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Utah in the Weeds Episode #93 – Donna Froncillo is a Medical Cannabis Patient

What to Expect in This Episode

Episode 93 of Utah in the Weeds features Donna Froncillo, who uses Medical Cannabis to treat her cystic fibrosis.

We started this episode with a discussion of Donna’s diagnosis of cystic fibrosis at age 42. Before her diagnosis, she suffered from several other health conditions that left her feeling confused about their cause. [02:10]

After she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Donna started taking a large variety of medications. Within three years, she says, her doctors prescribed as many as 19 new medications for her. She says the meds interfered with her thoughts and moods, and she didn’t feel like herself. [06:27]

Donna’s life began to change when a friend from California encouraged her to try a cookie made with canna-butter.  The cookie relieved her pain and helped her sleep, so she decided to make cannabis part of her medical routine. Because she was on so many medications at the time, Donna checked herself into a mental hospital for help with weaning herself off most of her medications. She says she was able to stop using 13 of those 19 medications. [08:11]

Donna says she prefers indica varieties of cannabis in tincture form, which she makes herself using cannabis flower and olive oil. Donna also uses a vaporizer when she needs fast-acting relief from headaches. [16:08]

Donna also uses cannabis to reduce symptoms of stress, joint pain, colitis cramps, insomnia, and bone pain. [24:00]

Donna talked about her initial experimentation with cannabis medicine, and the products and delivery methods that work best for her. [29:42]

Tim asked Donna about the perception that cannabis can change a person’s self-identity. Donna says the real “her” disappeared when she was taking large amounts of prescription meds, and cannabis helped her feel like herself again. [34:41]

We wrapped up this episode with a quick discussion of Donna’s favorite products for treating cystic fibrosis. [40:54]

Podcast Transcript

Tim Pickett:
Welcome everybody out to Utah in the Weeds. This is episode 93. We are coming up on 100. Seven more episodes after this, stay tuned. Stay subscribed to Utah in the Weeds on any podcast player that you have access to. And you can listen to the podcast on Discover Marijuana, YouTube channel, which we are doing a YouTube giveaway this month, coming up on the final week of the giveaway. You need to be subscribed and comment on the most recent video to be entered into the contest. We’re giving away free visits to Utah Therapeutic Health center for cannabis related healthcare. Also a DaVinci IQ2. That is a $300 dry herb vaporizer, extremely well put together. Ceramic bowl, glass tube, the taste is better than any other vaporizer that I have tried, and some other swag items too giving away. Discover Marijuana on YouTube. Slam that subscribe button.

Tim Pickett:
Today’s interview and discussion is with Donna Froncillo. She is a Utahan now, she moved here and is a cystic fibrosis patient. She found cannabis, well, I’ll let her tell this story and how many medications she was on and how cannabis has affected her. What she has found works for her. Another really great conversation with somebody who is legitimately using cannabis as medicine in a way that makes sense, in my opinion. Otherwise, I really appreciate all of you. Appreciate you subscribing to the podcast, Utah in the Weeds. Again, my name is Tim Pickett. Enjoy this episode.

Tim Pickett:
So how did all of this process of cystic fibrosis kind of come about?

Donna Froncillo:
Okay, so 15 years ago I had a bout of pancreatitis and I ended up in the hospital for a month. Well, the doctors were kind of baffled about it because they didn’t know why. There was no reason for it. It just came about, I didn’t have a long history of drinking or doing any drugs or doing anything that would… My diet was pretty healthy, too. Not as healthy as it is today, but anyways, so I was in the hospital for a month. Well then the following year I got pneumonia and I couldn’t get rid of the pneumonia. It went on for 16 weeks and they kept giving me antibiotics and sending me home and giving me antibiotics. And then finally after 16 weeks the same hospital that I kept going to the ER, they said, well, why don’t we just keep you? And why don’t we do some testing because you’re not getting rid of this pneumonia that’s in the base of your lungs. So that’s what they did. They brought a lung doc. What is the lung doctor called? I don’t even know. Lung doctor?

Tim Pickett:
Lung. Yeah, lung doctor’s fine.

Donna Froncillo:
Okay.

