Why I Use Medical Marijuana

Most of my friends just found out that I use medical marijuana.  I created my online dating profile today and was so honest that I disclosed I smoke cigarettes, I drink regularly and I use medical marijuana.  I use medical marijuana legally, and secondly, the “medicine management” system I was subjected to wasn’t working for me.  This is my story about why I use medical marijuana.

My particular diagnosis was bipolar.  For a while I identified with it so much that my name should have changed from Jon to Bipolar Guy.  Fortunately I was able to shake that madness.  I went to a therapist regularly, support groups weekly and the psychiatrist monthly.  They told me that I’d be on medication for the rest of my life.  They could have been right.

The problem for me wasn’t the therapist or the support groups.  I actually enjoyed sharing time with people who were diagnosed schizophrenic, or with post traumatic stress.  Yea, they tended to lean more towards crazy than me, but it was helping me heal by helping others cope, give hope and provide support.  You could easily be afraid of these people, but I wasn’t, ever.  I’m still not.  They were different, and I’ve always liked different.  Some were dealing with the death of a son, while others came back from a war and were close to AWOL.  The stories that landed them there were numerous, and sometimes entertaining, but overall, the stigma that surrounds mental health problems was thick and embarrassing.  People have problems that need to be talked about.  Being on the heavy medications can suppress your ability to share.

The problem I had was the psychiatrists.  Once per month I’d walk in.  They’d ask me three questions:

1)      Do you have racing thoughts?  Me:  No.

2)      Do you feel like harming yourself or others?  Me:  No

3)      How do you feel?  Me:  I feel like I don’t have a soul

The solution?  Increase your Seroquel dosage amount, as well as your Depakote intake.  We’re going to replace your Wellbutrin with Paxil, and we want to add Ativan, take as needed.  There are probably three other medications I’m not mentioning here, but you get the drift.

Next month, same questions, same answers, increased dosage, new concoction.

Next month, same questions, same answers, increased dosage, new concoction.

Next month, same questions, same answers, increased dosage, new concoction, except this time they wanted to add Abilify to amplify the potency of these drugs.  What?  These meds work better with other meds?!  Really?

So I called my mom.  I told her I couldn’t do it any longer.  I wanted my soul back and I couldn’t keep taking all these pills.  I think I counted over 12 pills per day, and from the time I was diagnosed to the time I quit taking my medication, the amounts being prescribed to me were tripled.  I wasn’t using marijuana at this time either.  These medications were so heavy I was unable to achieve an erection, and trust me, I tried hard (pun intended).  I was so fed up with it that I was willing to be crazy, get sent to the loony bin and suffer the consequences all over again.  The multiple prescription sheets I had in my hand, because you couldn’t fit them all on only one sheet, were never filled.  This was not what my life was going to be.  This was not going to be life as I know it.

I started looking for alternatives to treatment.  Most of the medications would take weeks to get out of my system, so I knew I had a little time.  I started finding articles and blogs from people that were diagnosed bipolar.  I found not just one, but a multitude of posts from people who swore that medical marijuana helped manage their mood swings that bipolar disorder is commonly associated with.  What I learned was that these were good, honest, hardworking people.  They weren’t ordering pizzas at 2am because they got the munchies.  They didn’t use medical marijuana as an excuse to be stoned all day.  They knew their dosage amount and they took it seriously.  Could I get stoned right now if I wanted to?  Yes, I could.  Do I want to?  No, I don’t.  My own dosage consists of about ½ a gram, usually in edible form, before bed and I’d really like to finish writing.

During 2010, the Year of the Pill as I recall, I don’t think my income reached over $10,000.  I was a zombie-like dad, unmotivated and pathetic, but I would have never been able to tell the difference if I was still living in that world.  I didn’t make one child support payment.  No one visited me, and honestly I didn’t want them to.  I didn’t look forward to the weekends with my daughters because I didn’t look forward to anything.  The sad thing was that you could say I was depressed, but I wasn’t even that.  Mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety and depression medications suppressed my soul.  I’ve always wondered if I didn’t have top-notch insurance, would my treatment have been the same?  Was I funding the pockets of companies, doctors, psychiatrists, insurances, and pharmaceuticals?  Deep down inside my therapist was taught me the most.  Eliminate shame.

Removing shame allowed me to start talking about this stuff, like I would with my therapist and the rest of the crazies in the support groups.  It’s hard to eliminate shame when you’re taking 12 pills a day.  No one runs around saying, “Hey!  Look at me!  I get to take medication for the rest of my life!  Ain’t it cool?  Let’s hang out, I’ll be the life of the party.”  No, that’s not going to happen.

I’m not here to say that medical marijuana is a cure for bipolar disorder, but it is working for me.  I haven’t had an episode since 2009, the day I lost custody of my daughter.  I still have my ups and downs sometimes, but they’re mild and manageable.  What changed everything was eliminating shame, and that’s the one side effect every pill bottle should have a warning label about.  Even Viagra should have a shame warning on it.  Luckily I don’t need Viagra though, not only do I feel more alive than ever before, I managed to get my erections back.  I needed to clarify that part.  God forbid I left you hanging.  Pun intended.

Author: Full Time Daddy

CEO of Olive Us, LLC Founder of GenesisCCM.com Single dad to two amazing daughters

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks Jon! Its awesome that shared your story, so many people assume that people with a medical marijuana card are just prescribed stoners but for the most part that snot the case. While I struggle to deal with my depression and anxiety I hope to make headway the way you have and figure out what works for me 🙂 hope all keeps going well

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  2. Wow, Jon. This was my first blog-reading session, and I’m glad this is my first. I was diagnosed bipolar in 2001, when I had given birth to my daughter, Kaya, and thought I had PPD. I asked for Zoloft, for my new mommy blues, and began my month-long manic episode, which included everything from teaching the local teenaged population how to tie-dye and make homemade Tamales, to scrubbing the paint off of my kitchen wall, when I thought there was still grease to clean off.

    The Med struggle for me is not yet over, but the Medicinal Marijuana is helping. I feel like I can breathe again. I can actually wander around in my creativity for a bit, and not just be bogged-down in tactical, practical, must-do concerns.

    I’m coming out of a deep, deep, intense recovery period in my lifetime. Re-building my life is taking time, but the progress is good, and the prognosis is positive. I hope to be able to get off of the meds soon, but I know that I have to get my coping plan in order first.

    It’s encouraging to hear someone else identify with the bipolar label, and to stand up and say ‘I’m a good person, dammit.’ Well, ‘I’m a good person too, dammit.’ Regardless of whether or not all my great ideas end up in the Half-finished pile, or I take over the world one day (I enjoy my delusions of grandeur).

    Thanks again.

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    • You just won the award for best comment ever.

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry but I laughed about the tye-dye and tamales. That totally sounds like me. I have plenty of unfinished ideas, but I learned to create an accountability system, mainly my best friend, to keep me on task to keep moving forward on the good ones. Some of the most creative people were diagnosed bipolar, now it’s just a matter of managing it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself about the meds, or the marijuana. I found many times I was the one pressuring myself, instead of going with the flow. It’s much easier to take the wave as it is.

      Take care, and I’m glad I got to be your first. 😉

      -Jon

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