Earlier this year, we looked into the costs associated with the prosecution of marijuana crimes in the Gem State. The story touched off a lot of debate on the pros and cons of the issue of marijuana use for recreational and medical purposes.
We continue this story with part one of a two part series looking at medical marijuana in Idaho. KPVI sat down with a local man who uses marijuana to treat his Crohn’s Disease. Because of his fear of retribution against his use of marijuana we’ve concealed the man’s identity and altered his voice.
As a teenager K was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It’s a debilitating disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract that can lead to severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss from malnutrition.
“You imagine the worst case of food poisoning you’ve ever had,” said K.
Crohn’s is treated in multiple ways, from lifestyle changes to antibiotic and prescription drugs and even surgery depending on the severity of the illness. K’s case lands on the severe end of the spectrum. Later in life K, had a bad reaction to his prescribed medications that landed him in the Intensive Care Unit. It was after this trip to the hospital that K began to entertain the idea of using marijuana medically.
“I heard that it worked for my stomach, it would help me eat and it would help me keep food down,” K said. “I experimented with marijuana in high school and I remember the nights after I smoked marijuana and I could sleep, I didn’t have to get up and go to the bathroom three or four times. (After starting smoking marijuana) within two weeks I gained 15 pounds. I was able to eat, I was able to sleep, I was able to keep food down, I was able to not be sore, I was able to be social and I was able to go places.”
But while K says his symptoms of Crohn’s have been alleviated by medical marijuana, his use of the drug has created other types of problems
“Most people go to the pharmacy to get their medication; I have a guy that I go to. The only thing that really scares me is that if I do get caught and get thrown into prison, it’s the only thing that works,” said K.
Currently, K works in the restaurant industry and is uninsured. He says his marijuana costs typically between $150 and $200 a month while injections for the treatment of his Crohn’s would cost $3,000 per month. If all things were equal, K says he would like to not have to seek the treatment for his condition on the black market.
“I want something that allows me to go to work, pay taxes, just like everyone else. I’m not a recreational smoker,” K said. “Medicinal marijuana enables me to live, it enables me to work, it enables me to be able to do the things that I like to do, and I’m not hurting anybody doing it.”
Coming up Friday night on KPVI News 6 we’ll speak to a member of the law enforcement community who worries about the impact medical marijuana could have on the Gem State.