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So I've been fresh out of the hospital now a few months, newly Dxed BP. I'm feeling stable again now.  But now the urge is starting to hit me to return to my old ways. 

My Pdoc says I shouldn't, but what does an MD know anyway ;)

So I'd like to ask those who speak from experience.  Am I really done with these things?  Will it cause me to go manic?  Will hitting the bong make me go schizo or something?  Will a six pack mess up my lithium levels?

I'd just like to go back to once in a while use.  I had started the pot just to get some sleep.  Then I noticed my mood elevated.  Then I could be a happy drunk.  Then 8 mo of smoking and I skipped the bong one day because I felt "high" already.  Then I went *ucking nuts.

thanx

BP

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Pot and alcohol don't seem to bother me as long as I don't overdo it.

I've always been a cheap drunk, but now it's one drink and I'm done. I refuse to give it up, though. It just pisses me off too much to think that I can never have a glass of wine or beer ever again because of this stupid shit. If it really messed with me, I wouldn't do it, but for me the effect is only that the meds make me drunker faster.

As for pot, I'm asthmatic, so when I mess with pot, BP is the least of my worries. But yeah, I still do that from time to time, too anyway.  No bad psych effects from that, either, but I don't go all out, just a couple of hits. Of course, ymmv.

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i have a taste for the pipe as well, but i have noticed a difference. i get happy for a little while& then i come crashing down hard. everytime i say it isn't worth it and then some of the good stuff comes in and what depression. i can 100% say it does nothing for my memory. don't remember sh*t before the bowl, and don't remember sh*t after. still do it i guess i am stupid.

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I think the coming down off the high or the drunk or whatever is the worst of it and can mess with mood to a significant extent in some of us. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesnt. I have become a bit alcohol intolerant though I still have that "phenomenon of craving" that bothers me. I also have become a bit of a pot head due to chronic pain as well and I just don't like being addicted to anything anymore but if you can get away with doing something once in a while... I just wouldn't purchase a home stash is all. I honestly think our brain chemistry is so sensitive to things that we really dont' know what we are getting into sometimes with recreational use over the long haul.

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Re: psychosis, research is sharply divided on whether psychosis can be induced by marijuana use (either directly or by adolescent onset use in the event of adult psychosis), or if the issue is actually that people with psychosis or the precursors of it merely have a greater tendency to self-medicate with cannabis. But I wouldn't worry about any kind of Reefer Madness situation unless you have some specific reason to suspect that to be a likelihood.

Glancing over PubMed, there seem to be three things that everyone agrees upon:

- Frequent marijuana users just plain run a serious risk of ending up moderately to severely agoraphobic.  Percentages vary, but the consensus is, if you smoke a bunch of pot, you're going to hole your ass up in the house and ain't nobody can come get you.   

- Everyone agrees that anxiety and panic attacks are among the most common side effects of pot.  (How common they are, how severe, whether there are longer-term effects, whether they cause affective disorders or exacerbate them or neither - all debated.)

- It's also generally agreed upon that there is some withdrawal associated with termination of regular marijuana use.  Some studies list it as mild and some list it as severe, and nobody agrees on the duration. My guess is that the variable findings can be accounted for by other factors like bioavailability, body mass, tolerance, blood levels, other physical and mental health issues, etc. that weren't measured in every study.

Beyond that, it's very very controversial.  There are studies that suggest that BP can be exacerbated by heavy pot use.  Some studies, however, suggest that cannabis can be effective at helping to regulate moods if used in very tiny amounts on a regular basis, or possibly if used occasionally. ...That of course got a lot of folks bent out of shape and many counter-studies were carried out. My readings have generally recommended against smoking pot; my doctors have all pretty much said, "it's not ideal, but do it if that's what's going to get you through right now and don't feel bad about it." Again YMMV very sharply on that one.

I can tell you my (ahem - hypothetical) experience:  I wish I could say my magic bullet was yoga, or mindfulness, or my steely grip on my emotional state. But it's not... it's pot.  Plain old pot.  ...To be honest, on the positive side, I don't think I would have made it through a few recent crisis periods without it. My meds are not working out, I'm totally not functional, and my rapid cycling's been bad.  Despite my grumbles, my doctors have just insisted on prescribing more Klonopin and Seroquel, on top of Depakote and gobs of other gunk, while we go through an endless wait to test meds one at a time.  Taking this stuff doesn't make me feel one bit less manic or anxious, but just made me feel like I was in Drugstore Cowboy.  But the docs won't budge. So I resorted to self medication.

And hands down, pot was (hypothetically) the most effective short-term triage method I found to deal with intolerable agitation, depression, or anguish that I experience during periods of mania or mixed state agitation. (It also helps a lot with chronic pain that I have for another reason, but that's a different story.)  Pot calms me wonderfully - much better than benzos or Seroquel or anything else - and it gives me Zen-like perspective on my situation.  I can be a raving lunatic one minute, and one toke later I'm calmly assessing the situation, recognizing things I could have done better, and letting go.  It's like an immediate "off" switch for my most violent mood swings.  It's like magic. It's not great for my attention span and I'm sure it's annoying to the non-pot-smoking around me - in fact I'm sure my frequent use has started to develop an air of pathos. But boy does it work.

(Note - YMMV - that's MY - hypothetical - experience!  Which is probably an anomaly.  And which I am providing for entertainment purposes only as I am not a medical, legal, or any sort of expert. I am in no way condoning any illegal anything. Do not do this at home kids.)

