Jonathan Zaid never imagined that his chronic illness would set him on a path to leadership, helping Canadian patients gain access to affordable medicinal cannabis. But since becoming the founder and executive director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), in 2014, Zaid can’t imagine doing anything else.
Zaid’s journey to cannabis leadership began in his teens, when he began experiencing constant intense headaches.
Zaid’s journey to cannabis leadership began in his teens. At 14, Zaid began experiencing constant intense headaches and insomnia, which made focusing in school impossible. After being diagnosed with New Daily Persistent Headache, he visited a slew of doctors in an effort to find some relief.
“For five years, I tried more than 40 medications, different types of therapies, went to the leading neurology clinic in North America,” he says. “I found nothing helped.”
Through online research, Zaid learned of others with his ailment who had positive breakthroughs from using cannabis. When he tried it, he found immediate relief from pain, and his insomnia subsided. But Zaid would spend another year trying to find a doctor who would support and authorize his use of the drug.
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When he was finally able to legally take medicinal cannabis for his conditions, Zaid had other hoops to jump through. The federal government was changing their cannabis statute from the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) to the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). Zaid was on the right path to helping his condition, but that path was riddled with bureaucratic loopholes.
“I saw that affordability was crucial for patients, including myself, yet there were no organizations willing to speak about it at the time.”
“I finally found a physician but struggled