Medicating With Cannabis

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MizzASG

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Ever since my trauma, I have found it very helpful to have some cannabis to help manage my physical pain, anxieties, eating, and sleeping habits. It's not a save-all remedy that replaces any kind of other medication, but in conjunction with other medications, I have found the therapeutic value very helpful in tolerating pharmaceuticals.
My therapist and family doctor have both asked about my cannabis consumption habits. I told them how much and how often I self medicate with it. Strangely enough, they are showing no concerns about my use and self medication. I don't really have a problem with that, but I just find it strange because society always says how "bad and evil" this plant has been. I am just a little taken a back by my doctors leniency on my use of an "illicit street drug" (not that I get it off the streets, but it is still illegal).
I personally don't think my use is getting in the way of anything, and the side effects help reduce the other side effects of my other medications that I regularly take to help manage my PTSD and major depression symptoms. (what a vicious cycle, eh?) It makes everything (including life) MUCH more tolerable, and easier to handle since I am not always "on edge" and pissed off at the world. I thank the Creator everyday for allowing us to cultivate and use this plant to it's greatest medical potential.

Anyways, the point of this post is that I just wanted to share my experience with cannabis and how it has been helping me on my path to healing. There is so much negative connotation to cannabis use out there, I just thought my experience could lessen the negative burdens that this beautiful herb faces when being used by those who can truly benefit from it's fruits.
 

Jimmy

Confident
MizzASG,

I was once a chronic abuser of marijuana. It did not start that way though. I started out using a little bit here and there and it ended up costing me a fortune, a lot of my friends, and also nearly cost me custody of my son.

It is illegal here in Australia too, and six months ago I would have tried to justify to anyone, that it helped me deal with the symptoms I experienced from PTSD, and that I could reduce any other medication prescribed to me. My problem was that I could not just use it casually and ended up using it first thing in the morning, all day, and right up until I went to bed.
It helped me sleep, it helped with my appetite, and reduced my stress, anxiety, and depression.

However, unbeknown to me there were hidden side effects I was not aware of, and a lot of medical practitioners are not aware of as they have no information available to them, as it is illegal.

Don't get me wrong, in some countries (where it is legal), there has been a lot of research conducted and they have been able to extract the beneficial chemicals. You can even buy genetic strains that target depression, chronic pain, and even aid people with MS. But these have been grown and genetically modified for this purpose. However, the majority of countries around the world where it is illegal, the marijuana you purchase ends up being like a lucky dip, you just do not know what you are going to get.

After having my last joint 18 weeks ago, it has been nothing but an uphill battle for me. Not only did I have to go through the withdrawal symptoms, I also found that my body no longer responded to a lot of other medications, such as antibiotics, antidepressants, and a lot of the standard pain relief medication. To give you an example, when I first gave up, my MD prescribed some valium to calm me. 10 mg did not even have the slightest effect. This was because the chemicals in marijuana build up extra pain receptors and also make your body resist other medications, such as antibiotics, and antidepressants. I still struggle today.

I did manage to kick the habit though and still have my son living with me today, that was my greatest achievement.

I will say this though, in the future I hope they do find a way to harvest some of the medicinal benefits of this natural herb as it would by far kick the arse of many of the analgesics that they prescribe today, but until that time I am going to stay away.

Hope this post of mine gives you some more insight and another point of view. I will probably get an editorial message due to paragraphing or something, but it is late here and I am tired.


Jimmy
 

MizzASG

Confident
Thanks for your point of view Jimmy. I really do appreciate you taking the time to share your story. I am sorry to hear, however, that your path to healing has not been very easy. I am glad to hear you are taking steps to help yourself and your family be a part of your recovery, though.

Just to let you know, I do not buy my weed off the street. I grow my own medical supply with the help of other medical growers. I do have specific strains to target specific maladies. It is also very rare that it is smoked as well. A lot of people tend to automatically think of a joint when mentioning cannabis. I have invested in a vaporizer (it doesn't burn the weed, but heats it up to a specific temperature so the THC and other cannibinoids turn into vapor, thus eliminating carcinogens from the burning process) before I go to bed to help me sleep a full night. If I am having a lot of anxiety, tension, and pain, I like to ingest home made canna-cookies I have made with my own canna-oil. If I have ALOT of pain, I can even rub some oil onto my back and it will help numb out the pain. IMO that is much better than taking Oxycontin and Percocets. A lot cheaper, too. But I am lucky enough to live in a country where even though it is illegal, its tolerated especially when used for medical purposes.
If I ever get past my PTSD and depression symptoms, I will kick the habit. But until then, I find it more helpful and much more tolerable than most pharmaceuticals out there. I know it won't be easy, but out of most my medications, cannabis happens to be the least addictive. So if I can give up everything else, it will be a breeze (hopefully, lol)
 

Jimmy

Confident
Hey, I invested in a grow tent with all the trimmings, I cooked with it, and I also researched the vaporizer. I also am aware that it helps a lot of people with incurable types of cancer who are in chronic pain.
However my main point is that unless you can actually work out exactly how much of each type of chemical is in each quantity of pot you vaporize or eat, it is just like opening a random box of pain killers from the pharmacist without looking at the label.

