THE BLOG
02/24/2014 02:51 pm ET | Updated Apr 26, 2014

For People With Paralysis, Like Me, Medical Marijuana Can Ease Suffering

It starts as soon as I wake up each morning. The feeling that I'm being stabbed, stung by 1,000 bees and burnt alive.

Since being paralyzed, there's a lot that I miss. But there is nothing I long for more than to be freed of the torturous pain I feel every day. I suffer from debilitating neuropathic pain and I have yet to find anything that gives any real relief. For now, I take the medications that are available to me, medications that can cause liver damage, blood disorders, suicidal thoughts and other psychological issues. Sometimes I feel like I'm slowly killing my body just for a chance to go one point down on the pain scale. Not to mention, for me, they can run upwards of $400 a month. What if there were an option that were more cost effective, less dangerous and gave some true relief?

Marijuana has time and time again proved to reduce suffering from various conditions. But, for some reason, many politicians continue to dismiss the evidence. They continue to shut down the idea of legalized medicinal marijuana without knowing the facts. They are so quick to reject the idea without giving any thought to the real people who are seriously suffering.

In North Carolina, the House Rules Committee shot down a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in some instances and they did this after debating for just 20 minutes. That's right. They dismissed the chance to vastly improve the quality of life for suffering individuals in just 20 minutes.

Why? Because lawmakers were getting an overwhelming amount of people contacting them who supported the bill. "We did it to be done with it, so people could move on for the session," said Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake. So suffering families calling to express their support was annoying to you? A grandfather suffering from cancer, a war veteran with severe PTSD, and a mother with HIV experiencing neuropathy looking for anything to improve their lives is a bother? I can't imagine how annoyed Stam would be if it were his family suffering.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common narcotic pain relievers such as Vicodin and OxyContin were tied to 16,000 deaths in 2010. Marijuana use was tied to zero deaths. Politicians worry that marijuana might be a gateway drug. So worried in fact that harder, more dangerous narcotics are legalized while marijuana remains on the Schedule 1 list at the White House. It is currently categorized as being more dangerous than drugs like crystal meth and as dangerous as heroin. That tells me that opposers of marijuana legalization are more worried that someone could be getting high from medical marijuana than they are about people dying from opioid overdoses.

Imagine having to use a wheelchair because you have a spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy and suffer from spasticity. You are out in public when your muscles throughout your body contract and you are violently thrown from your wheelchair or you can't sleep straight through the night because your legs are kicking out of control. Imagine not being able to keep you food down as a side effect of chemotherapy. Or maybe imagine what it feels like to wake up screaming from unbearable pain. Think about what it might feel like to watch your child have numerous seizures throughout the day that could kill them. Now imagine looking these people people in the eye, there wives, fathers, children and telling them that that you are more concerned with the possible misuse of a drug that has been proven to be safer than the drugs they already take, than your are about the quality of their lives.

It's difficult to hear politicians decide my fate without any real research. They so easily can make a decision opposing medical marijuana without knowing what many people are going through every day. Where is the compassion or even just some simple logic?

Medicinal marijuana can add millions in tax revenue in each state, reduce opiate related deaths and truly save lives. This is for every policy maker in and out of my State of North Carolina. I'm asking you, along with the citizens in this country, to take a look at the facts. Take a look at any reason you might be against it and weigh it carefully with the pros. 20 states along with the District of Columbia have already legalized medicinal marijuana so let's do what is right, continue the progress and legalize it in every state. You never know when your vote will impact the fate of you or someone you love.

Rachelle writes regularly for themobilityresource.com, where this piece first appeared.