Angel McClary Raich has been permanently disabled since September 1995. Angel was one of 14 “medical necessity” patients that the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative was fighting for in the United States Supreme Court in 2001. Angel is a mother of two teenage children. Angel’s children know more than anyone how medical cannabis brought their mommy back to them. According to Angel, “The hardest part of being disabled is watching the suffering in your children’s eyes as they watch you endure such suffering with no end in sight.”
In late 1997, Angel’s doctor felt cannabis would be an effective medication to treat her many complicated and complex medical conditions. Angel was in a wheelchair from January 1996 to August 1999. Cannabis was responsible for getting her out of her wheelchair and restoring her mobility on the whole right side of her body. “For years I felt as if I was suffering in Hell. What I had to endure was unbelievable and indescribable torture. I will not go back to Hell for anyone or anything.”
Angel suffers greatly from severe chronic pain every single day. The prolonged pain and suffering from her medical conditions significantly interfere with her quality of life. Angel’s treatment is complicated by the fact that she is violently allergic and she has severe multiple chemical sensitivities to almost all pharmaceutical medicines. This interferes with the treatment of all of her medical conditions, and it means her suffering cannot be controlled by synthetic medications. This makes it extremely difficult for her doctors effectively to help Angel combat her diseases. “Without cannabis my life would be a death sentence.”
Angel’s primary care physician, Frank Lucido, M.D. states, “Angel has no reasonable legal alternative to cannabis for the effective treatment or alleviation of her medical conditions or symptoms associated with the medical conditions because she has tried essentially all other legal alternatives to cannabis and the alternatives have been ineffective or result in intolerable side effects. Angel will suffer imminent harm without access to cannabis. Angel needs to medicate every two waking hours. After a certain number of medications have been tried, it would be malpractice to subject the patient to further unnecessary harm.” Angel’s medical records show she runs a very real risk of malnutrition and starvation without the use of medical cannabis.