There are also the psychoactive effects no matter which way you use it. For starters, there is the de realisation, short term memory loss and de-personalisation. Yes its great to forget things and not take things so seriously, but you are playing with chemicals in your brain which are already affected due to PTSD.
There is also proven links to schizophrenia in some users.

Anyway, there is no use really discussing this. It is illegal here and my personal belief is that it is just another form of escapism (like alcoholism and other substance abuse) and only serves to slow the process of healing. Once again this is my personal opinion.

I hope you find a way to work out exactly how much you are taking and also hope that it does not affect your friends and family.
Good Luck

Jimmy
 

Trinomial

Confident
Considering marijuana has been used by people for thousands of years for medicinal purposes, shamanic rituals, and recreation, I don't consider it to be a bad thing. Prescription drugs are more dangerous, IMO--but really, anything that alters your mind (anything from alcohol, to percocet, to caffeine, to prozac or valium) can be bad for you if used to an extreme.

I see your point Jimmy, but that is your personal experience. It is not the drug, it is the abuse of the drug that causes problems. Not everyone who drinks wine is an alcoholic and not everyone who uses marijuana is an addict. The worst withdrawal I ever had was coming off an antidepressent. I will never take psychotropic drugs again.

On a side note, you don't always know what you are getting from the pharmacist either. Drugs have been recalled because of side effects. Drugs have been diluted so the seller can profit more. And the wrong drugs have been given before at pharmacies. No one is immune to deception or human error from time to time.

Marijuana, however, only gave me headaches and mild anxiety when I quit. I no longer use it, but I still recommend it for people who can handle using it as needed if it alleviates their symptoms.

A drug is a drug, whether it is legal, prescription, or illicit. And addiction / escapism happens not just with drugs, but other things too. Eating, sex, gambling, playing videogames, internet, dwelling in the past, negativity, exercise, etc.

If something helps alleviate anxiety or pain and a person can do it responsibly, I say, go for it. Just don't let it rule your life.

Thanks for the post, MizzASG.
 

Jimmy

Confident
Thanks Tri,

I totally agree with you and wish I did not have such an addictive nature sometimes. I also know that it has been used for thousands of years, and some MD's here in Australia would like to see it legalised, firstly for prescribing to certain people and also so they can study ways to effectively help people with the withdrawal from it.

My main point was that some users are totally unaware of what chronic use and persistent use can do to their bodies.
For example. I had a friend who was a chronic user and their body became resistant to anaesthetic's. And she woke up during surgery. This was put down to chronic marijuana use affecting her system.

But like any drug, if people are made aware of both sides of the story, it can be their choice.

Jimmy
 

MizzASG

Confident
As said before, using is different from abusing. Anything has the potential to be abused. But we have something called self control. Sure, I can smoke a lot of weed and be stoned all the time and just laugh off everything and live in a dream world. Or I can take 5 pills of cyclobenzaprine and be in that same dream world, but with almost unbearable side effects.
I only use what is needed for my pain. I usually use no more 2g's a day. Sure my tolerance has gone up. But so does my tolerance for any drug I put in my body. And of course there will be side effects from long term use. But unlike some people (I am not trying to point any fingers at all just fyi :) ) before I decide to put any kind of drug in my body, I like to do my own research and find out sufficient information to satisfy my questions of the effects and efficacy that it will have with my body. I get manageable, and more enjoyable side effects from cannabis, than I do from most pills that doctors love to prescribe. For me, it has made my personal healing that much more easier.

The healing process is a two way street. And if you are unsure of what your doctor is prescribing for you and why, then consider asking him questions! They should know what they are prescribing after all, they got wine and dined by BIG Pharma reps lol.
 

Jimmy

Confident
MizzASG,

If you have a look in the Forum under Medications, Substances, and Naturopathy, you will find another thread started a long while back which has five pages of comments.
Some good stuff in there too.

Jimmy
 

anthony

Founder
Been doing some reading on the use of cannabis, as I haven't reviewed it much since years ago. A lot more studies have been done on this over the past few years, as it was once sought that cannabis was actually quite good to relive pain, being the pain receptors in your body that send messages to your brain. Well... whilst that does actually still have some context, it is demonstrated that if you suffer anxiety or depression, ie. PTSD, then it is now highly avoided even by physicians who usually used to do the "under the table" treatment for PTSD, ie. go find yourself some pot and smoke it when anxious to chill out. It is now more than proven scientifically, that cannabis actually increases a persons state of anxiety and levels of depression, thus is strongly urged for anyone who suffers anxiety or depression to NOT use cannabis any more, even if other physical pain exists. What you help fix with pain receptors you actually seem to do far more damage with the chemical imbalance towards anxiety and depression.

