This site is under maintenance, but will be back up before you can say tetrahydrocannabinol.

Utah in the Weeds Episode #76 – Melissa Catmull is a Medical Cannabis Patient

What to Expect in This Episode

Episode 76 of Utah in the Weeds features Melissa Catmull, a Medical Cannabis patient.

Catmull says she has been able to cut her prescription medication use significantly since she began using Medical Cannabis for pain, depression, and anxiety. [02:42]

Catmull is a long-distance “ultrarunner” whose orthopedic specialist recently told her she needs to give up the sport, or risk severe fractures due to her osteoporosis. [04:25]

Host Tim Pickett asked Catmull if she views cannabis as a drug that could help runners. Catmull says cannabis doesn’t inhibit her running, but she isn’t sure the drug would help her run farther. Catmull then talked about her initial experiences in Utah’s Medical Cannabis program. [08:11]

Catmull talked about the processes she went through to find the cannabis doses and delivery methods that work for her needs, both during the daytime and at nighttime. [12:19]

Tim and Catmull discussed the remaining stigma surrounding cannabis in Utah. Fortunately, Catmull’s primary care physician has been supportive of Catmull’s decision to use Medical Cannabis. [16:15]

The pair discussed their shared view that cannabis is a versatile medicine that can be tailored to an individual’s needs and preferences like no other. [23:34]

Catmull shared a story about a traumatic opioid detoxification episode she went through.  Although she didn’t use cannabis to transition away from opioids, she believes it could have been helpful. [30:35]

We’re grateful to Melissa for sharing her experiences with Medical Cannabis in Utah, and for the paradigm shift that is helping more people to Feel Better.

Podcast Transcript

Melissa Catmull:
For me, it was like, if I’m going to pursue this, I’m going to pursue it the legal way so that I am still following the tenants of my belief. And as you said, it’s just another tool in my toolbox of medications.

Tim Pickett:
Welcome everybody out to episode 76 of Utah in the Weeds. My name is Tim Pickett and I am a PA. Medical cannabis is my specialty and this is episode 76 with Melissa Catmull. This is a runner story folks. Melissa, man, she runs and runs and runs, and her story is worth listening to. What I love about these stories in Utah is conservativism meets cannabis and how that plays into people’s lives and the acceptance and all the things.

Tim Pickett:
From a housekeeping perspective this weekend, tomorrow if you’re listening to this on the day we release, tomorrow is the Utah Cannabis Expo, Health and Wellness Expo at the Salt Palace, you can buy tickets at the door. I believe it’s 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and head on down there to Salt Lake if you can. This is the first big expo that’s really focused on cannabis medicine, utahmarijuana.org will have a booth there. There’ll be a lot of the medical cannabis pharmacies. There’ll be some expert panels to listen to and discuss all the things about medical cannabis in Utah. Happy to have you guys out there for that.

Tim Pickett:
Otherwise, please subscribe to the podcast on any podcast player that you listen to podcasts on. We’re so happy for your support. Also, YouTube Discover Marijuana, you can find us on there and you can reach out to me by commenting or asking a question on any one of those videos. It’s really a channel about medical cannabis and educating people about and de-stigmatizing the plant. So one last thing, enter to win on our YouTube channel at Discover Marijuana. Every week of November, we’re giving away a prize on that channel, there’s descriptions and instructions on how to enter, big prizes every week celebrating the one-year anniversary of that Discover Marijuana YouTube channel so stay tuned there. Let’s get into this episode with Melissa Catmull, everybody enjoy and have a great one.

Tim Pickett:
Okay. So take me back to, how did you get involved with cannabis at all?

Melissa Catmull:
Okay. So I’ve been watching kind of the legislation to see where Utah is going to go with that. I’ve kind of been thinking about it for a while, would that be an option for me? I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for all of my adult life. I’ve had several health issues that I’ve been dealing with chronic pain for probably the last 10 years of my life and tried various things, treatments, injections, medications, all kinds of different things to treat all of those. And I’d had some family members kind of exploring the idea of medical marijuana as well.

