There are many medical success stories about the healing qualities of cannabis that you can read about online. One of the most moving is that of how one teenager, Jon Toivo, became the first, or at least one of the first, successfully treated, pediatric medical marijuana patients in the state of Maine. After years of struggling with daily chronic nerve pain, depression, fatigue, anxiety and fear, and other challenges, Jon finally found relief from his post-concussive syndrome.
At the rather tender age of 17 Jon had five concussions within five months, the first resulting from being hit on the head by the boom of the sailboat he was sailing while he was the co-captain of his school’s varsity sailing team, during his senior year of high school. The last concussion also happened during a boating accident, and in-between he hit his head harder than he should have – three times in a few months! He also suffered from a fractured vertebra (which he did not know about for six months) and developed allodynia, a condition causing hypersensitivity to pain, in this case of the scalp, to the point where touching caused great pain. The nerve pain caused by the slightest touch resulted in more anxiety, and fear – the fear of being touched.
Jon missed months of school, could not participate in any of his favorite activities, and was told byallopathic, western doctors that he would, most likely, not get better…ever! He tried more than twenty traditional medications, including Valium, various pain killers and antidepressants, experiencing many negative side effects of these drugs which compounded his suffering.
He credits his mother with helping him change his perspective from hopeless to hopeful, and he eventually went to natural healers, including chiropractors, acupuncturists, hypnotists, neuromuscular therapists, and cranial osteopathy doctors. While these treatments provided some relief, they did not take away his pain; he still had daily pain which impacted his ability to enjoy life and to do the things teenagers usually do. His anxiety and depression tended to increase instead of decrease.
He did not give up, though, and after researching other treatment options, finally found relief with cannabis oil, specifically the cannabinoid CBD, or cannabidiol, one of the compounds found in marijuana. Jon’s research showed that CBD oil had been successfully used as a palliative for people with head injuries, and that its anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective qualities aided in healing as well. Further research confirmed that CBD oil was effective in treating chronic pain, nerve pain, depression, and other symptoms or conditions associated with post-concussive syndrome.
Jon faced numerous challenges in his quest to obtain CBD oil, or even a prescription for CBD oil, such as the fact that his mother had worked for the DEA, he had an earlier, ingrained belief that marijuana was a drug that was bad for the brain, and there was a sparsity of doctors in Maine at the time who could legally prescribe medical marijuana. In spite of these and other challenges, Jon did receive approval from the state for his prescription, providing him with his first feeling of hope and then, finally, with the relief from pain he had been seeking for so long. The CBD oil helped relieve his nerve pain, his headaches were gone, and the depression and anxiety he thought he would never be rid of were magically lifted, or so it seemed.
However, this was not magic, but real science. There are many scientific studies that explain why and how this once illegal substance can be so helpful for people who suffer from post-concussive syndrome, as well as other ailments. Some research shows that while CBD itself can be healing, and does not have the psychoactive effects of the whole marijuana plant (which some people do not want), it might be even more effective, medicinally, when used in conjuction with THC and other cannabinoids.
Jon is just one of the fortunate people who came upon the research that eventually led to his being able to graduate from high school, go to college, and even to surf again – basically, to lead the ‘normal’ life of an adolescent.
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