Matthew’s Story – “I am a patient, not a criminal.”

A couple years ago, I started having trouble with my joints, specifically my knees. They were hurting all the time, from when I got up until I went to sleep. For the longest time I didn’t want to go to a doctor because I was afraid of what they would tell me.

One day at work my knee had a sudden harsh pain so bad that it collapsed out from under me and I fell, I was 18 when that happened.

I decided to go have my knees checked out after that, and following several tests they came in and told me I have degenerative joint disease. It’s basically arthritis without the swelling, but my immune system was attacking my joints. All of them. After telling me there was nothing that could be done for it, the doctor immediately went to offering me a prescription for oxycontin pain killers. Knowing the risk of what they do to people, I opted out and just resigned myself to living with the pain and taking Aleve.

At the time I was living with uber religious parents, so I didn’t really smoke cannabis often. It wasn’t until about a year and a half later when I moved out that I started regularly consuming the plant. I was doing it as part of the whole “I’m an adult and want to do my own thing” phase, but within a week I noticed the pain in my joints receding, and I stopped taking off the shelf painkillers.

I now smoke every day, and while the pain in my joints is still there and the condition worsens the older I get, I’m not in nearly as much pain as I was back then.

I sincerely hope that Tennessee politicians give us a medical cannabis program, because I am a patient…not a criminal.