A D.C. teenager is embarking on a campaign to help make medical marijuana more accessible to people who need it from chronic pain.
18-year-old Miriam Berrada has been suffering from chronic pain syndrome since she was 12 years old.
"I had kidney stones and a herniated disc and issues with my stomach, and the pain kind of spread everywhere to my bones, my muscles and joints and everything,” she says.
Berrada’s parents also suffer from severe chronic pain.
Her father has a severe case of psoriatic arthritis and her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2012.
Berrada says prescribed drugs and therapy has helped her and her parents, but the side effects from the medicine have been devastating.
She researched medical marijuana and believes it's the right solution.
"A lot of people are using it, and it’s actually working for them,” Berrada says, "and they do not have the side effects that I had."
She now wants to raise awareness about the issue, so she organized an event with the U.S. Pain Foundation.
Ellen Lenox-Smith is with the group.
"What I want people to understand is a person living with pain using medical marijuana, the THC connects to the brain receptors and it gives pain relief," she says. "I am never stoned. I never get high. It doesn't work that way in a body at pain."
Lenox-Smith says a lifetime of pain led her to medical marijuana. She takes it in an oil form. Now she speaks out to help others.
"My whole reason for what I do now is just help someone else not have this difficult journey,” Lenox-Smith says.
She and Berrada hope their mission changes lives by helping people who suffer from chronic pain live a happier and pain-free life.
Right now in D.C., people with certain medical conditions can get medical marijuana, but it is not available for those who suffer from chronic pain.
Voters are expected to take up the issue in November.