When I met former middle school math teacher Molly Heskett, she said cannabis helped manage her Crohn’s disease. What I didn’t know was that it was saving her life.From the time she was nine years old, numerous doctors dismissed her symptoms. “They told me I was lactose intolerant, they told me I had a sensitive tummy, that I need to stop being anxious, that I need not to worry, that it’s in my head,” Heskett recalls.
An alert doctor during an emergency room trip in 2005 finally prompted a Crohn’s test. An official diagnosis led to steroids, painkillers, chemotherapy and more targeted steroids — which didn’t work. A bowel resection in 2008, followed by a urinary tract infection, caused another flare-up, so she went gluten-free, gave up booze and used cannabis regularly. “I’d use the opiate [prescription drugs] during the day, because that was acceptable for teaching, and then cannabis at night,” notes Heskett.
A chiropractor-recommended, Paleo-style diet in 2012 helped, but 2014 brought major life changes, triggering another flare-up. Her doctors recommended medical leave in late 2014 (she’s currently on long-term disability) and discovered 50 colon ulcers months later. Biologics cured the ulcers, but an allergic reaction to Polysorbate 80 in her pills led to a Labor Day 2015 emergency room visit.
After talking with a Bloom Dispensary budtender in 2016, Heskett eventually landed on Kansas cannabis activist Shona Blanda’s Crohn’s treatment. Since then, Heskett has been making RSO capsules at her parents’ house, spending most of her days in remission.
“I’d use the opiate [prescription drugs] during the day, because that was acceptable for teaching, and then cannabis at night.” – Molly Heskett, medical marijuana advocate
Her parents’ friends would ask Heskett if cannabis could help for issues like Parkinson’s — including one person in particular.
“When he showed up at my house that day, he was very emotional because he hadn’t been sleeping for days. He was off-balance, just shaky. So I gave him a puff of something to try,” Heskett says. “About 10 minutes later, he holds his hands out, his eyes get big, he looks at me and goes, ‘Ah! I don’t feel like crying anymore.’ The next day he got his [medical marijuana] card.”
This success led her to rethink a recipe site she’d launched to share with her family. In September 2017, Heskett celebrated her one-year cannaversary by relaunching the site as Rolling with Crohn’s, with a focus on cannabis’ beneficial properties, specifically related to Crohn’s sufferers. Currently, only 550 of the nearly 170,000 Arizona medical marijuana cardholders have Crohn’s disease as a qualifying condition.