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A few things I've learned about me & medical marijuana (now more readable!)


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Edited to make it more readable.

I need to start documenting this stuff for my own sake, as well I think sharing the information is a public service, and I'm planning to do a blog offsite somewhere so I can give out the link to medical professionals and such.

But I really wanted to do a thread here, first, with you guys, for you guys.  Whatever.  I love talking about stuff on CB with you folks.

Every time I get a delivery from the dispensary, the little pamphlet inside made by the Canadian government reminds me that as a bipolar patient medical marijuana is not recommended.  I just wanted to make that clear.

If you weren't aware before, quick crash course: strains can be sativa, indica, or some sort of hybrid.  Main active ingredients are either THC or CBD, and some strains are developed specifically to carry a pretty equal amount of both.

With all that out of the way, here we go!

 

  • While it's hard to say for sure until I have another one, marijuana may cause some parts of my mania to be more active.  However there were many other variables involved.  Still, this mania felt distinctly different, possibly in a way I won't be able to define until I have another episode.
  •  
  • I successfully used it to quit smoking cigarettes.  This was something I'd done on my own in the past, and had discussed with my pdoc specifically, so it was one of the first things I did.
  •  
  • I have successfully established a regular sleeping pattern that I've maintained since the spring, and through all sorts of awfulness including falling off my mood stabilizer and re tapering back on to it.  Horrid.  But actually a lot easier thanks to MMJ.
  •  
  • I was anticipating it to help me with eating, I wasn't anticipating how stabilizing a regular meal habit (like a regular sleep habit) would also be.  But I'm glad for it.
  •  
  • I find CBD very mentally stimulating.  Like, potent.  Like, I already find Depakote/Epival stimulating, and I take Dexedrine, I don't need lots of CBD getting into there too.  And it makes me feel like my heart is pounding sometimes.  Small amounts of CBD already present in high THC strains is more than enough for me.  At least for now.
  •  
  • This means all my strains, daytime and nighttime (and anxiety management), need to be high THC and low CBD.  This is already becoming a problem because I'm hardly the only patient who needs those kinds of strains, and they tend to go most quickly.  I'm currently in the process of trying to get set up with a second dispensary for times when my current one is out and I need to restock my nighttime/anti anxiety.
  •  
  • I find sativas fairly stimulating too, less so than CBD itself but still noticeable.  I like a high THC low CBD sativa for my regular daytime.  I like high THC low CBD indica for nighttime, and also for anti anxiety.  Ideally I would have at least two types of the latter at a given time, to help with possible tolerance.
  •  
  • I no longer need my scripts for Imovane or Klonopin, and my medical pros are super happy about that.  This was expected.
  •  
  • Unexpected, but welcome: I have gone from 50mg Dexedrine a day (30mg AM/20mg PM), to 20mg Dexedrine a day (just in the AM).  I figured the MMJ would help counteract unwanted side effects from any psychostimulant therapy, but I'd forgotten how smoking marijuana can sometimes make the effects of some drugs more intense.  At least, I think that's what's going on, need to consult with pdoc.  Anyway, my gdoc is pretty happy at any reduction in my stimulant dose, so.

 

Alright my friends, my peeps, I'll leave you with that for now.  (and if I'm gonna edit the next post too, it won't be today.)

Edited by Mirazh
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This post is a bit specific to the current culture of public marijuana consumption within Canada.  Mostly Alberta.  But there will be parallels for others.

(September 9th 2016: Now edited for readability!)

It's legal for me to smoke weed in public now.

However, I'm experiencing all sorts of anxiety, and I'm certain it's not from getting the wrong strains, because my anxiety is very specific: consuming my medication in public.

I'm too scared to smoke my weed downtown, running errands to my social workers, so instead I get off one stop before downtown.  Walking across the neighbourhood to remembered places of safety.  I know that I am unlikely to be busted by cops in this park even if I am caught with open liquor, so long as I am discrete.  I know there are bottle collectors regularly passing by, who help me to Leave No Trace.  But now there is also a fentanyl abuse crisis, and the parks not filled with families on weekends are regularly swooped by different cops, ones who want to Clean Up The Community, and six years ago on this very park bench I was yelled at for smoking an after work joint "because you're just an unemployed druggie and I don't pay my taxes so useless kids like you can deal drugs in my neighbourhood".

I've been busted for marijuana before, never got onto my record.  I'm white, I was young, clean criminal record, no large amount on us, no suspicion of dealing, not caught doing anything else illegal.  I'm Canadian.  They confiscated our weed and our pipes (or made us smash them) and sent us on our way.  I've seen friends who are not white get searched for "walking while smelling like weed".

