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TBT: Medical Marijuana

Raise your hand if CBD oil is saving your life in 2020! Yeah, me too. I am using a small dose of a product by CBDistillery for a few days each month, starting just before my period. That's when I tend to have my worst anxiety episodes, typically occurring in the evening, resulting in acute cramps, nausea, flare-ups of fear that I am seriously ill, uncontrollable shaking, and hours of insomnia. I don't think these episodes are quite the same as panic attacks, though I have had those as well, about a half dozen times since my teens (at random times, not according to a hormone-related pattern).

I started taking CBD oil earlier this spring, and since then I have had only one evening anxiety episode, which lasted only about one hour instead of the usual three or four. I have also completely, 100% avoided the symptoms of summer Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is rare but real and horrible. In past years, I have lost my appetite over the summer and become underweight and severely anemic, while experiencing sudden and frightening anxiety and depression symptoms. They go away with the first whiff of fall.

This summer, this most terrible of summers, to my shock and delight, none of it happened. I truly can't be sure whether it was the CBD oil alone that pulled the plug on my usual pattern of mental illness at this time of year, but it hasn't hurt! The Summer Solstice has come and gone. The long, bright days and even the scorching heat of this summer have felt... good... to me this year, so good that I sometimes throw a blanket on the grass outside and lie on it to read a book, under the beating sun in 90-degree heat, and the livin' is easy. I can't explain it, but I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, and that includes taking my meds, and those now include CBD oil. Hooray for medical advancements! Hooray for that trusty old hemp plant!

I wrote the post below back when medical marijuana was first legalized in my state.

Medical Marijuana


Medical marijuana is now legal in Michigan. It's about time.


Humans have been using cannabis since early in our evolution, all over the globe. Wherever there are humans, there is cannabis. Since prehistoric times, the plant has been cultivated for healing and ritual. The ancient Jews in the time of Jesus smoked hash and used an infusion of cannabis buds in their anointing oils. The word "Christ" referred to a man who was anointed in a ritual using marijuana. After becoming a rabbi, Jesus used an oil called kaneh-bosem, an infusion of marijuana, to heal afflicted people's eye and skin conditions. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!


In relatively recent times, Western culture has developed a very strange attitude toward the marijuana plant. At first, the United States of America was cool with it. Hemp was grown abundantly for its uses as textile fiber and Omega-3 oil for nutrition. The original inhabitants of our continent used the plant for many purposes, and so did the Founding Fathers and Mothers. In fact, the first American flag was woven from hemp cloth.

So then what happened? It seems that the profitable tobacco industry wanted to keep a monopoly on pleasurable smokables and waged war, along with the government, on marijuana's image. "Weed" is called weed because of how it grows--easily. The plant can be found growing naturally in American forests and is easy to cultivate in a variety of ways--much easier than tobacco. When smoked, marijuana has calming, pleasurable, and medicinal properties. That's good news for poor folks, bad news for tobacco and pharmaceutical CEOs...

So! Movies such as Reefer Madness attempted to terrify our parents' generation in their youth. Subsequent government scare tactics and advertisements have linked marijuana to all kinds of evils from insanity to terrorism. A huge public campaign was unleashed to convince the American people (and later, the whole world) of the absurd lie that marijuana is more dangerous than our legal drugs alcohol and tobacco. Many otherwise law-abiding, functional citizens have been imprisoned for possession of this innocuous, natural herb. Tracts of once-fertile land in other countries and on Native American reservations have been annihilated by our own government with Agent Orange because marijuana or hemp plants were found growing there.

Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities have done plenty of research on cannabis, disproving many myths of danger and destruction, but pot's image is still pretty tarnished in the United States. Fortunately, recent legislation has moved some states toward a decriminalization of a safe, beneficial, medicinal herb. I appreciate that these universities are doing the research, because most of what is "known" in our country about marijuana is based on urban legends and personal anecdotes. "I know this one guy..." That is not reliable data. We all know a stoner who's a complete idiot. But only scientific studies can show causal relationships.

As with any drug, cannabis comes with a set of risks. It may be harmful for children to ingest, especially boys, as there is evidence that it interferes with development. Marijuana has been linked to gynomastia (breast development) in adolescent boys, and may be linked to testicular cancer. Smoking anything can lead to emphysema. In the short term, a marijuana high causes mental difficulties with concentration (though not as bad as e-mail checking or sleep deprivation, despite the stereotypes).

