A toke a day keeps the doctor away. As if we all didn't know it already, but one injured veteran in Massachusetts is making sure of it by petitioning for veterans to access medical marijuana. Stephen Mandile had been injured in Iraq ten years ago.Since then he's been on opiate painkillers for chronic spine pain and nerve damage until last June, when the state's first marijuana dispensary opened.

Opiates kill

Mandile was standing outside the State House last week with a handmade sign reading "Opiates kill" and "Vets die" as we wait Gov. Baker. Mandile says he will stand out there and wait until Governor Charlie Baker meets with him to discuss his information.

Addicted to the pain medication

Mandile was addicted to the pain medication prescribed to him but said, "I never thought I was doing the wrong thing, because I was doing what the doctors told me to do." Even with the powerful pain medications he took, the pain still remained unbearable. Mentally, he was falling apart; he couldn't sleep at night and during the day he would count the hours until his next dose.

Veteran's doctors cannot prescribe marijuana

It even got so bad that Mandile would look at maps to find remote lakes where he wanted to kill himself. In 2014 he tried to overdose on percocets and then his wife called for a change. She asked for him to try something else. The road to change wasn't easy. Veteran's doctors cannot prescribe cannabis, they can only help him get off the opiate drugs.

Two ounces a week

Mandile needed two ounces a week of cannabis to keep the pain at bay and to help him sleep. With the cost of weed, Mandile would use up just about all his monthly benefits to cover that. The prescribed opiate medication was free for Mandile with his veterans health benefits. That's just another reason why we should all grow our own cure.

Marijuana to veterans

Like good neighbors, Mandile's community has donated (likely illegally) marijuana to veterans. However generous and kind that is, it's not a permanent fix. That's why Mandile is fighting to help veterans with opiate addictions and wants discounted or free medical cannabis for them.

Chronic pain

When you have chronic pain you are basically playing life on "hard mode." So, would smoking weed really help you deal with the pain? According to clinical trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal three puffs a day helped people with chronic pain.

THC level

Participants in the trial were randomly assigned to receive cannabis at four different potencies, the highest THC level being 9.4% (which is even lower than the usual level you buy on the street or at dispensaries). They inhaled a single 25 mg dose through a pipe 3 times a day. The conclusion of the trial was that the participants that were given the 9.4% dose had "reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated." Mark Ware, M.D., leading the study, says that this shows that cannabis is analgesic and that it clearly has medical value.

Relieve that chronic pain

Now that you have your answer, let's talk about which chronic bud you should be reaching to relieve that chronic pain. White Widow strains strike a good balance in ratio of indica and sativa. It gives you the best of both worlds: an uplifting, yet gentle, buzz that is still pain relieving. Its impressive pain fighting and calming properties come from its terpenes. The terpene that the White Widow strain possesses is Linalool. Calming lavender also contains this terpene.

Pain fighting strain

Northern Lights is another good pain fighting strain. This indica's psychoactive effects will be felt throughout your body as it relaxes your muscles and helps you unwind your mind. You will easily doze off to sleep after a few tokes of this strain.

Big Bud

Another strain to consider that works wonders for pain is Big Bud. It's a hybrid between Skunk and Afghan and it could be just the strain you're craving for. Light up a Big Bud joint not only for your chronic pain but also for your migraines, anxiety, and stress too. Big Bud's high THC level packs a nice little blow to the pain and will help you sleep like a baby.

Opiate pain pill addictions

There is a staggering amount of people with opiate pain pill addictions. Many of these people are just like Mandile in that they were prescribed it to treat their pain, only to become addicted. The death rate for unintentional overdose on opiate pain pills is greater than heroin or cocaine at this moment. I think that speaks a great truth in itself about the gravity of taking prescription drugs. Turning to mother nature should be fundamental in treating pain. Veterans and everyone alike deserves an alternate pain treatment that doesn't come with a death wish.