If nothing else, I figured that this might be an interesting story for some.
In America, some states have legalized or decriminalized cannabis [marijuana]. It varies from state to state.
I fought hard in the 90s and 2000s to get cannabis legalized in California. For a while, only medicinal was available. This meant that you had to go see a doctor and get a prescription. More on that later.
We also had a Native American church that sold cannabis as “holy sacraments.” Eventually, California legalized recreational use. All of this comes with rules in the law relating to how much you can grow, how much you can buy, how much you can possess, etc.
GETTING A CANNABIS Rx IN CALIFORNIA
At first, you would have to find a doctor who was willing to write the annual prescription, and it would cost as much as $500. Over time, things loosened up. To be fair, medically speaking, they got too loose.
How you’d go about getting your prescription today is simple and weird. You find a “doctor” who write cannabis prescriptions. That’s all they do. You go to their office, which is usually in a strip mall. The receptionist takes your drivers license and writes down a bit of information for you. You pay the receptionist $60. Then, you watch an Adam Sandler movie in the waiting room. This movie typically also stars Kevin James and is really bad.
You see the doctor in a little office room. He’s wearing a white lab coat and has a stethoscope. He says, “So, you’re having trouble sleeping right? Oh yes! Well, here’s your prescription. Don’t forget to renew on time next year to save $20.”
They MIGHT take your temperature and blood pressure. Maybe, for appearances.
HOW CANNABIS HELPS ME
Before I continue, I should say how cannabis helps me. As an adult with Level 1 Autism, I suffer a few conditions. For one, I’ve had life-long insomnia. With cannabis, I can get up to 6 straight hours of sleep. It also helps to “mute” some of my Autistic manifestations by relieving stress.
GETTING A CANNABIS Rx IN OREGON
When I was deciding to move from California, it had to be a relatively “blue” state with regard to politics. They also had to have legalized cannabis. This is not just because I wanted to be able to purchase cannabis legally, but also because it shows how free or authoritarian their society might be.
Oregon seemed like a rational choice, for this reason.
Right after I returned the moving truck to U-HAUL, I ran across the street to my first Oregon cannabis collective and purchased an ounce of their premium Kush. They were very professional.
I will say that the budtenders in Oregon are generally better than the ones in California. In California, budtenders are typically women who are hired based on how hot they are. In Oregon, they hire people who have knowledge and experience. Unlike many in California, the budtenders in Oregon know what they are talking about and can make recommendations.
I asked the budtender about getting a prescription. He said that it cost at least $200 [it can be as high as $400], and that it wasn’t worth it unless you spent more than $1,500 per year on cannabis.
This is because when you purchase cannabis WITHOUT a prescription, you pay a 3% county tax, as well as a 17% state tax. 20% tax can add up over time. I don’t buy that much, as I do not use it beyond my occasional evening sleep aid.
The first step was to sign up with a collective that offers the prescription service. Most of them do. They might be filled up, so you could end up waiting a few months before they finally call you.
They ask what conditions you’re seeking relief from. I told her about my Autism and Insomnia, and she said those issues are not covered. She also said she believes they should be.
She continued to ask me questions, and we figured out that Type 2 Diabetes is a covered affliction. So we went with that and made an appointment.
I showed up at the collective for my appointment, and they had a TON of paperwork for me to fill out! I sat for about 20 minutes, constantly referencing my phone for information they were asking for that was not committed to memory.
Eventually, it is my turn to see the doctor.
This doctor is an actual doctor who has a practice in Portland, and who works to get patients a cannabis prescription if they qualify and need it. In talking with him, I quickly learned that this is NOT the joke of a front that you will experience in California.
He put a sensor on my finger that measured my pulse  and my blood oxygen levels [97%]. He asked a bunch of questions. One question was, “Is your stomach sometimes irritated?” I told him that it was, and that it felt similar to the gut sensation you get when you’re in trouble or something bad is about to happen.
I had previously written off this irritation as me struggling to deal with some internal fear that I could not identify.
The doctor called this Gastroparesis. He explained that Diabetes attacks your smaller, more fine nerves. This is why I am currently “glaucoma suspicious,” and have to have a bunch of eye exams to determine whether or not my Diabetes will cause me to go BLIND.
Yea, Diabetes isn’t cool. Ever.
But wait, there’s MORE bad news!
After he suggested an endoscopy to determine whether or not my stomach lining has this nerve damage, he also mentioned some fine nerves that travel from the spinal cord to the heart. He said that these nerves can be destroyed by the Diabetes.
I felt a great deal of concern. My regular doctor had never told me about any of this before. So I asked him what this meant, in terms of consequences.
He replied, “You could be having a heart attack RIGHT NOW, and you’d not even know it or realize it. You won’t be able to feel it because of that nerve damage.”
This is called Neuropathy. I had it in my foot, and my right heel is permanently numb.
When you suffer nerve damage from Diabetes, there is no going back. Nerves do not regenerate. Ever.
After I thanked the doctor for all of the good news, and paid the collective $150, I went home, scanned my paperwork, created an account online, filled out their form, attached my scans, and paid $50. I got a discount due to my current situation. The online portion can cost as high as $200.
I have a temporary card now, and am awaiting final approval. It stinks knowing that I could spend $200 and NOT get approved. But I am waiting.
My understanding is that this prescription lasts for one year, and then it has to be renewed. There is a discount for renewal, and it looks like renewal is easier.
IN THE END
I learned a great deal from the “weed doctor,” with regard to my Type 2 Diabetes and other issues that can come up as a result of this disease. It wasn’t really stuff that I wanted to hear, but I needed to hear it.
I mean, thinking that I could be having a heart attack right now is rather unnerving. At the same time, it is also helping me to come to terms with my own mortality, my age, my failing body, and my own eventual death.
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