Thoughts about medical marijuana

Now that I’ve been on marijuana for months, I have to ask myself how good it is for pain. I would say that for long term use, it’s as good or better as narcotics and sleeping pills and a lot less scary. However, nothing significantly reduces my pain; it just makes it easier to bear by either getting me high or knocking me out, and marijuana has the advantage of taking me far higher with far less risk than other drugs.

Now that I’m used to it, I can put away a fair amount of pot and still conduct normal activities, and when the high wears off, I don’t feel hung-over. For weeks now, I’ve been more or less high all day everyday (I start my mornings with marijuana and coffee), and the most notable differences are that I’m happier, and Peggy and I are getting along better. I’m not an easy person even in the best of times, and what I’ve been through over the last several years has been, up to this point in my life, the worst. Peggy and I haven’t had a fight since I started the pot. Marijuana makes me float through my days, my heart filled with peace and goodwill but also a high degree of compassionate candor.

Maybe marijuana should scare me more, but I’m not finding the science to prove that it’s that bad. The worse downside—and it’s truly annoying—is short-term memory loss. As for what this looks like, I’ll give some examples. (1) Unless I’m still doing it, I probably can’t tell you what I was doing five minutes ago. (2) More often than not, when I walk into a room, I have no idea why I’m there. (3) I will become so absorbed in a long and intricate train of thought that I’m barely aware of the world outside my head, that is until all memory of what I was thinking leaves me completely. (4) When I’m really high (late at night usually), I sometimes forget such essentials as my name and address, and I don’t just mean my street address, I mean the state I live in. Such experiences have helped me to understand what early dementia must be like. Yet, pot doesn’t turn me into an idiot; it simply suppresses my left-brain even while it makes my right brain explode with perceptions and insights. Marijuana, at its best, has the power to bring me face-to-face with pure being.

As annoying as it is, I can overcome the short-term memory loss enough to function fairly well even in business situations. I’m helped in this by the fact that I’m more interested in, and sympathetic toward, other people when I’m stoned than when I’m straight. I would even suggest that people like me better when I’m high, although I do tend to say more off-the-wall things more—the kind of things we all think but feel embarrassed to talk about.

I have no idea where I’m going with my marijuana experiment. On the one hand, I like pot a lot, it is grown for me at no charge by someone I love, and Peggy and I agree that we get along significantly better when I’m high, but on the other hand… Well, I’m not sure what’s on the other hand. It just seems a little odd to stay stoned all the time. Decades ago when I smoked pot, I never smoked more than a joint a day, and it was usually closer to two or three joints a week. Now, on any given day, I use more marijuana than I would have used in a month back then.

Do I still want to be using pot a few years down the road? I don’t know what I want to be doing a few years down the road. Sometimes, I don’t feel that I have enough years left to bother about. Time flies faster everyday, and I just sit here and watch it with a sense of wonder at how strange life is. To think that we exist here in this unimaginably small spot in the universe for an unimaginably finite fraction of time. Against this backdrop, what should any of us do? Just hangout and try to make our time here pleasant for everyone, I guess. Such an outlook would eliminate a lot of misbehavior if we all took it to heart, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

29 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

I can't tell you how glad I am that you are at least getting some relief. As someones whose memory (mostly short term) is shot without any of the benefits it sounds as if marijuana is the drug for you. For the moment anyway. And who can tell what will be happening a few years down the track. Worry about that then.

kj said...

snow, interesting.

my own experience, by far not as frequent as you, is that i am barely capable if at all of preparing a meal, paying bills, or driving my car. the upside is i see and experience the world with a depth that is just wonderful, but the down side is i don't function as well in day to day life. not just memory, but competence. is that true for you too?

i'm surprised your highs haven't deminished abit over time. i hope that doesn't happen for you.

finally, i love your last introspective paragraph. i wonder such thoughts myself. be. here. now. and learn to catch the vollyballs you see coming as well as the ones that fly by unannounced.

love
kj

angela said...

I think in your situation pot is a better alternative to the stuff doctors prescribe. Are you sure its the pot that makes you forget. I do that and I have never smoked it. haha
I do know that in the young pot is bad for the developing brain. I know of alot of cases where pot has triggered paranoia and pshycosis. My brother got so bad he ended his life and doctors made a direct link between his mental illness and pot.
but If kept in check and your older than 25 I think medical marijuana is a good option. Im glad its helping you

The Bipolar Diva said...

