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Richard Becker, medical-marijuana patient

“The chiropractor said there was nothing that could be done,” Becker says. “And he was right — it was up to me.” Becker began a regimen of medical marijuana, physical activity and alternative treatments. The combo worked. He now stands 3 inches taller, walks without an aid and grabs things he couldn’t reach before.

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“People who haven’t seen me in five or six years don’t believe the difference,” he says. Cannabis, and cannabis dispensaries, played a pivotal role in his healing. By taking marijuana before yoga classes, he’s reduced his pain, and thus has been able to try new poses and hold poses longer. He’s also practiced tai gong (related to tai chi), along with receiving acupressure, massage and sound therapy. All his classes and treatments have been free through cannabis collectives he’s joined, including A Therapeutic Alternative and River City Phoenix. “You never hear about this [supplemental benefit] on TV and the news,” Becker says. “All you see is people buying a little pinch of cannabis.” Becker, who retired in 2001 after four decades as a machinist for the city of Sacramento, sees his chiropractor every three weeks. “He’s still totally amazed,” Becker says. “He says, ‘Keep doing whatever you’re doing; it’s great!’ “I’m so thankful,” he continues. “I was going downhill so fast. It’s unbelieveable, the life change.”

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or a man turning 74, Richard Becker is active. He tends a botanical garden called Tropical Wilton, comprising just 4 of the 17 acres on his property. He also practices yoga, attending three classes a week. It’s a far cry from how he was seven years ago, when he was diagnosed with a degenerative disc condition in his back. He couldn’t straighten up, so he walked hunched over, with a cane, and couldn’t reach objects above his head.

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