Jonathan Zaid smoked his first joint on his 18th birthday, an unconventional birthday present from his mom that would change his life.
When Zaid was 14, he was diagnosed with a disorder that caused him daily headaches. After dozens of medications and dropping out of school because of the constant pain, Zaid finally found relief through his birthday joint.
Even though, according to Zaid, the joint only “helped a bit,” it was the first sign of relief he had received in four years. His only problem: access. Doctors didn’t want to prescribe cannabis, even medicinal cannabis, to patients under the age of 21.
Zaid, now 22, has access to cannabis treatment and has founded Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM).
Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada for over 10 years; however, little to no research has been done to help doctors and patients know exactly how the plant can help medical conditions. Zaid and others feel that it is the stigma of cannabis still has kept academia from conducting further studies. To overcome this issue, the CFAMM is working with the Arthritis Society in Vancouver to try and change stereotypes.
Joanne Simons, chief mission officer of the Arthritis Society, told media:
We really need to break [the stigma of medical cannabis] down, to really understand the root causes. People are living in pain. They don’t have effective pain management. And this may be one area that could help them.
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