I'm trying to talk my husband into it for his pain, but so far he's not going for it.

Marion said...

I'm really, really glad to hear you're feeling somewhat better, Snow, and especially that Peggy is happy. If Mama ain't happy...LOL!

I'm in so fucking much pain today I can hardly walk, sit or stand with the weather wildly fluctuating from hot to cold and back again here. I told my husband we may be forced to pick up stakes, sell everything and move to Oregon. :-) xoxo

Dion said...

When I’m really high (late at night usually), I sometimes forget such essentials as my name and address, and I don’t just mean my street address, I mean the state I live in.

Man, oh man, that medical stuff sounds much better than what I find on the street. Do you have to pay for it or does insurance take care of the cost? NJ has legalized pot but the governor is dragging his feet and so the program is going nowhere fast. Kind of like you by night's end.

Snowbrush said...

"I know of alot of cases where pot has triggered paranoia and pshycosis."

I've been psychotic on pot (I've outright hallucinated), and it sometimes makes me so frightened by the mere fact of existence that I'm unable to move or speak. However, I eat and smoke so much marijuana anymore that I've gotten better at handling it, although it certainly demands my respect.

"Are you sure its the pot that makes you forget."

Pretty sure. At 62, I have some age-related memory loss (for instance, we all occasionally go into a room and forget why we're there), but what I'm talking about is much worse than that. If it's not pot-related, then I'm in deep doodoo.

"i don't function as well in day to day life. not just memory, but competence. is that true for you too?"

I wouldn't want to be operated on by a surgeon who was stoned, and I wouldn't want my airplane pilot to be wasted, and driving while loaded isn't a good idea. But I can certainly cook, pay bills, balance the checkbook, write in my blog, do yardwork and housework, argue with insurance companies and doctors' billing offices over the phone, and everything else that I would do in the course of a normal day. I'm a lot more distractible, it's true, and I don't even try to hurry any a job, but I'm at least 85% competent for the kinds of activities that my life contains. When you do a drug all the time, you simply have to find a way to carry on your life in spite of it.

Snowbrush said...

"Man, oh man, that medical stuff sounds much better than what I find on the street. Do you have to pay for it or does insurance take care of the cost?"

It's kickass stuff, and I do it in large quantities. My grower gives it to me for free because medical marijuana is something he believes in.

That corgi :) said...

It is good that you found something that works for you to take care of the pain you are in; and the benefits of it surely do outweigh the side effects of it in your case! So go for it!

betty

Elisabeth said...

In the circumstances, Snow, it sounds like the best thing for you. I'm all for the notion of pain relief. Though it's hard to know where the emotional and where the physical meet. Physical pain can of course lead to emotional pain and vice versa I expect. Emotional pain might be better attended to with the comfort of others but if you can't access the love of others because of your physical pain, and as you say you and Peggy are able to be with each other much more when you're on pot, then again it probably is helpful, for you at least.

I imagine it depends so much on the person and the circumstances. As you say you wouldn't want your surgeon high, however much pain he's in, nor your pilot, though if anyone's in the sort of pain you describe I doubt they'd been operating on bodies or flying planes.

Selma said...

I am sorry to hear you have been in such terrible pain and I am glad the pot is affording you a bit of relief. It's interesting what you say about it affecting short term memory because a friend of mine who uses it for severe back pain has said the same thing. She is a writer and it has caused her a bit of anguish because she often forgets what she is writing about if she takes a break in the middle of an article. She has found a voice activated program to be very helpful.

I really like your attitude of just hanging out and trying to have as positive a day as possible. We should all take a leaf out of your book. I think such an attitude makes a huge difference!

Punk Chopsticks said...

LOL for some reason this post reminds me of Harold and kumar. And Neil Pattrick Harris but that kind of goes without saying.

Hey, if it makes you feel better, why not? People live their life and find happiness in different ways and who am I to judge? My brother and his friends smoke pot too.

Charles Gramlich said...

The few times I smoked Pot way back in the day it just made me sleepy. I wouldn't want to have that every day. But I don't know what it's like for pain.

rhymeswithplague said...

