]. I have a clinical doctorate of physical therapy.  I also have a condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hypertosis DISH. My spinal cord was getting squeezed by my cervical vertebrae, and irritated my thoracic spine. All in all I have had five spine surgeries. I will probably need more surgeries. I have pain when I breathe, sit, stand and walk. I can feel something in my neck snap and feel symptoms into my arms or legs. My nervous system is chronically irritated. I have been taking narcotic pain medication for 4-5 years for ongoing symptoms. The medication makes me feel nauseous. Not taking the medication makes me feel nauseous due to pain. The side effects of medical cannabis is far less than the side effects I currently experience with prescribed medications that I am taking. I believe medical marijuana could help me. My doctor tells me that I could qualify but her health care system does not have a process in place to allow her to certify me. Currently muscle spasms are included in the diagnosis that medical marijuana can be used for. I can tell you as a physical therapist who has treated the spine for more than 20 years, the medical community has some limitations in treating spinal conditions. I have seen an estimate that 18% if spinal conditions are diagnosed correctly. For these people suffering in pain I believe medical marijuana should at least be an option. The difference between muscle spasms and pain is almost indistinguishable to the person experiencing them. Pain is a real issue. It can be difficult to treat. The American Academy of Pain Medicine website indicates that chronic pain costs society more than ½ trillion dollars per year. I have yet to try medical cannabis. I personally would appreciate that it is measurable, dosable, and pesticide free. I can’t smoke marijuana due to having asthma. I don’t want to get high—I want to feel better. In my opinion, there are too many diagnoses to list them individually, but the blanket term of “intractable pain” is a good compromise to allow physicians to have awareness of alternative therapies in use like medical cannabis without the responsibility of “prescribing.” By definition no one knows exactly how to treat intractable pain but if medical cannabis can improve the lives of people with pain, I believe it should be included in the group of diagnoses that physicians can certify a patient for. The only downside of blanketly treating ‘pain” is that a new condition could be missed because a patient is not aware of pain. This is no different than using NSAIDs like ibuprofen), non-narcotic pain modulators (Neurontin or Cymbalta), and narcotic pain medication to relieve pain. Or using marijuana acquired on the street. In a free country it seems like this addition of intractable pain to the short list of applications of medical cannabis is an appropriate and medically necessary change. This can also lead to further research as MDH collects some data on efficacy. I would ask ourselves if we are truly a compassionate society can really say no to this addition? I would anticipate big pharmaceutical companies are against medical cannabis—wonder why? Thank you.
  56. As a chronic pain suffering person, who lives life with pain daily on a scale from 6 to 10, I have no quality of life. I don’t need help daily and often there is no help for me. I don’t remember a day in the past 20 years I have not had any pain. I’ve had all the narcotic pain medications to no avail, they make me sick, I’m treated like a drug addict by physicians. I want to try a natural approach. It’s time to stop criminalizing patients for wanting a good quality of life. My conditions are degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, muscle spasms, sleep apnea, PTSD, and high blood pressure. Also a referral program to doctors that can get people certified in to the program would be awesome.
  57. I’m a person with diabetes and I’m an amputee because of diabetes. Ever since I’ve had my amputation in 2010 I’ve been in a very great deal of pain in my stump. I’ve tried pain medications to try to help ease the pain, such as Percocet and aspirin, among other pain medications. I still have NO relief at all from pain which is typically a 9-10. My doctor discontinued my prescription because she didn’t want to risk me becoming addicted if my dose was increased. I asked about medical cannabis. She told me no because I wasn’t terminally ill and she offered other options that are scary, such as a spinal injection or other nerve medication.
  58. I’m an intractable pain sufferer for more than 20 years. I have degenerative disc disease, have had six or seven herniated discs, fibromyalgia, and non-obstructive sleep apnea. I’ve been on Tylenol 3 and fentanyl and refused methadone. I told them I’m not a drug addict when they refused me opiates and now have had about 200 injections for pain and surgeries. I’m done with their prescriptions for my body. It’s time for them to listen to me. I’m the one that lives in my skin. I don’t abuse drugs. I’ve never used drugs. I’m a law abiding citizen. I should have the right to make that choice. If I’ve followed everything out there for me and nothing has worked, why can’t I try it?
