By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
This is part of The Cannabis Writings, a series of articles on the Culture of Awareness.
In previous reports, we learned how marijuana can help with conditions like depression, PTSD and insomnia. Now, we’ll look at some of the plant’s medicinal benefits from the perspective of people who’ve tried it in hopes of finding relief from relentless physical or mental illness.
While cannabis probably wouldn’t work for everyone looking to treat an illness, for some, it lessens their pain and puts them in a relaxed, euphoric state where they can meditate and forget about their troubles for a while. This has a positive long-term effect, and this is where the idea of marijuana as medicine comes in.
When someone’s health starts to noticeably improve because of daily or long-term cannabis use (especially someone who never used it before they became sick), to deprive them of it would be to deprive them of what is obviously medicine and should be taken seriously, not persecuted or mocked.
Take, for example, the effect marijuana had on Erowid user ‘Ziggie’. At the time of writing about his experiences, Ziggie had been a cannabis smoker for about three years and had suffered from depression for the last two due to being forced to move from home and not having many friends.
He stopped smoking when his depression worsened, and taking up exercise helped considerably. Through his newfound love of exercise, he met new friends who reintroduced him to cannabis.
After trying it for the first time in a while, he felt his clarity and levelheadedness return. He didn’t feel intoxicated at first, but he felt normal again. His motivation began to return, and when the plant’s antidepressant effects wore off, he used it again and they returned in earnest.
He decided to start using it regularly, and now, it’s incredibly beneficial to his mental wellbeing. Whereas he was depressed and deluded before picking it back up, he’s now able to socialize, maintain a relationship, be a part of a sports team and make extra money.
This is the opposite of how he was living before, and he’s thankful that cannabis is on this planet for our use even though it’s illegal.
Now, consider what Erowid user ‘Phil E. Drifter’ has to say about cannabis. Phil has tinnitus, which causes intense ringing in his ears, and he figures he got it from listening to loud music in his headphones as a kid.
He was never warned that listening to music too loud in headphones could damage his ears, and he thought the ringing was normal until it got so bad that he had to do some research.
This led him to discover that he has tinnitus, and when he started smoking cannabis in college, he noticed that the ringing in his ears would go from unbearable to manageable.
Now, if his tinnitus starts bothering him, he uses his medicine and breathes a sigh of relief as the ringing decreases. I don’t know if any studies have been done on marijuana’s potential to treat tinnitus, but it could be one of many things the plant helps with.
If this isn’t enough, consider the story of Erowid user ‘Skrtliftr’, who suffers from Epilepsy. She always wanted to try marijuana, but she was afraid it would worsen her seizures, which she already experienced about 4 times a year.
She wanted to wait until she could do it around someone she was comfortable with, and she eventually found someone she trusted; her neighbor. She became paranoid and felt ticks in her legs the second time she tried it, which, to her, were indications of an oncoming seizure.
Her neighbor calmed her by explaining that the ticks she was feeling had to do with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and not an oncoming seizure as she had feared. This calmed her anxiety and allowed her to enjoy the plant’s therapeutic effects, and she’d go on to use it daily.
After five years, she still smokes cannabis every day and she claims her seizures have almost completely stopped.
She’s only had one seizure in the past five years, and at the time of sharing her story, she was in talks with her doctor to reduce her dosage of anticonvulsant pills. With the help of cannabis, she hopes to completely wean herself off of the pills.
Now, consider the story of Erowid user ‘Panface’, who was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis as a teenager and, as a result, would have to go to the bathroom about ten times a day.
The only way to get rid of ulcerative colitis is to have your colon removed, and he too was unsure about trying cannabis because he was worried it would worsen his condition. He eventually met someone who had a more bearable form of ulcerative colitis, and this person told him that there didn’t seem to be a significant difference in his condition after using the plant.
Nonetheless, Panface decided to give it a try. It helped significantly, and as he started using it more often, he noticed that had to go to the bathroom much less. He confirmed that the cannabis was helping by quitting for a while and finding that his condition’s severity returned, and now, he smokes once a night and has to run to the bathroom less.
It’s a shame that he (and other people who use cannabis medicinally) would get in trouble if caught with his medicine in states where it’s illegal, and people all across the world have to deal with the possibility of legal trouble for the medicinal use of this healing plant.
Our final account is from Erowid user ‘Malkie’, who suffers from insomnia and used to be kept up for days at a time, unable to rest or get some piece of mind. His lack of sleep even caused hallucinations, and like most others, he turned to modern medicine for treatment.
He started taking large doses of Benadryl, and when he consulted his doctor on his alarming lack of sleep, he was prescribed Trazodone, an antidepressant. His life was starting to improve before he was put on it, but it took a turn for the worse from there.
The medicine worked a little but numbed his emotions and turned him into a zombie. It eventually stopped working altogether, causing much worse psychological harm.
He started to think about suicide for the first time in his life, and as his mental conditioned worsened, he was given different medications to try which, unsurprisingly, all made it worse. Celexa was the most harmful medication, and it caused him to “flip out” and lose control of his body.
He also had wild hallucinations, and this proved to him that the all the different medicine was responsible for his condition getting so bad. It was also increasing his thoughts of suicide, and he quickly got rid of all of it.
He then found out about cannabis edibles and decided to give them a try.
Nothing else had worked up to that point, and since he had nothing to lose, he figured he’d test it out to see how it’d affect him. Aside from the edibles, he also learned about a purple indica strain that provides a heavy, almost sedated feeling.
He couldn’t afford the indica strain, so he focused on edibles. His cooking started out humble – oil, tea, etc. – and he eventually learned how to make cookies, brownies and all kinds of appetizing cannabis-infused foods.
They worked wonders; he was relaxed, he could sleep and he would wake up rested, satisfied and happy. He eventually learned how to grow the purple indica strain along with making edibles, and they work better for him than anything ever did.
The countless people using marijuana as medicine have the right to use and grow it despite what the governments says or tries to do, and the War on Drugs is making good people into criminals just for using a plant that helps them.
For this reason and so many others, we have to stand up for the cannabis plant and the people who need it.
What we do to treat pain or relax at the end of a long day is not the government’s business, and our right to utilize a plant known throughout history for its medicinal, psychological and spiritual benefits means nothing we don’t stand up for it.
To stand up for cannabis is to stand up for freedom, so let’s make our voices heard and spread far and wide the stories of how this plant has helped people. It’ll help us a lot more when we’re all open to it, and in time, it’ll finally be understood as a gift to humanity.
(Sources are embedded throughout report.)