Melissa Catmull:
So I researched a little bit and kind of just went onto the state website, thought I’ll give it a shot. I’ll meet with somebody, if they think it’s worthwhile for me, then that’s great. So I followed the directions, I scheduled an appointment with a provider who I felt like was pretty thorough with me, addressing all of my specific concerns and then went through that process where it’s taken some tweaking to kind of find the right dosage and how I want that delivered, but I’ve been able to cut my antidepressants in half and I no longer am taking any kind of benzodiazepines for my anxiety. So I’m pretty happy about that. I feel like I am using it successfully.

Tim Pickett:
You mentioned a couple of things in there, so do you mind explaining your chronic pain a little bit?

Melissa Catmull:
Sure, sure. I’m an ultra runner and I’ve had various stress fractures. I had a couple of neck surgeries about six years ago, I broke my elbow about five years ago and they had to remove the radial head for my elbow so my elbow always is hurting. I have arthritis in most of my joints and I have now severe osteoporosis. And kind of all of those things lend to chronic joint pain, chronic elbow pain that I’d gone down the opioid route and that obviously doesn’t work so that’s not a long-term solution. So this was kind of my last resort.

Tim Pickett:
Do you still run?

Melissa Catmull:
I just got told by my orthopedic specialist I need to stop. So I’m still coming to terms with that phase of my life, but-

Tim Pickett:
You don’t think you’re going to run? At least right now, you’re in this transition period where you’re like-

Melissa Catmull:
I am in this transition period. My osteoporosis is so severe right now and I’m having some issues with my feet that the fear is that I’ll just have stress fractures and will end up crippling myself. So it’s either stop running or be 60 and in a wheelchair so I choose to keep my health as best I can.

Tim Pickett:
So did you ever bike? Have you ever thought about biking?

Melissa Catmull:
Yes. I did a ton of triathlons.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, did you?

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah, I was training for an Ironman when I had to have the neck surgeries and where my neck surgeries are, it precludes me from being on a road bike, being down in that position. So I gave that up. And so I have my treadmill that I can walk on and I have my road bike on a trainer that I can jump onto and bust out some miles for some workout.

Tim Pickett:
What happened? Did you just beat your body up?

Melissa Catmull:
I just think, well…

Tim Pickett:
So how many miles were you running, like the peak? Right? Ultra running is… Tell me what that means.

Melissa Catmull:
So my longest distance was a 50 miler. I had entertained thoughts of a hundred miler, but I don’t do well with no sleep. So 50 miles was kind of, I really tried to keep myself 50k ready so if something popped up and we want to just go run a 50k, we could do that.

Tim Pickett:
Wait, just hold off right there. I have run one 50k, I’ve run one marathon, I’ve run one marathon and I’ve run one 50k. The marathon I ran was in 2009 after the end of the Ironman at [inaudible 00:07:15] right?

Melissa Catmull:
See? See you’re an Ironman you know this.

Tim Pickett:
I had never run a marathon before and so help me, it was misery, right? I mean, I just, I like limped in-

Melissa Catmull:
Well at the end of it-

Tim Pickett:
Come on. Yeah. You know what I’m talking about? But then I decided, okay, let’s do 50k, that’s 33/35 miles, right?

Melissa Catmull:
Yep.

Tim Pickett:
So you’re saying, “Well, I just want to be ready,” right? The reason I bring this up is because you’re like, “Oh, just I want to be ready in case anybody wants to get, say, Hey, let’s go do a 50k”?

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Okay. That’s a lot of miles to stay ready for. This is not something that the average runner… You’re putting in 30, what are you doing a week? I mean, 30 a week, 30, 40 a week?

Melissa Catmull:
At least, between 30 and 40.

Tim Pickett:
And you kind of get addicted to it, right?

