Story By: Ashley Priest
Meet Andrea Houser. Andrea is one of thousands of Tennessee’s residents whose lives could drastically change for the better if the Medical Cannabis Act of 2017 passes. At the tender young age of just 19 Andrea was diagnosed with Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy. Since this day her life and the lives of those around her have changed forever. Aside from being devastated with random seizures and being put through dozens of different tests, procedures and on multiple medications this condition also prevents Andrea from being able to do normal day-to-day activities that the rest of us take for granted such as driving our kids back and forth to school or going to the grocery store on our own. Despite many different pharmaceutical medications Andrea has never been able to find complete relief or consistent relief from her ailments. The worst part of it all is many of these pharmaceutical medications have horrible side effects and Andrea has felt their wrath time and time again.
One of the medications that Andrea is prescribed, Trileptal causes kidney stones and presents the risk of liver failure. The medicine however doesn’t provide consistent relief from epileptic seizures and has been the root cause for the 19 kidney stone surgeries that Andrea has undergone. While on this medication Andrea must routinely have her blood drawn to check for liver failure as well. Over the years, she has been admitted to the hospital dozens of times due to complications of her diagnosis and the side effects of her current treatment.
There was however a 5-year period where Andrea was seizure free. How you might ask? Well, the answer is simple. She utilized a natural plant as her medicine known as cannabis. That’s right, for 5 whole years Andrea lived a normal life despite her diagnosis and without fear of horrible side effects. The legalization of medical cannabis in the state of Tennessee could be a saving grace for Andrea and give her a second chance at living a normal life without having to become a medical marijuana refugee and relocate to a state with compassionate laws. There is no reason why Andrea or any other human being anywhere should ever have to choose between having a healthy normal life or being a criminal.
When asked what Andrea would like to say to the men and women who will ultimately decide whether or not this medicine is legalized in the state of TN she stated the following;
“I ask that they think of us as human beings. We’re just like they are and just because it is medical marijuana it’s not a bad thing. It saves lives and could save one of their lives or family members lives one day.”
If you are questioning whether or not cannabis is a medicine, I invite you to read the stories of Alexis Bortell, Charlotte Figi, Coltyn Turner and others. These individuals are alive today thanks to having legal access to whole plant cannabis medicines. To the representatives of the state of TN I beg that you have compassion when considering the Medical Cannabis Act of 2017. I ask that you please think about individuals such as Andrea and ask yourself, what would you do if Andrea was one of your loved ones and you watched them suffer day after day knowing that pharmaceuticals just don’t work, because one day, it could be your life or a loved one whose is on the line and cannabis may be the only thing that can help.
See firsthand the devastation that Andrea endures in the videos and images below.