Bogs from Cannplayground met up with an incredible guy who swears that using marijuana medically has changed his life. Meet Andrew Yanishesk, a 21-year-old born in Memphis, Tennessee.
No, that isn’t a selfie of Andrew stoned, he’s just happy to have found something to help with his Tourette’s, OCD and Anxiety condition. Andrew has been living in Chicago, Illinois, for the past three years. He has been with his boyfriend Carlos (seen below) for one year.
Andrew wasn’t always a happy handsome guy. At the age of three, Andrew was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome. A medical condition that can leave people depressed and stressed. Andrews family was very supportive of him but he was teased throughout grade school and private school.
Andrew later convinced his parents that he did not want to further his education at the private school, due to bullying.
Andrews parents recognize what it feels like to be oppressed, having Immigrated from Ukraine to the U.S in 1991. They arrived as political refugees before the collapse of the Soviet Union; with only $200 in a suitcase. Victims of state-sponsored anti-semitism, they wanted a better life for their family.
We’re pleased to say, his mother is now a doctor, and his dad is a Director at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Happy family, yet his parents weren’t always sympathetic to his marijuana use. After seeing the medical benefits marijuana provided, they changed their viewpoint.
He began utilizing cannabis after his doctor suggested it would help him cope with his debilitating symptoms. Since then, both his family and friends state that his life has noticeably improved with cannabis.
Andrew attended DePaul University, studying political science ( a funny story we will dive into). His current interest is to seek the path of a budtender. Let us get into Andrews journey using medical marijuana to help with his medical condition.
Interview with Andrew, Guy Who Uses Cannabis to Heal
CANNAPLAYGROUND: When is the first time you used cannabis, Andrew?
Andrew Yanishesk: “I was in high school. I was 14. Yeah, just with one of my friends. I just had some weed, and we smoked.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: What was your first experience of smoking cannabis?
“I got dangerously high. It was like a movie cause my friend gave me a cookie.
“He didn’t tell me not to eat the whole thing, but I ate the entire thing. While I was waiting for it to kick in, we smoked a couple of joints. It was my first time. We were outside. There’s a park in our neighborhood around nature and stuff, and then it all hits me, and I fall”.
“I go to the ground (bam). And I’m like, ‘brother; I’m so high right now.’ I was freaking out.”
I had to drink some water, and I was fine.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: So, you do use cannabis medically or recreationally?
“Medically, but I do use it recreationally in a social setting since it helps with my ticks.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Can you explain to the public what Tourette’s syndrome is?
“So, Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder, and it basically will make the person with Tourette’s have different twitches to their motor and verbal skills. Tourette’s is often associated with people saying profanities without being able to control it. Which is pretty rare but usually it just consists of blinking and different twitches here and there. It also comes with a lot of other stuff. So, everyone would also have ADHD, as well as what’s called depression anxiety.
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Can you give an example?
“So, if my ticks are being bad like I have a lot of twitches and stuff, then I might start to feel anxious or depressed — the symptoms kind of feed into each other. If I’m feeling anxious, I could become depressed, and then my ticks will get worse. It’s just a cycle.
CANNAPLAYGROUND: And the OCD?
“It is also common that everyone with Tourette’s also has OCD as well, but that’s pretty much it. It’s common. It’s a genetic disorder. I mean, it’s always hereditary, so I get it from my dad who has Tourette’s. There needs to be some more research.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Do you take anything else to help with your symptoms?
“I’m on a lot of medication for just all the stuff that comes with my Tourette’s. I was taking antipsychotic medication, which is typically the number one treatment for people with Tourette’s. Antipsychotics can have some very unwanted side effects. So, I just stopped taking antipsychotics for the first time in my life about three months ago. I stopped because cannabis has been so helpful that I’m finally able to start taking less medication.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: What does it feel like knowing cannabis helps with your symptoms?
“In a lot of ways, so like I said, Tourette’s isn’t just the ticks there’s also the ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression. It helps with the muscle spasms because it’ll give me that relaxing body high and calms my mind, you know, racing thoughts and whatnot.
CANNAPLAYGROUND: What strain do you prefer for your medical condition?
I noticed that Sativas and hybrids tend to help my ADHD and just my general anxiety throughout the day. I’m able to use it day and night. I’ll usually wake up and smoke to get my day started and get that symptom relief for a few hours. Often, I retake it in the afternoon with the Sativa or hybrid. Then in the evening, once I’m done doing everything I need to do, I medicate with an Indica, which helps my Tourette’s for the next 24 hours or so until I medicate again.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Do you take cannabis for any other conditions?
“I also have a tough time sleeping, so I take Klonopin, which is similar to Xanax for my sleep and anxiety, but it’s taken so many years to figure out how to give me a good night’s sleep to just maybe like a year ago, year and a half. It’s the Klonopin and concentrate (hash oil), and that’s the only thing that will help me get a good night’s rest.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Have you ever tried any CBD oil?
“CBD hasn’t been beneficial to any of my symptoms, to be honest. I feel that high THC typically works for my specific symptoms. I know CBD can be beneficial for other debilitating medical conditions.”
What’s the Best Weed For Tourettes, OCD, and Anxiety
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Do you feel like there are any adverse side effects for your cannabis use?
“If I have things to do, then yeah, it’ll affect my ability to function sometimes if I’m smoking Indica. However, smoking a Sativa or a hybrid, I’m usually able to function completely, which is why I smoke a Sativa during the day as opposed to an Indica.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: What strain do you recommend for those wanting to take cannabis in the daytime and still have weed and it’s health benefits?
“Sativa also gets my creativity going. It keeps my appetite going throughout the day. I use it before I go workout or if I’m going to go to a social outing, it will make me more comfortable. I’ll usually bring a vape or like a vape cartridges because it’s discreet.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: How do you typically ingest cannabis?