Melissa Catmull:
Oh, a hundred percent. Oh yeah. It’s my life.

Tim Pickett:
Right? So now that you, I’m going to totally ask because I think, I feel like cannabis, there’s all this talk about cannabis not being a drug that would enhance your sport, right? But ultra running, I feel like now that you’ve experienced it a little bit, don’t you feel like it’s like the perfect drug?

Melissa Catmull:
Yes, I agree. It did not inhibit any of my training, it doesn’t inhibit any of my racing, any of my running. Totally fine.

Tim Pickett:
Have you ever cannabis and went on a run?

Melissa Catmull:
Yes.

Tim Pickett:
And do you feel like it… See, it makes you a little thirsty, it distorts time, do you feel like it would enhance your running, like it would help you run further or not?

Melissa Catmull:
I don’t know that I can honestly say that. I just know that it didn’t inhibit anything for me, to be honest with you. When I dose myself, I don’t notice anything. As a teenager, experimenting around, I noticed a high. With the medical stuff that I’m taking and how I figured out my dosing, I don’t at all. I don’t feel the same as if I were to be as when I was a teenager and we did that.

Tim Pickett:
For listeners, can you just tell the listeners that I didn’t prompt you to say that?

Melissa Catmull:
Oh, no. I’m just being a hundred percent honest.

Tim Pickett:
Because seriously, people really think that this in this business and this medical marijuana and cannabis is essentially all about people getting high and it really is not at all, right?

Melissa Catmull:
I’ve never experienced that, even if I’ve like over… I shouldn’t say overdose.

Tim Pickett:
Overused? Dosed a little higher.

Melissa Catmull:
If I dosed a little too much, I still don’t notice it. I have a blend that I use during the day that doesn’t make me sleepy, it doesn’t do anything. I just notice my pain is less, my anxiety is significantly decreased and I can function. I can do my job, I can do whatever I need to do for the day totally fine. And then my blend at nighttime is at nighttime and reduces my anxiety, calms my mind and helps me sleep. And neither one, I don’t get any kind of a high feeling. Yeah, I think that’s a huge misunderstanding for people who don’t understand it. Yeah, that’s a misunderstanding, that is not the case for me at all.

Tim Pickett:
What was the process like after you got your card here in Utah to purchase the product and figure out that dosing?

Melissa Catmull:
I have to say the dispensary I’ve found nearest my home was so great. I walked in, I showed my card, my ID. And then for a first-time user, they had a pharmacist come and sit down with me and say, “Okay, what are the things that we’re trying to address?” “All right. Here’s what I’m trying to address.” “Okay. Here are the different blends and these are the things that we’d recommend that you try.”

Melissa Catmull:
And so I started trying some different things, I played around with the dosage myself to kind of figure out exactly what was right for me. And then when I need to pick up more, I go in, I know exactly what I’m purchasing. If I have a question at all the people are so willing to help. I probably get more FaceTime and consultation from the pharmacist at the dispensary than I would my regular pharmacist for other medication. And that’s in all fairness honest.

Tim Pickett:
And how long did it take for you to figure out the dosing too? So when you went there, did you buy three or four products or did you just buy one?

Melissa Catmull:
Nope. I bought three or four products. One product wasn’t helpful at all so I know I’m not purchasing that one again. It wasn’t helpful. And then the dosing just kind of took a couple, maybe up to a week to kind of tweak and play with things, knowing, “Okay, this is the right amount,” “This is not enough,” or, “Wow, this is too much. I can get away with just this right amount.”

Tim Pickett:
Did you always think you were going to be able to use it during the day too or did you think, “Uh, I don’t know.”

Melissa Catmull:
I thought I wasn’t going to be able to. So I started on a weekend just to make sure I understood how it was going to affect me and yeah, I’m like, well, there’s no high from this. I can function in my everyday life just fine.

Tim Pickett:
Do you feel like a lot of your pain is from anxiety too? Or do you feel like… What’s the relationship there?