However, the risks for adult users are more than mitigated by the incredible benefits of the herb. It is impossible to die from a marijuana overdose. No one has ever died from too much pot, and a cruel study that attempted to kill apes with obscene amounts of marijuana to prove its deadliness failed. The herb is non-toxic. Furthermore, cannabis is the MOST effective treatment known for glaucoma, nausea, low white blood cell count from chemotherapy, and the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's/dementia. Marijuana has a bad rap for making people "stupid" while they are high, but the effects are less severe than opioid medications, and in the long term, cannabis seems to be good for the brain. Many people think that smoking marijuana causes lung cancer, but the opposite is true. It actually prevents lung cancer and can shrink malignant tumors in the lungs. There is new evidence that cannabis attacks brain cancer without harming healthy brain cells. Marijuana also lowers blood pressure and reduces pain and swelling (inflammation) at low doses. A relatively small dose of cannabis, with minor side effects, works as well as very high, incapacitating, and organ-damaging doses of legally prescribed opioids.

One benefit of cannabis is that it can be taken in many forms: ingested orally, absorbed through the skin via oil infusion, or inhaled. Ingesting marijuana orally (in brownies or tea or prescribed pills) has a higher chance of causing hallucinations and confusion. Inhaling the drug brings a mellower high with fewer side effects. Luckily, marijuana does not have to be smoked to be inhaled. It can be taken with a vaporizer, which heats the herb enough to turn the active ingredients into a colorless vapor without combustion. That means no emphysema, no smoker's cough, no strong smell. Marijuana inhaled from a vaporizer poses no serious threats to adult humans whatsoever. Stanford studied the "Volcano" model, in particular, and found it to be highly effective. :)

[Edit from the year 2020: This old post is not referring to the new vape pen doohickeys with the stupid cartridges that make young people drop dead. The vaporizers from back in the day are basically pot-pourri infusers that you use with wholesome nugs.]

If you have a medical condition that could be treated by cannabis and you live in a state with a medical marijuana program, you're in luck! If you don't have health insurance, you can grow your own medicine in your home. I would always recommend trying a vaporizer to reduce hallucinations and the risks associated with smoking combusted material.

WikiHow has a good article on how to grow medical marijuana.

Stay educated and healthy, and enjoy life!

Comments

  1. Interesting... Interesting...

    Personally, I'm against smoking in all it's forms as being unhealthy. Pot's side affect of rending the user "stupid" is another major drawback. I think it's the wrong message to give to our children to legalize marijuana. It's already too easy to obtain and I think the societal problems it causes far outweigh any personal benefits that might come from it.

    Now, here's the flip side.

    Recently, I voted here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to have marijuana possession (under a certain limit) no longer considered a crime. The referendum passed and people can now possess a small amount of pot without fear of being arrested for it. The reality of it is, whether I like it or not, people use it. I think by keeping the stigma of it in place, it will limit it's uses and help keep it "off the streets" per say.

    I suppose I look at it like public drinking. Sure, go home and have a beer. But I don't think we want people walking around town with a beer in their hand.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, smoking anything is bad. Not as bad as being sedentary, but still unhealthy. :) I appreciate having some smoke-free restaurants in Michigan.

    I think we need more true information about the risks and potential uses of drugs. Responsible information campaigns seem to be the most effective at protecting kids from any kind of drug abuse, unprotected sex, or other risky behaviors.

    I haven't been able to find any reliable info on "the societal problems" marijuana causes, but of course I don't think children or teens should be using any drug recreationally. Strangely, a recent study from the Netherlands showed that the older kids who used marijuana actually got better grades and had less behavioral problems than the ones who didn't, on average. That result sounds a bit screwy to me (I'm thinking there was probably a third factor causing the better grades, like income maybe, not the pot itself), but marijuana is not as big and bad as Americans think.

    Anything that's ultra-forbidden and there's not a clear, honest reason why... is going to be ultra-intriguing to kids and teens.

    Personally, I think "you could grow man-boobs" is a compelling reason for boys not to do it. And "you could grow facial hair" for girls. Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, God. I'm seeing a goofy ad on my page with false information right now.

    It says that marijuana is a gateway drug. Research in the U.S. has proven that false. Kids who use pot just want to use pot, for the most part. They are, in fact, LESS likely to abuse other drugs. CIGARETTES are a gateway drug, because of the physically addictive qualities of nicotine. If a kid smokes cigarettes, he is, in fact, more likely to move on to hard drugs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hahaha! I just went to the site, and it also said that drug abuse in America started in the 1960s because of music and the media.

    High-larious!

    ReplyDelete

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