Kyle Dijon Hill is a medical school student from Texas. She is currently attending the St. Martinus University School of Medicine in the Caribbean and wants to help patients fight opioid addiction with the help of cannabis. She knows how painful life on opiate medication is; she has been there.
After college Hill was on track to go to medical school. An ordinary day turned nearly tragic when she was in a severe car crash that resulted in her living in a hospital bed for over four months. Bones had been broken in her neck, her femur was broken, as were the majority of her ribs and her head was secured with a halo brace that further limited her mobility. Hill had multiple surgeries and was in tremendous pain. Doctors had her on a regular regimen of Dilaudid, a professional grade opiate for months.
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Hill went through difficult physical therapy, learning how to walk and move again through the pain. “Coming out of the hospital I was on Fentanyl patches, Oxycontin, Hydrocodone … the works. This is before I had any medical training. I just trusted my physician and took whatever he told me to take.” It resulted in her liver enzymes being out of whack, caused her emotional distress and severely diminished her quality of life. Said Hill:
“I went through all of the terrible withdrawals … the fevers, the convulsions. It’s just bad. And I had no idea. When you are in the hospital and your care is as intensive as that they don’t really have the time to give you the rundown about the medications they are putting you on.”
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Hill felt betrayed by the medical community she was about to train for years to join. She decided she needed to do something different. She took a radical departure to teach English and Science to students in South Korea. Among her students, was a doctor she tutored. The doctor specialized in naturopathic medicine which awakened Hill to the power of natural medicine. That is when she began reading up on available research about marijuana as a medicine. That is where her new passion began.
Hill came back to the states and connected with the Fight Opioid Addiction and Overdose with Medical Cannabis Project at La Clinica in Gardner, CO. While it is still in the development stage, the program plans to help patients exit opiate addiction with cannabis. Additionally, the program already has clout behind it. It will be supervised by Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a Diplomat Certified in Cannabis Medicine.
In the meantime, Hill has about three more years of clinical experience between her and her medical degree. The difference is that she entered med school reinspired and determined to make cannabis education part of her professional training. With a fresh vision and a personal story that helps her connect with patients, she will no doubt be an educator on a mission. As she says:
“When people start understanding the science behind it, how the endocannabinoid system works in your body and how cannabis influences that system then they can start to understand why cannabis works for many ailments.”