Melissa Catmull:
I mean, I think there’s great ties into our mental side and our physical side. And pain signals from the brain can come from a variety of different sources, does it make my pain go away? I don’t know about that. I don’t know that it does, but I don’t notice the pain quite as much. Does that make sense?

Tim Pickett:
Oh yeah. I mean, to me it makes sense because I’m a medical provider who does this evaluation and this education. So to me, that’s the disassociation part, right? You’re putting your pain over there on the couch, so to speak, and you’re able to go about your day. And then trying to figure out the right dosing is really trying to figure out, how far do I need to put my pain over there essentially?

Melissa Catmull:
It’s like the threshold of, “I’m feeling great, so I don’t need any more,” or, “I’m not feeling so good, let’s try just a little bit more.: And just kind of find it. And I think that balance is different for every single person. I mean, I’m an older woman, 5’4″, 100 pounds versus maybe a 24 year old dude who’s 6’2” and 240. I mean, the dosing is going to be completely different. So I think as an individual starting this process, I think relying heavily on a medical provider such as yourself to consult and make recommendations on products and then just trying a few until you find the things that work best.

Tim Pickett:
Are you using all oral stuff all, like tinctures, gummies, or did you try inhaled things?

Melissa Catmull:
I have a vape pen that I use during the day. And that’s a blend that does have any indica, am I saying that right? In the couch stuff?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, in the couch, uh-huh (affirmative).

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah. It doesn’t have that blend to it. So I’m not sleepy, function, do everything, do my job, whatever I need to do. And then at nighttime, it’s the reverse, the opposite kind of a blend. And that’s a tincture that I use, just an oil that I place on my tongue at night time. And then I have had gummies that I would use interchangeably with the tincture, but during the day it’s just the vape pen.

Tim Pickett:
Because the vape pen doesn’t last quite as long, it’s a little bit easier to dose, right? If you get a little too much, it’s only a couple of hours.

Melissa Catmull:
Right.

Tim Pickett:
And then things are okay again.

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Right? I mean, I’m always fascinated with people, like 35, 40% of our patients that we see have your type of experience with cannabis. So somebody who may have experienced it before or and has not used it, doesn’t want to get high, just wants to really treat it like another medicine, right?

Melissa Catmull:
Exactly

Tim Pickett:
But the stigma, was the stigma a big deal for you?

Melissa Catmull:
Yes. I am an active practicing member of the predominant religion here in Utah. And that was a little bit at odds with our code of health. And so for me, it was like, if I’m going to pursue this, I’m going to pursue it the legal way so that I am still following the tenants of my belief. And as you said, it’s just another tool in my toolbox of medications. I take medicine for thyroid, I take supplements with glucosamine and vitamins B and calcium and all those things. This is just one more of those things in my toolbox that help me manage my health.

Tim Pickett:
How do you feel other people or like your family has been with this?

Melissa Catmull:
My family has been extremely supportive, very, very supportive in that, “Hey, whatever you need to do to feel healthy, whatever you need to do to feel well that you can get yourself out of bed and function without§ crippling pain, more power to you.” I have a very supportive family.

Tim Pickett:
I mean, that’s really important. And I think we’ve heard so many stories about people whose families have been really supportive. It seems like, especially in Utah, I was born and raised here too, I get that culture and it seems a little daunting, I think, to enter this, the cannabis space for people. But once you make that decision, I don’t know, was that your experience? Because you talked about how the pharmacists have been really helpful and your family has been really supportive, but at first, just stepping into it is…

Melissa Catmull:
I was a little nervous. I kind of was a little bit nervous because I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew that it was worth pursuing. What did I have to lose? It was worth pursuing. And I was a little nervous and I was a little hesitant, but as I waited my turn at the dispensary and I saw all walks of life going in there, realizing other people are in the same situation as me. They’re just trying to find something to help them, whether it’s pain, whether it’s anxiety, whatever spectrums that they need help with, we’re all dealing with something and we’re all trying to find something. And if it works for them as it works for me, who’s to judge? I mean, in my opinion, I’d much rather be using medical marijuana as opposed to being addicted to opioids or benzodiazepines. I’ve honestly been down that route, I don’t want to go there again. So to me, this was the best option to manage my health.

