Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jane Hash testifies before the Ohio Medical Marijuana Task Force

I have not yet figured out how to close-caption my videos and I am deeply sorry for that. In an effort to not exclude anyone from hearing what I have to say about cannabis aka marijuana, below the video is the full text of my testimony. 

The two men on the panel representing the task force are Senator Dave Burke and Senator Kenny Yuko.

Hello. My name is Jane Hash and I am a lifelong resident of northeast Ohio. As an advocate for holistic health I have had extensive training through the National Organization of Certified Natural Health Professionals as well as the School of Natural Healing in Utah. My area of specialty is the use of western medicinal plants. I’m now preparing to further my studies at the Trinity School of Natural Health so I can become a Naturopathic Doctor.

In my spare time, I’m a co-founding Director of a nonprofit organization that serves career driven adults with disabilities. In conjunction with another Ohio based organization, I train others with disabilities how to advocate for themselves and for each other, as a team. I’ve also been known to do some motivational speaking at the Richland Correctional Institute.

My seemingly shameless display of self-promotion comes with a purpose. I want you to understand that the reason I am able to accomplish these goals and be a contributing member of our community is because I use Cannabis 1 to 3 times a day…every day.

I was born with a connective tissue disorder called, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). While this condition affects the entire body, the most significant symptom is fragile bones. I had my first few fractures before I was born. From birth until puberty, I had at least one fracture at all times. After puberty, my fracture frequency began to decline dramatically. By my late teens I had endured 200 broken bones.

Generally, I find complaining to be both a waste of energy and a cheap way to gain attention or pity. However, I also believe that I have held back way too much for way too long.

Using the 0 to 10-pain scale, I know nothing less than a 3, which is defined as “Pain is noticeable and distracting, however, you can get used to it and adapt.” In the winter my pain level does not go below a 7, which is defined as “Severe pain that dominates your senses and significantly limits your ability to perform normal daily activities or maintain social relationships.  Interferes with sleep.”

My body has never responded favorably to pain medication. More than once opiates almost stopped my heart. When I was an infant and had 26 fractures at the same time, the medical community had zero non-life threatening solutions to offer. I spent my first two weeks screaming in pain.

Out of desperation to relieve my suffering my Mother put shots of brandy in my baby bottle. This at least brought me much needed sleep. With alcoholism on both sides of my family, that was not the optimal course of action to take but desperate parents will do anything to relieve their child’s pain. By the time I reached adulthood I was using alcohol to manage my physical pain caused by OI and the emotional pain caused by my life circumstances at the time.

I was becoming an obese, violent, black out drunk…with fragile bones. I will never know the details of how it happened but I awoke from my last black out with fractures and torn ligaments. I knew that I had to stop drinking or I was going to die. That is when I turned to cannabis.

I have always known about cannabis but I did not always have accurate information about it. I didn’t know it can relieve pain and I thought it had to be smoked. Since the leading cause of death among those with OI is respiratory failure, I don’t want to smoke anything.

For the first two years of my relationship with cannabis, I had to figure out how to use it and how to dose it appropriately for my size, without any medical or professional support. During this time I had some scary moments but I learned that 1) the side effects of prescribed painkillers are more dangerous than an overdose of cannabis 2) it is impossible to ingest a lethal dose of cannabis 3) no matter where my pain ranks on the pain scale, a dose of cannabis brings it back down to a 3 and allows me to live my life with minimal discomfort.

When Ohio has medical cannabis available for patients like me, handing me a packet of seeds with permission to plant them will not improve my quality of life. I don’t have the physical ability to grow cannabis myself and I don’t have the space in my home to dedicate to an indoor garden. What would enhance my quality of life is to be able to go to a dispensary and purchase cannabis in an appropriate form and dosage for my body.

Furthermore, according to a report from the US Government Accountability Office earlier this month, most states are struggling to provide coordinated home care services for dual eligibles while adhering to recent US Department of Labor’s guidelines regarding what they call “companion care workers.” The revenue from medical cannabis could provide a solution to this problem by supplementing the wages of non-agency home care nurses and aides. This will require some restructuring of how home care services are currently being delivered but since the model isn’t working anyway, we need to take action to ensure the safety of Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens. Ohio is in a position to teach the rest of the country how to profit financially by being compassionate enough to provide safe and legal medical cannabis to patients who need it. Thank you.

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