Madicyn Marinaro never planned to be a pot patient. She was a good kid into getting good grades and going to college. At 16, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and was admitted to hospital for a bowel resection that went so horribly wrong she almost died. She ended up spending six months in hospital, and if her mother hadn’t encouraged her to try pot she might never have left.
Today, she takes cannabis in a variety of forms to help her body heal from more than six surgeries, and has launched a career as a cannabis influencer who advises on the emerging pot stock market. She uses her insight as a pot patient to dish out advice in a pull-no-punches style that’s uniquely “Medicyn,” her online handle. This is her story.
HHH: Hey Madicyn, thanks for talking with me today. Your medical history is fairly unbelievable. Can you explain why you first became a pot patient?
MM: Actually, my mom’s been smoking for 40 years but I didn’t know that growing up. I was diagnosed at 16 with Crohn’s disease. At 17, I needed an emergency bowel resection, and the surgeon botched the surgery. I ended up with sepsis, peritonitis, flat-lining, and almost dying. I spent six months in the hospital, and needed two additional emergency surgeries. I had an ostomy bag.
The whole thing was devastating and traumatic. On top, I was getting pain meds, 1mg every six minutes through an IV, so I was also hooked on opiates. At the time, I couldn’t stop throwing up, so I needed everything IV. That was also the reason I couldn’t be discharged from the hospital.
My mom came in one day, and she was like, just try this, and handed me a joint. I wasn’t into the idea because I was anti-pot, and into DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), a total straight edge kid, you know. But I tried it, and for the first time in months I was able to eat things and keep it down. Then I was able to get out of the hospital. After that, I noticed I wasn’t having issues with my Crohn’s and the symptoms, nausea and stomach pain, were subsiding.
For ten years, my Crohn’s has stayed in remission without any conventional treatment like REMICADE® because I eat a steady diet of cannabis in many forms, both raw leaf, caps and edibles. I ingest as much cannabis as I can because it has great anti-inflammatory properties and Crohn’s is basically inflammation of the digestive tract.
HHH: What was that first conversation like between you and your mom? How did she introduce the idea of pot?
MM: My mom’s life was completely devastated by my illness. She stopped going to work so she could stay with me at the hospital. Then she lost her job. After six months, we were at our wit’s end because the doctors stopped paying attention to us, and we felt hopeless. So she said to me, please just try this. There was nothing else left to do. We felt abused and mistreated at the hospital, and all we wanted was to get home. My mom never told me about her pot use because she didn’t want it to affect my high school grades. So, even though she was a user, she was cautious. But after months in the hospital, the risk versus reward shifted, and she just wanted me home.
HHH: It must have been such a relief to finally find something that could help you. What was that like?
MM: To be honest, I was so out of it on opiates back then I don’t really remember. But the last surgery I had, which was a hysterectomy, I ate an edible straight after it because the pain was intense. That’s the first time I’ve had cannabis so quickly after surgery, and let me tell you, that was the quickest recovery. It took my pain away within an hour. It was incredible. Back when I was 17 I don’t remember much because I was heavily addicted to pain meds. When I got out of the hospital, I was on Fentanyl patches, Oxycontin, Xanax, you name it, they gave it to me; I was on everything.
HHH: Why was a hysterectomy necessary?
MM: After my first surgery I told the doctor I was in extreme pain, I mean, it was like there was acid burning inside my body. He brushed me off saying all I wanted was more pain meds. I kept getting sicker and sicker, my stomach blew up, and my condition got worse until eventually I flat-lined.
Because I got sepsis and peritonitis, a lot of scar tissue has built up over the years. While the cannabis can fix my Crohn’s, it can’t do much about the scar tissue from infection, which eventually spread to my uterus. In fact, when I got out of surgery at 17, they told me it would be difficult for me to ever have kids, so on top of everything else, I had to deal with that.
Then I started getting really bad cramps and clotting during my periods, and that went on for years. Finally, about three years ago, we decided I’m never going to be able to have kids anyway, might as well as remove the problem. I’ve had six surgeries in total to fix the damage of the first surgery, and the hysterectomy was the last one. It was the one that I used cannabis before and after, and have gotten the most benefit from, too. It’s made life so much simpler, but the only problem is figuring out my HRT (hormone replacement treatment).
That’s a small issue after 15 years of battling to get healthy. I was basically butchered by a surgeon who never took responsibility for his actions. We hired a lawyer and tried to get some compensation but the system is set up to protect the hospitals so there’s no point in even trying to sue them. I lost the chance to have a family while they were paid millions of dollars for providing a botched service; it’s sickening.
HHH: How did you get off the opiates?
