My name is Meredith Piccinini.
I have an extensive background as an Adult Nurse Practitioner which has taken me everywhere from Boston, to Georgetown, to Buffalo, and back to hometown of Baltimore. After moving back to Baltimore, I joined the Meyer 6 chronic pain program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. These patients were very sick. We were blessed to have had the most advanced resources available. Psychiatric medications, electroconvulsive therapy, ketamine therapy and spinal cord stimulators did help some people. For the average pain patient, however, less was often more and the best formula was often a healthy combination of distraction, empathy, and gratitude.
Like many girls, I grew up with scoliosis. I wore a brace under my school uniform and played awkwardly on the tennis team as I tried to hide the seemingly relentless mass of muscle spasm along my spine. I hurt all of the time. It feels as though my skeleton and my soft tissue are attached to two different people- the constant pull of the curve varies in intensity and is always present. Quite possibly because of this, I recognized myself in my pain patients.
I have tried all of the pills and found the same results that my patients were reporting; lethargy, disability, and depression. At this point in my career, I could have continued to ignore (or deny) the inadequacy of the care that we were offering. However, because of my own sensitivities, it was hard not to see that something was missing from the equation.
What I have found through both personal and anecdotal experience is that cannabis can be an excellent complement to our bodies previously untapped natural endocannabinod system. Maryland legalized medical cannabis over a year ago, and I have seen patients with conditions ranging from stage 4 lung cancer, metastatic breast cancer, retinal carcinoma and glaucoma to crippling anxiety, PTSD, fibromyalgia and insomnia.
People are suffering. Many have been prescribed medications that they cannot stop taking as a result of a physical addiction which is compounding their situation. I want patients to have access to an alternative treatment for these debilitating symptoms. There is no reason to suffer. There is no reason not to treat your lack of appetite. To eat. To rest. Take comfort that this option exists and there is a provider who understands.