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Is Medical Marijuana Right For Me (and maybe you)?

bastrange1

New Member
This week I decided to look into medical marijuana as a replacement for several medications that I'm currently taking and as a possible therapy for leveling out my mood swings from depression to manic happiness to rage. I would like to use this forum to track everything related to the journey that I take in deciding if medical marijauna is right for me.

If the administrator of this forum doesn't have any objections, I would like to try to add posts daily on what I've found works and doesn't work for me. That way I can share the information in case anyone else has similar health issues and is deciding if MM is right for them.

Any objections?
 

Julie Gardener

New Member
I think it's a great idea. Honest testimonials would benefit many people. We also must take into consideration that we are all different and do not react the same just as with any medication. But all that aside, the information you share here with us is greatly appreciated and truly welcome!!

Thank you for your willingness to document your experiences...

:Namaste:
 

bastrange1

New Member
Thanks for letting me share. I agree that everyone should explore for themselves if marijuana is right for them and what doses are appropriate if it is. The following is just a log of what I’ve found either works or doesn’t work for me.

I’d like to start with a little background on myself. I’m in my 40’s. I’ve smoked marijuana recreationally on and off since I was 14. I’ve never been a heavy marijuana smoker and have tapered off to being an occasional social smoker over the past 3 years. I also tapered and eventually quit smoking tobacco around the same time. The main reason is that I’ve had issues with my lungs and throat being irritated by smoke inhalation.

I’ve been aware of the medicinal applications of marijuana, but never really considered it as an option until it recently became legal. Now that it’s legal, I have concerns about the social implications of using medical marijuana. My Wife is not a pot smoker and gives me grief on the occasions that I have smoked around her. I have a teenage Son that I have lectured about the pitfalls of using drugs and alcohol. I have a white collar day job and I’m concerned that drug use whether on or off the job could get me fired. I’m also concerned that I could be arrested for driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

Now that you know my concerns, let me tell you why I am considering medical marijuana as an alternative to the medications that I’m taking. At age 18 I was diagnosed with severely ulcerative Colitis which I have suffered from since then. I am currently prescribed up to 7,500 mg daily of Balsalazide which is a generic for Colazal. Most of the time I only take a daily maintenance dosage of 3,000 mg. Like many people afflicted by Colitis, I also suffer from joint pain. I’ve been tested and do not have RA, but I have inflammations in the soft tissue between my shoulder and knee joints that at times can be unbearable. I also regularly suffer from sacroiliac joint pain in my back which at times makes it unbearable to be sitting, standing, laying or sleeping.

I have high cholesterol which is being treated with 10 mg daily of Pravastatin. I have a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol. My cholesterol levels increased to extremely high levels while taking Accutane at age 18 and again at age 25. There is speculation of a correlation between Accutane and bowel disease. Personally I think that there is also a correlation between Accutane and high cholesterol and geographic tongues, but that’s for a different forum. Statins are known to cause joint pain. When the dosage was increased beyond 10 mg, the pain in my knees and shoulders became unbearable.

My Doctor prescribed 10 mg daily of Omeprazole for heartburn that I experience frequently. I have taken it daily for several years. I have read that some of the side effects from long term use can be back pain and rashes. This may be a contributing factor to my constant back pain. I regularly experience a rash on my cheeks and chin that comes and goes with no rhyme or reason. Occasionally the redness and dry skin appears under my eyebrows, sideburns and hairline.

My Doctor has prescribed up to 2,000 mg of Vicodin for my joint and back pain. I rarely have to take that high of a dosage. Most days I split a pill in half which is 250mg and take that in the morning. If an 8 hour day of sitting aggravates my knees or back I will take another 250mg in mid-afternoon. On rare occasions I will have to take another 250mg at bed time if my back or shoulders have been aggravated by yard work or exercise.

Some of the side effects that I experience from Vicodin are uncontrollable itching, dry mouth and irritability. I’ve read some other side effects that I experience may be attributed to Vicodin, such as, irregular heartbeats (racing heart and skipped palpitations), blurred vision and ringing in the ears.

A few nights a week I take 10mg of Ambien. I occasionally take it when I can’t sleep due to joint pain, but more often I take it for racing thoughts. When my joints are severely aching it’s hard to sleep because I’m constantly waking up to get comfortable. Also, I have a hard time turning off my mind at night and starting the melatonin. My family has a history of Alzheimer’s. I’ve heard of a correlation with Ambien and memory loss so I’m concerned about taking it as a sleep aid. At times I drink a few beers before bedtime instead which seems to help get me to sleep, but not to stay asleep.

Recently I was diagnosed with a possible constrictive artery coming out of my heart after an echo stress test. My Cardiologist wanted to do a catheterization. I declined because I have friends that had a false positive from the echo stress test. The technician performing the stress test seemed to have a problem with the equipment so I wasn’t confident in the results. A couple months later the cardiologist sent me for an artery CT scan instead of the arterial catheterization. Thank goodness that the test results were that my arteries did not have any plaque build-up. For those couple of months I thought that I was on the verge of a heart attack and even went in for an EKG one day because I thought I was having one. I guess it was psychosomatic because the results of the EKG and CT scan were negative.

A couple other medical conditions that I have, but are not on medications for are irritability, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), erratic heartbeats, frequent sore throat, diminished lung capacity and twitching muscles. All of these could be side effects from my other medical conditions and medications.