More often than not, when I walk into a room, I have no idea why I’m there.

The sure-fire cure for this situation (for people who are not taking pot, at least) is to go back to the place where you were before you entered the room; it will come to you what you needed or wanted that made you get up and leave. But if you are taking pot and cannot remember where you were before you walked into the room and don't know where you should go back to, this cure will not work.

Marion said...

My prescription calls for 2gms of weed a day...that's the equivalent of four joints. I find this excessive and only on days when pain is over the top can I even do that much.

You are very lucky to find a grower who doesn't charge you...not so here. It is expensive...govt. sources cost $8 a gram, and compassion clubs sell it for $5/gm. I am legally able to grow ten plants/year, with seed from the govt. and I believe that's what I'll be doing!

Perhaps you could send your grower my way? heh heh! I'm really glad it helps you, Snow...quality of life is golden to me. xx

PhilipH said...

I've never smoked pot - but if it were available locally I'd certainly love to try it.
Why it is still outlawed in so many places is beyond me. If it became legal then there are places ready and able to produce ciggies with pot and tax could be raised from the sales - as tobacco.
It would benefit the taxpayer instead of the traffickers.
Glad it helps you Snowy. Keep puffing!

Helen said...

.. had to laugh at Selma's 'take a leaf' comment! Your post made me happy .. happy to know your pain is being managed ` I loved that last paragraph too! Happy Saturday.

Robin said...

Ah, dear Snow....I am missing our *Nolly* so much....and I KNOW you are too....

So, I am going to make you laugh! Two weeks ago, I went to a birthday party of a dear friend (who volunteers with me at the de Young Museum).... I was *brave* and took a piece of a *Marijuana-laced Cookie*.... ...although I was assured it was *lightly laced*.....after 30 minutes, I was so dizzy, I could hardly stand....AND....I had to go worj at the Opera! It was *interesting* - to say the least.....but, after the fact, I must say, if I was in chronic pain...or just could have stayed home and not had to function at the opera....it would have been quite enjoyable...I had a real reaction....because I am not used to it....

I think medical marijuana IS a good thing...and the world need to get over it - and allow it to be legal!

I miss Nolly....

Love,

♥ Robin ♥

Snowbrush said...

"Do you have to pay for it or does insurance take care of the cost?"

Insurance doesn't cover marijuana or any doctors' charges related to marijuana.

"It's interesting what you say about it affecting short term memory because a friend of mine who uses it for severe back pain has said the same thing."

I would assume that it's a universal complaint. If I were just doing pot (I eat it, drink it, and smoke it) occasionally, it wouldn't be a big deal, but as things are, it's a struggle to compensate for my bad memory.

"it just made me sleepy"

Different strains have different effects, and the way you ingest it makes a difference too. For instance, eating it often makes me sleepy, while smoking it doesn't.

"Though it's hard to know where the emotional and where the physical meet."

Yes, they do influence one another, and if it's respectable to treat mood disorders with anti-depressants why not with hallucinogenics?

"if you are taking pot and cannot remember where you were before you walked into the room and don't know where you should go back to, this cure will not work."

I guess I could try every door, every window, and the hatch into the attic until something comes to mind.

"You are very lucky to find a grower who doesn't charge you...not so here."

Not so here either for most people. I simply lucked out and found a saint for a grower. Growers can legally charge for their actual expenses, and I often see pot listed at $5 a gram, but until you responded to this post, I had no idea how much a gram was in usable terms. By the way, permits here aren't listed for a certain weight amount but for a certain plant amount with six plants being the designated number.

".. had to laugh at Selma's 'take a leaf' comment!"

Me too. It was a great pun and also adorably quaint. Gotta love that Selma.

"I am missing our *Nolly* so much....and I KNOW you are too.... "

Yeah, every few minutes sometimes. You know, when Renee died, there was a lot of mourning all over the world, but I guess Nolly just didn't have enough followers for that. I'll carry her memory to my grave though, and I know you will too. It's so damn hard to believe she's really gone.

PhilipH said...

I too was extremely upset when the last post from Vicki's amanuensis told us she had finally 'gone home'.
Never knew her other than through her blog but found her such a brave lass and she had suffered for six long years, never giving up.
It was very eye watery for a few moments; then I was glad it was all over for her.

