Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Daniel Shultz

Daniel (right), and older brother, Frederick, who passed away in June of 2011 at age 55 from complications of the same disease that Daniel has - Dystonia Musculorum Deformans


My name is Daniel Shultz and I am a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania. I support SB1182 and believe that patients should have access to cannabis plant material, tinctures, extracts and other preparations without limits to THC content, as described in the bill. I feel that this approach will allow for the largest number of patients to benefit from this God-given plant.

I inherited a form of a neuro-muscular disorder called Dystonia Musculorum Deformans, also called Torsion Dystonia. My oldest brother Fred also had this form of Dystonia and died a few years ago from its complications. The disorder, usually beginning in childhood or adolescence, is marked by muscular contractions that distort the spine, limbs, hips, and sometimes the cranial innervated muscles. The musculature is hypertonic when in action, hypotonic when at rest. Hereditary forms usually begin with involuntary posturing of the foot or hand or of the neck or trunk and may progress to produce contortions of the entire body.

Currently, there are no medications or treatments to prevent dystonia or slow its progression. There are several treatment options that can ease some of the symptoms of dystonia, including Botulinum injections, deep brain stimulation and medications. I've been prescribed and currently use artane (an antispasmodic) and tegretol (an anticonvulsant), which help to “maintain” my condition but not improve it. I've also had Botulinum injections, which provided no benefit. From the research I've done on cannabis related to how it helps people with dystonia, MS and other conditions that involve muscle tension and spasms, I believe it could help me more than my current treatment. My neurologist even stated that if cannabis would help me he would would not object to my use of it.

I am on Social Security disability and my activities are limited because of my disorder. I currently experience tremors and limited dexterity in my hands, pain, stiffness and tension in my neck muscles, my left leg is twisted outward which impacts my gate, muscle straining in my upper torso, and muscle spasms. My symptoms are getting worse with age. I believe that I should be able to have access to cannabis as a treatment option to help control my symptoms and improve my quality of life. The side effects of cannabis are more tolerable than those of the medications I'm now using, and it is essentially non-toxic, unlike my medications.

SB1182 needs to be passed as soon as possible to help me and countless other Pennsylvanians. 

As I get older my disease, or at least my symptoms, will get worse. Since writing the initial testimonial about a month ago my “nerves” have gotten worse, which more or less makes everything else worse. 

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