“Medical cannabis saved my life,” says Nancy Partyka, a retired college psychology instructor in Frisco, Colo. For more than 20 years Partyka battled agonizing pain stemming from a car crash that injured her cervical spine. She tried physical therapy, steroid injections, acupuncture, exercise and meditation. She endured five spinal fusion surgeries and plenty of pills. “I was taking OxyContin, taking Aleve by the handful,” she recalls, but she was spiraling downward. “The narcotics suppress your appetite. You don’t eat right, you are constipated, you feel worse. The dominos keep falling.” Ultimately Partyka says she found relief in cannabis, which is legal in Colorado. Her preferred formula, taken in an edible form, combines the plant’s two main active chemicals in a ratio of eight parts cannabidiol (CBD) to one part tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). She also uses a topical spray that is equal parts CBD and THC. “I have a life again,” says Partyka, who is back to hiking and snowshoeing. “I’m not saying I’m 100 percent pain-free. But I’m off the opioids. I almost feel normal.”