Jessie Gill, RN is a cannabis nurse and writer with a background in holistic health and hospice. After suffering a spinal injury, she reluctantly became a medical marijuana patient then quickly transitioned into an advocate. Her site, MarijuanaMommy.com educates about cannabis while challenging the stigma against marijuana use. She’s been featured on Viceland and her work has appeared on GoodHousekeeping, Cosmopolitan, MSN, and more.
MarijuanaMommy.com’s mission is to teach about cannabis while challenging the stigma surrounding cannabis.
My Story on Becoming a Marijuana Mommy
My family wasn’t much different than the millions of other families out there. I was a single mom juggling life – kids, job, exercise, fun. Each day, I tried to make our lives a little bit better.
I’d seen my fair share of hardship – like many of us have – but I rebounded. I recovered from a tumultuous divorce and built a new life.
For years, my two children and I shared one bedroom in my parents’ house. It was far from ideal, but it provided a loving environment for us to grow.
I worked my butt off – and in most areas – I’d discovered success.
I had two great kids. And as a single mom, I put myself through nursing school. I was impeccably healthy – a distance runner, avid yogi, and natural foods connoisseur. I was active, involved, and had zest for life.
Best of all, I had found a vocation that I fulfilled my soul – hospice nursing.
Hospice nursing was a gift because the dying taught me how to live.
I worked hard and painstakingly saved every penny. And, you know what? I actually did it!
I saved enough money to buy a house in my hometown. It was a fixer upper and needed love, but it was mine. I could finally give my kids a normal life.
We hadn’t even moved in yet when tragedy struck.
One ordinary January morning, I was injured in a freak work accident. I didn’t realize it then, but our lives would be drastically affected.
Doctors took me out of the field to heal, but the healing never came. I began an exhausting hamster-wheel-race through the NJ workman’s compensation system. Severely injured workers don’t fare well in NJ.
I prayed unceasingly.
FOR YEARS, I begged God, the universe, and anyone who would listen, for an answer. I prayed unceasingly for a way to dial down the suffering.
I endured blinding hot, nerve pain searing the back of my head and neck. I battled constant excruciating muscle spasms that limited my ability to function normally. I suffered a lot from that spinal injury.
I spent my days bouncing from doctors, to physical therapists, to holistic practitioners. I tried every cream, oil, and supplement I could reach.
I spent my nights contorted, tossing in bed, crying on the floor, or pacing – because even putting my head on the pillow hurt.
Each day, I took up to 15 pills – a concoction of opiates, valium, and others to fight the pain, spasms, and depression that consumed me. Then I needed more pills to treat the side-effects from the first set of drugs.
Every day, I battled physical dysfunction to be a regular mom to my kids. My goals shifted from renovating our new house to just being able to do a load of laundry or prepare a meal.
I grew increasingly depressed.
When some friends suggested I try marijuana, I balked. These were the kind of friends who’d partake in pot recreationally. At the time, I was avidly opposed.
Besides, didn’t they know how serious my condition was? If morphine couldn’t help me, pot wasn’t going to do a thing. Besides, I was a nurse (with a special focus on pain management) – I knew cannabis might help with epilepsy, but weed helping serious injuries seemed ludicrous.
I cast the recommendation off as a “stoner suggestion” and secretly felt annoyed.
I suffer, but still, I’m blessed.
Not everyone has parents like mine, they are an immense blessing. They held me up and carried me during the times when I couldn’t carry myself.
My dad made my house livable and helped us move in. I kept chasing treatments, desperate for a cure and anxious to get back to work.
Finally, after every other option failed to help, I had a multi-level spinal fusion.
– My condition worsened.
The pain remained, my disability intensified, and any hopes of returning to my career drifted away. The doctors deemed me as good as I’d get. Workman’s comp closed my case and ended my treatments.
My soul felt shattered. Life seemed hopeless.
I continued with pharmaceuticals. I tried every medication the doctors offered, but none helped. At best, pharmaceuticals made the pain endurable, but the side effects were difficult to bear.
Eventually, the pills took a toll on my digestive system and I began to suffer from bouts of colitis.
I hit rock bottom.
There were weeks at a time when I couldn’t even leave my house because – physically, mentally, and spiritually – I was in agony.
A friend, who I knew on a professional level, came to me. He had suffered an injury similar to mine and he was on medical marijuana. He raved about his results and he encouraged me to try it.
