Maria Monson has three guilty pleasures – playing poker, video games and watching hockey – and takes pride in her ability to create wonderful Arabic dishes for her husband, daughter and sisters. While they are never sure what will be on the table, there’s never a doubt that it will be delicious.
You live with Multiple Sclerosis. How has Cannabis improved your life?
With MS you take a lot of sleeping pills and antidepressant-type pills, because the medication they give you causes depression and sleeplessness – but I’ve been able to get off all the benzodiazepines they had me on. Fairwinds has been my go-to brand for that. Also, sometimes I walk with a cane – so I up my RSO and am able to walk again quite quickly. None of the drugs the doctors give me do that.
How do your doctors feel about you using Cannabis?
They allow me to have a medical card, so I can grow at home and buy three ounces at a time and not pay as much tax. My neurologist is great.
RSO is a very powerful intoxicant. How do you manage your day budtending, grocery shopping, whatever, on high doses of it?
I’ve been doing it for about six years now. I do a full gram, but on days that I’m working, two-thirds of that will be CBD. Otherwise, on my days off, I do the full THC dose – but I don’t drive and I wouldn’t be able to work.
Can you describe the different benefits you get from each?
This is sort of embarrassing, but I pee on myself sometimes because the MS causes the nerves to misfire. And the CBD helps prevent me from having those accidents. It also helps with my falling because I get unbalanced, and it seems to keep my vision from getting too bad for times like when I check IDs. The THC helps a lot more with my pain. Within an hour the lower back pain will be gone and my stomach calms down. One day I probably won’t be able to work, so I’m savoring every moment of my job because I love it so much.
What do you love most about this job of which you speak?
I love the people. I really enjoy the medical patients. A lot of them are at the end of their life and they’re looking for something that will make them feel happy. And more than that, they’re looking for someone to talk to who can cheer them up because many of them don’t have family left. It’s nice to be someone’s friend for five minutes and get them to smile.
Speaking of family, your father is Kuwaiti. How does he view your Cannabis use?
I have never met him. He came here, met my mother at a disco and got her pregnant. (laughs)