Marijuana has been a controversial topic for a long time. As children and teens we are taught drugs are bad, and marijuana is a drug. The gateway drug… duh… duh… duh… Albeit a natural. When you’re young that’s never mentioned. Just bad But when can it be good? The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, promised to legalize marijuana. Though originally I believe it was supposed to be this year, it looks like July, 2018 will be the closest time. In the meantime, the Toronto police seem to waste their resources on busting dispensaries. Yes, marijuana is still illegal, but isn’t there something more productive they could do? That rant aside, what are the benefits of medical marijuana, how do you know if you should take it, and how do you go about obtaining it if you should? These are the questions I’ve been trying to answer myself for quite some time.
Image from: https://askgramps.org/churchs-stance-medical-marijuana/
Over a year ago, my then partner was a huge advocate for me taking marijuana medicinally to help with my pain. Since we didn’t actually have a medical marijuana prescription, what she really meant was let’s buy some pot and see if it works. Her mother, also a big advocate, encouraged us to try it out. To my surprise, and their happiness, when we did buy some, we found it worked. Especially for sleeping. I had less pain at night and was therefore able to get a better sleep (and so did my partner because of it). Since I’m not a huge fan of smoking in general (I hate that burning feeling when taking a hit), my girlfriend found a recipe online for pot brownies, so we did that for awhile. I liked them much better because they gave me the same pain relief without having to smoke. The only problem was her baking wasn’t always exact so I was never sure how big a piece to take.
Image from: https://www.thrillist.com/recipe/nation/best-pot-brownie-recipe-thrillist-recipes
Then we found dispensaries. Whey we didn’t just go there in the first place is beyond me. I filled out a form and checked off all my ailments from a list – lupus, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, anxiety. No problem. The options were limitless and included chocolate bars (and a friend of my partner’s gave me jolly ranchers at one point). Same positive effects on my body, and now without having to guess how much to take.
So what are the benefits of medical marijuana? There are so many, ti’s hard to say where to being. Let’s start with the obvious: it eases PAIN. For all kinds of different conditions from lupus to MS to muscle spasms to cancer to arthritis and so forth. My second favourite reason is that it can decrease anxiety. As long as the dose is low, you can become quite chill without a worry. Third favourite? At 29 I was diagnosed with glaucoma (far too young to be diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease but we can thank genetics for that). Marijuana actually lowers eye pressure. Which I find easy to believe since my eye pressure hasn’t gone up since I started using pot. What else is good about it? It can stop, or lessen the intensity, of seizures, slow the growth of cancer, slow tremors in Parkinson’s patients, and slow the progression of Alzheimers. The list of benefits goes on and on. There are constantly studies, and there are even videos posted on YouTube. I’ll link one here for you now!
How do you know if you should take it? The advice of a healthcare practitioner is definitely helpful. I asked my rheumatologist about it and she was dismissive. She doesn’t know enough about it. To be fair, they don’t teach much about medical marijuana in med school, and most doctors aren’t taught how to prescribe it. My naturopath was the doctor who recommended it. It makes sense. Marijuana is natural, and naturopaths… well they are all about natural treatments. Her reasons for recommendation were, a) I was already using it as a painkiller, b) it is a painkiller that is not harmful to the body, and c) it’s also good for anxiety. She actually recommended that I smoke/ingest it five to seven days a week, though I’ve never done it more than four. The other way to decide if you should take it is to simply try and see if it works for you. That’s what I did, and I found that it was way better than all the pain killers I was prescribed. Most of which will probably kill my liver over time. All marijuana does is make me dopey before bed (and when I wake up in the morning but that usually wears off pretty quickly).
Image from: https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/pot-doctor-naturopaths-medical-marijuana/
How to obtain it… legally? Oh, this is the toughest question of them all. Currently, the only was is to get a prescription. And not every doctor can give one. I’ve been on the waitlist to see two different pain specialists, and two different clinic for eight months now. My rheumatologist won’t prescribe it, and my GP and naturopath aren’t allowed to. So currently I have no option but to continue to wait (probably forever) to see a pain specialist and in the meantime, use the dispensaries. Though not legal, typically no one is charged with possession when they buy the small amounts they do. The big problem with this, as I mentioned at the top of my post, is that the dispensaries are constantly being raided and temporarily shut down. Though there are more out there, it is becoming annoying to go find a new one all the time. Not to discourage anyone who’s reading this and wants to try medical marijuana. This is just the reality.
Image from: http://www.thekindland.com/policy/a-10-step-guide-to-opening-a-weed-dispensary-and-1444
I’m not saying that medical marijuana is right for everyone, but if you’re already ingesting a ton of pain killers that may or may not be working, you might as well give it a try. It has far less long lasting effects on your body than whatever else you’re taking, and you just might find it work as good for you as it does for me!