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Okay.

This is a forum to deal with substance abuse and addictions. Yes, some people can use MJ in a recreational and non harmful way, it isn't inherently evil. I personally think using substances like that to avoid dealing with MI or to self medicate, as the OP does is not recreational non harmful use.

This thread is not a critique of anyone else's use or beliefs, so simmer down, people.

OP, in terms of continuing or stopping, what are your thoughts and what help can we give you? Many members struggle with meds and self meducate, some have stopped MJ. Some have found that self medication ended up increasing their symptoms, some didn't. I would ask, what concerns you about self medicating and what info can we give you?

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Different people find it does different things. Many people with MI lack insight and people around them to reality check them, lots of members felt their usage was no big deal until it became an issue. This forum is to talk about substance in an addiction context, it's not a place to discuss the benefits of usage recreational because that is a different beast and people pist here are workung hard to recover from their own self identified addictions.

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"8-balls, Highballs, Deal Me in One Last Time" in the forum description implies a different vibe all together. One of glorification not of abstaining.

 

I wouldn't say glorification.  More like coping with a lifetime substance abuse problem and, is part of the crazyboards gestalt, cracking jokes about it along the way.

 

This forum really is for people trying to recover from substance abuse problems.  I'm moving this post to the alternative treatments forum.

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Thank-you, VE. Alternatives is a better place, IMHO.

Posts like this are entirely why I wrote the sticky 'welcome to the addictions forum' back over there. Addictions is for discussions about quitting, stopping, and staying clean. People get hooked on non-physically addicting things all the time. People get addicted (not necessarily the same as developing a dependance) to medicinally useful stuff all the time.

Atropine does have medicinal uses, though it's not in its original state. One of my exess was prescribed atropine to help deal with gallstone attacks while he was on the waitlist for gallbladder surgery.

Weed can get a bad rep in some places and I hate to see misinformation abound. On the flipside, I was involved with weed and smoker's culture for over twelve years, met many self-educated drug nerds like myself, yet somehow the potential risks were rarely stated or know. This is just my experience. Basically, I found that within the culture of smokers, of course all the benefits were talked about, discussed, and promoted. But I found the risks to usually be minimised if not dismissed outright.

I've watched friends of mine have a psychotic break from smoking weed. Some on their first or first few times, at least one after he'd been smoking for years - and his so far has *not* continued into a psychotic disorder. But he did assault someone. Hell, I was irritably hypomanic on Lexapro, smoked some weed, and assaulted someone. I wasn't psychotic. Nearest I can figure is that I got so worked up, anxiously, during an argument that my 'fight' response got triggered (I felt cornered, unable to leave, as well.) And weed normally helped my anxiety.

I don't think it's right to paint marijuana with either end of such black and white thinking. I do believe there is legitimate medicinal value in the drug, including for psychiatric purposes. But just like how YMMV with crazy pills, and some that help a lot of people can triger dangerous things in others (helllooooo Lexapro for me! And Valium!) Well the same holds true for things like marijuana and I think that deserves to be talked about as well.

When I used it to self medicate, marijuana helped me with many things. A lot of my social anxiety, coping with resurfacing trauma, sleep/insomnia issues, depression, irritability, ADHD hyperactivity, you name it. That being said? It made other areas of my anxiety worse, though I was unaware of it at the time (no, not connected to the indica/sativa strains, trust me.) Sometimes it would trigger irritability rather than soothe - and for the longest time I had no idea why it would do this (and no, it was not the strain, I'd even had the difference happen with the same bag.) I was also constantly smoking, all day, every day, for years. I was, personally, using it to cope with pretty much my entire life, and not seeking out any other additional support. Like with anxiety - I'm really helped by some CBT tools, but for years I tried to smoke away my issues instead (yes, this last bit is due to me self-medicating without additional supervision and support.)

I stopped, with very rare indulgences, for almost an entire year now. I still do, rarely, indulge, around certain trusted people and only if I feel in the proper mindset. Even then, I know for me it can be risky. My GP and pdoc know, frankly they're pleased that I went from a 24/7 chronic pothead to this. I have other meds that help me immensely, like my divalproex and Concerta. And my clonazepam - which I can still struggle with knowing when to take, as a PRN, because the 'feel' of taking something for anxiety like that just reminds me so much of the 'feel' of smoking weed to deal with the same issue. But I've been successfully sorting out the differences, for myself, and have learned a lot about when it's beneficial for me to use my benzo, and have much reduced my guilt.

