Via Weed World Magazine:
For many people, our health is something which is all too easy to take for granted until something happens which impacts on it. Whether it’s a viral infection, injury or serious illness, the sudden loss of good health can be a shock to the system for any of us, but we often find solace in the fact that we can live in hope of us getting better over time. Bones heal, infections can be beaten with medicine and even the most severe of ailments can be treated in many cases, yet many people are born with debilitating conditions which can shorten their lifespan and severely impact on their quality of living. For people affected in this way, it is often more about working towards a better standard of living than expecting some kind of miracle to change their lives.
Seth Green was born with Cerebral Palsy and has suffered throughout the entirety of his life because of the complications linked to his condition. He has lived through numerous seizures every day of his life and has had to contend with the possibility that the next seizure could be fatal if it was too severe. Like many others affected by this condition, Seth was prescribed innumerate medications in an attempt to reduce the frequency and severity of his seizures, but over the years these began to take their toll and when he was 20 years old he found hope in the form of a natural medicine that, in his own words, ‘saved him from a dark path.’
In his state, he found himself surrounded by people who were falling victim to the opioid crisis or suffering with class A drug addictions. He watched helplessly as close friends lost their fight against addiction and was dismayed by the opinion of many that it was the fault of the addict as opposed to blame being placed on the system that fuelled their addiction. The mentality of the Reagan era still has a strong foothold in the south and he realized that many of the people of Tennessee saw all illegal drugs as equally evil, yet they didn’t necessarily accept that the legal pharmaceutical market posed any kind of perceived risk.
During his teenage years, Seth came to the conclusion that his medication was changing him into someone he didn’t want to be. Unlike many teenagers, Seth was confined to his room due to his Cerebral Palsy and struggled with mobility. He was struck down by extreme anxiety and depression which combined with thoughts of self-harm and suicide to create a tirade of negativity.
In spite of the intention for the prescription medication to help him feel more comfortable, he found that he became explosive and hostile and was shrouded in a cloud of bad attitude that affected him and those closest to him. At this darkest point, Seth wanted nothing more than to die so that he could escape from the harsh reality of his existence. He wanted a better life, but he didn’t know where to start looking for alternatives.
Fortunately for Seth, he began to hear stories of how cannabis could potentially ease his suffering and combat the negative side-effects of his daily pill intake. Having reached out to medicinal providers, he managed to secure a supply of whole-plant extract and began to experiment with medicating using marijuana. The results were staggering.
The frequency of his seizures reduced dramatically and he also found that when he was struck down with a seizure they were generally less severe than those of the past. He was invigorated by the results and found that he could get around the house with more confidence. Seth was beginning to see a new world ahead of him.
He was excited to see what the future may hold and began to reach out to other people around the world to share his story. Sadly, he soon realized that he was facing further challenges on the long road ahead including conflicts with the law, clashes with his family and even battles with his faith.
Having been born in a deeply religious area, Seth found that his family and friends considered the use of drugs to be a sin. Despite the impact they had on providing him with a better standard of living and acting like a miracle in the eyes of some, the key messages from the outdated war on drugs era still rung true in their minds. Seth tried to explain that he thought the idea of cannabis being illegal and wrong didn’t make sense to him, but he couldn’t help but feel that maybe they were right.
What if he was going against the expectations of his God? Unperturbed, he ventured out on a quest to visit the key religious figures in his area to ask their opinion on the matter. He found that many of them cited references to herbs and plants being sent as medicine in their respective holy books and he was also directed to a key passage in Revelations which explained how God had indicated that he would put a plant on Earth that had the power to heal the nations.
This meant that using any of the plants on Earth couldn’t be seen as a sin. This got Seth thinking: if his religion indicated that no plant could be deemed as illegal to consume, was the government encroaching on his religious freedom? Even more importantly, the United States Constitution protects his freedom to follow his religious beliefs.
Surely this meant that anyone who questioned his use of medicine was going against his Constitutional rights? Seth felt renewed and his faith in his choices was restored. After that, there was no stopping him.
Fast forward to today and Seth has been campaigning for change at every opportunity. Incredibly, he hasn’t taken a single prescription pain pill in 15 years and has managed to escape from the trap of the Percoset, Oxycontin and Vicadin cocktails he was once prescribed.
