Anthony Pagliaroli: Cannabis isn’t a Narcotic. It’s my Medicine!
MMJ Patient: Anthony Pagliaroli, Ontario, Canada
I’m 31 years old and reside in the Greater Toronto Area. I grew up in relatively good health, never having to use any prescribed or over-the-counter medications, but in March 2014, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and my whole life changed.
What medical condition(s) have you been struggling with?
The month before I was diagnosed, I began having bloody stools and would have to go to the bathroom almost 15 times a day. Stomach cramps became progressively worse and I couldn’t understand why. My family doctor had taken stool samples and it seemed that I was waiting forever to hear back about the results. I lost 30 pounds in less than 30 days. I was depressed and thought whatever “virus” I had would simply go away, but I was very wrong.
How long have you been experiencing your medical condition?
It has been one year since my formal UC diagnosis. Prior to that, I always considered myself to be in good health; I felt like I was doing all the right things. When I got sick, my entire life changed. When I started feeling symptoms, I had no idea what was going on. It’s funny, when you’re young, you think you’re invincible. You think there is no way something like this could happen to you, but when it does, and it did to me, you feel so vulnerable and you come to realize how much control you don’t have over your own body.
My first trip to the emergency room prompted the doctors to take stool samples for which they told me I had to wait for to finally know what was going on with my body. I was back in the emergency room before I even got my results back. My symptoms got so bad that I couldn’t even make it up the stairs, let alone leave my house. I honestly thought this was all temporary, that it was just a virus that would go away as quickly as it had come.
I honestly thought this was all temporary, that it was just a virus that would go away as quickly as it had come.
What do you believe caused this medical condition?
I believe the “environment” caused this disease. No one in my family has a history of UC or Crohns, so I’m ruling out genetics. I’ve never really felt extremely stressed either, so that’s out the door as well. I’m convinced the foods we consume play a major role in our overall health. The use of pesticides and herbicides in our fruits and veggies, the antibiotics and hormones in our processed meats, and the genetically modified seeds (GMOs) are all contributing factors to the deterioration of our body’s immune system, but this is just my personal opinion.
What type of medications have you been taking that were prescribed to you by your doctor?
Aside from smoking cannabis, I have been taking 500mg of 5-aminosal 4 times daily. This is only a third of what I was first prescribed to take when I was formally diagnosed, but the relief that cannabis has brought to my symptoms has allowed me to cut down on the prescriptions. When I asked my GI doctor about cannabis, he told me, “Absolutely not. I won’t prescribe you narcotics.” I have to say, this made me very angry. Cannabis was the only thing giving me any sense of relief and yet my doctor didn’t recognize that or rather, he didn’t care at all. It’s a business to them; it’s money! Doctors and pharmaceutical companies are in cahoots.
SEE ALSO: Beating Colitis with Cannabis
What side effects did you experience from the medication prescribed by your doctor?
I was depressed just by the fact that I was even on medication in the first place. From never having to take any kind of meds previously to taking a handful of pills daily was an extremely hard thing for me to palette. I feel like the whole purpose of pharmaceuticals is to alleviate symptoms, when actually, they are creating even more symptoms.
What type of alternative medicine have you tried aside from your doctor’s recommendation?
So, when I first got sick and hadn’t yet gone to the emergency room to get samples done, my friend saw how much pain I was suffering and told me to try smoking cannabis, and then I immediately felt noticeable relief! I was able to eat again and not have to run to the bathroom directly after. My food was staying in my system longer than it would have if I wasn’t using cannabis. The cramping I was feeling would ease and it helped overall with my pain and discomfort.
Now, I am still taking pharmaceuticals, but I have decreased my dosage from my original prescription by 2/3. I smoke cannabis because it’s really the only form I can get access to. It’s hard to find oils or edibles in my area, but I believe if I am to find these, that I will be able to get even more benefits from the cannabis plant. I don’t feel like smoking cannabis is my best treatment option, but it’s working for the time being and I know I would undergo a lot of pain if I was without it.
So, when I first got sick and hadn’t yet gone to the emergency room to get samples done, my friend saw how much pain I was suffering and told me to try smoking cannabis, and then I immediately felt noticeable relief!
How long have you been using the alternative medicine?
I began using cannabis as soon as I started experiencing symptoms when my friend recommended that I try it. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t eat and I felt like I was living my life in the bathroom. When I smoked cannabis, it was an immediate change! And so, when I got my formal UC diagnosis, I continued to smoke cannabis and do so daily.
How have you felt since you started using the alternative medicine compared to that of your prescribed medications?
Cannabis helps relax my mind, which relaxes my overall mood and my body. My stress levels decrease and I can sleep throughout the night without having to get up to go to the bathroom as I was doing at least 4 times a night when I was first diagnosed. With relaxation, my body functions better, and my overall health improves, and I exempt myself from a lot of the pain that comes with a condition like UC.
Cannabis helps relax my mind, which relaxes my overall mood and my body.
Do you think you will continue with using alternative medicine?
I will continue using alternative medicine because it has improved my quality of life without the detrimental side effects to my internal organs that can be caused by the use of prescribed medications. And since my own doctor won’t educate me on using cannabis as a treatment, I am seeking to do my own research on how to utilize it further as alternative medicine.