I went to a bar and asked the bouncer, as he was checking my bag, where I could go to smoke my MMJ.  He gave me an odd look and assured me, right in the same area as the cigarettes.  Same rules apply: nobody wants smoke blowing back into the club.

The news tells me of MMJ patients who were made to leave a bar, because they were smoking their medication outside in the smoke pit.  And now, bless them, these patients are taking it to court and being very loud about everything.

Being around my sister, I learn more stories: the neighbour in her condo complex that called the police on a different neighbour, for always smoking weed in their yard, because Think Of The Children.  My sister, at the time a single mother, physically disabled, MMJ patient.  I'm so glad she no longer lives there.  My sister again: smoking weed in a parking lot, her husband and a friend waiting, children already packed into the vehicle, getting ready for a few hours' drive.  My sister, smoking for pain, yelled at by the store manager, told to leave before he called the police, told that drug dealers weren't allowed on the premises.

My sister's husband, doing the exact right thing: getting angry and remaining in control.  Using the words How Dare You.  Shame On You.  That's Her Pain Medication.  She Has A Prescription.  Stay firm, assert your rights.  Not all cops are assholes, but not all cops will believe you either.  Especially if you have problems with anxiety, or are in some way neuroatypical, or aren't white, or have a criminal record.

All of these stories, all of this knowledge, swirls around in my mind as I work with the anxiety, and sometimes fight the anxiety.  Giving in to this anxiety only hurts me, it is not kind or helpful to give in to this anxiety.  Sometimes, I get angry.  This is actually brilliant, it helped me stop hiding away in the back yard, and now I smoke my medication on the front porch (underneath cover in case of rain or snow, unlike the rear).

Sometimes, I buy a vaporizer.  My G Pro vaporizer pen works great for me at home, and so far I think it will help me feel different in public.  I've never owned a vaporizer before.  This is way less obvious "drug paraphernalia" until the smell hits you, but even then, I know.  I'm sensitive to aesthetics, and I know it looks more professional.  But this was the cheapest at the store and it was over $100.  Still, having something that different from what I used to use is also quite helpful in freeing me from the old mindset.

One eye over my shoulder.  I am unlikely to ever have a problem.  And if I ever do, I'll be sure to make as much noise about it as possible.

Because I'm not the only one coming up against this kind of anxiety.  This sort of anxiety that will only truly be gone once my culture has room for public use of pot.

(Addendum: Please, please do not tell me that legalization of recreational use is coming to Canada.  I know.  And I'm glad.  And it will probably help this problem directly.  I have an entire blog post in the pre planning stages on the subject; and despite my optimism I have wary words of caution too.)

Edited by Mirazh
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When you get a vaporizer to help with your "taking my medication in public" anxiety, it's vitally important you make sure the thing is charged before you go anywhere.  Lest you be stranded in public with no way to actually take your anti anxiety medication.

Carrying additional methods of intake would probably also work.  Like, oh, rolling papers and a lighter.

This post has been brought to you by a Mirazh still twitching from yesterday.

Edited by Mirazh
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(Edited September 9th 2016 for readability)

It's possible I wouldn't find CBD as "mentally stimulating" without: Epival/Depakote, which I also find stimulating, and Dexedrine.

Right now I'm badly in need of a follow up with my pdoc.  I mixed up stuff to do with my meds coming out of my recent mania, which led to weird "fun" and I think extended my mania.  I'm only very recently coming out of it.  And before that I had a huge amount of life stress come to a head, which was also stressful, fell off my mood stabilizer, and then tapered back on.

Honestly I'm still picking apart the threads, I've consulted with doctors of course but I specifically need to consult with my pdoc.  She has unfortunately been very busy with her involvement helping to establish the Medical Marijuana clinic in my city.  However, I was recently there, and their operation has much expanded!  Many more doctors there to help!  I am going to contact her old office's co ordinator on Tuesday so I can set up an appointment.

From what I can remember: since becoming an MMJ patient, in many environments I didn't encounter CBD interacting with my anxiety at all, and was quite fine with it, enjoyed it as part of my daytime herb blends.  I certainly enjoyed a nice Cannatonic strain sometimes back in my recreational days.  But in other settings, fewer in number but greater in time I spend in them (including my home, currently), it's just... inescapable.  I'm too twitchy.  I really need stuff to slow me down.

I'd already phased out experimenting with CBD heavy strains before my manic episode hit.  I didn't like the synthetic CBD pills either when we trialed me on that a year ago, for what it's worth.  Made me dizzy and feel like my heart was pounding.  I was smoking cigarettes at the time, so it's possible it was from that.  Though I can still get the heart pounding effect sometimes if the strain I'm using has more CBD than I'd normally prefer.

