420 Girl – Teri Heede

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Teri Heede pulls out 25 orange, prescription pill bottles from a cloth bag hanging from the handles of her red motorized scooter. Then an inhaler, and, from another bag, empty cranberry juice jugs filled to the top with disposable interferon shots. This used to be Heede’s life living with multiple sclerosis (MS), pills in the morning, afternoon and evening. Pills to quell the side effects of her other pills. Shots Monday, Wednesday and Friday and frequent trips to the doctor. She’s a 55-year-old retired computer engineer who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. She had grown accustomed to having no energy, being violently ill for weeks on end, and losing some of her motor skills. But 10 years ago, she quit the pills and shots and opted for something she says finally worked, medical marijuana. Today, Heede spends her days out of bed, she just finished volunteering at a Makakilo polling place for the fall elections. She gets by with Aciphex (for acid reflux), occasionally a few Tums and medical marijuana. “Nothing works like this,” she says, holding up a small Tupperware of peanut butter cookies made with cannabutter (butter infused with cannabis). She even lets me smell them, the peanut butter overpowers the skunky marijuana-laced butter they were made with. “I don’t get high. This is not a Cheech and Chong moment,” she says. Heede likens using medical marijuana to taking St. John’s wort or any other herbal supplement. It doesn’t bother her that it isn’t federally recognized. She says marijuana helps her more than any of the FDA approved pills ever did.