Tim Pickett:
Are you somebody who now kind of advocates to your primary care provider? Because it sounds like you went to somebody different.

Melissa Catmull:
So I have my primary care provider and my last well-check, your physical check with her, I let her know that this is what I was doing and that I’d been able to get off of clonazepam, Klonopin, that I’d been able to cut down some other medication I was taking at night time and she was extremely supportive. She was like, “Hey, whatever works, let’s take it, let’s run with it. If it works for you then great.”

Tim Pickett:
I think that’s one of the big ways providers will get introduced to this because we deal with a lot of providers who are referring patients to us who don’t have malpractice for it, or they don’t quite know what to do about it yet, right? But there’s patients like you who come back and say, “Hey, you know what? It’s relatively safe, okay? It’s not addictive. I’m not using it to get high, right? I’m using a moderate amount.” You’re not using-

Melissa Catmull:
I don’t know what it would take for me to do that because I don’t.

Tim Pickett:
You don’t do it. And I’ve reduced other prescription medications and I just cannot imagine a provider not saying like, “Wow, okay. Maybe I should take this a little bit more seriously.”

Melissa Catmull:
I would hope so. And as I left her office, I mean, she may… She was extremely supportive of me and I found that extremely valuable. It would be great if there were more providers that could prescribe it. I will be honest about this, it’s a whole lot cheaper to go buy a generic clonazepam than it is to buy the medical marijuana. It’s expensive.

Tim Pickett:
Plus the cost of the visit too, right? You’ve got to have a cash pay visit.

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah. And it’s cash to buy your product. And that’s fine, you hit an ATM, you go, it’s fine. But I would like to see the costs come down because that will be prohibited for people to actually get off of chemical medication and onto something that’s more natural when it can be cost prohibitive. And that’s one thing that I have found it’s much more expensive for me to use medical marijuana than it is the other medications but I feel better about it as to what’s coming into my body versus the addiction that has been shown to be in some of those other medications

Tim Pickett:
You’re spending 150, 200 bucks a month?

Melissa Catmull:
At least

Tim Pickett:
Kind of that’s-

Melissa Catmull:
Well, another thing I really liked is the prescriber that you meet with prescribes how much you can have per month. So based on your symptoms and what you’re dealing with, it’s not this free for all, “Okay now you can go buy all the stuff you want.” No, no. I like that it’s mandated and it’s controlled a little bit to where you’re just getting what has been prescribed for you. Does that make sense?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. A hundred percent. There are very few of us doing that unfortunately, actually. But putting up the fence around the pasture is how I describe it, right? I’m going to put up the fence around the pasture and then inside that space, you can use what you need to use, you can experiment with your own. Like delivery, you’re using an inhaled method during the day, a tincture or an edible at night. And that makes a lot of sense for people to change the way they use a medication like this, because I mean, that just makes sense. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have that with a traditional medicine where you’re like, “Oh, well, I only need this for a couple hours,” or, “I need something that’s a little bit uplifting instead of a downer,” right? I love cannabis as a medicine because it’s so complex and it’s so personal, right? It’s like tomatoes, right? You can get the garden fresh tomatoes-

Melissa Catmull:
Oh yeah, it’s not a one size fits all.

Tim Pickett:
And you can have somebody like yourself who’s small and doesn’t use a lot and is a runner. And just, it’s almost like you’re taking control of your own health.

