A Toronto subway train operator says she’s been forced off medicinal cannabis by the TTC and back on opioids, even though her doctor thinks cannabis is the best treatment for her chronic pain.
Ellaine Farrell, 59, who has suffered from two herniated discs in her lower back and fibromyalgia, says the TTC offered her other non-safety sensitive positions if she wanted to stay on medicinal cannabis, but they came with a big pay cut.
“I feel betrayed by my company,” Farrell, a 26-year TTC employee, told CBC Toronto.
“Especially when there’s people making decisions on my life and they have never ever seen me face-to-face,” she said.
“Even their doctor, who’s supposed to be doing all their decisions, has never seen me face-to-face and they’re going against my doctors? They’re going against a specialist? Really, honestly, it’s so wrong.
Farrell has been forced back on opioids, including percocets and oxycodone. Her doctor said these medications are less effective for her and Farrell says they cause her to be groggy, forgetful, and feel like a “zombie.”.
If she wants to continue operating a subway train, she must not take the opioid medications within eight hours of starting her shift, the TTC told her.
In April 2017, she first started seeing physician Dr. Michael Verbora, who prescribed her CBD oil, a derivative of cannabis, for pain and inflammation. She informed the TTC and at first they allowed it, although they restricted her from taking it close to her shift.
“After three days I could not believe the difference, I was just like, ‘Wow, this is a miracle,'” said Farrell.