Tim Pickett:
Pulmonologist is the word, pulmonologist is the word you’re looking for.

Donna Froncillo:
Pulmonologist. That’s the word. Yes, right. So they brought him and he said he was going to do a bronchoscopy. Well, when he went in there to discover what he did, he had to send that, which he said was the worst thing he’d ever seen, but he had to send that to the CDC to be tested, to see what was in there. And that’s when he came back and said, you have microbacterium abscessus and it came back.

Donna Froncillo:
And at the same time, I had asked him to diagnose me, to see if I had cystic fibrosis, because I did have a third cousin who had died from it. And he wasn’t going to because I was 42. And he said, we’ll do it based on family history. And sure enough, I had it and it was positive. And that was it. And then I was on three years of different medications to get rid of the microbacterium abscessus and an IV. I had the pick lines for a few months, along with some other oral antibiotics and yep. So I think there was a straight two plus years of oral antibiotics after the IV pick line. And they told me they did not think I was going to make it. They said, this is really bad. This is the worst thing you could have got. Worse. And I was like, “Whoa, I’m thinking I’m going to die.”

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, no kidding. And really cystic fibrosis is a lung, it has a lot of effect on the lungs. The pancreas is involved. So this kind of fit the whole picture all of a sudden.

Donna Froncillo:
It did every thing, everything. Everything from my sinus problems in my early twenties, to my infertility of not being able to have a child. IBS, getting diagnosed with IBS when I was in my upper twenties, my thyroid went nutso when I was in my early thirties. I was premenopausal at 35. I mean, there was some weird things going on in my life that I had. I was like, I didn’t know. I just was confused for years.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah, I bet. So how long ago were you diagnosed?

Donna Froncillo:
I believe this is 15th year. That would bring us back to what year? 2008?

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. 2008 would be 15 years from now or 2007.

Donna Froncillo:
I think it was 2008, because in ’07 is when I had pancreatitis. And I think in ’08 is when I had the pneumonia. And then that’s when I found out. And then I finally got Medicare approved in 2010.

Tim Pickett:
So what changed in your life once you were diagnosed and you kind of knew this was the case and you started to realize these symptoms came from a place of this chronic illness that you had.

Donna Froncillo:
Wow. What happened? A lot of strange happened. When I was put on these medications, I hadn’t been on many medications. I had just been introduced to Synthroid a couple years prior. And so I wasn’t really on medications. Well, what happened was I started getting side effects and I was on a new medication. Then I was on another medication. Then I was on another one. Before a three-year period, I ended up on 19 different new medications, 19. And I just started feeling like I just wasn’t me anymore. There was something wrong with me. I was thinking different thoughts. I was having these different moods. I was crying a lot. There were things that it just wasn’t my normal. And I was on something for going to sleep. I was something on for stress. I was something for fibromyalgia. Then they gave me something for stomach cramping. And then I was on a muscle relaxer. And then I was on, oh pain pills. And then I was on pain pills. They were giving me like seven of those a day.

Donna Froncillo:
And I was just like, it just seemed like I was getting worse and worse and worse. So that went on for about three years. And finally, and this is in Florida. I had this friend who had come from California and she said she wanted me to try a marijuana, she called it cannabis butter.

Tim Pickett:
Yes.

Donna Froncillo:
So she called it cannabis butter. And she said she wanted me to try a cookie. Well, I did. And I slept well that night. I ate, I wasn’t in any pain. I felt like I was normal me again. And I was like, whoa. And it was made of Girl Scout cookies. I’ll never, ever forget it was Girl Scout cookies. Because I remember asking her “What was the name of that thing you gave me?”

Donna Froncillo:
And so what I had realized was something was up with that medication. So then now I had a dilemma on my hands because now I had this new drug and with all these other drugs. So what I did is I did something that’s kind of not normal. I took myself to Tampa General Hospital and I asked them to admit me to the psych ward.

Donna Froncillo:
And I came with a laptop. I thought I was going to be in there for a week. Just a vacation. They’re going to help me out here. No, no, no. It was a different shock altogether when I got there. So anyway, laptop was not going with me. I couldn’t bring anything upstairs with me and they wanted to know why I was there. And I said, “Well,” I said, “I have to get off of all these drugs. And I know I need to do it, but I don’t want to do it by myself because what if I do this and something happens to me?”

