51% Show # 1151

Albany, NY – It's hard to imagine being happy when you're sick - particularly when you've been sick for a long time. But that's what author Toni Bernhard proposes in her book "How to Be Sick." Dr. Sharon Ufberg, our wellness correspondent from California's Napa Valley, spoke with her about how Buddhist philosophy and acceptance can make being sick, or being the caretaker of someone who is sick, just a small part of your life story.

8:37 Toni Bernhard Ufberg

The book is "How to Be Sick." The author is Toni Bernhard.

Dr. Sharon Ufberg is an integrative health care journalist. She hosts a regular wellness feature on KVON/KVYN the Vine in Napa Valley. She writes for the Huffington Post and Womens eNews and she contributes regular Alive and Kicking features for us here on 51%. Find out more at drsharonufberg.com

New Jersey approved a highly limited and regulated medical marijuana program last month. That, after federal officials sent a clear signal that even though that's illegal under federal law, limited state programs would not be a top focus of federal law enforcement.

California, in contrast, has a more free wheeling medical marijuana program. Yet even there, a recent study showed that more than 70 percent of those participating say they use the marijuana to reduce chronic pain. And 51 percent said using marijuana allowed them to discontinue other prescription medications.

But opponents say medical marijuana opens the door to crime and drug abuse. And the federal government isn't taking a hands off approach. In Montana, federal agents recently ended an 18 month investigation with raids across the state. Emilie Ritter has the story.

2:30 Med marijuana PRX

That story comes to us from Montana Public Radio.

Now let's go behind the scenes at a California grow house.
Producer Evan Roberts introduces us to Kaya - she works in San Francisco trimming medical marijuana plants.

1:53 Kaya PRX

This profile is part of a series called SF Works, profiling San Franciscans with unconventional jobs.

But medical marijuana is credited with a multitude of useful effects for people with cancer - relieving nausea after chemotherapy, relieving chronic pain, restoring appetite. And although there's still no definitive agreement, many people with chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis say it helps them, too.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society there are about 400,000 people living with MS in the United States, it's hard to be sure - there may be more. MS can be an invisible disease and symptoms can go undiagnosed for a long time. MS has no cure, but there are seven FDA approved medicines designed to slow its progression. Andrew Hiller looks at a day in the life of two people living with this invisible disease.

6:23 MS PRX

Want to learn more? Go to nationalmssociety.org