In 2010, Boone Cutler was taking 30 milligrams of morphine, 70 milligrams of oxycodone and other opioids each day. He regularly went three to four days without sleep. The Army veteran had survived a blast injury while deployed in Sadr City, Iraq, and has since endured seven knee surgeries, five shoulder surgeries and back surgery. He also suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.
“I did my time,” Cutler says. “I’ve been beat up a few times.”
That year, however, Cutler abandoned his treatment through the Veterans Affairs Department and checked himself into a psychiatric ward at a private hospital, where he quit his prescribed cocktail of opioid painkillers cold turkey. Upon leaving the hospital, a coworker convinced him to try something new for his physical and psychological symptoms: marijuana. He was reluctant, telling his colleague, “I’m not one of those pot heads.”
The more he thought about it, the more he realized he had nothing left to lose: “I tried everything,” he says. “Nothing worked.”
But after trying cannabis, Cutler experienced something for the first time since he returned from Iraq: He