Edited by Mirazh
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I'm so glad you got my brain thinking about CBD and mania, @TakeAChillPill.  Because I've been navigating this stuff fairly well thanks to my decade plus of self medicating/recreational use, however in articulating it I've defaulted to more simplified analyses of what I'm actually doing/what seems to be going on/what I know from years of reading and smoking and taking part in marijuana culture and comparing my experiences to others.

To recap: before I went on MMJ, the plan I made with my pdoc was to not let the MMJ get anywhere near my mania in the beginning of this journey.  From the start I was going to treat it like I do my psychostimulants: when manic episode is detected, stop taking the medication, keep on the mood stabilizer, bring in the Seroquel.

(I'm not one hundred percent on this, but I do think my mania this last time felt waaaaaaaay less irritable.  I also had some euphoric feels in the latter end of it, but that was also possibly connected to the other medication chaos.)

Anyway, point is I don't want to put MMJ near my mania until I've got a better handle things.  Although I'll cop to a deep interest in experimenting with MMJ and my mania, eventually. ;) And with way more direct support from my pdoc than I've been able to get at this time.  And only if she thinks it's a good idea.  We have a really good relationship built on trust.  I listen to her.  She is a very rare find.

I'd forgotten about CBD and the studies into it behaving like an antipsychotic.  That's terribly interesting to me now, and has me rethinking synthetic CBD, which I have tried before, perhaps in the future for pdoc supported mania experiments.  Or even just a good Cannatonic.  But there's more to MJ than cannabinoids.

Traditional knowledge is sativas get you up and indicas get you down.  Most everything produced and consumed in USA (I'm presuming Canada as well) are actually hybrids.  Sativas and indicas evolved in different climates which is where their distinctive physical differences come from, and hybridization makes sense if you want the effects of a sativa plant but want to be able to grow it faster or better in your particular climate.  Both cannabinoids are present in the strains and hybrids, in varying percentages.

THC most certainly tends to make folks feel euphoric and up when smoked, regardless of it being in an indica or sativa.  But there's also the differing terpenes (essential oils/chemical compounds) in various strains, and though I have no links for you today (I need to dig some up, for sure) there's the studies that have been done/are being done into how it's probably the varying types and amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes within a plant that grant its particular effects.

I learned many many years ago that while not all indicas knock you down and make you sleepy, some of them most certainly do!  And I find that with my MMJ experience now, only I am more educated about this stuff than I used to be, also the advantages of going through a legal medical system instead of the black market (I know a shit ton about my weed b/c quality testing!  Yay!)  And the ones that do this for me (and many others) are some indicas (especially some certain pure indica strains) with high THC content, quite possibly because of a particular terpene found in high quantities in some traditional indica strains and the way it interacts in tandem with THC.  And of course, I find these "make you sleepy" types also great for anti anxiety.

Terpenes are also potentially why vaporizers don't work for some folks but smoking it will.  My sister is like that, trying to use vaporizers to save her lungs is as effective for her pain management as that trendy Vapeing with the water vapor stuff.  That is, not at all.  Some vaporizers will allow you to set the settings high enough to counteract this but she's not encountered one of those yet (I'm thinking of suggesting a Volcano to her and her husband, I think she may find that one works for her better.)  I'm still playing around with my vaporizer pen, the G Pro, which I bought earlier this week, so I don't have much yet to go on.  Plus I'm waiting for my dispensary to put up a good sleepy type strain on the website (there's a bunch in testing/curing/etc. so yay!) so I can order a whoooooole lot of it.

Thank you again, your query has helped me to clarify both my understanding of various factors involved, and how I can be talking about this more clearly.  I am going to do a blog, starting to plan it out, and so yeah. :) Much appreciated.

I'll continue trying to edit my previous posts in this thread for readability (I won't re re re edit anything... that first post is fine as it is now, I'm quite happy with it), I'm still coming out of the disorganized thinking and brainfog that clung to me during my recent mania/"fun" mixups with my meds/wheeeeee, and this helps me get my thoughts back in order too.

But seeing as I've spent far too much time on here today already, it shall have to wait for another day. ;)

Edited by Mirazh
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It all makes sense now.  I knew this, LOL, but did not expect it!  Of course the cannabinoids plus my Dexedrine plus my Depakote (which I find stimulating) make me feel all stimulated ahahahaha.

I still don't like high CBD stuff, I find it too anxiety inducing, I think.  I'm going to try again sometime in the future, perhaps, but need to talk with the pdoc.