I'm trying to get some additional therapy to pick up the rest, like DBT for some of my remaining bubble-to-the-surface trauma issues. It's a process. I have other things to help me too, books and workbooks and friends, and CB.

So yeah, it helped me. But it made some other things worse for me too, and I wasn't able to see or admit to those for the longest time. To reiterate: I think it's just as important to talk about risks as it is benefits. But over and over again I have seen black-and-white opinion-holders on either side take offense when the merest hint of an opposing view is mentioned. Not all do this, but I've seen it a lot. I try to take a balanced approach in my views, and I really appreciate others who seem to do the same - like VE.

Another repeat: pro-pot talk has no place in the addictions forum, IMHO. The last thing someonenwho is struggling with an addiction needs is to go into that forum for support, only to find a bunch of urge-triggering discussion. This thread has not been deleted, only moved.

Should say, about atropine: though it's not used in its original state (at least not in western medicine.)

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My biggest concern with smoking weed is that, unless you know the grower intimately and know their farming techniques, you have no idea what you are getting. Is it loaded with pesticides and chemical fertilizers? Has it been cut with something else? There's no regulation and therefore there's no standard. Weed growers/distributors are in it for the money and the bigger and better the harvest, the bigger the payload. Adding in some other addictive substance keeps customers coming back. Unless you are buying MM, you just don't know. And that can be dangerous.

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I've known producers, yes. In my early days I didn't. I also ended up with laced weed. But, generally, lacing it with something costs *more* money than just selling the weed and I didn't commonly come across it. I know there's exceptions - have come across shitty quality stuff laced with something to make it seem more potent, likely was done at a profit. I. Know there's people out there who operate like this. But otherwise, eh. The most addictive thing I've seen it mixed with is tobacco, and smokers were doing that mixing themselves.

Illegally, risks can include not knowing exact potency/chemical ratios, what was involved in the growing/producung process, and your money going to support gangs and the like. Yes, marijuana is a HUGE cash cow for gangs.

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I've known producers, yes. In my early days I didn't. I also ended up with laced weed. But, generally, lacing it with something costs *more* money than just selling the weed and I didn't commonly come across it. I know there's exceptions - have come across shitty quality stuff laced with something to make it seem more potent, likely was done at a profit. I. Know there's people out there who operate like this. But otherwise, eh. The most addictive thing I've seen it mixed with is tobacco, and smokers were doing that mixing themselves.

Illegally, risks can include not knowing exact potency/chemical ratios, what was involved in the growing/producung process, and your money going to support gangs and the like. Yes, marijuana is a HUGE cash cow for gangs.

 

^ yep, this.  well said.

 

since the title of this thread is "how has it helped you?", i'll add my two cents.

 

i was a moderately heavy smoker for a few years.  i was also in the business, mostly so i could afford to smoke in the first place (and also because i was dirt poor and too nuts to work).  at the time, i was smoking mostly to stop the constant ruminating/obsessing/intrusive thoughts i get when i am very depressed.  weed allowed me a break from that train of thought for a little while.  i could focus on something ELSE, albeit briefly.  i was not properly diagnosed or properly medicated at the time, though i was totally compliant.  when i did get a proper dx and much better meds, i didn't even feel like smoking anymore.  i worried that it would one day be difficult to quit, but it wasn't at all.  i didn't need the self-medication anymore.

 

past few years to now:  the number one reason i like weed is for the anti-nausea properties.  so many meds have made me so sick, and nothing the doctors ever gave me seemed to take it away.  smoking not only makes me stop throwing up, it actually makes me feel like eating (sometimes)(like a normal person, i don't mean the "get the munchies" thing).

 

i still do this a few times a week, as both lithium and parnate make me nauseous (but not debilitatingly so, like effexor did).  it only takes a very small amount, not even enough to get "high" - i suppose that probably speaks to my tolerance as well.  i can still feel that increased ability to distract myself a little bit, too, which is nice, and a small drop in social anxiety.

 

one of the most prohibitive factors for me has been the price... my drug coverage most certainly will not pay for MJ, heh.  however, since i only need small bits now, it costs me less than a month's worth of lamotrigine (i get 80% coverage).  if i needed/wanted to smoke more, i'd never be able to afford it.  it also is inconvenient - you can't just take it with you and have a puff before dinner with the family (well most families anyway, mine will tolerate my going outside for a smoke if i'm sick that day).  it smells terrible, and if you want to smoke privately, the smell makes that difficult.  if you have breathing problems it isn't a good idea.  so other than teh MI, there are a few practical drawbacks.