BUT.  Ultimately I think it's severely impeding my recovery over the long haul. 

Naturally when I realized that it worked so well and so fast, I began to reach for it more and more often - and before I knew it, I went from experiencing relief when I smoked to experiencing more anxiety and unbalance when I *don't* smoke pot. I feel even more fragmented all the time, and I have kind of stopped trying to get my life back together.  I don't think the pot is helping my motivation, or my long-term MH, even if it's great when it lets me socialize with humans instead of staring at the ceiling depressed or raging like a crazy maniac.  ...I'm using more now too, than I used to - a lot more - which is a bummer. 

And... lo and behold, I am now a huge agoraphobe.  Like I won't mow the grass in the front yard - only the back. ...I can't say that it's done wonders for my self-esteem to sit at home like Mrs. Chong and not get anything done while my husband works hard all day. I wouldn't particularly recommend it, frankly.

So, I guess I'm where you say you're at. I'm glad it got/is getting me through the rough spots that it did.  But I really wish I hadn't relied on it instead of, I don't know, exercising or working or going outside something.  I'd rather that it were the weekend/blue moon treat that it used to be, with a little extra in a box marked 'break glass in case of emergency.'

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Alcohol -- yes, I also hate being told that I can't drink on my meds.  Not that I want to go out and get roaring drunk, but I do want the freedom to have a glass or two of whatever when I want to.  The thing is, I find that if my meds are doing what they should, then I actually don't NEED more than a glass or two.  If you're wigging out over something, then a valium is going to be more effective than a shot of vodka.  Seriously.

Smoking -- I have no problems at all with what the other anon poster said above about using pot to self medicate him/herself out of manic anxiety phases.  The thing is, it's all very well for the pdocs to be messing around with our cocktails and say " oh well, you'll feel shitty for a month or two, but by then we should have things fixed", when they're not the ones going home and bouncing off the ceiling with mixed states and agitation while the right med is being searched for.  If that's what works for you, then dammit, use it.

In your case, however, I'm not really sure what to say.  You're fairly freshly out of hospital, and you say you have been stable, but are starting to miss your "old ways".  I think that's perfectly natural.  Hospital is this weird, removed environment, but once you're stabilzed there, you're sent out back into the same situation, with the same triggers, and if you have been smoking or whatever, I think it's pretty much inevitable that you're going to start some craving.  Though I get the impression that you've already made up your mind and are looking to us to give you permission, this really is a case of YMMV.  It would be a shame if you HAVE hit on the right med combo and it all goes to hell with a few hits or a 6 pack.  On the other hand, none of us can say what will or won't happen. 

I very much believe that the doctors AREN'T gods, for all that we have to rely on them so heavily... but at the end of the day it's your choice, your body.  What works for some of us, doesn't work for the rest of us, the fact that some of us might cope with a drink or a bong and some of us might freak out and have to crawl under our beds for the next 6 months, really doesn't mean much.  So at the end of the day all I'd say is... be careful.

This'll probably be an unpopular opinion, so I'll leave it as anonymous too. *shrug

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I stopped using pot a couple of months ago, because I figured out it didn't help me at all, it aggrevated rapid cycling and anxiety and not to mention my school work. It's been hard, because I really LOVE getting high. It's one of the greatest things in life, in my opinion. But I'd rather stay sane, thank you. It's not easy being mentally interesting and any kinds of drugs WILL mess you up in some way or another. This coming from a drug-liberal and former pothead. I do not mind drugs at all, I just think, if you have some kind of mental problem, like I do, the risks are greater than the potential benefit. But of course, YMMV, and if you try smoking up and you notice no ill effects, go for it. Just be careful.

As for alcohol, I decided a few days ago I would stop drinking totally. It's just not worth the hangovers. I get a hangover even if I don't get drunk, damn it! Because of my meds, most likely. Most people I know who are on meds can drink a couple of glasses of wine and be fine, but take it easy on the getting-piss-drunk nights.

Of course, I believe alcohol is one of the most evil drugs out there. I've had several psychoses triggered by alcohol, which is the biggest reason I decided to stop. It's funny that people always talk about such and such drug can cause psychosis in unstable people, but they never talk about alcohol.

My main point is, know yourself. Read up on what you put in your body, it is sacred. Yes, I am kinda hippie-ish in that way. I can recommend http://www.erowid.org

So no drugs for me, just cigarettes and coffee. Gotta love them. <3

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I stopped toking last fall. Lately, I have been wanting to smoke some, but I am not giong to.

There were times when it increased my desire to be social and outgoing.  I laughed, was spontaneous and why did I quit?

I felt it was time to have a regulated approach to meds.  Like anything else, pot had its downside.  Right now I cant remember what it was.  Ha Ha.

  I can't say that I'll never smoke again, but for now It's not in the cards.

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you have to do what you feel is right.  i've been smoking pot every day for the last six years and at first it helped but the last couple of years it has just made thing worse.  causing mania when i'm high with psychosis and depression when i am comming down, which as you know is fun.  i have smoked a couple of times since i started "real" meds and i have noticed a big difference. i'm more paranoid, i have bad dreams and i have racing thoughts, but i feel like zombie so i just sit there and melt as my brain fries.

"Frequent marijuana users just plain run a serious risk of ending up moderately to severely agoraphobic."  i found this to be very true.  once i'm home i like to stay home and the thought of going out gives my anxeity.

i guess you could try it, but the thing is once you start you may not beable to stop if you need to.

just be careful and take it slow.

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