Interesting studies how things develop over years, especially when cannabis was so much unknown a few years ago and highly recommended, yet as such more studies and trials have now been performed as a result, and they all seem to really say the same thing... good for pain, but cause anxiety and depression / heighten if already existing. Basically, by smoking cannabis with PTSD you are even sub-consciously re-traumatising yourself over and over with use and the experiences during the use, being what occurs vs. what the brain interprets (tripping out).
 

Trinomial

Confident
I think it depends on the person. It's kind of like how antidepressents have caused worsening of depression and suicidal ideation in many people, but it helps other people. Any drug more or less treats the symptom, not the problem--so it is important to focus more on cognitive and behavioral approaches and rely more on yourself, learning coping mechanisms, rather than drugs. A drug is a drug, no matter which way you cut it, and everyone's physiology / biochemical make up / perception is different which determines heavily how they react to drugs.

Been doing some reading on the use of cannabis, as I haven't reviewed it much since years ago. A lot more studies have been done on this over the past few years, as it was once sought that cannabis was actually quite good to relive pain, being the pain receptors in your body that send messages to your brain. Well... whilst that does actually still have some context, it is demonstrated that if you suffer anxiety or depression, ie. PTSD, then it is now highly avoided even by physicians who usually used to do the "under the table" treatment for PTSD, ie. go find yourself some pot and smoke it when anxious to chill out. It is now more than proven scientifically, that cannabis actually increases a persons state of anxiety and levels of depression, thus is strongly urged for anyone who suffers anxiety or depression to NOT use cannabis any more, even if other physical pain exists. What you help fix with pain receptors you actually seem to do far more damage with the chemical imbalance towards anxiety and depression.

Interesting studies how things develop over years, especially when cannabis was so much unknown a few years ago and highly recommended, yet as such more studies and trials have now been performed as a result, and they all seem to really say the same thing... good for pain, but cause anxiety and depression / heighten if already existing. Basically, by smoking cannabis with PTSD you are even sub-consciously re-traumatising yourself over and over with use and the experiences during the use, being what occurs vs. what the brain interprets (tripping out).
 

rjtransient

MyPTSD Pro
Trinomial, I can't argue with that. You phrased it pretty well, IMO. I'm interested in Anthony's counterpoint about cannabis use increasing dysphoria over the long term. Was it William S. Burroughs who called marijuana a "sensitizer"?

I personally ended up in a bad dissociative state the first time I tried it by myself in a foreign part of the city. With another person, I'm generally okay. But on my own, it doesn't bring on the kind of tripped-out mental visualization or the sense of relaxation that people talk about.

More background on the dissociative thing: Before I smoked, I didn't feel anxious. Cognitively, I felt in control. But it must have precipitated something.

I could see that there might be a disconnect between somatic effects and psychological states. My friends who smoke it regularly would say it helps them to relax, but maybe their baseline levels of anxiety are higher than they would be without the drug (similar to studies on cigarette smokers)? How bad is it?

Anthony said:
Basically, by smoking cannabis with PTSD you are even sub-consciously re-traumatising yourself over and over with use and the experiences during the use, being what occurs vs. what the brain interprets (tripping out).
Interesting... could you elaborate on that last point, if you have the time and if you feel like it? (I apologize in advance for taking the line out of context.)
 

anni

MyPTSD Pro
I have a tough time with the whole pot issue, to use the sociologically loaded term. There are so many levels to consider, and so many facets within those levels that one could spin oneself inside some vortex of admittedly reasonable arguments on all fronts.

To refine the discussion to PTSD, and from a strictly personal level I'd have to say at this point using anything with THC is a prospect which scares the crap out of me. Yes, I'm 52 and one might think I do not belong in this thread but grew up in the 70's and went to high school and college when even the cheerleaders smoked pot. I'm kind of familar with it's effects. MY PTSD now tends to take form in some severe avoidance, confusion, disassociation,memory, difficulty with emotional channels, etc. When stressed, I really, really need to stay contained to the point of being extremely deliberate in every movement, statement and gesture.That is not too extreme a statement, either. The thought of having the kind of disconnect( and all hell breaking loose in my head) that is inevitable with using pot ( sorry to keep using the slang term, but as a child of the 70's, it will always be pot to me ) just pretty much scares me skinny.

I'm certain there's a paper somewhere which states just this in other than layman's terms, and it sounds a little like what Anthony and RJ might be getting at. Perhaps some people can use it to allay anxiety, and in which case, whatever works, I suppose., so am not at all being argumentative. I'm just thinking what my own PTSD wiring would do with a joint, and it's not good.

Anni
 
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