Medical marijuana usage is a hot topic today, but many of the politics behind regulation center around biased statistics. With various studies and exaggerated opinions, it is hard to determine what is true and what is utter bologna. I might not hold all the answers and have always been indifferent on the topic, but I do have some insight when it comes to positive experiences.
One of my cousins had just graduated from an academy and, aside from myself and my weakening grandpa, all my family went out of state for the ceremony. My grandma asked if I could check on my grandpa while she was away.
Reluctantly, I agreed to check on my grandpa to ease her worry. My grandpa, though I loved him, became a difficult person to be around. His old age and constant pain turned him into a grump, and he felt the need to tell others about his never-ending pain. It was not exactly a visit I was looking forward too.
His agitated state became overbearing. People slowly distanced themselves from him, annoyed with his constant negativity. I, like most of my family members, took part in the distancing. Pretending everything was fine was easier, and remembering him as an active gardener was better than looking at the shell of himself he had become.
But something had changed and I suddenly found myself face to face with a familiar stranger.
Armed with a few subs for lunch and my two dogs, I slipped into the house and found my grandpa watching reruns of “Walker Texas Ranger.” Happy I was there, he struggled out of his brown recliner to hug me. When he noticed my puppies wagging their excited little poodle tails, he smiled. It had been a long time since that smile made an appearance, and the gesture warmed my heart.
We made our way to the dining room table so I could put on his pain patch and we could eat. With only the sound of chewing breaking the silence, I began feeling awkward and desperate for a safe conversation topic. Searching my surroundings as if they held all the answers, I began looking for a flare of inspiration.
My eyes landed on a tiny glass vial that contained only about a thimble worth of a crushed plant. I suddenly remembered my grandma telling me he had recently been prescribed medical marijuana.
Taking the vial as a conversation saver and blessing in disguise, I asked him if the medical marijuana had been helping at all. Not surprisingly, he told me no, but a smirk curled his lips as he added, “it gives me one hell of a high, though!”
He looked up at me with a glimmer in his eyes that had been missing for several years. The hollows of his face were less prominent, his eyes considerably less sunken, and an un-pained smile spread across his aged face. Believing the lively man sitting across from me was my grandpa was hard, but denying the positive effects of him smiling was impossible.
The conversation sparked, and my grandpa proceeded to share with me the “how-tos” behind smoking. I continued to ask questions about the treatment, despite knowing very little about marijuana. This allowed my now enthused grandpa to keep the conversation going.
Wrapped up in the moment, he asked if I wanted to try it with him. He continued by offering to show me how to smoke it from his pipe. Maybe he didn’t realize what he was proposing, or he was just proud that he knew something I didn’t. The reason didn’t matter because it was the most excited I had seen him in years.
I kindly declined his offer but let him describe each step in depth. I was a rookie that had never smoked, and I found it far too ironic that it was my grandpa of all people to offer me my first puff of marijuana. I knew he wanted me to try it with him, he probably thought it would be a bonding moment between us, but I preferred to remember corn picking and tractor riding as our thing.
While he was telling me about his pipe, and the struggle of learning to use it through this foreign thing called YouTube, I reflected on how much he had changed. Though he still was in some pain, he was easier to be around. He discovered a piece of himself that was almost lost.
We ended up enjoying our meal, and I was happy I listened to my grandma. Watching him feed the dogs lunchmeat made me smile at the magic I had witnessed. His new found zest for life could have come from the puppy-love therapy I offered, but I believed most of his recovery was related to the plant carcass he had been smoking.
It wasn’t a drug meant to get him high, and according to him it didn’t help much in the pain department, but it unexpectedly gave my grandpa some of his lost spark. He had some life in him again, and I suspected it was a result from the munchies. His appetite returned, and he began moving around more with his returned strength. If I hadn’t witnessed the magic first hand, I never would have believed the miracle that came from the marijuana.