– Walanya Vongsvirates

My interest in doing a story about medical marijuana is very personal. I was doing my own research on the matter because my father has glaucoma, an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve in the eye and leads to blindness.

My dad is currently 80% blind in his left eye. He has gone through a few surgeries and was prescribed steroids to alleviate the pain, but that didn’t make any significance in his condition.

I wanted to find an alternative for my dad to handle the pain without having to take steroids. Once I found out about all of the benefits of medicinal marijuana, not only did I want to share the information with my dad, I wanted to let everyone know.

This story  evolved a few times from its original state, and I truly think it’s for the best reasons.

As I kept interviewing people and investigating this topic, I kept finding more and more types of people it helped and I wanted to tell all of their stories.

At first I wanted to feature a local family who had a two-year-old with epilepsy. She used to experience a seizure every 90 minutes. The doctors told her she was going to be deaf and that there wasn’t much that they could do.

Her family decided to try medicinal marijuana and within two weeks, the number of seizures she experienced gradually decreased. Then one day, she didn’t have any seizures. She became more responsive and her hearing developed.

After interviewing some of the folks from NV Elements, a CBD dispensary in Reno, and Rebecca Gasca, CEO of of Pistil and Stigma, I found out that medical marijuana high in THC helps veterans who experience PTSD. I felt that the story about veterans had been overlooked so I wanted to feature a veteran.

The learning process continued. I kept finding more people who testified about the benefits of medical marijuana and I was captivated.

I wanted to know about all aspects of medical marijuana, so I decided to find out more about the scientific aspect of it all. I was referred to talk to AJ Fabrizio, the Chief Research Officer of Terra Tech, a company looking to establish medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada.

In this interview, I couldn’t decided whether or not I wanted to hear more about AJ’s personal experience or the vast amount of research he’s done.

Thankfully, in the two hour interview I was able to find out a lot about both of those topics, but I knew after all the interviews and research that I’ve done, I had found my subject.

As you’ll find from the piece that I did for Next Generation Radio, AJ truly is an incredible person. He took what most would consider a negative and turned it into a positive. More than that, I think he found his purpose in life and that to me, is incredibly powerful.

AJ is such an intelligent and kind person. His research is his life, and his goal is to tell anyone who will listen about it. You can hear the passion in his voice as he lists off compounds that are found in cannabis and the various diseases it helps. He is incredibly smart but more than that, he has a strong sense of compassion, and that’s a story that needs to be told surrounding this movement.

I wanted to show that there are compassionate people behind the movement who truly want to help others and give people the medical relief they deserve.

Everyone has their own opinion surrounding the medical marijuana movement. I’m not advocating medical marijuana, but I am suggesting that people keep an open mind when it comes to learning about medical alternatives.

One thought on “Field Notes – Researching Medical Marijuana

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