Patient of the Month – Jennifer Cunningham

Since the passage of State Question 788, thousands and thousands of lives across the state of Oklahoma have changed. Some found freedom through a new career that they are passionate about, while many others found a new type of freedom from their medical conditions and injuries.  They are able to enjoy life again thanks to cannabis and the medical program that brought it to Oklahoma.

Jennifer Cunningham is one of those patients who credits cannabis with setting her free.  A native of McAlester, she moved to Hammon, a town in western Oklahoma with her family around the age of ten.   She says that her experience with cannabis has been completely life changing, though she credits her upbringing with her longtime attitude towards cannabis. “My opinion hasn’t really ever changed in life. I’ve always been pro-cannabis, my family was pro-cannabis..I grew up in a house where my parents used it. It is just one of those things that’s been around.”

 

Now as an adult, Cunningham faces a wide range of medical conditions, and says cannabis plays a big role in how she handles them. “I have lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis (R.A.), chronic pain, depression and anxiety.  It is a pretty wide range of things that I use cannabis to treat, and it helps them all.”

 

Like many patients in the state, Cunningham is anything but shy about her cannabis use.  She encourages others to stop feeling any shame that may linger over their use. “It saved my life, and I’m completely open with anyone. I’m not ashamed that I use cannabis, and if you’re legal, you’re legal.  I can’t understand why anyone would feel shame for it now.”

 

Beyond her appreciation for what the plant has done for her medically, Cunningham is just as passionate about helping other patients find what will work for them. She believes in the power of educating one’s self as much as possible in order to be able to help share that information with others:

 

“I love to help people.  I can walk into any dispensary, and even if I don’t know you or if it’s my first time in that dispensary, I want to help you.  If I see you struggling with something and I either know the answer or know where you can find it, I’m going to speak up and give you as much information as I can about it,” Cunningham said.  “I’m a sponge because I absorb everything that I can and I read as much as possible; that kind of passion is important. This industry can only keep growing when you have people that are inspired to help, rather than focusing on making money.” 

 

As with many patients, Cunningham is working to turn her passion for the plant into a career, and says her experience so far gives her hope for finding the right position within the industry. “I am involved as much as I can be. My father owns a grow house, and I’ve helped with a few different dispensaries and grows. I’m really eager to learn, and I genuinely just want to help people find the medicine that works for them. It’s not about the money.  It is about getting people to feel better.”

 

For those who are still feeling a bit on the anxious side about trying cannabis for their health needs, Cunningham’s advice is simple, “Just try it. Go into a dispensary and talk to them about it.  Don’t be afraid to try things, and don’t be afraid to say no, too.” She also encouraged people to shake off the lingering shame that they might feel. She said, “Cannabis has been legalized in the state of Oklahoma for medical use; it’s safe to consume, you aren’t breaking the law, and you can’t lose everything because of your choice of medicine now.”

 

While she pushed for people to break away from the old shame, she also made a bold offer.  She said, “If you don’t know anyone who knows about cannabis, or if you’re not comfortable talking to people in your life about it, contact me.  My name is Jennifer Cunningham on Facebook, and I can be reached on Instagram as well, @Smokinred4.2.0. I don’t mind answering questions at all, and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll point you in the right direction to find it. Everyone should be able to have someone to discuss cannabis with, especially when they’re new to it, and I just want to help people get help.”

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