But the THC can certainly do that to me as well.  Unless my headspace and environment aren't already anxious and I'm trying to smoke for things like managing my sensory processing disorder, then it's fine.  And unless it's in a strain with the right turpene/s to turn it into really good mellow/brain quieting effect.

 

Edited by Mirazh
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(more post editing; second one now almost reads like a flow of thought blog post... still long but more coherant and less rambling; third post done too)

  • It helps with my sensory processing disorder/managing my sensory overload

This is one of the reasons I wanted to try it as an adjunct therapy, and one of the reasons I smoke it during the day.  Between my Epival, my Dexedrine, and my marijuana, not to mention all this free time I have and freedom from the stress of needing to secure a steady income... I'm actually starting to "get my shit together".  I think.

The regular sleep and eat patterns help a lot.  Even when I mess up on those, it's easy to go back.  Like I said above.  But also during the day, it can help me do things like: shower!  clean the catbox!  tidy & organize my living areas right after I get up and right before I go to bed (woah I've never done that one of my own volition before).

Granted, most of that is me and the hard work I've been doing!  And the awesome support I've arranged around me.

But basically for a while after I smoke it, everything in general just gets easier.  Going out in public.  Cleaning.  Watching a show on TV.  Talking with people.  And I don't wear out or overload nearly as quickly or easily.

This was something I thought I noticed when looking at past experience, did a bit of digging on the Internet for to see if maybe others thought they were noticing the same kinda thing (I did find some folks asking about it on forums), and then I asked my pdoc about it and she'd definitely heard of folks doing marijuana for SPD/managing sensory overload/etc. in autistic and ADHD patients.

Edited by Mirazh
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  • 3 weeks later...

My rate of use has definitely gone way down.

I suspect part of my high rate of use at first was the stress from quitting smoking, and other things going on in my life too.  Which snowballed, as these things do, and that in turn had me using more as well in order to cope.

But things have been quieting down a lot in my life and my head, and I definitely find myself purchasing less.  Previously I would guesstimate my average daily consumption at over 2g per day (some days not as much, some days not at all, but overall yeah that was it.)  Now I seem to mostly sit at 1g per day, or just under.

I'm using my vaporizer pen, which by the way helps a lot with my anxiety about smoking my medication in public.  I've thought about discussing getting on with a secondary dispensary, less for supply now and more for the possibility of options like edibles, that could be a pretty good way to do longer term anxiety and overload management out in public, especially if I'm trying to attend something at a space that allows no smoking whatsoever/no re entry if you leave the building during intermission/etc.  This would have the added advantage of not forcing funky weed scent on everyone in my vicinity, something that is unavoidable even when I am with my vaporizer (although at least that is way less likely to cling to me in the way actual smoke would).

The vaporizer is also better for my lungs.  I'm still using glass pipes part of the time, especially at home, but I make sure to use my vaporizer too.  I'm just trying to not wear out my new thing.  However I'm finally starting to feel the benefits of quitting smoking, that I remember, like a returning sense of smell (this has its downsides LOL curse my sensory processing disorder) and my singing voice is stabilizing once more.  So yay.

Edited by Mirazh
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      My my memory and focus is terrible. It almost feels like dementia. At times I feel cognitively inept like my brain has completely shut down. 
      I am currently on 40 mg geodon, 50 mg Zoloft, 25 mg elavil (mainly for migraines) 3 mg prozasin at night and 1 mg Ativan 3 x a day. But nothing seems to help. I have been in 3 inpatient facilities since December being diagnosed with GAD, panic disorder, derealization and OCD but no one or nothing gives me relief. Some doctors say I have bipolar "tendencies" but not enough so to diagnose me with it. I don't get it. They say my racing thoughts and racy feeling, insomnia, irritability etc. may be more from OCD and anxiety then from bipolar. 
      I am at my wits end. Not sure how much longer I can take this. Out of desperation yesterday I tried some high CBD low THC marijuana that my nephew bought for me at a medical marijuana dispensary. I took one TINY hit. Last night I felt that it helped with the anxiety, but not the derealization. I took another tiny hit this morning and then another this afternoon. The derealization is awful. I'm not sure if this marijuana has made me feel bad, or if I would have felt this way anyway, but the mental and physical anxiety seems to be a bit better. I know pot is a big no no for derealization, but because it has virtually no THC, I thought it would be worth a try. The strain is called AC/DC and is not supposed to have any psychoactive effect. I hope I didn't cause more damage or prolong this episode (that is if I was ever going to come out of it) is trying this form of medical marijuana a bad idea? 
      does anyone have any advice for me? I'm so scared. I just want to feel better, better than I am now would be fine at this point. 
       
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