Missouri mother of four, Jacqueline Patterson, was typically found driving the streets of Kansas City looking for pot, which she believes has helped her become a better mother after almost losing custody of all her children.
"I'd be half the mother I am without [marijuana] because I'd be in too much pain," Patterson said in the 2007 documentary, "In Pot We Trust." "I smoke to be the mother to my children that they deserve."
Patterson has smoked marijuana since the age of 14 and feels it has been an aid to not only her parenting skills, but also in treating her cerebral palsy (CP). When she smokes cannabis, the mother of four feels her muscles are not as tense, and she is able to have better word pronunciation at a more fluid pace instead of having the words stuck at the tip of her tongue.
"I hate my speech so much," she said at her marijuana possession trial hearing in Missouri near the top of the Capitol, The Pitch reports. "I drrr- ... I dr- ... I drove my husband to suicide, you know." The widow believes their arguments and her inability to forgive him for making fun of her stutter is what caused him to hang himself in their basement.
The Mayo Clinic says CP is a permanent life-long condition that does not worsen overtime and normally is the result of abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. The condition normally affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Eighty percent of patients have spastic CP, also known as muscle stiffness. They may also experience visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy, and intellectual impairments. Currently, Patterson can barely speak or use the right side of her body, with impaired motor functions.
The pot-smoking mom was advised by a Child Protective Services worker to leave Missouri — where medicinal marijuana use is illegal — before she lost custody of her children, The Huffington Post reports. This prompted Patterson’s move to California in 2007 after she won a case stating her marijuana use was for medicinal purposes.
"It's been nice … to not worry that I'm going to get a knock on the door for Child Protective Services," she told legislators about her move to California. "It's nice to not be treated like a criminal."
Cannabis used to treat medical conditions and symptoms has been taken into consideration by many U.S. states who have approved the use of medical marijuana for patients with chronic illnesses. The human body ability to produce endocannabinoids — a natural version of cannabinoids — help regulate the body’s system. The combination of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors naturally respond to biological events, such as a brain injury or stroke, which will increase in response to nerve injuries and associated pain. Therefore, when marijuana cannabinoids and endocannabinoids mix with the body’s cannabinoid receptors, they provide pain relief and the decrease of stress.
The medical community has recognized the potent effects of marijuana on patients with conditions such as CP. In a study published in the journal Reviews in Neurological Diseases, a team of researchers found a 45-year-old man with CP and epilepsy showed significant improvement with the use of cannabis. Due to current federal regulations, the researchers believe further clinical trials examining the role of marijuana in the treatment of epilepsy should be done to support this notion.
Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia, although even in states where medical marijuana laws exists, patients and providers remain susceptible to arrest and interference from federal law enforcement. Eighteen of the 20 states require proof of residency in order to be considered a qualifying patient for medical marijuana use.
To find out if your state has legalized medical marijuana, click here.