 

i do have to add the caveat that i do NOT think MJ is for everyone.  i've seen some people that completely rely on it to "cure" their BP, and it isn't pretty.  i've seen people get hella paranoid.  not fun or helpful at all.  but there are folks for whom MJ is a blessing.

 

and always, ALWAYS be honest with your pdoc or whoever is prescribing your meds.  yeah, you'll probably get an earful.  but be honest anyway, and don't claim you're going to quit if you aren't.  your pdoc just may work WITH you instead of wagging his/her finger, you never know.  personally, i've only had one pdoc out of many who had a problem with my smoking.  currently i just record my use with the rest of my mood chart stuff, just like how much sleep or food or exercise i got that day.  neither tdoc or pdoc thinks i should quit - they'd be more concerned if i were drinking on meds than smoking.  but that's just my case i guess, ymmv.

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If I'm crying and I smoke weed, it can help me stop crying and maybe even laugh a little at what I was crying about.

If I'm in a bad mood wood makes me chill out... and I get really anxious a lot.

And even it helps me with sleeping.

Also, I stop eating when I'm anxious... or just don't get hungry because food makes me sick that day... well it helps me eat, a lot.

It also helps me with my gastritis because it makes me eat.

I don't think I depend on it... It's just better with it. (in my case)

Edited by Bazinga
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Just depends, for me, on the type of weed it is. The weed I smoke now gets rid of my anxiety and basically that's it. I don't get head high, just calmness. I smoke I small amount about 1-2 times a week when my anxiety is really bad and the Klonopin ain't working. I've had bad, crap weed that used to make me paranoid. You just have to know where your getting it from and the different types of it. That makes a huge difference IMO. I could care less what anyone else thinks. My mom smokes weed some to help with her chronic pain. She's been able to reduce her opioids significantly for her nueropathy thats severe (she was taking 3 oxycontins a day plus neurotin and lortabs to control her pain, elavil to sleep every single day) and it helps her nausea and other stuff. You can't tell me, that for her, that weed is more dangerous than all those pills! Nope, I'm not gonna buy it. I'm all for the legalization of it.

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Heh...

 

The only thing weed ever did for me was make me notice how warm my teeth feel, and that it felt like I could feel my hair grow.

 

Oh, and the cotton mouth/dry eyes... Right up there with beta blockers.

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Before I "come out", I do want to mention that marijuana is legal in my state. I have found it very helpful for low mood. It also helps me eat when I feel too depressed to do so. I feel like it's given me a lot of benefits. With that said, I find when I am stable and meds are working for me, I rely on it a lot less or not at all. I vacillate between seeing it as a crutch and seeing it as another tool in my arsenal. I am careful about where I get it from and always smoke a tiny bit to start off to see if I have any weird reactions. It is far better for my mental health than alcohol (which I pretty much eschew). I treat it like alcohol, and don't drive while high etc. I consider myself a responsible cannabis user.

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I don't use it because I don't like smoking at all, don't find it pleasurable and I already have psychosis issues I know are worsened by it. That said, my worry for people who use MJ with MI issues is that some people do lack the insight and self awareness to be honest about theur usage in terms of its benefit. It is fantastic that so many people can use it with so much discipline and moderation, but like with alcohol, there is so much room for people with MI to fall into self medication/it worsening their health that I do approach these discussions with some caution.

 

If MJ usage was a more neutral and less morality driven subject, maybe there would be more an open culture of responsible users for whom it doesn't become destructive. However a lot of members here who say that MJ isn;t an issue for them will admit at other times that it is does contribute to their anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, lack of motivation, inability to get work, non complaince with their psych meds, increases their alochol usage etc etc.

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I want to stop weed for the same reason I don't like taking my meds. I don't like knowing that I NEED something to HELP me live. It's like needing a cane to walk. I can't do it on my own. weed is part of my meds. 