Tim Pickett:
Right? I mean, you’re on 19.

Donna Froncillo:
I mean this is a lot of drugs.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You’re on more than 10 drugs. There’s all kinds of side effects from taking all the drugs. There’s bound to be side effects from coming off of them.

Donna Froncillo:
Right. Right. And I didn’t know what to expect. And so I thought the safest thing would be, is be under medical care. So I went, they admitted me. I saw the doctor the next day and he asked me what exactly I wanted to do. And I told him, I said, “I don’t need all these drugs.” I said, “I need my nebulizers. I need my Synthroid. I need the basics. But the rest of these, I don’t think I need these.” And he says, “Well, we’re going to have to stabilize you with something.” He said, just because this is a lot we’re going to wean you off of. And I said, “Okay”, so we agreed on Prozac. But then I did ask him about marijuana. I said, “I would really like to try marijuana.” And he gave me Marinol. Which didn’t work. It didn’t work. And that next morning I told him, I said, “That didn’t work. That wasn’t the same as the butter my friend gave me.”

Donna Froncillo:
So anyway, so I just went through my five days. It was a five-day thing. He did put me on Prozac. He wanted me to stay on that until further noticed, because keep the chemistry normal. So I got out of there. I was relieved. And that was so basically 12 years ago was when I started using it, which I know a lot of people find that hard to believe. They’re like, “Didn’t you use it? Weren’t you smoking it when you were a teenager, weren’t you out there?” And I was like, “No.” I grew up in a house where it was bad. And when you grow up learning that this is a terrible, terrible drug, don’t ever try it. It’ll turn your brains to mush. You’re going to kill your brain cells. So I had all this fear about it and yeah, so 12 years ago, so I wiped out of the 19, I would say, because of what I still have to do today, I would say 13 are gone.

Tim Pickett:
Wow.

Donna Froncillo:
So that was good. It was good.

Tim Pickett:
Do you feel like you got a little bit of your life back, a little bit of normalcy back?

Donna Froncillo:
Yes. And I tell people that and I’m like, I know that there’s a lot of people who don’t understand cannabis and there’s a stigmatism to it. There’s still people that I’ll approach and they’ll say, “Oh yeah, you just want to get high. It’s a good excuse to get high”. No matter what, you’re a stoner that’s it and I’m like you just don’t get it. You don’t understand that it’s more to it than just somebody who just wants to sit around getting high all day long.

Donna Froncillo:
Anyway so it seems like I’ve had to, really in order for people to understand it and they don’t. They don’t want to hear it or they don’t get it. But yeah, telling people that over and over and over is that cannabis gave me my life back. And in a sense, I owe that to God, because I believe that God put this here as a healing plant for us. And I’m not a person who can take a lot of medications because my pancreas now hates pill. It hates anything manmade. It hates processed. It’s the weirdest thing. It’s like my pancreas is dictating my whole life. And if my pancreas, if I take a regular pain pill, I get pain.

Tim Pickett:
Do you?

Donna Froncillo:
And I’m like so what good is that? I can’t do that. If I eat say, let’s say I decided to eat a donut, it wouldn’t be good. I’d be like. So I’ve had to change my diet. I’ve had to completely change my diet. I’ve had to completely change my lifestyle. I’ve had to add things into my life and I’ll tell you what, they’ve told me anything that ends with the word -itis I’ve been diagnosed with. Yeah. Arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, colitis, gingivitis at one time. Sinusitis. It goes on and on and on.

Tim Pickett:
You’re a bag of inflammation.

Donna Froncillo:
Right. And that’s what CF is. And see and that’s the big thing that I wanted to touch base with is that there’s something, and I don’t know the mechanism of the drug. I don’t know that end of science. All I do know is that it does conquer inflammation. And what causes inflammation? I mean, you got your joints, your stress, you’ve got foods that you eat, medications you take, sugar. There’s a lot of things that inflame the body. So it’s not just about, oh, I’m going to just take this cannabis here and I’m going to be fine. There’s more that comes along with that. Not only do you do the cannabis, but you may have to also cut back on the sugar or you might have to stop drinking the alcohol. So anyway, so I just want to hit some bases on this inflammation because inflammation is what triggers cystic fibrosis. And then we end up sick. So if you can control the inflammation, you can control the sickness.