MM: I got so sick of taking them. The constant round of medications totally disrupted my life. I couldn’t hang out with friends, couldn’t do any kind of normal stuff. In the end, I used pot and ecstasy, and spent two weeks withdrawing off a cocktail of narcotics after almost a year of heavy doses. The combination of cannabis and ecstasy worked really well to help me withdraw, and cannabis has been my medicine ever since.
HHH: Did your mom help you to withdraw?
MM: She didn’t know about it. To be honest, I went a bit crazy when I got out of the hospital after all that trauma, and I was acting out, staying at my friend’s house, partying. But while friends were doing coke, I stuck with E, and thought, okay, I’m going to try this, let’s see if it works, and it did. The E totally took the edge of the opiate withdrawal, and now when I see studies on using MDMA to treat PTSD, I think it makes sense, and my brain was telling me, this is what you need to get through this.
HHH: That’s a prime example of how little we really understand about drugs, isn’t it?
MM: Exactly. That’s why I’m a firm believer in decriminalisation, and why we have to change the conversation on addiction. Like, I really needed that break from reality at that point in my healing, and if I didn’t have it, I might have gone insane. Some people do after trauma, and for some people, controlled drug assistance can really help. Without going too far, obviously – there has to be a middle ground. But you know, at one point, I just got sick of being a victim, and decided I have a choice, and I can turn a bad thing into a good thing. That’s when things started to change for me.
HHH: When did you have the change in attitude?
MM: About two years ago. After my hysterectomy, my hormones were such a mess I was thinking about suicide. I’ve never been suicidal, so I went to my shrink because I was aware enough to recognise this wasn’t my normal thinking pattern, and I needed to reach out for help. That’s another example of what a crazy health rollercoaster it’s been this last decade. But for the last couple of years, I’m more aware that I only get one life and it’s up to me to make sure I make the most of that. I don’t want to sit around and waste it.
HHH: Do you think cannabis plays a role in your new attitude?
MM: Edibles changed everything for me. I wish I’d known about them five, no, ten years ago. I don’t like to smoke that much but I do it because it means I can eat and I don’t throw up. With edibles, I’m much more comfortable, and know myself well enough to enjoy the high. When you’ve experienced a trauma, cannabis can be quite intense because you don’t want to access those thoughts. That’s why people have to be careful with it, and why education is so important.
When I first started using cannabis, I didn’t like how it made me think about everything. I didn’t want to think about anything. But I finally got to a place where I’m okay with wherever my mind wants to go. Whereas opiates make you numb, cannabis activates your brain. You get pain relief but you also get much more in touch with everything that’s happening to you. You learn who you are. When you’re comfortable with that, and understand its benefits; that’s when cannabis can really help.
HHH: At what point did you get into pot stocks?
MM: In 2012 I needed a new pot dealer, and decided to check out Silk Road. In order to buy on Silk Road, I needed bitcoin so I bought some. I didn’t even understand what I was buying, and in the end, I never ordered the pot because it felt too dangerous. A few years later, when bitcoin blew up, I cashed out, and used that money to invest in cannabis stocks. I previously worked in social media marketing, and wanted a way to expand my platform; cannabis was the obvious answer.
I started to post about investing in pot stocks because it’s something I’m passionate about, and that’s when I started to build my following. I’m interested in bigger problems like the growing homeless population amongst vets in California, and that fact that Americans take 80 per cent of the world’s total pharmaceutical consumption, yet we’re only 5 per cent of the world population. Plus, 80 per cent of Americans are living pay-check to pay-check. That’s a real problem.
HHH: So your interest in cannabis is leading you into other social issues?
MM: That’s the way of cannabis because we’ve been fighting for so long to use this plant it’s become our natural instinct to fight for issues we feel are unfair. I see that with a lot of cannabis influencers, and that’s why I think we can be such a powerful and important voice in the future. We have a unique set of experiences that people will be able to relate to because a lot of us have struggled to get where we are. That’s something most people can identify with.
HHH: Is that part of what inspires you to advise people on investing?
MM: I was on welfare, broke, have had an eviction notice on my door, and know what it’s like to struggle. I want to show people that anyone can get on their phone and start making money on cannabis, and it’s legal. I believe cannabis can heal this world mentally, physically and financially because it gives money back to the farmers so it’s a real redistribution of wealth that people in crypto talked about but didn’t understand.
Americans have always been farmers; it’s China that’s the tech giant. As we approach the next recession, this time due to the tech crash, I think it’s going to become obvious that moving back to our farming roots will save us. I want people to see me and think: Whoa, she saved herself from addiction, she got off welfare; if she can do it I can do it, too. I think it’s so important that we take care control of our finances and our health, and cannabis offers a way. That’s what makes it so powerful.
This interview was edited and condensed.