Patrick McClellan

Patrick McClellan

Patrick has found medical marijuana to be beneficial in reducing muscle spasms and pain resulting from Muscular Dystrophy.

My name is Patrick McClellan. I have Muscular Dystrophy (Mitochondrial Myopathy). I suffer from severe muscle spasms, peripheral neuropathy, and chronic pain. I lost my career and became totally disabled three years ago. I have found that eating or vaporizing cannabis has a remarkable effect on reducing muscle spasms and pain. I am treated at Gillette Specialty Health Care. My doctors are aware of my use of cannabis and have told me that they have many other patients reporting the same results. I currently take 26 pills per day, a mix of muscle relaxants, anti-seizure and neuropathic painkillers, along with high dose vitamin therapy.

One of the most intense and painful symptoms of my disease are severe muscle spasms. During an attack, I am unable to, walk, eat, use the bathroom, or even use a phone to dial 911. I do receive warning signs in advance of an attack in the form of fasciculations (involuntary muscle contractions).

During the winter of 2010 I had a attack that left me trapped between my bed and the wall for over 2 ½ hours. During that time I was unable to move and in excruciating pain, I was unable to get to a phone and forced to wait 2 ½ hours for my wife to get home and help me. I will never forget that 2 ½ hours and I will do anything it takes to prevent it from happening again.

I was originally not convinced that cannabis could help my symptoms. I smoked cannabis recreationally when I was in my 20s, but I quit because I no longer enjoyed the high.

In 2010, I did my own experiment to discover if cannabis could help relieve my most severe symptoms. When the warning signs of an attack arrived, I would alternate between cannabis and my medications, Alprazolam and Quinine, that I have in a pill case on my medical alert necklace. Alprazolam and Quinine were effective approximately 70% of the time, whereas cannabis was effective 100% of the time I used it in a vaporizer. It was slightly less effective when I consumed it orally, due to the amount of time it took to take effect, but still better than Alprazolam and Quinine.

The Food and Drug Administration cautioned consumers against using Quinine for muscle spasms and cramps, warning that the drug could cause severe side effects, including death. Along with the highly addictive nature of Alprazolam and the physical withdrawal symptoms, the side effects can actually intensify other symptoms of my disease, such as unsteadiness, slurred speech, weight gain, muscle twitches, and sexual dysfunction.

I now only use Quinine and Alprazolam when I have an attack outside of my home or when my use of cannabis could come to the attention of law enforcement.

I am 46 years old and hopefully have a lot more life to live. I should be able to do whatever is necessary to improve the quality of my life, without becoming a criminal in the process.