Melissa Catmull:
Thank you. That is exactly how I feel about it. Instead of relying on someone to listen to me and help me in a way that… It gives me more onus for my own health and I like that. I like that.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. As medical providers, we’ve been dictating how to treat things for generations. But on the other hand, we have been asking patients, “Take control of your own health, walk, more, eat healthier. Why don’t you do these things? Why don’t you take control of your own health?” And now patients have kind of turned the tables, I feel like, on providers in a certain way and said, “Okay, this is how I want to take control of my own health. I want to use medical cannabis in order to start that process.” Some providers are really getting on board and saying, “Well, okay, I’m totally supportive of this, right? It’s safe. If it’s effective for you, you choose.” And then other providers are like, “Wait, we didn’t mean take control of it in that way.”

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah. And I find that unfortunate. And I’ve worked in the health care industry, not patient care direct, but I’ve worked in the health industry for my big girl career job. And I would think as a medical provider, you would want any and all resources to help your patients, any and all resources. If that is something non-traditional, then that’s something non-traditional. If it works and works, who are you to argue?

Tim Pickett:
If it works and it is safe. And remember, we’re only talking about safe as compared to what, right? Safe as compared to benzodiazepine? Safe as compared to opioids? That to me is an easy argument. Safe as compared to things when you’re young and you’re going to have to use a lot of THC? Okay, now we’re going to get into a difficult conversation, a little more complex conversation, but that’s not really what we’re talking about in general, right? Those conversations, I feel like, yes, have those conversations with us. To me, I like the cannabis specialist idea, right, with those complicated situations.

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah. I agree, I agree

Tim Pickett:
What do you do work wise now?

Melissa Catmull:
I am a buyer for a local run specialty store.

Tim Pickett:
Run specialist?

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, you’re knee deep in this running.

Melissa Catmull:
Yeah, yeah. So I buy and manage their inventory.

Tim Pickett:
You by Hokas and Ultras and all the good, all the stuff you’ve tried.

Melissa Catmull:
Yep. So in that environment, it’s shoes, it’s apparel, it’s nutrition, it’s accessories. It’s, yeah, all of that.

Tim Pickett:
What are you going to do with this new thing about this running and you can’t get on a tribike? I’m worried about you.

Melissa Catmull:
I don’t know. Right now it’s kind of day to day. Once we can get my foot pain under control and get some answers there, then I don’t know. That’s a good question. I don’t know yet. I don’t have the answer to that. I’m just taking it day by day.

Tim Pickett:
I’m kind of excited to watch what happens. Because I would think, it sounds like you’re the type of person that’s extremely motivated to stay mobile.

Melissa Catmull:
You kind of have to be, who wants to just lay in their bed and die? We want to stay active. We want to be doing stuff. I mean, I can’t run right now, but I’m, I’m volunteering at Ultras and still being a part of the community and that’s rewarding in and of itself too.

Tim Pickett:
Are you going to go off and do this D50, the one up here in Davis County, this 50 miler?

Melissa Catmull:
No, no, no. I just got back from Moab. There’s a racing group down in Moab that I have raced with for a long time. And I just went back and volunteered to the races, I’ll go back down in November and volunteer and my friends run all their races. So I’ll just go and cheer them on and stay a part of that community the best way I can, volunteering. It’s awesome.

Tim Pickett:
You’ll be one of those people in the sit-down bikes, the recumbents with the flag?

Melissa Catmull:
I’ll take my four wheeler and sweep the course, whatever. Yeah. Wherever they want me, whatever they want me to do I’ll do it. Yeah. It’s great. It’s great. The running community, they’re awesome people, especially trail runners. I mean, it’s all trail that I do and it’s a different community and they’re great people and you can’t help but feel good about yourself when you’re around them. So that’s what I do.

Tim Pickett:
It’s a super fun sport. I love trail running. I definitely don’t do it now. I think I got up to maybe I think one week I ran 50 miles in a week, which was pretty good for me.

Melissa Catmull:
I think that’s great.

Tim Pickett:
But it does take a little bit of time.

Melissa Catmull:
It takes a lot of time.

Tim Pickett:
And you got to be careful with cannabis dosing when you’re trail running because you can lose your dog.

