The following are excerpts of comments from Oklahoma Watch interviews with medical marijuana patients. The excerpts were edited slightly for brevity. Some patients were willing to be identified only by first name and age range.
Matthew Petersen, 46, Oklahoma City
I’m a vet. I see the VA for pretty much all my medical care. However, they don’t prescribe medicinal marijuana because of federal regulations. My doctors are aware that I do purchase and use it regularly. I’m using it for back pain and the side benefits of lowering anxiety. As far as getting a (patient) card, Oklahoma made it about as easy as they could, especially with the time crunch they were under. … If you’re a vet, a lot of doctors are waiving the fees for vets. I’m a member of Operation 1620, a group of veterans who promote medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs. I was in the Air Force for 10 years. I wish it was recreational. It is God’s plant and should be for everybody.
Sherri Boyd, 55, Oklahoma City
My pain management doctor and my psychiatrist both urged me to get (a patient card) and they both gave me recommendations. I used to take four Percocets a day, and my doctor said he would take me down to three a day and let me get the medical marijuana. I’m using it for pain as well as anxiety because I do have bipolar and it helps for that as well. They sell marijuana with different strains for pain or anxiety or whatever. There’s ones for your mind and your body. The one for your mind is probably more for people who are abusing the situation. The others, it seems to help me a lot. I get mostly edibles.
John Frasure, 67, Moore
I got my card within the first few weeks (after they became available), and I was scared and nervous at the doctor’s appointment because I didn’t know what to expect. It was not my primary doctor. He does do it now, because we educated him on that. But I drove all the way to Sand Springs and paid $125 for my recommendation. I’m 67. Most people like me don’t want to get high. I just want to be out of pain and insomnia … I used to be on a lot of (prescription) drugs. I quit those all four years ago because of cannabis.
David Chase Overstreet, 36, Tulsa
I got my card six months ago. It was super easy. I had planned out what I was going to say but instead they had a checklist. So I checked some boxes and he said, “Yes, you can get a card for that.” It was way easier than I thought. I mostly smoke it, but I do love edibles; they’re a little better for your lungs. I was in the market before it became legal. Before I had a card, I was still trying to go through my old market people, and they just disappeared … I used to have major anxiety and paranoia because I was always afraid the cops were going to break down my door. That was cleared instantly the day I got my card. I can go out on my front lawn and smoke it now.
Jessica Mitchell, 34, Tulsa
I’ve had my patient card since October 2018. I didn’t go to my regular doctor because I didn’t have insurance at the time. I was one of the first people, so I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have to have any medical records. He just asked me about my experience with cannabis and what I was trying to treat. He had his own list of conditions that he was willing to write for and anxiety was one of them. I’m still on my anti-depressant and another medication, but I was able to drop Klonopin, which is a benzodiazepine like Xanax or Ativan. I mostly use flower and smoke it.
Kaylynn M., 28, Moore
I’ve been a patient since February. I had weight-loss surgery three years ago and I found out my serotonin receptors were cut out. So this was my last resort. I tried all the medicine. I’ve come off a fourth of my antidepressants, off my Xanax and all of my sleeping pills since becoming a medical (marijuana) patient … My quality of life is better. I’m back in the gym and I’ve lost about 20 pounds. I think we need to end the stigma. You see moms replacing wine with weed now.
Jo, in her 30s, Oklahoma City
I got my card in January 2019. It was quite easy … The doctor went over my condition for wanting MMJ, which is narrow-angle glaucoma. As soon as he heard that, he was signing the papers. I explained that I had my diagnosis from my optometrist, and he didn’t need to see it. I explained my optometrist wasn’t comfortable doing the referral but encouraged me to do it. We discussed that I had a family history of glaucoma and a very young age of diagnosis, which he agreed with. He was very polite and definitely agreed I ‘didn’t need to be going blind.’ I saw him in person and it cost $100. I haven’t heard from him since then.