Roni Stetter: Doctors Told Her She’d Never Run Again – Medical Cannabis Changed That!

Roni Stetter: Doctors Told Her She’d Never Run Again – Medical Cannabis Changed That!

Roni Stetter, Medical Cannabis Patient, USA

Roni never got a definitive diagnosis for her lifelong, debilitating knee pain. What she did get, was advice from her doctor to give up all sports. An injury finally sidelined her college swimming-scholarship aspirations and all other athletic pursuits, leaving her depressed and inactive. Just several short years later, she’s run over 500 miles, including two half marathons and feels healthier and stronger than ever. She attributes this new lease on life to her Medical Cannabis use.


I was originally diagnosed with chronic joint pain in 2003, which was exacerbated by various sports injuries throughout my high school years. I originally thought my knee pain began during my awkward preteen years, but looking back, I can remember suffering with excruciating leg pain for no apparent reason as early as age 8 or 9. My parents were convinced I was having “growing pains,” and my pediatrician chalked it up to Osgood-Schlatter disease that I would grow out of with age. Either way, there was really no appropriate pain treatment for children, and unfortunately the pain never faded as I grew older. If anything, it just became more acute and frequent.

Even playing sports and being an active kid, I would often find myself crying from the agony I felt in my feet, knees and legs.

To this day I’m not sure what makes my joint pain so intense, besides a mild case of knock-knees. An MRI will show scar tissue on the meniscus, due to my kneecaps’ failure to “track” correctly during movement, grinding on the soft tissues of the knee with every step. Even playing sports and being an active kid, I would often find myself crying from the agony I felt in my feet, knees and legs. Through my entire life, I was in shape, but in pain.

After several rounds of physiotherapy and electrostimulation therapy proved unsuccessful for pain management, my physicians and therapists essentially gave up and prescribed me 800mg ibuprofen 2-3 times per day (a lot for anyone, let alone a teenager). Like many pain pills, the anti-inflammatory properties of ibuprofen weaken with frequent use. Soon it wasn’t helping at all and I just stopped taking it altogether.

I was advised to quit all sports, which was heartbreaking. Swimming was my life, and I was hoping to obtain a scholarship offer to continue in college. I decided to continue training through the pain and see what came of my career.

My scholarship dreams officially ended in late 2007. I had to give up on my high school athletic career a year early, when I slipped a vertebral joint by diving into the pool at an awkward angle.

My rigorous 18-hour/week training schedule was promptly replaced by a part-time job and an ever-deepening sense of boredom and inadequacy.

At the time, my family and I were at a loss for what to do about my pain. After my back injury, I continued on with physical therapy, this time at UC Davis Hospital rather than a small therapy office. Though therapy helped me correct my spinal alignment and rebuild the atrophied muscles in my knee, the pain and inflammation still existed, and the muscular anomalies were never quite fixed.

My rigorous 18-hour/week training schedule was promptly replaced by a part-time job and an ever-deepening sense of boredom and inadequacy. I quickly lost what muscle tone I had left, and gained a good deal of body fat, which was completely foreign and uncomfortable to me. I missed my active lifestyle more than anything.

It was only after I moved out for college that I had access to medical-grade cannabis and used it more frequently. Very quickly I began to notice an overall feeling of well-being, not only physically but emotionally.

Most days, I threw on the knee brace and just tried to ignore it. Though I casually smoked cannabis here and there in high school, and thought it was a fun alternative to drinking alcohol, I wasn’t a regular user, so I didn’t really get to experience its therapeutic properties.

It was only after I moved out for college that I had access to medical-grade cannabis and used it more frequently. Very quickly I began to notice an overall feeling of well-being, not only physically but emotionally. It showed me that medical cannabis really is medicine; not just a gimmick for people to get high.

Since I first became a medical cannabis patient in 2010, I have fully returned to a fit and active lifestyle, and my personal health and wellness have improved a hundredfold.

Where I was once unmotivated, sad and self-conscious, I was making new friends and becoming friendlier in social situations. Where I used to stay up all night surfing the web or just aimlessly walking around campus with insomnia, I was getting the best sleep of my life (even with a snoring roommate just feet away).

Most importantly, where the walk to the campus fitness center – less than a mile – used to make my knee twinge with pain, I could now easily jog over and attend a yoga class with my friends.

Since I first became a medical cannabis patient in 2010, I have fully returned to a fit and active lifestyle, and my personal health and wellness have improved a hundredfold.

I prefer to medicate with a strong Indica flower or concentrates because they kick in quickly with the cannabinoids my body needs to reduce inflammation. I love being able to get on with my days, relaxed, without wanting to sit down and bury my face from the pain.

At 16, my doctor told me I would probably never run comfortably again. Now at 23, I have run well over 500 miles, including 2 half marathons. Though much stronger now, I still need to wear a light knee brace occasionally, but I’m not reliant on one, and the pain never stops me from my daily activities.

I prefer to medicate with a strong Indica flower or concentrates because they kick in quickly with the cannabinoids my body needs to reduce inflammation. I love being able to get on with my days, relaxed, without wanting to sit down and bury my face from the pain.

Many people, friends and family included, warned me to stay away from cannabis for the sake of my “future,” but without it I truly felt I didn’t have a future. I’ve been an activist for safe access and full legalization ever since.

Had I not discovered this medicine, my lower back problems would probably be a lot more severe, since I now sit at a desk and computer all day for my job. Though I never medicate before work, my regular consumption of cannabis helps me feel better every single day. Many people, friends and family included, warned me to stay away from cannabis for the sake of my “future,” but without it I truly felt I didn’t have a future. I’ve been an activist for safe access and full legalization ever since.

Had I given up, I know I’d be a smaller and uninspired version of myself, likely in poor health. The plant has absolutely given me my life back.

Looking ahead, I appreciate cannabis on a different level now because I actually work in the industry and see myself having a long and successful career – one where I can help others in the community share their stories, and won’t have to worry about the stigma attached to my daily medicine. I’m so grateful for all the people I have met in this community who encouraged me to never give up my involvement with this plant. Had I given up, I know I’d be a smaller and uninspired version of myself, likely in poor health. The plant has absolutely given me my life back.

In closing I want to urge each of us to regard others with more compassion. Though someone may look “normal” on the outside, we never know what kind of pain or illness that person is experiencing on the inside. That’s why I advocate for all people to be able to access medical cannabis, regardless of their age or the perceived severity of their condition. We all deserve to be the best, most healthy version of ourselves that we can possibly be. That’s what Cannabis has helped me to achieve. And that’s what I want for others.

SOURCE: CANNAEFFECT.ORG