Jackie Sponseller: God Made Weed, Man Made Pills… In God I Trust to Cure Epilepsy!
MMJ Patient: Jackie Sponseller, San Diego, CA
She’s been listening to her doctors for 16 years for how to treat her epilepsy and now, because of it, she not only has that but also has a cancerous liver. Her trust was betrayed and so she turned from western medicine to medical marijuana and cannabidiol. This interview is her testament to others suffering from epilepsy that there is another path; you don’t have to suffer from your disease and the toxic effects of pharmaceuticals. This is our interview with Jackie Sponseller.
What medical condition have you been struggling with?
I have a number of medical conditions, but the primary one that led me to use medicinal marijuana is epilepsy. I’ve been dealing with this since I was a child but when I turned 19 it got more serious. Aside from epilepsy, I have also struggled from a heart condition, high blood pressure, and I was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. Everything started with epilepsy and the reason that my liver is now in bad health is because of the pharmaceuticals I was prescribed for my epilepsy. I shouldn’t have a bad liver; I don’t drink and I’m a vegetarian. I take very good care of my body, but my doctors endangered my health with irresponsibly prescribing me too many pharmaceuticals.
How long have you been experiencing your medical condition?
I’ve had epilepsy since I was 10 after the damaging effects of meningitis, but it wasn’t until six years ago when I turned 19 that everything got much more serious. I was constantly being hospitalized, I was even in a wheelchair at one time, unable to walk for 3 months. The only reason I was able to get out of that wheelchair was because of medical marijuana.
The only reason I was able to get out of that wheelchair was because of medical marijuana.
What do you believe caused this medical condition?
I do know that it was due to having bacterial meningitis as a child. It left severe scarring on the meninges of my brain, which then made me develop epilepsy. I struggled with this more and more as I grew older and progressively had more and more seizures. During that time, I was being prescribed traditional medicine and for 9 years that was my only treatment regime. It wasn’t until I turned 19, when my epilepsy had reached its worst yet, that I decided to start implementing alternative medicine. But even though I started using medical marijuana at that point, I was still taking all the medications I was given by my doctors. I now know that those 16 years of pharmaceuticals I was being prescribed, damaged my body in irreparable ways and are the reason I now have a failing liver.
What medications have you been taking that was prescribed to you by your doctor?
Wow, the list could go on and on; I have been prescribed a cocktail of different pharmaceuticals. I will say though, that the ones that led to the problems with my liver and my current cancer diagnosis were the anticonvulsants and the heavy amounts of benzodiazepines that I was given. The benzodiazepines are usually prescribed to people with anxiety, but for people with who have seizures, they are administered in liquid form; these have a very harsh effect on the body and should be taken sparingly. Aside from that, I have been prescribed blood pressure medication, heart meditation, steroid treatment, a plethora of different pain medications, chemotherapy, etc. Like I said before, the list could go on and on.
What side effects did you experience from the prescribed medication by your doctor?
I would definitely say that liver failure is the worst side effect I have yet to encounter from taking my prescribed medications. This past year, I was in the hospital with frequent seizures and my doctor came to me with a question, “Ok. You’re under the care of a cardiologist and a neurologist. But who is your GI doctor, your gastroenterologist?” And I said to myself, “Well that would be a stomach doctor. I don’t have any problems with my stomach, that’s the only part of me that doesn’t have any issues; it’s just my brain and my heart that I have to be worried about.” Well, that turned out not to be true; I was told that I had liver failure. I started freaking out. I don’t drink, I’m a vegetarian, how on Earth could I have a bad liver? Well, it turned out to be because of the pharmaceuticals. I was not being prescribed them responsibly.
At this point, I weighed 107 lbs. at 5’7″, which is extremely thin for me; I was not in good shape. After this news, I went through a month of testing and my doctor came to me and told me that my neurologist had been prescribing me too heavily and then proceeded to tell me that my liver was severely damaged and that I would need a transplant. I said, “Why? So, that you can damage it again with more pharmaceuticals?” And they kind of just shrugged and said something on the lines that medication is a give and take kind of thing. Isn’t that horrible?
Although I did smoke medical marijuana from time to time since I was 19, I was still respecting what my doctors were saying and was doing what I thought was helping me and my medical issues when, in actuality, listening to them actually led me to a worser state than I was already in. I felt my trust was betrayed.
I was still respecting what my doctors were saying and was doing what I thought was helping me and my medical issues when, in actuality, listening to them actually led me to a worser state than I was already in. I felt my trust was betrayed.
What type of alternative medicine have you tried aside from your doctor’s recommendation?
After that appointment of being told that modern medicine is a give and take, I turned primarily to alternative medicine. Marijuana had always been there as a relief, but I now decided to implement it as my main method of treatment. It was then that I actually started making progress in my health. I began taking CBD capsules daily or taking CBD tinctures under my tongue and smoking medical marijuana regularly. I began eating better and gaining weight; I am now training for a marathon at a healthy weight of 125 lbs. and it’s all muscle. It’s been night and day turning from western medicine to alternative medicine.
I see now why I had to stand up to my doctors and say ‘No’ and tell them, “Screw what you’re telling me! You’re the reason why my liver is failing!” And when I come into my appointments, they seem surprised at my glowing healthy state and ask me what had changed. I tell them marijuana. I consider my philosophy to be this: ‘God made weed; Man made pills; Who do you trust?’
How long have you been using the alternative medicine?
Well, like I said, I started smoking marijuana occasionally when I was 19 years old seeking relief from the side effects of the pharmaceuticals I was taking, but it wasn’t until this year that I turned to medical marijuana and cannabidiol as my main method of treatment. That was when I saw the drastic difference; I finally felt alive again. I’m actually able to function. Even when I was on my strict western medicine regime, I still had epileptic seizures on top of all the side effects and liver damage, but now that I have been taking the alternative route with marijuana and CBD oils and tinctures, it’s rare that I have an episode, I really don’t experience them anymore and I don’t have any of the terrible side effects.
How have you felt since you started using the alternative medicine?
Fucking great! I feel fucking great. I feel alive again! I am healthy again, I am training for a marathon, and I am functioning and living my life. I am so relieved and thankful to leave the grogginess of western medicine behind and live more clearly.
Do you think you will continue using alternative medicine in the future?
Absolutely! It is because of medicinal marijuana that I have found my disease to be tolerable and that I have found that life is great! I’ve been able to breathe, engage, do the things I love, and I want to dedicate the rest of my life to showing others struggling with this disease that they have another option; there is another path. And that path is alternative medicine, medical marijuana, and cannabidiol. I see the rest of my life being an advocate for this treatment method; it’s my medicine and I will continue taking it for the rest of my life.