Those first hugs he gave his daughters told Lee he’d made the right decision.


“Everything I do is for my family and kids,” he remembers, “and it was the best feeling ever to be able to feel like I’d gained control over my life again.”


He’s referring to a life-changing moment with his wife and children on the day he began receiving from LeafLine Labs for debilitating back pain and muscle spasms. The situation was serious and years in the making, starting a decade earlier with a herniated disk and pinched nerve that left him unable to feel his legs. Surgeries produced scar tissue. He suffered more nerve damage and soon experienced opioid pain killers with their associated and dangerous side effects.


As time passed, Lee’s condition occasionally stabilized only to flare up again. As Lee entered his early 30s, the intense back pain and muscle spasms returned. He was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and at a medical appointment for testing, Lee got the news he absolutely did not want to hear. His doctor planned to prescribe opioid pain killers and a regimen of muscle relaxants.


Lee had a different idea. He knew about Minnesota’s program for medical cannabis and had followed it from a distance as a news item. Now, perhaps, it might be the very thing to try not only for pain management but also to provide relief from muscle spasms. He decided to mention it to his physician. He didn’t get the response he thought he would.


“I got dumped by my doctor,” Lee wryly observes. His doctor told him to find another care provider to work with. With renewed commitment, Lee did. And that led to LeafLine Labs, which developed a specialized care program focused on Lee’s needs.


“I was really nervous before taking the first dose of Heather,” Lee recalls. “I came home from the LeafLine care center in Eagan and told my wife, ‘Here’s the big moment.’ And you know what? Within 45 minutes, I went from having my back locked up in pain to being relaxed. No pain. No spasms.”


What’s the first thing he did? He picked up and held his daughters, who were one and two years old at the time. It had been nearly a year since he’d been able to do that. Lee freely admits a few tears were shed when his oldest daughter met his hug with, “Daddy!”


“I just felt relief. I felt normal,” he says. “I didn’t have the pain and muscle spasms that I’d been dealing with. The pain pills only masked it and made me feel kind of out of it and groggy with an upset stomach. It helped a little, but the benefits did not outweigh the side effects I was getting.”


More firsts followed. Lee notes with a laugh, “I was offering to do things I normally wouldn’t want to do. I’d say, ‘Let me do those dishes for you.’ I felt like a brand new person. I really did.”


Family walks and visits to nearby parks increased. Friends told him he was looking better. He even had the energy and confidence to go into business for himself. But for Lee, everything comes back to his wife and kids. “Car rides were one thing that had been a pain for me, just sitting there. It was something that would irritate me but no longer does. So now I’m looking forward to a family road trip, something we haven’t been able to do.”


Lee’s care program with LeafLine Labs includes Heather which is formulated withequal parts tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Clinically, THC can help control various symptoms including pain, nausea and vomiting. CBD can also treat pain and reduce inflammation and seizures. Heather is commonly used for muscle spasm disorders.


What’s next for Lee? “I just want my story to be heard,” he states. “I want other people to be inspired by it. If they’re going through a rough patch like I was and are going through the same kind of stuff, that’s a horrible feeling. I don’t want anyone to feel that.”