I thought I was passionate about medical cannabis until I met Michelle Benton. She is an Alabama native, single Mom, former physician's assistant, and now, full time advocate for medical cannabis usage. I discovered Michelle via her Facebook page, Maven for Legalization, and I knew I needed to talk to her about her advocacy. I soon realized that Michelle loves to talk about the benefits of medical cannabis! I caught up with her earlier in the day.
Michelle comes from a long line of medical professionals and has been involved in the medical field for over 30 years. She has experience in Pharmacy, Internal Medicine, Medical Auditing, Medical Billing and Patient Advocacy. This gives her the skills to read research studies on medical cannabis from a medical standpoint. She shares medical cannabis studies that clearly outline the many benefits of medical cannabis. They explain how this complicated plant can provide relief from the symptoms of so many different disorders and illnesses. She is all about removing the stigma that still remains around cannabis usage, especially in the southern US, where she lives in Montgomery, Alabama.
Her mission is sharing medical cannabis success stories in order to "change the face of cannabis" as she puts it. She also wants her page to be known as a place to go to get accurate information about medical cannabis usage. She welcomes other medical professionals to join and participate. All medical professionals owe it to their patients to understand the endocannabinoid system and to offer it as an alternative to harmful pharmaceuticals. Education is key. There is no excuse for physicians to claim they don't know anything about medical cannabis.
Despite being disabled with several debilitating disorders, this single Mom with 3 children, 2 of which have special needs, is a woman on a mission. She has experienced many challenges in her life; she suffered the loss of a child, went into liver and kidney failure where she had to be resuscitated, and received a life-changing diagnosis in 2006 of Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID). This is a genetic disorder characterized by low levels of serum immunoglobulins and antibodies, which causes an increased susceptibility to infection. Simply put, she has no immune system.
With no immune system, she has developed several serious autoimmune disorders. Treatment for CVID is immunoglobulin replacement therapy. This means that every 21 days, she must go to the UAB Kirkland Cancer Clinic for her gamma globulin infusions which restores many of the antibodies that the rest of us already have in our
blood. She also has a 75% greater chance of developing lymphatic cancer.
She soon realized the adverse side effects that the pharmaceuticals she was taking were having on her liver and kidney function, so she started researching medical cannabis. She liked what she read. She lives in Alabama, which has no legal medical cannabis program other than Leni's Law which only allows the possession of CBD oil with up to 3% THC content. Production of the oil is not allowed in Alabama, so it must be brought in from other states. Michelle was forced to go to Colorado on several separate occasions if she wanted to try medical cannabis. No citizen of the US should have to leave her home and travel hundreds of miles to buy life-saving medicine.
Michelle came from a background where cannabis was demonized and she had never tried it. Here she was, a middle-aged Mom in Alabama, who embarked on an unknown journey, like so many others, which required a lot of trial and error to figure out if it would work for her. It did work for her. She felt generally much better. It helped control the symptoms of her many disorders, improved her liver and kidney function, improved what little immune system she had AND she was pain free. She discovered that concentrates provided immediate relief and she preferred the delivery method of dabbing. Indicas with higher amounts of THC did the trick. Some hybrids worked, but Sativas didn't. She is a fan of the strain OGKush.
Michelle's interest in medical cannabis took her to Jamaica where she attended the first "High Times Jamaican World Cup." Sadly, the Jamaican people were mislead by the event coordinator. While the event attracted many foreign tourists, most Jamaican residents could not participate. However, Michelle was very fortunate to have met and spent time with Lyndon Connell, creator and promoter of the Stepping High Festival, Jamaica's longest running ganja festival. She was able to sample one of Mr. Connell's finest strains of ganja.
Michelle hasn't been able to make a trip to Colorado for some time. As a result, she has noticed a huge decline in her health; medical cannabis most definitely keeps her healthier. That has made her even more determined to keep the movement going. She continues advocating not only for herself but for everyone else who is denied safe access to medical cannabis which she considers to be medicine.
Here's the story about Maven for Legalization:
It is a closed group and there are 3 administrators, Michelle and 2 others, who approve posts. It is all about medicinal cannabis, so if you are a recreational user, please do NOT post comments on the site. She has a pinned post at the top of the page with their very strict guidelines.
Anyone who is interested in or has been successful in using medical cannabis is welcome to join. Anyone looking for information is welcome to join. You do not have to be a medical cannabis user to join. Medical professionals with experience with medical cannabis are encouraged to participate as well as those looking to educate themselves. No trolls or incendiary comments will be allowed. Beware, trolls....Michelle is one tough cookie...LOL!
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I've written a series of posts about medical marijuana. If you want to read more you can click on the "Medical Marijuana" tag at the top of my page.
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