“I will smoke flower out of a bong or smoke a joint throughout the day. That’s just my main method of consumption. I rarely use edibles; except I do use Rick Simpson oil from time to time if I’m having difficulty sleeping.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: What’s Rick Symptom Oil?
“It’s like highly concentrated THC. It’s a thick, almost tar-colored, liquid almost like a dab. You can take it sublingually, or eat it like an edible. When you do a sublingual, it usually will kick in in 15 minutes. It will dissolve and get into the bloodstream quickly.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: How much do you typically spend a month from your dispensary?
“I typically buy about a half ounce—three-quarters of an ounce of flower, 3-4 grams of concentrate. So about $200-300 a month.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Where did you buy your flower before a dispensary
“When I moved to Chicago, I went to DePaul. I was buying from a dealer who was selling cannabis. He was a student as well, and that was around 2015. His prices were typical $40 for an eighth. And he always had good stuff, I remember. I got Pineapple Express from him one time.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Did you sing the pineapple pen song after? ‘Just joking.’ Now, do you think you know where it was coming from, the weed supply? Did you ever feel scared buying from the black market?
“I never felt scared in Chicago because my dealer was my age and a nice guy. But living in Memphis, buying weed from the black market is very scary, you know, the hazardous part of Memphis, and it’s very sketchy. I was a 19-year-old Caucasian kid, like going there was intimidating.”
The Changing Tide Of Weed
CANNAPLAYGROUND: How do you feel about buying from a dispensary as opposed to the other method?
“I mean, it feels like Christmas shopping because there are so many options. I don’t know what to choose half the time. It feels like a much safer environment. All dispensaries have a security guard, and dispensary staff tends to be very nice and helpful. The menus at dispensaries tend to be organized, which is very helpful. I feel like I’m just shopping for anything else.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Was it hard to get your medical card in Illinois?
“When I moved to Chicago, my doctor recommended using cannabis, so I did some research. You know, I’ve been smoking cannabis, so I figured, I might as well buy it legally as opposed to buying it off the black market. I got an ID card which took maybe three months. I got it in January of 2016. I’ve been a patient since then.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Have you ever been arrested before getting your medical marijuana card?
“It’s a funny story. So, I got arrested for trying to smoke. I was in my dorm room. (This was seriously my third day in Chicago). I made a friend, Gabe. He came to my dorm. I had what’s called a Magic Flight Launch Box, one of those wooden vapes for flower. So, I’m packing the vape, and I didn’t even lite anything up yet. So, the RA comes in, knocks on my door, and I opened the door. You know, I had to hide the weed and stuff. She says, ‘the police are on their way, we smell marijuana.”
“Another RA comes, and one of the security officers. They’re like making such a big deal out of it. I hadn’t even smoked. I’m there with Gabe. Another RA comes in, sits down with me. So, she says, ‘don’t worry; the police are on their way, you’re going to jail.’
“She’s trying to calm me down. So, the only reason I went to jail is that I was on campus. And my college, like most colleges, gets federal funding. So, if I were just down the street off campus, I’d have been excellent. “
The Consequences of Being Arrested for Weed
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Were you afraid of the consequences? What happened next?
“I committed a misdemeanor offense, you know, so the police come. These two police officers arrive, and they’re fucking assholes. So, this cop, you know, he comes in, and he wants to go through my possessions.”
“This chest I had was locked. I had like weed stuff in there. Maybe it was like an eighth or something. These cops are looking under my mattress and everything”.
“I’m getting treated like I’m some criminal. So, they handcuffed me and kind of rough me up a little.
“The cops pushed me and wouldn’t let me walk on my own. They handcuffed me and walked me out of the dorm. They took me to the police station; handcuffed me to the table. I was just an 18-year-old kid”.
“Yeah. So, I go to an interrogation room, and there’s no door. The cops are sitting at a little desk filling out paperwork. I’m just sitting their handcuff for maybe like three hours while they’re just filling out their report and asking me questions for their story. They’re making fun of me like ‘you are a fucking idiot, you got arrested for weed,’ just taunting me and whatever. Then they finally take me to the back, get my fingerprints, take my mug shot, and put me in a white prison cell by myself.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Wow, that was kind of funny yet messed up. How long were you in there?
“Probably got there at like 7 pm and I got out of there at four in the morning.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: What was the outcome?
“They end up letting me go and gave me the subpoena to go to court. I paid $1,000 for a lawyer. I walk up to the bench and have the judge look at my case for five seconds and say ‘dismissed, get out of here.’
“So, I wasted some time in jail. I just went with it. I’m like, ‘Hey, did you hear about that a guy that got arrested for weed?’ Everyone’s like, ‘yeah, that was me.’”
Illinois Legalizing Medical Weed
CANNAPLAYGROUND: How do you feel about the decriminalization in Illinois?
“It’s great! I mean, why should a kid spend the night in jail for a little bit of weed?”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Do you know anyone else arrested for weed?
“However weed was still illegal when I was living in Memphis. I had multiple friends that have gone to jail for the two weeks for less than half a gram of pot or a joint. It doesn’t make any sense to me. If cops catch you selling weed, then you’re going to prison.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: How informed do you feel about marijuana laws in Illinois on a scale of 1-10, ten being the most educated?
“I would say nine. I feel like the public doesn’t know much of what’s going on at all. Improvement in advertisement and more researching. I think without more research; people are not going to have faith in the industry.”
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Do you have anything you want to say to the public about weed and it’s health benefits?
CANNAPLAYGROUND: Andrew, thank you for your time.
I stayed for dinner and met his boyfriend after the interview was over. We talked about how I can help him make a portfolio to raise his chances of finding a job as a budtender in Illinois.
Thanks for letting me share your story, Andrew!