  59. I guess the thing I would like at least added to this is arthritis.  I’ll tell you what happened for me is my wife knows for some reason my arthritis is just terrible in morning.  She gets up and sees me off in a corner crying saying I wished I was dead or God would come and take me away.  That is what got me to take that trip.  When I did that in CO, the inflammation, the thing that marijuana, the biggest thing, my shoulder has been replaced. They say that after 20 years, what they did was they sawed it off and replaced it with a titanium ball.  My hip is now starting to get bad. The thing about arthritis… I think its common knowledge is arthritis is inflammation of the joints. It’s kind of tearing up your joints so the longer I wait here in Minnesota--because there is no way I would pay $1000 a month. I would have to be a refugee otherwise we’re going to end up poor. I would rather go to another state and take that money and buy a new house.  The main things that I can see is, the main problem that Minnesota at some point--they should make this stuff legal and you should be able to grow your own and that would take care of the poor people. And I know that’s above and beyond your point. And if you want to require that people keep it in a locked room, fine.  No one gives it to kids; that should be a felony. That’s what you should worry about. I’m not going to give this crap to any kids. That’s what it’s about. There are a lot of people that are going to be Minnesota refugees. You’re not hearing from them; those people aren’t going to come here and talk. It has been one year since I was in Colorado, and next spring we are going to sit down and discuss states with medical marijuana and look at ones where you can grow it and take care of your own stuff. So Minnesota has got a problem, in my opinion, and you’re going to have people like me—I don’t know how many. You see little kids. They’ll do news stories about them but they won’t do news stories about older people with arthritis. But if I don’t do this my hip in going to get worse and worse and they’ll want to do hip surgery and the older you get I don’t heal like I used to. The one thing I hear here, most pronounced, is that the cost, first of all it’s $200 just to register, for some people it will be less and some it will be more and you don’t know what you are going to be with price.  I’ve read everything I could possibly find on it.  I want to know about the endocannabinoid system. I want to know how it works, why it’s working, who’s doing what, where the research, is where the b.s. is, and where the problems are. Just a week ago they threw out this thing that says smoked marijuana causes psychosis. But I looked at this and there’s also studies that say marijuana also treats psychosis and people that might go into psychotic episodes. So for 3000 people they didn’t put in the report how many people didn’t have psychosis because they smoked marijuana.  When I was 20, back in the 1960s they used to have a place in the cities where we’d go on sat. night the college was either the campus or gopher theater at the U of M and every night at midnight on Saturday we’d go there and smoke marijuana and watch Reefer Madness. And I really didn’t like marijuana back then. It made me paranoid. But when I got to Colorado it was the best thing ever. It was the best when I wasn’t high. It was better the next day because the inflammation was all gone.
  60. I’ve had reflex sympathetic dystrophy for over 2 decades now and the sympathetic nerve system is damage. Some of it is pins and needles and some is hot and cold. What feels cold to you is freezing to me what is warm to you is extremely hot to me. I like the feel of baby blankets and pretty much nothing else.  I feel pain every day, nonstop, different levels of pain. It has gone into my neck, into my back, into my feet. It is everywhere.  It’s hard for me to decide. I can’t stay in bed because I am hurting so bad in bed.  I can’t stand the thought of my feet on the floor because I know how much it’s going to hurt. I am allergic to everything except for a drug call Neurontin which is an anti-seizure drug. I am allergic to all anti-inflammatories. Nothing. No aspirin no ibuprofen, no Celebrex, no NSAIDs. Nothing. I no longer drive, so I have to depend on family to take me everywhere. I take the insurance medical transport to my doctor appointments, which is painful in itself because of different vehicles and amount of time I have to sit. Sitting here right now my legs are completely numb. I am scared to stand up because the pain in my legs is going to be so bad. The medicine I take is an anti-seizure drug affects my brain. I’ve been on it for over two decades. I have short term memory issues. I now have a CADI (Community Alternatives for Disabled Individuals) waiver. I am 55 years old for God’s sakes. My doctors and nurses have told me the next step—the only thing I can’t take--is the medical cannabis. And because it’s not legal here I have had them and family members tell me,  “I can’t tell you where you can get it, but we recommend that you go get some.” I don’t want to find it anywhere else because I am afraid I will get arrested.  I can’t keep doing this. It’s too much. I have to depend on everyone for everything: to clean my house, to take me to the store to get my groceries. One day my daughter and her little boy were taking me to the store and he was crying so much that they couldn’t come in the store with me, and I tried to do it on my own—to try to get pain back under any kind of control was ridiculous. My muscles all get tight in the winter time. When my muscles get tight they don’t relax like everyone else’s. My muscles stay tight for days. The only thing that helps is being underwater, but I can’t be under water 24/7.  Insurance only covers so many days of therapy. 
  61. No one has helped me. I just hurt. I have had surgery, gone to a specialist. I am in so much pain.  I can hardly drive, I can hardly walk.  I can hardly do anything. I’ve tried everything. I’m on Lyrica and am on pain medication. Nothing helps. It’s so debilitating mentally and physically. My doctor told me that people commit suicide from chronic pain. I believe it because my husband had a friend who had the same thing I do and he committed suicide, which is so devastating. I need help. I just want to live. My life is just ruined, and you have no idea. And now you’re going to put us through all this paperwork and all this expense, and you know I can’t afford it. It’s just too much money, and I’m just reaching out. I need some help. I am going to try this because I know it will help.

 

Updated Monday, August 15, 2016 at 03:06PM