Medical marijuana is a controversial topic in many places, but for Carol Francey, it's how she manages several medical conditions. The 70-year-old grandmother claims that smoking cannabis has helped her throw away all of the pills that she was taking for arthritis, sciatica and insomnia.
Francey believes that smoking has helped her enjoy a better quality of life, and that it could help other people feel more comfortable.
"We need to help older people have a better quality of life," she said. "Cannabis helps you to overcome anxiety about day-to-day life and stop sweating the small stuff."
She is allowed to grow her own marijuana because of the medical prescription she has. Francey says that since she started smoking she has noticed that she hasn't needed her other medications. "I threw away all my pills. They had slurred my speech and affected my balance. Now [I have] a little concentrated oil which relaxes, soothes, repairs and prevents illnesses."
She uses it in different ways, depending on what she wants to treat. "A hot coffee with a toasty cannabis tincture works well for arthritis, pain and sleep," s said. "[I'll inhale] a dab for sciatica and I'm after that I can walk...I'm eating healthy foods, walking daily, doing yoga, a little meditation and writing too."
How did she first discover that cannabis would help her?
Francey says that she started smoking marijuana when she was 17, but wasn't very vocal about it. "While cannabis gave me lots of support, social stigma held me back from fully participating in my community. Fearing I would compromise my reputation, cause disruption to bosses, co-workers and others, or even lose my job, I could not reveal my use."
"I kept my distance from others I might have had as friends. I kept this secret from all but my closest people. Had cannabis been more accepted I could have offered greater contributions to my community," she said: "On the other hand a supportive, welcoming cannabis community was there in the wings waiting for when I could 'come out of the closet.'"
Since she has revealed her usage, she has started campaigning to raise awareness for the benefits. "I dedicated myself to fighting for justice for youth cannabis users. With new laws against young people who are possessing over five grams, we need to continue this fight."
She said, "I'm not your ordinary granny. I'll bake cookies in the morning, enjoy a tincture-infused coffee then [go] for a walk near the river. I cook with and smoke cannabis. Tinctures, vapourizers, dabs, capsules and edible butters all have their place in our house."
"I grow a grandma-sized garden in a little eight by three foot closet. Growing saves my husband and I thousands of dollars each year."