A Patient’s Perspective: Embracing Medical Marijuana

A Patient’s Perspective: Embracing Medical Marijuana


Greenway For Patients was launched with the aim to educate and provide resources for Missourians seeking information about medical marijuana and cannabis.

To this point, we have been able to assemble a stellar crew of experts and industry leaders to help breakdown, educate, and inform about cannabis.

A few weeks ago Greenway for Patients started an event where we would cover the cost of certifications for randomly chosen patients throughout the state. There were no strings and no guarantees, just a promise to cover the consultation and the certification if the participant was approved to be certified.

Randi Edwards

The first name selected was Randi Edwards, and while reading her comments online we were so touched by her story that we asked, after her certification, if we could share her story with other Greenway for Patients readers. 

Edwards is a mother of two, in a relationship, and currently residing in Springfield.

“I live with my children and my boyfriend. They are my biggest fans in life and my boyfriend is such a champ for accepting me with all my ‘issues’ medically. My grandmother was my rock and biggest support system. She passed from cancer 7 years ago and that was basically the day I could say my mother-figure disappeared in my life. 

“As I’ve grown in life, the ones I consider my family do not even share the same blood. My best friend and boyfriend are my biggest support team and they are the ones that always have my best interests in mind all the time and they fully support my marijuana use. My best friend has her card back up in Illinois due to a traumatic brain injury from a car accident so we both have nothing but medical issues to deal with nonstop and marijuana is our savior in life. My kids are 10 and 6 and are thriving in life now that my life has changed. My personal life was impacting them so much back when I used pills but now that I’ve found my perfect regimen, that reflects in their happiness in life. They help me so much and have been very supportive at such young ages.”

At age 4, Edwards said she began to get sick, but it was more than a year later before she was diagnosed.

“I was finally diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 5. It’s not the ‘grandma’ arthritis. That’s osteoarthritis, which I have too, but rheumatoid arthritis is when the body attacks itself thinking it’s an enemy virus. Rheumatoid arthritis also affects the organs and entire body versus just the bones.”

Separate from what most people perceive when they hear arthritis, the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of joints. The inflammation, in turn, creates a painful swelling that can result in bone erosion and joint deformity itself.

The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is what causes damage throughout other parts of the body as well.

“I had hip replacements done in 2015 and 2016. I just turned 32. In those 27 years of being sick, I’ve had 22 surgeries including hip and knee replacements, knuckle replacements, a hysterectomy, and more. I’ve been on chemo treatment as well. It is a specific chemo called Methotrexate that is suppose to slow the attack on your body down.”

It’s the result of those 22 surgeries in 32 years, the constant supply of available painkillers and the constant demand of her body that Edwards says lead her to become addicted to pills. 

“I was hooked on pain pills after being given them for my pain,” Edwards said. 

She sometimes took as many as 35 hydrocodone pills in a day. 

“One hundred eighty would be gone in 4 or 5 days tops. I should not be here today,” she said. “The depression and hopelessness during that time, I believe, was mainly caused by those evil pills, but I couldn’t stop taking them because I had so much physical pain.”


And does cannabis work? 

“I have used CBD edibles, pain cream, and oil for the past 2 years, as well!” Edwards shared. “The pain cream is a miracle worker and I even have my boyfriend reaching for the CBD cream before anything else. The oil and edibles help so much with my anxiety. It’s been about a year since I use any anti-anxiety medication thanks to CBD products.”

“After switching to marijuana, I only use pain pills after surgery now. I don’t even use over-the-counter ibuprofen anymore. I was also able to take myself off of Adderall! Marijuana took the place of two highly addictive pills I had been taking for years. 

“I’ve also been able to get down to 3 to 4 meds on the daily wersus anywhere from 8 to 12 on average. 

“My rheumatoid arthritis has been in remission for a few years now and I am free of a horrible addiction that resulted from my doctors treating my pain with so many narcotics.

“With marijuana, I am not clouded mentally like I was on pain medication. My anger is well maintained and I don’t get the sickly side effects like I did on pain meds. I have been on every medication in the book when it comes to arthritis, and marijuana has made it possible to take a nice big step away from ‘Big Pharma’ and really let holistic and natural medicine do what it is meant to do, help heal and treat my ailments. Marijuana is my number 1 medicine that I refuse to go without. I’ve been sick for over 27 years of my 32 years of life and this is the healthiest I have ever been.”

She says two years ago she changed her life in a major way.

“I cut (the pills) out of my daily life and switched to marijuana, and never looked back. I still have days where I could definitely use a pain pill but I just smoke a little extra on those days and remind myself, ‘I really don’t want those pills and my body just needs to stop and rest some.’ This switch has been life altering in every possible way you could imagine and that is not an exaggeration. I found myself again after 10 years of pill use. Life is beautiful now and if you really think about it, it’s all from marijuana coming back into my life. It has literally saved my life.”

Edwards says that her first experiences with marijuana came as a teenager.

“We were all just having fun, but now as an adult with a disease that has progressed a lot since my teen years, I love researching each strain I may try and keeping track of what each helps me with.

“I can use the proper one at the proper time. My interest in it now is on a whole medicinal level that I never even thought of in my younger years. It’s fascinating how each strain can impact your symptoms so differently, but still on such a positive level.”

What is most exciting about legal medicinal marijuana in Missouri? 

“I am excited to be able to have options! Do I need a sativa or indica? Am I trying to relax and rest or get things done and need the energy? To be able to feed the proper ailment with a strain that works to the best benefits of the issue. I can customize my regimen to how I am feeling. With such an unpredictable day to day due to my chronic illness, you don’t know if you’ll need a lot of pain management that day or not so I can treat individual symptoms to target my problem areas that day.”

What was your experience with physicians and marijuana like?

“Half wanted to just push a bunch of pills down my throat and the other half looked at me like I was just looking for a high and didn’t take my illness serious enough. 

“It is extremely hard to find a good doctor who will support you in the treatment you know is best for your body. 

“I’ve learned to advocate for myself and that it’s okay to refuse any medications I am not okay taking. If a doctor didn’t like it then I went to a doctor who did and now I have a great team of doctors who all know about my marijuana use and all support me on my journey because they are seeing how much it is benefiting me by seeing me coming in less about problems and by my blood work coming back normal each time they test.”

Health and Life Missouri did your certification, what was your experience like?

“I was beyond impressed! After hearing that I won the free consultation, I was contacted in less than an hour with the papers to fill out and submit back. I then immediately got an email to book the appointment for 2 days later! I had my appointment November 11 and had my certification forms the next morning! Any time I had a question, I got a reply via email within minutes, too. They made it such a simple and stress free experience!”