Tim Pickett:
Yes.

Donna Froncillo:
And I don’t like to be sick. So I have a fight against. My fight is What’s the term I use? My fight is against inflammation or the itis. Yes, my fight against itis. Itis fight

Tim Pickett:
It’s like a foe, it’s like you’re going into the ring and you see this in a pretty complete picture too, because I think a lot of people don’t, or wouldn’t, see this as cannabis is one part of the solution. It’s not the whole thing. It gives you some options. What do you feel like cannabis does for you, for your day-to-day life?

Donna Froncillo:
Well, I’m an indica person. So basically, it keeps me balanced. So what I do is I think we discussed, this is what I do is I do tinctures and I do them about every four hours I’ll do one ML. And now I bought this one time because I told you I would try it. This was $80. But what I do is I tend to buy this. It is going to sound like not much, I buy this it’s 3.5 and then I take my own olive oil and I actually just cook it on the stove for like five hours. And then I make my own little oil.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You were showing me an eighth of flower, right, of trike flower here.

Donna Froncillo:
So this is 3.5 grams.

Tim Pickett:
Right. 3.5 grams of flower. And then you take that amount, you put it in some oil and you decarboxylate it, you make your own.

Donna Froncillo:
Yes. Yes.

Tim Pickett:
You make your own oil.

Donna Froncillo:
Right. And then I take this and I use this and-

Tim Pickett:
Little dropper.

Donna Froncillo:
And then it, yep. And it’s a 1.0. And I do that every four hours. And that keeps me balanced.

Tim Pickett:
Do you feel like that’s better medicine or do you feel like that’s cheaper for you? What makes you want to do it by yourself? Make your own oil?

Donna Froncillo:
Well, because honestly I can’t afford $80 a bottle. I cannot afford.

Tim Pickett:
So you feel like it’s a little bit cheaper to take your own flower, make your own oil, and then that’s going to give it a nice…

Donna Froncillo:
Well, it’s not going to be as strong. It’s going to be weaker. And I already know that it’s weaker and it is what it is. It works for me, but it works, but it also takes a long time. It could take up to two hours. So doing it every four hours keeps it going.

Tim Pickett:
Keeps you level.

Donna Froncillo:
That’s what I noticed. Right.

Tim Pickett:
And if it’s weaker and you’re doing it more, I really like this idea. I really like this idea, especially for you. This is good.

Donna Froncillo:
And it’s olive oil. So olive oil’s one of those things that I can actually digest because I’m limited with what I can digest anymore. So then I have the other one. Now this deal was a buy one, get one free.

Tim Pickett:
Okay.

Donna Froncillo:
So when it’s a buy one, get one free. I can do this. And it’s more economical for me. And it’ll last me a couple months. Now I also buy another indica, which is a stronger indica than this one. This one is during the day, the other one is going to knock me right out. That one is one ML. I take it and within an hour I’m out and it’s a 70/30 indica.

Tim Pickett:
Okay.

Donna Froncillo:
It’s pretty strong and it’s the same thing. So, but it was a buy one, get one free. And when you get that kind of a deal and you do it cost dollar for dollar, it works out pretty well. It keeps that-

Tim Pickett:
For sure.

Donna Froncillo:
Keeps it in the budget so I can afford it.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Well, okay. Side question. How bad does it smell up your house when you make the oil,

Donna Froncillo:
It’s a good smell up for about six hours.

Tim Pickett:
Then it kind of goes away?

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Your house smells like it.

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah. It’s about six hours. We’ve timed it.

Tim Pickett:
Have you? That’s funny.

Donna Froncillo:
We had to because there’s somebody in the house that really doesn’t want the smell in the house. They don’t really care for it. And so we have to make sure that person’s gone for at least six hours so that she doesn’t have to smell it.