Melissa Catmull:
My dog’s too little to come running with me. So yeah, I’ve had to carry her on my shoulders.

Tim Pickett:
What else is important to you with this whole thing?

Melissa Catmull:
I think especially here in Utah, I would love to see the stigma taken away from it. For so long, I felt like leadership in Utah really fought legalizing it from a lack of their own understanding of how it could benefit. I’d like to see that change in Utah. I’d like to see our leaders and the community kind of open up their minds a little bit more, to be a little more receptive to the options that it can offer. As an alternative, I mean, Utah’s famous for like, “Well, I’ve got an oil for that,” you know?

Tim Pickett:
Yep. Utah is very famous for that, right?

Melissa Catmull:
I don’t know that there are published or peer reviewed articles about oils, but I feel like there are about medical cannabis. And so let’s maybe reset… We need a paradigm shift here in the state in my opinion.

Tim Pickett:
We’re also famous for opioid addiction and prescription medication use.

Melissa Catmull:
100%. Because from my perspective, I believe it does have a lot to do with the predominant religion and our code of health. And so I think a lot of people look at that as it’s a prescription, therefore it’s legal therefore I can take what I need to, not knowing that those things can be highly addictive and can destroy lives, destroy lives. After my two neck surgeries, we couldn’t get rid of the pain, we just could not get rid of the pain. And my surgeon finally said, “I’m at odds, let’s go to a pain clinic.” I went to the pain clinic, I should have sued the guy, but over the course of probably three, six months, I was on copious amounts of opioids, muscle relaxants and benzodiazepines to the point where a friend intervened one night and said, “You got to do something. You’re going to end up dead. You’re going to fall asleep one night and you’re not going to wake up.”

Melissa Catmull:
And so I actually went to Uni and went through detox and I’m not going to do that again. And I think if people understood how these can affect your brain, I wasn’t getting high from the opioids or the other medications, I was just trying to stop the pain where they diagnosed me with something called hyperalgesia where there’s no real physical cause for the pain, but your brain is sending signals because it wants the opioids. Once we could get rid of all of that out of me, the pain was gone for the most part. I mean, I still am dealing with some residual stuff obviously.

Tim Pickett:
But what you’re saying is that it was the cycle that was essentially causing the brain to consider this as pain, it wasn’t necessarily physical pain?

Melissa Catmull:
Correct.

Tim Pickett:
That’s a key thing about chronic pain. It’s like the switch goes from, “This is physical pain, and you have the pain reaction,” to, “I’m going to send the signals regardless of what the body is doing.” It just sends the signals and then you’re in this, and then all of a sudden, it’s almost like it’s all of a sudden patients are in this cycle.

Melissa Catmull:
So I have to question how many of these patients who deal with chronic pain and are on opioids are in that cycle that if we could just get them out, detox them, rid their system of those things, and then evaluate where they’re at, and then try maybe medical cannabis, it’s worth a shot. Give it a try and see if this is helpful for you. If not, then we try something else.

Melissa Catmull:
But I think too many people are just relying upon that prescription and I know doctors are really trying to crack down on it, I know that they’re trying to make changes, but I still think there’s far too many people addicted out there that really don’t need to be if they could just get detoxed and then evaluate really where the pain level and threshold is at, and then go from there, start fresh.

Tim Pickett:
Did you use cannabis to get off of opioids or did you do that before?

Melissa Catmull:
No, no.

Tim Pickett:
So one thing, do you wish you would have had something to help you move on from opioids? Do you feel like that could have been helpful?

Melissa Catmull:
It probably could have at the time. At Uni it was kind of like, “Well, we can give you this other medication, but then you’d kind of be addicted to that and so then we’ll have to wean you off of that.” And I was like, “No, no, no, no, we’re not going to go from one to another. I’ll just cold turkey it and then let’s start fresh.” Now had that been an option to me, that probably would have been very helpful because going cold turkey is not good, it’s a hard thing. And had that been an option, I think I probably would have taken that, but I couldn’t see myself going from one addiction to another and then weaning off of that, that made no sense to me, that made no sense.

