Both forms of medical marijuana numb the pain and tightness caused by severe arthritis that began after a road grader in Layfield’s city of Victoria, B.C., pinned his foot, crushing bones, tendons, muscles and soft tissue.
That was in October 2006, but it wasn’t until after self-medicating with tequila and pot, 18 months of rehab needed to walk again, daily doses of the narcotic pain reliever OxyContin and hydromorphone pills, did Layfield gain the consent of his family physician to turn to medical marijuana.
In May 2009, Layfield received his federal licence to grow 98 plants and use marijuana for medical purposes.
“I had never tried heroin before, but (OxyContin) is the synthetic version of it and if this is anything like what the street drug is, I wouldn’t want to touch it,” said Layfield, who didn’t want to take the highly addictive opioids, but had no choice because his doctor felt he had to exhaust all conventional medications before contemplating using medical marijuana.
That rigidity, Layfield said, can be dangerous for patients.
“I weaned myself off of that over a year ago and now it’s just been trial and error with different cannabis strains,” said Layfield, 33.
Since then, he hasn’t had to deal with the stomach pains sparked when he was in withdrawal from his legal opioid use; his stomach cramped whenever it didn’t have any of the highly addictive drugs dissolving inside.
Layfield also doesn’t have to deal with the dangerous haziness produced by the opiate that prevented him from driving.
A few weeks ago, Layfield took a doctor’s letter to the superintendent of motor vehicles in Victoria to notify the government office he was consuming nine grams of cannabis each day.
The office asked Layfield to take a road test to determine the effects, since physicians don’t recommend pot users get behind the wheel.
“I passed with flying colours and I was just issued my new pink card,” Layfield said. “People can be able to keep their licence and still medicate and drive.”