Tim Pickett:
I see.

Donna Froncillo:
So anyway, but yeah. And then now, sometimes I still have to use my vaporizer, which yeah. I like the Davincis. I did go and look at them because I hear you talk. Yeah. I was hearing you talk about them. They look great. They’re great. But I bought something that was just a little bit, it’s cheaper and it’s faster. And last night I had the worst headache and it came on and I ignore it. I can’t take Tylenol. I can’t take ibuprofen and aspirin doesn’t even touch it. So I said, fine, I’ll vaporize. And I only need to vaporize it for like 10 minutes and then my headache’s gone and then I can go upstairs and I can go to sleep.

Tim Pickett:
That’s cool. Same strains you’re using in your oil, your indica strains. Which are nice. They can be really good for headaches for people. And I like that a lot. I think that’s a smart way to do it.

Donna Froncillo:
Well, I think that’s the medical way to do it, but then, okay. Let me see. So here’s I was going to tell you too, is that, so I had to get through a time period of actually believing that I wasn’t doing something that was wrong. And I had a hard time with my family. I come from a family of law enforcement, so they’re not into marijuana. I’m like that black sheep.

Tim Pickett:
So when you started to use this medically, were they still not into it?

Donna Froncillo:
No. That was the funny thing is they all mentioned how well they thought I was doing and you’re [crosstalk 00:22:06] Keep it up.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. You’re doing great. What are you doing? And you say, “Well, I’m using marijuana.” And they’re like, “Ah!”

Donna Froncillo:
Right.

Tim Pickett:
“How could you?”

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah. They’re all in New York state.

Tim Pickett:
Oh yeah. You know in New York they just adjusted their law. They have an open consumption law. Now they’re one of the only places in the country that you can smoke cannabis. You can smoke cannabis anywhere you can smoke cigarettes, out in the open. Yeah.

Donna Froncillo:
In New York, huh?

Tim Pickett:
One of the only places. They actually use more. I mean, trivia with Tim. Is they use more cannabis in New York City than any other city in the US. 77 metric tons of weed a year goes through that city. Yeah. Bigger than LA, San Francisco. All the California cities. Yeah. They use a ton of it there and now you can smoke it in public in New York. I got to go on vacation there just to see this, just to see it.

Donna Froncillo:
Well, I would too. See, because I’m from Buffalo. Buffalo, a whole nother place.

Tim Pickett:
Oh, I’m sure.

Donna Froncillo:
It’s not even anything like New York City. In fact, New York City would be weird to them. “Ugh. New York City’s weird!” Yeah. No and here’s the thing, this is what I’ve noticed now okay, even medications, here’s the thing is even medications that I was on that caused me severe joint pain and edema. I’m talking about the Levofloxacin family. The floxacins. Yeah. So what did I have to, when I called up my doctors during that time, I said, “What can I possibly take?” I didn’t even know what to take anymore. And they said, “Just get some edibles.”

Tim Pickett:
Oh, wow.

Donna Froncillo:
That was the CF center. So that was cool.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. That is cool.

Donna Froncillo:
So, but here’s the thing what I noticed that it helps me with. First off, it helps me with any stress situations, brings me right back down. My body stays calm. It’s all about keeping the body calm for CF. If you can keep your body calm, you won’t inflame your lungs. And if you can eat the right foods and get the right nutrition through the pancreas, without upsetting the pancreas, the pancreas will stay nice and calm too. But so what I’ve noticed is I’ve noticed appetite, because I have an issue with malnutrition. So I’ve lost a lot of weight and now the endocrinologist is actually doing some testing to see what exactly is happening. So sometimes I’ll have like no appetite, none. I’ll just be walking through the day. Like what do I want to eat? What do I want to eat? Anyway so I get an appetite, major appetite, especially with this one, this Who Dat Cush Orange or something it’s called. I’m like, “Who Dat orange? That stuff is making me eat all the time!”

Tim Pickett:
That’s great.

