Marena Collins has suffered from arthritis for quite some time. In the past she has been placed on a number of different medications to help her illness; however, the side effects made it nearly impossible to stay on them

Marena is from Clinton, Missouri. She suffers from (rheumatoid) arthritis. She’s no longer able to take anti-inflammatories. The only pharmaceutical that she is currently taking, she may have to stop, since her stomach and liver are already compromised by the prescriptions she has taken in the past. The only medicine that she can be certain that her body will not eventually reject is cannabis.

“I didn’t know how bad my arthritis was until a few months ago. …I ran out of cannabis. I thought my arthritis was just some aches and pains here and there. But when I ran out of cannabis, slowly, over time, my body began to stiffen up.”

She discovered that the stiffness in her joints rendered her almost completely incapacitated.

“I called my doctor. He asked me what I was taking for anti-inflammatory and pain. I told him cannabis. He said to go get more. That was the best thing there was. He couldn’t give me anything better. He talked a little bit about the side effects and the side effects of contemporary (pharmaceutical) medications. I would much rather do the cannabis.”

Marena has had internal bleeding from the anti-inflammatories.

Marena has a small dog called Bug. Bug has a disorder that causes her to have very bad seizures. Despite the care of an attentive veterinarian, she still has one to four seizures a day.

Bug began climbing up on the back of Marena’s chair when she would medicate with cannabis. Not long there after, her and her husband noticed that Bug’s seizures began to slowly reduce in frequency and severity until they stopped all together.

They didn’t know what to make of this, so they decided to ban their little dog from the room when Marena would medicate. Soon thereafter, Bug’s seizures returned.

“We need medical cannabis in Missouri. We need medical cannabis everywhere. There are patients everywhere who need it.”

When asked if there were patients in rural Missouri who needed cannabis, she responded: “You bet there is.”

Marena’s son has been on pain killers following a car accident. His physicians prescribed opiates. The opiates led to an addiction that eventually damaged his liver and put him in the hospital.

“He tells me that cannabis relieves his pain.”

Though cannabis could replace all of her son’s prescription pain medicine, he can’t use it all the time. He doesn’t have the finances to pay the blackmarket prices. Consequently, he is forced to remain on dangerous pharmaceuticals that in fact threaten his life. Between the prescription drugs and his chronic illness, he is forced to seek full disability. If cannabis was legally available to him, he could possibly work and avoid the pitfalls of Disability.

Where Marena lives there is an organization called FAM, Farmers Against Marijuana. “They drive around through fields and down through core land looking for marijuana fields so they can burn it.”

“This is medication.”

There are stiff penalties in Missouri for cultivation that could put any patient in prison for a number of years.

“This whole thing is just wrong. It’s been around for so long. People have just gotten used to it. They don’t realize that a lot of crime comes from prohibition.

I know some people who had a problem with cannabis, until they became ill. They moved to another state and found that cannabis was good.” Marena chuckles.

“More people need to know. We need to get that word out there. This is not a demon thing. This is good. This is something we have been given to care for our bodies. We’ve made it illegal so no one can use it.”