 

I also don't like that I need something to help me live. I found it helpful to relate taking meds as similar to a diabetic needing insulin or similar, it's just that in my case it's something in my brain chemistry that is missing/broken. I see it as people with mild/moderate depression/mental illness are a bit like people with Type 2 diabetes in that they can use lifestyle measures to cope, or maybe they will only need meds until they recover. But for people like me, who have more severe/long term mental illness it's more like Type 1 diabetes where the meds are necessary for me (along with lifestyle measures too). I can no more survive by mere willpower than a person with Type 1 diabetes could use willpower to force their body to create insulin. That's all just my thinking/theory anyway

 

In terms of weed, it's not something that has ever worked for me, it usually ends up making me nauseous. I live in New Zealand which is fairly open minded, although it's not legal (yet, I suspect it will get there in a few years). Like anything, if you abuse it then it usually ends up causing problems, but used responsibly, I have no issue with it. Personally I have always preferred alcohol, although to be perfectly honest, I know I have used alcohol irresponsibly to cope with situations, and that potential remains there, but most of the time if I have just a drink or two, then it does help me wind down.

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I am in a similar boat, and I think I know how you feel. Somedays I want to quit, and other days I can't imagine my life without weed. It seems to really make me better. It helps with my anxiety. It helps me focus on a single task. It calms me. My moods are less erratic. I am far less likely to fly off the handle. I feel more in control of myself in a way that no big pharma med has ever done for me.

But there's a huge stigma around it. If I wanted a better job, I might have to pass a piss test. They might even do random UA's. And those tests don't distinguish if I smoked an hour ago, smoked that day, or smoked 30 days before. If my body didn't get it all out, then I could fail for even a month after smoking. Some people actually view me as a lesser person because I smoke. Now, I know that I shouldn't care what people think. But when it comes to a job, or making new friends, I don't want weed to be an obstacle. If it were legal, I'd have so much less of a problem, but we're not here to discuss that.

There are benefits to quitting and benefits to continuing to smoke. And since you've already stated you react well, I won't bother to educate you about psychosis and anxiety...

I would actually suggest that you try quitting. Just see how you feel after a month of not smoking, and then decide where to go from there. Worst case scenario? You realize you're better off smoking, and you just reduced your tolerance to zero. Just saying. But on the other hand, maybe you'll find your head is clearer, and you can focus on alternative treatment to get better. Good luck!

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Before I was diagnosed BP, I smoked pot every night.  It lessoned my anxiety and got me to sleep.  The past 10 years, though, I would get paranoid.  I joked that I would hide under the kitchen table if someone knocked on my door.  Now that smoking is only an infraction in my state (voted for by the people by over 70% agreeing) I tried it again a few times.  It made me very paranoid, fearful, and it was just not a good experience.  I do see how it could benefit some people, as I've witnessed it.  Now that it is legal in the medical sense here, my SO asked his GP about it and he recommended it for his chronic pain.  Less harmful than percocet and morphine, and he doesn't get paranoid.  I know a friend who we would BEG her to smoke, cause that was the only time she was reasonable.  So for those who are not med compliant, it has a place.  If one is properly medicated, I don't think it is needed.  Some people just can't get the meds- whether it be because of insurance issues or not following through with regular appointments cause they are so messed up, work schedules, etc...  It didn't work for me, but who am I to say it is useless?  To classify it as the same as heroin or crack is fucking ridiculous.  There are still people in jail in my state for growing this shit, and they are OLD as fuck, while child molesters get a few years and are parolled.  Sorry, didn't mean to get political, but I've seen it help mania and anxiety personally.  I like to drink, and alcohol never helped anyone with anything- I wish I liked smoking.  I've seen it help and if it doesn't- you just stop smoking.  It is not physically addicting like alcohol.  Just my opinion, as always!

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weed helps distract me from my depressive state, enough to stop dwelling and open myself up to other activities for a short while.

 

my ex-boyfriend (boyfriend at the time) was the most staunchly anti-drugs person you can imagine, and even he eventually came around when he saw how much smoking weed helped me. now he implores me to keep some around as it worked even better than seroquel for anxiety attacks.

 

its a double edged sword though because it does make my social anxiety issues worse after the fact, in the days that follow... so i try to keep it around just for emergencies. easier said than done though.. also it does contribute to a bit of a cognitive fog which i already have a hard time with being depressed.. so yeah.

 

all that said, i am preparing to go on a weed abstinence for a couple of weeks starting tomorrow just to gauge things. i find that gives me a clearer perspective on whether it is still doing the job or not.

Edited by melody_from_mars
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