Donna Froncillo:
It is, if you want an appetite, get some Who Dat Orange. Anyway, whatever it’s Who Dat Orange Crush. All right. So appetite, joint pain, colitis, cramping. My headaches, when I get them. The insomnia, the stressful situations. Lung exasperations, when my bones start to hurt. When I get pancreatitis, when I get pancreatitis, the only thing I can do is vaporize. That’s it. There is nothing else in this world. I don’t even care. Morphine, oh, except for when I’m in the hospital and I get on an IV, they have to give me morphine because it’s an equivalent. That’s the level of pain. Yeah. It’s horrific. So anyway it helps with that.

Tim Pickett:
Pancreatitis can be really, really bad. My background’s in GI surgery and we would admit you, and that would be the general surgery service or something that would potentially admit you. And yeah, that was me. And we would just fill people up with IV fluids and anti-nausea pills and Dilaudid or morphine, or just the heavy-duty stuff, because we didn’t have access to cannabis. It’s horrible. But you make a really interesting, I believe cannabis to be one of the best medications for pancreatitis, you get the pain control, you get the nausea control, you get a little appetite. You don’t get the slow down in the GI system. I mean, it’s as if it was grown for pancreatitics like yourself.

Donna Froncillo:
I am in awe. There’s so many times that I’m in awe because it was something I avoided for so long in my life. And I met with a, I think it was a psychologist at one point, and we were touching base on the marijuana and where were we going with that? Well, first off he made a comment that he doesn’t believe that it would’ve affected me in this way if I had been a partaker of it in my youth. That it wouldn’t have worked as well, because I didn’t have a history with it.

Tim Pickett:
Do you believe that?

Donna Froncillo:
I don’t even know what to think, because I’m just saying to myself, I can’t believe that I was made to feel like this was such a criminal thing.

Tim Pickett:
I know I don’t-

Donna Froncillo:
And it’s not, it’s a good medical thing.

Tim Pickett:
Yes. It is. I agree.

Donna Froncillo:
So I don’t know.

Tim Pickett:
I don’t know if I buy that. I mean, I there’s something too that I guess if you were to use a ton of it when you were really young, screw up your endo cannabinoid system. Yeah, maybe. I think that’s a stretch a little bit. I guess I would say we don’t don’t really know, is the bottom line.

Donna Froncillo:
Well, the other thing too is they questioned me heavily about what it does to me. How it helps me escape. And I’m just like “Escape. Escape from what? I mean, I didn’t know. He said, “Well, people do it because they have some emotional pains they don’t want to deal with.” And I’m like, “No, no, no. See I’m in pain and I need something for pain and this is what I take. And there’s nothing to escape because reality’s going to be there. Reality’s always there. How can I escape it?” I can’t escape reality.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah cannabis does not make you escape reality. Does it?

Donna Froncillo:
That’s what they want to know. That’s what they asked me-

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. What do you want to escape? What do you, what do you?

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. No, I want to be in the present

Donna Froncillo:
Pain. I don’t want any pain.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah I don’t want to have pain, but I want to be here. I want to do stuff I want to do today. And I don’t want to feel like crap while I’m doing it.

Donna Froncillo:
Right. Right. And so when I’ve told people, then they’ll say, “Oh, well, well you’re you just want to get high?” Hmm. Okay. Well, first off I wake up high. I mean, I wake up and I’m happy to wake up. I’m like, if I take my little blinders off, because I wear a mask. I’ll take my mask off and I’ll see that it’s light out. And I’m like, “Yes!” So I get up and I’m all excited. I’m already like that. So I have to do indica. Now I have experimented because I had to start trying all these different strains and doing these different things because I was so new to it I didn’t know what I was doing. So I was trying some sativa and Ooh, that wasn’t for me. Because I was already excitable. I was already high. I already had so much serotonin. And I always said, I have an abundance of serotonin in me and serotonin and dopamine.

Donna Froncillo:
So it was too much. It was so much that it actually gave me the shakes and I was like, and that’s how I had to get to know what worked for me. So I go through this whole three year trial where I was trying this, trying that, vaping this, eating that, rubbing this on, doing this patch. I mean I did everything and sometimes I wanted to see if I could do what other people said they could do, which was, they said they would get a head high and they called it headband.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah.