Again, I balked.
Why the disbelief?
Honestly, I didn’t believe that cannabis could conquer severe pain. And the stoner stigma was more than I wanted to face. I didn’t want to be a pothead, disability challenged me enough.
When I mentioned MMJ to my mom, she was surprised. But her disbelief wasn’t about the results my friend had experienced. Instead, she was disappointed in how quickly I dismissed the possibility of trying medical marijuana.
“Jessie, you’ve tried everything else,” my mom scolded me (and quoted William Cowper), “How can you not try this? God works in mysterious ways.”
So I began to considering cannabis. In my reading, I was surprised by the extent of legitimate research supporting the benefits of medical marijuana. Plus, the anecdotal evidence was impassioned and endless.
I grew hopeful.
Thanks to my parents, I tried medical marijuana. Each day I’m awestruck by my results. I’ve been using cannabis daily for more than a year now and my quality of life has skyrocketed.
My pain and suffering aren’t gone – I’m still disabled and my injury affects me daily – but cannabis eases and soothes like nothing else can.
For me, cannabis is a natural miracle.
Since starting medical marijuana, my passion for life has returned. I’ve stopped taking ALL opiates, valium and other pharmaceuticals. My mind feels like it’s mine again – it’s no longer clouded by medications.
Thanks to cannabis, I can meditate daily. I can practice yoga again – not anywhere near the same level, but with a deeper spiritual connection than ever before.
I’ll never be a hospice nurse again, but my career is taking a shape in a form I never imagined. Over the past year, I’ve had articles appear on Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, MSN, and more. I was featured on Viceland, and have been interviewed by publications around the world.
The part that I’m most grateful for? Marijuana helps me be a regular mom again.
Isn’t it funny? I prayed and prayed for an answer. It turns out, God planted the answer right in the ground for us to grow. There is was all along.
I’m grateful for this medicine.
If you’re suffering and you qualify for medical marijuana, take my mom’s advice (or William Cowper’s advice.). Try it because God works in mysterious ways.
Why I use the word Marijuana
Not only does controversy swirl around the cannabis plant itself, but controversy also swirls around the name of the plant.
Marijuana & Racism
Racism was the instigator of cannabis prohibition, and racism still drives the war against drugs today.
There’s an idea that the word, “marijuana,” is a racist term.
BUT that suggestion ignores the fact that the word marijuana derives from the Nahuatl, the indigenous people in Mexico. The origin of the word marijuana is the Spanish-Mexican culture. The word, like the culture, is quite lovely.
The origin of the word marijuana is the Spanish-Mexican culture. The word, like the culture, is quite lovely.
Yes, prohibition is racist.
But insisting on the European or Latin-derived term, “cannabis”, is xenophobic.
It’s time to love the plant and all of the beautiful words to describe it.
In racist testimony from the 1937 congressional hearings, Doctor Woodward, from the American Medical Association stated, “The term ‘marihuana’ is a mongrel word that has crept into this country over the Mexican border.”
Doesn’t it seem racist to bleach a cultural word from society because we’re uncomfortable with the origin?
The word marijuana has a negative stigma.
The US government made sure that it did.
Some suggest the negative stigma is why people should not use the word marijuana.
Many medical professionals only use the term cannabis, because they fear the negative stoner stigma attached to the word marijuana.
But the word marijuana isn’t going anywhere.
It is rooted in American history. It would be like trying to rename French fries or spaghetti- it’s silly.
Don’t attack a word–Attack the stigma attached to it.
The word marijuana is a lot like the word queer
Historically, the word queer was not controversial or negative until the 1950’s – 1980’s when it emerged as a slur. If you grew up during that time, the word queer might still trouble you because from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, the term queer was a terrible insult.
But eventually, the community reclaimed the word. In the LGBTQ+ community, many embrace the word queer as an identity, a sign of inclusivity, and a source of pride.
The word queer is often used as an umbrella term to encompass the entire LGBTTQQIAAP community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, and pansexual).
Pansexual if you want to get accurate, bisexual for convenience, but I prefer the simpler term queer.
Occasionally, I express strong opinions. You might like that, or you might hate that. Being hated makes me sad, but not sad enough to keep my mouth shut.
Viceland: I Smoke Weed
UsWeekly: Medical Marijuana
DailyMail: Medical Marijuana
DailyMail: Teen Pregnancy
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