C Woods said...

As many others have stated, I'm glad you are feeling better---maybe I should say more "up." I've never tried the stuff, not even in my wayward 1960's youth and young adulthood. I think I'm leary of not being in control. But if I were experiencing the kind of pain you are, I guess I'd try anything.

Marriage is difficult under any circumstance. I'm an optimist, my husband is a pessimist. I'm usually in a good mood, he's always mildly depressed. I might think MJ might do him some good, but he is even more afraid of losing control than I am.

Snowbrush said...

"Never knew her other than through her blog but found her such a brave lass and she had suffered for six long years, never giving up."

I don't know where bravery ends and denial begins. I knew a man who insisted that he was going to beat cancer right up until the day it killed him. I found myself wishing that Nolly Posh had written more about death, but then it's so hard to tell what is really going on with someone who is that ill when you can't see them. When she turned over the posting to her blog to someone else, I guess we all knew the end was near, but before then, she did maintain an amazingly positive attitude.

"he is even more afraid of losing control than I am"

Because I've been in longterm pain that no doctor, surgery, or drug has been able to stop, I don't feel in control anyway. All I can do is take that which I can't control and try to find a way to live with it. Such is life, I think.

Beau's Mom said...

I get so upset when Joe asks: "Why don't you take a couple of your pills and sleep it off" as if the pills actually kill the pain as I sleep. While I welcome the "crossed eyed" feeling and the knowledge I'll be able to sleep, "pain" pills are a misnomer. Even on morphine, you still feel the pain until you are no longer "aware" of the pain because you're so hammered.

There is NO reason not to legalize marijuana, but in a few years even cigarettes will be illegal.

KleinsteMotte said...

I think you are so right about living out our days as best as we can at this stage. Legalizing this material makes sense and is slowly happening.
Keep carrying on!!
Here at my end things are a bit tough with a sudden bypass op for hubby in the next week. Suddenly my lack of ability to focus seems very minor.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Of course I can't relate to what you are having do deal with regarding pain; fortunately I don't have to deal with that. I would have to have a significant issue for me to try marijuana. I'm kind of like Woody Allen when he was talking about his brain; "... I don't want anyone messing with my brain, it's my second-favorite organ".

Lydia said...

What a fascinating post, Snow. I am glad the pot is easing some of your pain and providing you with insights such as your last paragraph to share with the rest of us. That seems win-win to me!

It has been over 26 years since I've smoked pot (if you've read my profile you know that is how long I've been sober, period). On one hand I cannot imagine being high now, but on the other hand it seems as close as my next breath when I read your descriptions. For me, personally, I would not use it unless I had pain the equivalent to yours.....because I have early stages of emphysema and I'll do anything to defer that wretchedness from becoming chronic.
Peace, body and soul (and I'm happy that Peggy is having some peace too!), L.

Robyn said...

I like it that you're enjoying your high times. Don't worry too much... I think a little pot is good for the soul :)

Snowbrush said...

"I would not use it unless I had pain the equivalent to yours.....because I have early stages of emphysema"

Lydia, I am SO sorry. My mother had that. I don't smoke a lot of pot anymore because I use so much of it that I've built up a tolerance. I just had 3/4 of a marijuana cookie (this is a lot) with my morning coffee and vitamins. Eating it is definitely preferable, health-wise, but I like the effect of smoking it better, and I like the instant high too. It's just that one hit used to keep me going for hours, and now it takes at least three, and I still come down pretty fast. If I eat marijuana on an empty stomach, the high comes on within a half hour, but if I eat it on full stomach, it can take two hours or more. Many people use vaporizers, so you're getting the benefits of smoking without the risks. I only tried one vaporizer one time, and I wasn't impressed, but I've heard that some of them are pretty darn good.

"I think a little pot is good for the soul :)"

I think so too. Personally, I think almost everyone should use pot. I know that some people have problems with it, but if you keep using it, you do learn to handle your feelings better.

Lydia said...

Thanks, Snow, for the thoughts. Actually, I had not even considered eating it...shows you how far removed I am from it now. The cookies sound like a great way to get your meds and not have smoke, damn smoke.

****I think the second part of your reply was to be addressed to Robyn!