Donna Froncillo:
And I’ve tried and I can’t get there for some reason. I can’t get high in my head like people describe. And it’s always baffled me.

Tim Pickett:
That’s very interesting. You’re not the first person

Donna Froncillo:
Is it not get-

Tim Pickett:
No, you’re not the first person I’ve ever met that has said that. Most people build up a lot of tolerance in order to do that. But there is something about the blood brain barrier that’s not getting crossed maybe by the THC and who knows. And maybe it’s just like when somebody describes this to me, I compare it to Adderall or Ritalin. So for an ADHD person, you have all of this neuromodulation that’s going up and down and up and down and up and down. And so Adderall will raise all of the signaling up and it levels it out for people. And for people with severe ADD or ADHD that actually makes them feel more calm. And it actually kind of lowers their sensation of things and for you, but for somebody else who doesn’t have ADD, or that they can take Adderall and it’s very stimulating to them, their wide awake, they think. They describe the contrast as more.

Tim Pickett:
And so I wondered if it would be the same type of thing. You are using THC and it’s actually just becoming a modulator, right? So you’re not feeling that head high sensation because almost like you need it, you need it to modulate you, it finds your balance. It makes you balanced. You describe that in the beginning. You take an indica and now you feel like, “Oh, I’m me.”

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah. But even if I take more and more and more, even if I took? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter. It just doesn’t, it never mattered. It’s never mattered. The only thing that I noticed was if it’s more of a sativa strain and say I get a 50/50, the only thing that’s going to happen is I’m going to laugh a lot. I’m just going to be laughing and laughing and laughing. And that’s only if it’s more of a sativa. And so that’s the side effect. And one time I remember my father telling me, he said, because he knew about the marijuana because at that time I was making cookies. And he said, “If this is the only side effect that you are getting is you’re getting the laughs and you’re laughing like this and you’re happy”, he said, “Then it’s okay. It’s okay.” And it took a lot for my father to say that because of him being in law enforcement. Because I know he’s still anti-marijuana but he did tell me that. And that made me feel like at that time that was his blessing. You know what I’m saying? I’m giving you my blessing. Just don’t ever drive under the influence.

Donna Froncillo:
And he’s made that clear because he was a recovering alcoholic. He hasn’t drank in like 55 years. No like 52 years. And so he’s always told me that. Whatever you do, do not eat your cookies and put anything on social media and do not eat your cookies and do not drive when you eat your cookies.

Tim Pickett:
This is good fatherly advice. This is very good fatherly advice.

Donna Froncillo:
So every time I do have something to say and I did medicate. I’m like, Hm, I better not get on Facebook. I’ll just stay off.

Tim Pickett:
I’ll just wait on this one. We’ll wait on this one just a little bit. That’s good.

Donna Froncillo:
Just in case, because I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like I’m saying anything wrong or anything, but I have that little voice in me telling me be careful.

Tim Pickett:
So you don’t ever feel like you’re really, people are very scared when they start cannabis or when they’re exploring cannabis that it’s going to change who they are when they use it. Do you feel like it, I don’t feel like that, but to you, Donna, do you feel like this changes who you are at all in a negative way?

Donna Froncillo:
No. No. I never even thought about it changing me. No, when I went into it and I decided to do it, I just wanted to have myself back because myself was gone after all those pills and all those drugs being pumped through me and all that was going on. I was gone. Me, the real me, and I just wanted me back. And so even through prayer. I’ve prayed. I pray a lot for every answer I want. And I always get led to holistic approaches. Like right now I’m studying iridology and foot reflexology. And I also have a lot of data that I’ve been collecting on foods and healings of foods and herbs. I’ve got a collection of herbs now that I’m going to make my own tinctures. And I keep being led into the direction of holistic approaches.

Tim Pickett:
That’s really cool.

Donna Froncillo:
But I’ve never, I’ve always just wanted to maintain who I was and this is who I am and I didn’t want to lose that. And that’s what I felt I was losing through pharma.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah.

