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Patients Out of Time conference calls on lawmakers to act on cannabis

From cancer survivor Jenifer Persomo to Jeanne Lang with Crohn’s disease, the theme is clear: They said cannabis has kept them alive and healthy.

TAMPA, Fla. — Integrating cannabis into medical practice is the goal of a conference happening in Tampa this week.

The 13th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics kicked off on Thursday at the University of South Florida’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation.

From cancer survivor Jenifer Persomo to Jeanne Lang with Crohn’s disease, the theme is clear: They said cannabis has kept them alive and healthy.

“Oh, I tell people that I would have been dead without cannabis at 19 years old,” Jeanne Lang said.

“Cannabis saved my life,” Jenifer Persomo said.

Persomo said she was on a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs that created more health problems for her and it wasn’t until she tried cannabis that she noticed a positive difference.

“I was to the point where I was so weak I hadn’t slept in days and I could barely open a bottle of water. So I took a little bit of oil and after 15 minutes I was able to get out bed and start cleaning the room and I had enough energy to laugh and thought 'wait a minute, I’ve been about to die for a few days now and all of a sudden I have so much energy, cannabis is helping me,'” Persomo said.

The goal of the conference was to educate doctors and lawmakers on the evident benefits of the plant.

“This plant being used for medicine is centuries old, it’s not new medicine at all. Every patient I speak with today wants more research,” President and Co-Founder of Patients Out of Time Mary Lynn Mathre said. 

Mathre organized the event and said change needs to start with legislation and there’s a lot of work to be done.

“We need to get it out of schedule one and make it available. The other problem with the current laws are the more roadblocks put in place that means higher costs for patients,” Mathre said.

“This is the thirteenth year for this event of Patients out of Time. A lot of patients have died over that time. They ran out of time. We need change. We have plenty of research. The benefits of cannabis are real,” Persomo said.

Many at the conference said they feel the new proposed legislation suggesting a limit on THC levels is ineffective and unrealistic because some patients need more medicine than others.

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