Book Review: ‘Cannabis Saved My Life’

The book cover for Elizabeth Limbach's 'Cannabis Saved My Life' book shows the many faces of people who attribute their life to cannabis.

A collection of profiles highlights people who have changed their lives through the healing powers of medical marijuana.


The numbers tell a stark story: the average life expectancy of a patient diagnosed with ALS (often called Lou Gehrig’s disease) is just two to five years, according to data from the ALS Association.

Cathy Jordan, 64, was diagnosed in 1986 and is still alive today to tell a very different story; one of survival and perseverance in the face of discouraging statistics.

When she had lost all hope of living a long life, she said cannabis brought back her health and spirit.

Award-winning journalist, Elizabeth Limbach, keeps a personal focus when sharing Jordan’s story and the stories of many others in this uplifting, inspirational collection of profiles and first-person accounts from medical cannabis patients.

The collection shares personal stories from a range of patients across all walks of life who have turned to cannabis for relief from their relentless symptoms and agonizing health conditions after the endless list of traditional, pharmaceutical treatments failed to improve their health.

The book includes the story of Millie Mattison, then age 3, who suffered from muscular spasms as an infant and whose brave parents sought out a treatment to help manage her symptoms, and the story of Steven Thompson, now 69, who has found that cannabis slowed down the progression of his vision problems and helps manage his chronic pain.

Filled with colorful images that accompany the powerful stories of not just surviving but thriving after conventional treatment approaches proved unsuccessful, “Cannabis Saved My Life” is the type of collection that belongs on a coffee table and can be read straight to the end or flipped through to pick out gems that catch the reader’s eye. Infographics throughout the book define terms that may be unfamiliar to a casual cannabis user, provide background on the various types of cannabis treatment (like Charlotte’s Web and Rick Simpson Oil) and expand upon the healing effects of cannabis with cancer, epilepsy, ALS and other conditions.

Though focused on the individuals who share their intimate and triumphant stories, there are bigger topics that are discussed within these journeys to recovery. Limbach conducts a multi-layered, emotional and refreshingly honest conversation about the pharmaceutical industry’s vice grip on the healthcare sector, the social stigmas of cannabis as viable medical treatment and Western medicine’s rejection of the botanical wonder’s indisputable efficacy. Ultimately, “Cannabis Saved My Life” explores how deeply that pharmaceutical vice-grip and social stigma around medical marijuana affects the lives of those who need cannabis to stay alive.

This book is an excellent look at one of the central forces that has made cannabis such a widely used treatment — the testimony of improved patients. It’s a collection of stories for the believers of cannabis medicine, as well as the skeptics.

Though science and politics have failed to agree how to pursue researching and experimenting with cannabis in a way that brings awareness to its true healing potential, these patients — the ones whose lives and livelihood hang in the balance — are brave enough to share their stories in hopes of moving the needle a little further for others in the future.

Originally published in Issue 25 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

TELL US, have you ever used cannabis to heal?

K. Astre is a California writer with a global appetite for art, music and culture. She fuels her creativity with tea, yoga, meditation and, of course, cannabis.

1 Comment

  1. joe

    August 20, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I was on Lyrica and Solpadol for a trapped nerves in my neck and in some pain…I lost so much weight I looked like someone that was dying…I went of all the proscribed drugs and start having a bit of cannabis at night and can sleep without pain now and the weight is back …im breaking the law .but the law was not in pain I was

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