‘My pain levels have completely dropped’: how medical marijuana changed my life

Andrea Wright, diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia, is now having a proper night’s sleep

Andrea Wright, 39, from Bristol, was diagnosed in 2013 with psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. She was in such severe constant pain, and unable to sleep for more than two continuous hours a night, that she was retired on ill health from her job at National Grid “at the grand old age of 33”.

She says: “I had to stop work because the pain was too much. It’s been very depressing; I really enjoyed my job. I tried so many different therapies and managed to get my arthritis under control but for fibromyalgia, there isn’t anything, no magical pill.”

She was taking up to 40 tablets a day, including 14 prescriptions such as opiate painkillers, as well as sleeping pills and laxatives to relieve the constipation caused by the painkillers.

Wright would never consider smoking cannabis recreationally but started inhaling medicinal cannabis as part of a study run by the private London pain clinic LVL Health in January. “To begin with I was completely knocked out but you do get used to it. Straight away my sleep was a million times better. I probably hadn’t had a proper night’s sleep since 2012. I stopped taking any sleeping pills. My pain levels have completely dropped as well.”

Her next step is to start weaning herself off the opiate painkillers. She will always have to take some medication but is now working as an operations manager for Flowaime, a Cadent (previously National Grid) contractor. “I’m able to work longer hours and go into the office. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for medical cannabis. It’s been life-changing.”


Julia Kollewe

The GuardianTramp

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