Yesterday we flew for the few hours it takes to get from New York City to Portland. This is our first time in the state of Oregon and we passed over snow capped mountains and dense forests on the way. The city’s nestled in an extraordinary landscape with ribbons of trees extending into the outskirts. We’re here for two weeks to work with the innovative independent arts organisation Boom Arts.
Our residency here will include talks, performances, conversations and a children’s event. I’m excited to get to know a new place and new people. The creative director of Boom Arts met us at the airport with her children and they took us to our hotel. After unpacking quickly, we headed out to explore.
The chronic pain I’ve been experiencing lately has meant that my sleep’s been very disrupted over the last few months. When I’m away from home I also miss my commode chair – without it, the first few hours of any night are spent in relentless trips to the bathroom until my bladder is empty.
Last night, though, my sleep and pain were much more manageable thanks to a deliciously sweet intervention – a Marionberry-flavoured cannabis gummy.
And just to be clear, I wasn’t breaking the law – cannabis is legal in Oregon for both medical and recreational use and after exploring the city centre we headed to a nearby shop selling cannabis-related products. This is the first time I’ve been anywhere where these have been legal, and the experience was eye-opening. We showed our ID at the counter when we arrived and were asked to waiting briefly before someone was ready to serve us.
After a few moments a friendly man invited us into a room full of locked cabinets containing a vast array of products. I explained my requirements and he talked knowledgably about the properties of the different options.
I already know that Cannabis can significantly help my pain, my sleep and even my tics, but it was refreshing to have such an open conversation. Our server explained that there were two main strains – Indica that gives you a more sleepy, relaxed feeling, and Sativa, which tends to be more invigorating and uplifting. We agreed that Indica-based edible gummies would be the best option for me to try.
The gummies are brilliant and made a considerable difference to how comfortable I felt. I slept better than I have for months and in the morning I felt fresh and relaxed.
The whole process felt straightforward and it’s amazing to have open access to something I know helps me a lot. There’s a great deal of anecdotal and other evidence about the impact of cannabis on tics and I know that several years ago the specialist neurological hospital that provides my care tried unsuccessfully to get ethical approval for a study of canaboids as a possible treatment for Tourettes. It’s frustrating to know that in the UK research into this area is very tightly controlled and that there isn’t a safe, legal way for me to access something that I know helps me a lot.
I hadn’t expected to become an advocate for cannabis legalisation, but Oregon’s system seems incredibly humane and sensible. I’m already dreading returning to a life without gummies.