He set out on a pilgrimage to gather all the evidence he needs to help push for on a medicinal marijuana to reach his state. As it stands, he is a criminal in the eyes of the law and has been arrested for his involvement in cannabis-based activism.
He remains committed to his cause and firmly believes that his experiences allow him to spread a message of strength, courage and hope in the face of adversity. He has met many people who have encouraged him along the way, including one mysterious individual who greeted him after a speech and handed him a red card with ‘the stamp act’ written on it.
When he returned home he decided to do some investigating and found that there had been a research project involving 12 states, including Tennessee, during the 1980s during which medicinal marijuana was made legal in order to evaluate the impact. Moving forward, he hopes that this could be a valuable piece of information to use when it comes to further discussions with the people in charge.
He knows that he faces many hurdles and obstacles, but he wants to maintain his focus and continue to act as a pioneer for other people who could be helped by marijuana as an alternative to prescription medication. More than anything he wants people to understand that he is just a man who wants to make a difference, but he wants us all to realize that we have a role to play in progress.
In 2018, Seth believes that he can play an important role in the movement for medical marijuana and believes that now is a great time to hope for the best because of a potential new governor. One of the representatives in Tennessee has indicated that she believes in the benefits of medicinal marijuana as she has a family member who self-medicates in Colorado (where legislation has been relatively successful).
Perhaps now, more than ever, Seth and his fellow campaigners have the chance to gain the backing of someone with enough influence to push change through and it will be interesting to see what unfolds in the coming months.
His biggest hope (and possibly his biggest fear should it not happen) is that the new generation will to recognize the importance of their involvement and take steps to fight for a noble cause. Far too many younger people have grown up watching their parents ravaged by the horrendous impact of prescription opioids and a number of them have turned to illegal drugs or prescription pills as they struggle to cope.
The mental health crisis combined with the ever-increasing number of people hooked on pain pills and anti-depressants is a terrifying prospect and Seth believes that millennials need to search out something more significant than their next high. In his own words he explains that:
“People need to commit to change for it to become a reality. It’s not easy, you know, but we can all reach out and make connections and see what we can do to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. What’s messed up is that we are essentially being turned into consumers on every level by the powers above us and we just accept what we are told. The government know about the fact that the endocannabinoid system is the key to improving the health of millions upon millions of people, but they can’t make as much money from weed as they can from pills. Why else do you think they keep trying to suppress all the research? Big pharma and the government are all tied together and the companies who run the country make sure that they control who gets into positions of power so that they will just do as they are told. We’re voting for puppets who won’t make a difference that really benefits us. The only way out is if we start to speak to each other and listen to each other instead of arguing about things. The way it is right now, it’s like the government and the corporations want us to be addicted to the products they make. Then they will own us. People have to see that we can choose whether we want to be a prisoner to their pills or if we want to find our own way. You don’t have to accept what they offer you…we’re just too used to saying yes.”
Alongside his campaigning, Seth started a podcast and communicates with people across the world through social media and his website. While this has gained him a lot of attention from regular people and the media, he has found that his newfound fame has brought with it some complicated side-effects. After appearing on television and speaking out against big pharma and the health crisis facing people across America, he discovered that he appeared to have been blacklisted in his local hospital.
Having suffered a series of severe seizures, Seth went to hospital for some routine tests and was turned away with no valid reason. The doctor simply took him aside and explained that they wouldn’t be doing anything more than stabilizing him, before he was escorted off the premises. Seth was struck by the strangeness of this situation, but he accepts that this is most likely a form of backlash in response to his outspoken manner. He ponders if this is a standard practice for those who make waves, yet he admits that it is not likely to slow him down as he continues with his quest.
Like so many of us, Seth just wants to make something of himself so that he can make his family proud of his achievements. He believes he can help start a revolution in spite of his condition and he wants people to see past his Cerebral Palsy and recognize the potential we all hold inside ourselves.
Marijuana gave him a new outlook on life and has helped him to find his inner strength, so now he wants to be a voice for everyone who feels like they can’t speak out about their own struggles. After escaping from an incredibly dark place, Seth wants to spread light in the hope of guiding others to a better place. We wish him all the best as he prepares for his upcoming rallies and hope that Seth and everyone else out there who is fighting the good fight keep the dream alive for us all.
Purchase Weed World Magazine edition #133 featuring my story and many more here.