Donna Froncillo:
I was losing me and I wasn’t me. And yeah, it was really weird. It was a very strange time in my life. And if it wasn’t for, there was a doctor in Tampa Bay and my doctor sat me down after this three-year period of me being on all these different medications and he sat me down and he said, “I don’t know what to think. What’s going on right now.” And he said, “I’m concerned about you.” And he said, “I’m concerned about how many pills you’re on now.” He said, “I’ve been your doctor all these years. And you were only on two medications.” He said, “And I want you to really think about what’s going on right now because you’re on a lot of medications”, and if it wasn’t for him, bless his heart because he’s a normal PCP, for him to do that, he really made me stop and think, what’s wrong? What’s going on with me? And so he ultimately led me to get my life saved. So yeah. Yep.

Tim Pickett:
Thanks for sharing that.

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah. And he wasn’t in the cystic fibrosis community and see, that was the other thing too, is with the CF doctors, they’re normally lung doctors.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah.

Donna Froncillo:
So what happens when you go, they start treating your lung issues, but they can’t help you with your pancreas, with your kidneys, with your bladder, with your GI. So they send you to all these other doctors, they send you here and they send you there and then they send you to pain management and then they send you this. So I had about nine doctors that I was seeing on a monthly basis for years. And I would bring my sheet of paper in. I kept an Excel spreadsheet of all these drugs I was on and I would bring it in to each and every doctor down there in Florida. And I would say, okay, I say, “These are all the drugs I’m on. This is what I’m experiencing.” “Oh, okay. Well we’re going to go ahead and give you some Lyrica because this is all, sounds like this is a lot of fibromyalgia related, so Lyrica should do it.” Then they would just put another pill on me and then I would specifically ask them, “Well, are these pills okay with that one?” “Oh yeah, those are all fine.”

Tim Pickett:
Yeah.

Donna Froncillo:
But they really, really weren’t. And none of them said anything bad. They all said moderate indicator moderate, mild. But I knew in my brain that something was happening.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Well, I’m so glad that you found yourself again, through this whole experience.

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
And now you’re able to really be an advocate for cannabis as a real medicine with your own experience. I really appreciate you coming on and talking about it. It’s been really great.

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah. And especially for the CF people, because the cystic fibrosis community, they think smoking, that’s what they’re always thinking. Smoking, smoking, smoking. I was very fortunate to be under UCSF and Stanford and UCSF and Stanford and California both do recommend edibles or tinctures or patches. They never, ever recommended smoking but at least they were open-minded enough to say, we can put this on, some of our patients can be on this. But there is a lot of people that don’t understand in the cystic fibrosis community that have children or have teenagers or have 20 something year olds that it’s not about them trying to seek a high.

Donna Froncillo:
I’m a mother. I have a 30 year old and I understand where they’re coming from, but they’re also hearing from a mother that’s telling them that this is a medication that can help with their inflammation and they don’t have to be in the hospital every other month or three or four times a year. It doesn’t have to be like that. And they don’t have to get down to 85 pounds. There’s something that might help. Cannabis.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate you saying that. And do you have, so your favorite strain in Utah, is it the Who Dat Orange Crush?

Donna Froncillo:
That one’s really good for daytime indica use, but the other one I have is it’s just a normal cush, something. Sorbet. That’s a good one for sleep. That’s the one that knocks me right out. So, so far I’d say that those are probably my favorites so far. And then of course this tincture, this it’s called myrcene Terpineol.

Tim Pickett:
Myrcene Terpineol is a Boojum tincture. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah. And this really knocked me out.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. It’s strong.

Donna Froncillo:
Yeah.

Tim Pickett:
That stuff, it is really strong.

Donna Froncillo:
You’ll need a half a drop of that and you’re out. And so I don’t know if I could ever make mine that strong, I doubt it. And that was what I’m doing.

Tim Pickett:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m glad that you came on and told your story. Donna, this has been really fun. It’s very fun to listen to you and your experience in getting off these medications.

Donna Froncillo:
Well, thank you for having me.

Tim Pickett:
You bet, for any of you who are listening Utah in the Weeds podcast, subscribe on any podcast player that you have access to Donna Froncillo, thanks for being with us today. And everybody stay safe out there.

By UtahMarijuana.org
Published March 28, 2022
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