Tim Pickett:
What you did was really hard. You did a hard thing taking yourself and making that decision. I mean, congratulations.

Melissa Catmull:
Well, thank you. I credit that friend for saving my life, literally.

Tim Pickett:
Good. I really appreciate you being willing to tell that story, because especially here, it’s underneath the surface and a lot of people deal with this, more people deal with this than I think everybody knows.

Melissa Catmull:
I feel like that’s true too. In fact, my first week I went back to church and I looked around at my fellow parishioners and thought, “I know you are, and I know you are, and I know you are. And if we could get you some help, I think we could get this taken care of.” I wrote a big long blog post about it back in the days when blogging was big and I wrote a big old post about it and what my experience was. And I was surprised at how many people reached out privately to say, “I think my mom’s in a situation. I think my sister’s in a situation.”

Melissa Catmull:
And it is not talked about. And I don’t know why that is, how can we help each other if we don’t share our stories? And sometimes just sharing what you’ve gone through, you don’t know who is dealing with the same thing and could be helped. So when I was approached about doing this podcast, I’m like, dude, if I can help somebody great.

Tim Pickett:
Absolutely.

Melissa Catmull:
Maybe my story doesn’t resonate with anybody and that’s fine too but if it does help one person great.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, it’s totally worth a try.

Melissa Catmull:
That’s why we’re here, trying to help each other.

Tim Pickett:
Yep. And that’s exactly the point of the podcast. And I do a series on YouTube called Discover Marijuana and yeah, I mean,, we just talk about it because it needs to be talked about. In order to be a tool, it just needs to be okay to talk about it, talk about it as an option, talk about people’s problems with prescription medications and alternatives. Maybe it’s cannabis, maybe it’s not, that helps you get off of it, but there’s options for people to not use that type of thing, to get off of it, to move on.

Melissa Catmull:
If someone can look at me and go, “Well, there’s a 55 year old lady who is actively religious and uses this as a tool. Well, maybe it’s okay for me to use this as a tool.” You don’t have to be 20 something year old who just wants to smoke. And I don’t know, whatever stereotype they have in their head, they need to get out of that and look and say, “There is a lot of us that don’t fit that stereotype that is finding this helpful. So maybe you can explore this too.”

Tim Pickett:
This has been a really good conversation. I really appreciate you.

Melissa Catmull:
I’m happy to do it. I hope I’ve covered the things that you were wanting to cover. I just think that anybody who’s dealing with chronic things like that, whether it’s pain, whether it’s anxiety, depression, and gosh, after 2020 and into 2021, aren’t we all kind of feeling pretty… I mean, you look at the headlines and it’s a little scary and there’s a lot going on in our world that’s causing a lot of anxiety and worry, we don’t have to go to chemicals to do this. We can find ways that don’t involve chemical or dependency on medications to be able to manage our mental health, to manage our physical health. And again, I think if we would set aside those stereotypes, kind of create a paradigm shift for ourselves to realize that this, like I said before, is just a tool of many in a toolbox to help us manage our health.

Tim Pickett:
Perfectly said. Well, if anybody wants to reach out to Melissa, utahmarijuana.org/podcast, go there, we’ll have a transcript and a summary of this episode and a link there to her Instagram. And you can subscribe to the podcast on any place that you want to subscribe to. Again, thanks again, Melissa, for coming out.

Melissa Catmull:
My pleasure. Anytime.

Tim Pickett:
Stay safe out there, everybody.

 

By UtahMarijuana.org
Published October 29, 2021
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Add a Little Green to Your Inbox

(801) 851-5554hello@utthc.com
Address:
740 E 3900 S
Suite 108
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
press@utthc.com
Utah Marijuana Logo
chevron-down
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram