Recent GLACA News



An Unexpected Journey: How Cannabis Gave Me My Life Back


By: Brett C. Hartmann - Patient Advocate and GLACA Stories Editor


My journey to advocacy, like that of many medical cannabis patients, was completely unplanned. For the longest time I thought of cannabis as just another drug, having been educated on the subject by the law-enforcement instructors of D.A.R.E.. Four years ago that outlook -  and everything - changed.


On September 18th, 2010 I elected to donate my kidney so that my friend’s young cousin would have another chance at life. Adam was born with Polycystic Kidney Disease, and as a result went into renal failure at a very young age. He had survived his entire life on dialysis, but in 2010 his condition was in decline. To my surprise, I found out that I was a strong match for him, and underwent a full medical screening.  I was in good health, the donation was a success, and I am thrilled to report that he is now a healthy, active young adult.


Soon after the surgery I came down with pneumonia, followed quickly by a life-threatening bacterial infection called Clostridium Difficile. I had a previous diagnosis of Epilepsy, but it was very mild and under control without medications. The doctors who had performed the donation surgery were aware of my condition, and the surgery was still deemed safe. However, the medications that were necessary to fight off the Clostridium Difficile have been known to increase the severity and frequency of epileptic seizures, and I experienced an adverse reaction to the treatment. I soon had to be medicated with multiple anti-epileptic drugs, with little effect. All of the medications my physicians prescribed were unable to get my seizures under control. This is a situation faced by over 30% of epileptics, and because of the trauma my body had experienced, it unexpectedly became my life as well.


I write this with full knowledge that pharmaceuticals save countless lives every second of the day - but that doesn’t  mean that they work for everybody. Many of the medications I was taking were prescribed just to control the side effects from the other medications. I had to have subsequent surgeries after the donation, and was hospitalized countless times. At one point the only option doctors saw to relieve my extreme condition was to induce a coma to allow my body to heal and rest. I was just a young adult myself, only 24, and I knew this was not the life I wanted. I was once a healthy, humorous and energetic guy, but after numerous hospitalizations and surgeries I felt like my identity was absorbed and I was just an exhausted medical case file.


As I mentioned earlier, I never really took medical cannabis seriously, but had heard about the success stories of children with seizure disorders medicating with high-CBD cannabis oils. I was run-down, mentally and physically, and in my desperation to get some relief from the pain, anxiety and depression my health condition had caused, I decided to experiment with cannabis.


The results were dramatic.  I immediately noticed a decrease in the number of my seizures, as well as the severity of the seizures. It took a long time and a great deal of self-observation, but I finally received the dramatic results I had always hoped for when I was able to develop my own dosage system. I am now six months seizure free, and completely off all pharmaceuticals.


I strongly believe that without medical cannabis, and without safe access to medicinal grade marijuana my health would not be what it is today. It is my mission to be the voice for

people who need a voice, and work towards the day when medical cannabis is given it’s rightful place in the medical and scientific community.  I have been given my life back -  a life I was afraid I had given away -  and I am dedicated to helping others find the same relief from pain and physical trauma with cannabis.


With that in mind, I want to invite our patient-members and supporters with a story to share about how medical cannabis has changed your life, to get in contact with me at​ with the subject line Attn: Stories Editor. Let us invite the world to read your experience with medical cannabis on!



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