Curative Properties of Marijuana Aired During Testimony at Krieger Trial

It seems that once a month at least, I meet or speak to someone whose life
has been remarkably improved -- if not transformed -- by the medicinal
properties of marijuana. Many of these people contact me.

Some of them call to tell me that it was one of my columns that spurred them
on to try marijuana. I've even had a retired dentist in Hawaii who suffers
from multiple sclerosis write to tell me he read one of my columns, tried
marijuana and has gone from being confined to a wheelchair and living with
incredible pain, to playing 18 holes of golf almost daily! He joked that
marijuana improved his handicap in more ways than one!

On Wednesday, I met more than a dozen people whose lives have been improved
by marijuana at the trafficking trial of Grant Krieger, Calgary's foremost
medicinal marijuana minstrel and primary supplier and distributor of the
healing herb for the sick and dying.

Perhaps one of the best examples of marijuana's curative properties I have
ever met is Reshma Maharaj Hawn.

Hawn, 23, is a petite, dark-haired beauty who attended Krieger's trial on
Wednesday to show her support for the man who provides her with the medicine
that has "liberated" her.

Hawn has suffered from epilepsy since the age of seven. She is classified as
a tonic-clonic. What that means is Hawn's epileptic seizures affect her
entire body.

She averaged eight to 10 full body seizures every day. Think about that.
Think about the pain, the exhaustion, but most of all, the inability to
function normally on a daily basis.

"I couldn't walk across the street alone. I had to hold someone's hand, just
in case I got a seizure. I couldn't swim, because if I got a seizure I would
have drowned," she says.

For Hawn, a seizure always started with her eyes blinking. "My head then
turns to the left and then everything just seizes up. When I wake up, my
head is always in tremendous pain because all of my muscles lock up on me."
Her jaw aches and all of her muscles and joints are sore.

In Grade 8, Hawn's seizures grew even more frequent, forcing her mother to
pull her from school for one month until another harsh medication could be
found that might improve things.

Hawn was put on a new drug and the number of seizures decreased -- for a
while anyway -- to two to four every day.

Hawn rattles off a list of the pharmaceutical drugs she has taken over the
past 15 years.

The last drug she was on was Carbamazapine. With this drug, her seizures
decreased to three to four a day -- much better than eight to 10 a day --
but still too many to lead a normal unencumbered life.

What's more, the 1200 milligrams of Carbamazapine she had to take daily was
starting to damage her liver. It was a rock-and-a-hard-place decision. Let
the seizures wrack her tiny body or damage her liver and suffer from fewer

But then Hawn's mother read an article about epileptics using marijuana.

Her mother was so uncomfortable about encouraging her daughter to try
something that wasn't even legal that all she said was, read this.

Hawn, who married her husband Joseph Hawn in June 2002 in Toronto, contacted
Epilepsy Canada and someone there put her in contact with a local Compassion

In January of this year, Hawn started putting marijuana in her food and
making tea out of the plant and she hasn't had one seizure since!

Not one seizure since the first day she started taking marijuana!

"I've never felt so ... I can't explain it," she says, her face beaming.
"I've never felt so free, so liberated."

So, too, does her family. Her mother tried everything, saffron, naturopathic
remedies everything, but nothing worked.

"Marijuana proves to be the only medication that has worked for me. In my
own terms, it's a miracle drug."

And so she sits in a courtroom watching the persecution and prosecution of a
man who also has been liberated from the bondage of MS seizures and spasms
and is out of a wheelchair because of marijuana.

Hawn, a sales representative with Suzy Shier, obtained a licence to possess
up to 90 grams of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Now she buys all of her marijuana from the Krieger Foundation -- which she
says is organic and pure.

Some of the other pot she has bought gave her heart palpitations, she
suspects from the pesticides used by some growers.

While she is sorry for the Krieger's misfortune, she is very grateful he has
sacrificed so much for people like her.

Does she wish she had learned about marijuana earlier?

"No, not really," she says.

"Being that sick and then having that anguish lifted from me has given me a
better appreciation of life. I'm glad that everything happened the way that
it did.

"Now I can walk down the street without holding someone's hand. I can use a
public washroom and lock the cubicle -- I could never do that before -- I'm
taking swimming lessons. It's wonderful. It's a miracle."

And one day, maybe our laws, police and courts will reflect this miracle and
stop prosecuting those who help others.

In the meantime, Krieger plans to appeal his latest criminal conviction.

There is still way too much wrong with this story.

Pubdate: Sun, 07 Dec 2003
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003 The Calgary Sun