Randy Townsend

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Within the state of Texas there has been an outpour of expression from patients who are not only coming together, but patients who are ready and willing to make a stand for the legalization of Medical Cannabis. Throughout the course of the last two years, many stories I have heard, and though not all are the same, I can’t deny the impact these real-life testimonials have had; to witness such courage and bravery reveals the true strength of that fighting spirit. While not all suffer from the same conditions or ailments, there are some, like our veterans, who have fought for this country, who are coming out as well. In August, I had the honor and opportunity in speaking with 15 year Marine veteran Randy Townsend, who in his journey attended Navy Medical School, Combat Medical School at Camp Middleton, and served as a Marine doc for 7 months in the Persian Gulf War. Once returning, he became an instructor teaching combat medicine. “I loved it,” stated Randy. “Wouldn’t trade it for the world man! “

On March 2, 2007, the Veterans Association (VA) in Dallas performed inner ear brain surgery on Randy, who at the time was having issues with dizziness. Though occurring every now and then with just the smallest of coughs, hard sneezes, or hard laughter, a prognosis was made from doctors, stating that Randy’s brain had rubbed a whole through his inner skull and literally into his left ear, which was causing the dizziness. “They said they had to cut a chunk out of my skull, go in there and move my brain over, and then pull it out of the hole, and then fill the hole up, stating that I’d be fine. So they went in and by the end of it, had left me dizzy 24/7. So now, I literally feel like I’m on a Merry Go Round. You know when you’re on a merry-go-round as a kid and someone pushes you off and you try to walk while being all dizzy. Well, that’s the way I feel all the time. It took a year and a half to even get up and off my couch because I just couldn’t walk. It made me sick just to pick up my own head. It made me nauseous. They wanted to go back in, but there was no guarantee, so I said ‘Hell No.’ I couldn’t have another year and half on the couch. That is when I started smoking cannabis.”

While having to take up to 4 Vicatin a day for the residual pain in his head, Randy has stated how cannabis has been responsible in alleviating the majority of his nausea and pain. “Most people would think that smoking cannabis would make you dizzy even more, but it doesn’t. Cannabis actually calms my dizziness down and makes me feel a lot better.”

Today, there are many patients who have been coming out of the ‘cannabis closet’ and not just patients, but veterans as well who have fought and who are giving their life for this country. If anyone owes a debt it’s our country. Our country owes a debt to our soldiers and our veterans, and yes, if that means allowing our veterans to alleviate their pains, shouldn’t that be their right and their choice? I for one believe they have earned the right. “I speak to everybody I can about it and believe it or not, my dad is a Baptist preacher. Most people would think that I wouldn’t condone smoking cannabis at all, and I tell him that, and he says, ‘Look Randy, you have to do what you have to do and that’s between you and God. That’s none of my business.’ So my parents know, everybody knows, that I smoke it. I don’t hide it from any of my doctors; every single doctor I go to knows that I smoke cannabis, and I want them to know that because cannabis isn’t harming me, it’s helping me. It alleviates so much of my pain, depression, and anxiety and makes the days much more bearable.” ~