Hopper Stone interviews Justin Turley, a long time friend and patient about his denial of a liver, due to his use of cannabis.
This past year has been a blast Tokin’ With the Infamous, mostly musicians, growers, and breeders. For the first anniversary of the column, I decided to have a session with my friend, Justin Turley, a patient who was denied a liver transplant because he chooses to use medical cannabis rather than addictive, harmful opiates. Loyal Vegas Cannabis Magazine readers may remember his story from the June 2015 issue, where he opened up about his health struggles. One thing about Justin though, he has never let his situation stop him from advocating on behalf of other patients, and he has not lost his sense of humor or love for life. I’m so stoked to report that although Justin still deals with many serious health issues, he is doing much better than he was this time last year. Here’s a little bit of our convo during our last session that left the air clouded with the sweet aroma of Key Lime Pie, and a little bit of Angel Food.
Hopper: Why do you use medical cannabis?
Justin: It started when I was diagnosed with cirrhosis that causes a lot of nausea and pain. I was given LOTS of narcotics that were really weighing me down. I found I could use cannabis instead, and I liked it so much better, being able to be conscious. Later, I was diagnosed with cancer and started using full extract cannabis oil. It’s been two years now, with no negative side effects. In the beginning it helped me to put on weight that I needed.
Hopper: What works best for you? Do you smoke, vape, use edibles, dab, or use topicals?
Justin: All of the above, actually. I have a condition as a complication of the cirrhosis called edema, where my legs inflate with fluid and it’s really painful with blood seeping out. I’ve found a cannabis salve that does wonders for my legs, some of the damage has even been reversed. The cancer, after using the oil, did not spread to the other kidney.
Luckily, there is a very compassionate community in San Diego. I wish that for everyone, for all patients in need.
Hopper: I wish more people realized that the patient comes first, bottom line.
Justin: Exactly. You really showed San Diego how to do that with The Green Door Collective.
Hopper: Do certain strains help you more than others?
Justin: Indicas and indica dominant hybrids for pain management and stomach issues. I do like a little sativa during the day to combat the depression that comes with having health issues.
Hopper: You’ve gotten a lot of attention in the past couple of years. You’ve been in multiple magazines, and on The Huffington Post. What is it like to put yourself out there like that?
Justin: It’s humbling, and also exciting knowing that people are paying attention. I’m not someone who likes to talk about myself, but to step out and speak and know that there are other people suffering who don’t have a voice, so you have to speak for them, that’s important to me. It’s an honor.
Hopper: It’s beautiful that you do that, it’s very courageous.
Justin: I appreciate that, man.
Hopper: Are you satisfied with the current state of medical cannabis and its availability?
Justin: No, not at all. I think it should be covered by Medicare and MediCal. It should definitely be tax free. It should definitely be more widely accepted.
Hopper: Do you have any updates on your health and liver transplant status?
Justin: Yeah, since the last time I chatted with Vegas Cannabis Magazine, a law was passed in California called AB 258. They can no longer discriminate against medical cannabis patients in need of organ transplants, which is huge.
Hopper: Did you lose your place in line, so to speak, before the law was passed?
Justin: They wouldn’t even put me on the list before, because I use medical cannabis. Now they say I’m not sick enough to get in line. I don’t know if they’re saying that to silence me, or if it’s brilliant news. I’m taking it as great news! Obviously the cannabis oil is working.
Hopper: That’s awesome! I’m so glad to hear that.
Justin: Yeah, I have to focus on the positives.
Hopper: It’s always great tokin’ with you, my friend. Is there anyone you want to shout out or give thanks to before we wrap it up?
Justin: The Human Solution, San Diego Americans for Safe Access, the GLC, everybody who works for the patients, and of course Vegas Cannabis Magazine and Bill and Stephanie Shehan.
Hopper: Right on, brother. Let’s get back to ripping this Key Lime Pie and then get on to the Angel Food.
To learn more about Justin, check out VCM’s original story: https://issuu.com/vegascannabismagazine/docs/june_issue_for_web