Finally I would like to mention that I’ve had a problem with mood swings since I was a teenager. In any day I can go from being happy to depressed to angry without much of a reason. Most of the time I am irritable. When I get irritable then I get short with people. Most people call it being an asshole. If the irritation continues then I often have verbal outbursts. At times I can lunge at my children when they are really pushing my buttons. It never gets to the point of physical contact. More so like a large animal charging and then stopping to give you a warning. However, the irritability and anger is affecting my personal and professional relations so I need to find a way of managing it.

As you can see, I have several medical conditions and take a lot of pharmaceuticals to manage them. I’m not a person that likes taking medication. I would like to find other ways of managing my health. That began me on this journey.

Recreational use of marijuana made me aware that certain strains can control a lot of the health issues that I have. I noticed that my joint and back pain subsided when I smoked. When my Colitis flared and I had stomach cramps with abdominal pain, pot would ease the cramps. If I was having a stressful day pot would help ease the anxiety and irritability before it turned into anger or rage. If I couldn’t sleep at night pot would help to make me tired. If I couldn’t control my mind that was obsessing about something or other then pot would help to release the focus and let me relax. The strange thing was that I never used marijuana to control these health issues. It was always a happy accident that I had smoked some while I was experiencing the symptoms and they subsided.

Now I am seriously taking a look at if medical marijuana can help me ween off the pharmaceuticals that I am taking for pain, colitis, heartburn and sleeplessness. I was given a small amount of Hindu Kush. I read up on the attributes of the different strains.

HK is a hybrid of 80% Indica and 20% Sativa. It has high ratings as a pain reliever, anti-insomnia, stress reliever and provides a strong euphoric feeling. Some of the negatives are that you get dry mouth, dry eyes and paranoia.

About a week ago I decided to give it a try. I rolled a pinner joint and made sure that I had time to myself for the next few hours. I took 1 hit and held it a second or two before exhaling. I wanted to see what that would do for me. Over the next couple of hours I noted the effects:
8:22 PM took 1 hit
8:39 PM I was peaking. I experienced paranoia. My back and joint pain was starting to cease. My teeth felt irritated like I had eaten sugar or had not brushed them for a day. I had some confusion. I was working on some chores around the house and found myself starting to move to another part of the house to do something, but wasn’t sure what it was until I stopped to concentrate. Also, I had a mental list of things that I was doing and from time would have to stop to take stock of what I had done and what still needed to be done. I probably do that when I’m not high, but it’s more noticeable when I am.
8:49 I was tired. Couch locked and would have slept if I didn’t force myself to get up and move. I was still sensing paranoid thoughts and my teeth still felt gritty.
8:59 I was still tired, but my joint pains were gone. I felt euphoric and very mellow. Like an all over body buzz.
9:53 Still no pain. I was tired, but still moving about. I had a smooth transition from being high to not being high. I was able to talk to others and look them in the eye without being paranoid that they knew I was high.

The second day that I smoked some HK I took 1 hit again to see if the results were similar. This time I took it late at night because I was having joint pain and insomnia. Normally I would take an Ambien at this time of night which would get me to sleep and let me continue to sleep when without it the joint pain would have me waking and turning all night.
1:12 AM I took 1 hit
1:29 AM I was tired and experiencing slight paranoia. 15 minutes after the hit I was feeling less pain then before.
1:45 AM Still tired and experiencing a little less paranoia then 15 minutes ago. I felt very relaxed and my joint pain was almost gone.
1:53 AM I was very tired. I was very mellow and experiencing euphoria and a complete body buzz. My joints were not in pain any more. Soon I was asleep and woke in the morning feeling very refreshed and experienced no joint pain for the remainder of the day so I did not smoke any more.

A couple of days later I spent several hours bending over a table while working around the house. My back was stiff and I was experiencing a lot of pain. Because it was midnight, normally I would take 250mg of Vicodin and 5mg of Ambien to get me to sleep and manage the pain throughout the night. Instead I decided to take 2 hits and monitor the effects until I fell asleep:
12 AM Back in a lot of pain and stiff. I took 2 hits
12:23 AM I was tired and very mellow. I was experiencing paranoia, but it was manageable.
12:50 AM I was very tired. I was extremely mellow, relaxed and experiencing a body buzz. My back pain was barely noticeable. Enough so that I soon fell asleep. I slept through the night without tossing. I woke up feeling refreshed and experiencing only a slight tenseness in my back.
I didn’t experience any back or joint pain for the entire day so I didn’t smoke anymore.

However the next day my back and knees were in again and I was going to be seated for a couple of hours while I sat at the movie theater. Normally I would have taken 250mg of Vicodin 30 mins before I left for the movie so that I could have sat comfortably. Since I was going to the show by myself I decided to smoke to manage the pain.
5:30 PM I took 3 hits in the parking lot. I monitored the effects over the next 2 hours.
5:35 Slight paranoia, but manageable while buying tickets and refreshments
5:40 Starting to peak. My back and my knees were only a little sore.
6 PM The 3D movie is good. Surprised that I wasn’t “tripping” out, but the buzz was very mellow and controllable. My back and knees were not aching anymore. I was comfortable for the rest of the movie. By the time that I got out of the show I was only marginally feeling the effects. I was slightly tired, but also energetic if that’s possible? By the time I was in my car I was focused and didn’t find driving difficult. The transition from high to sober was smooth and didn’t feel like I was “crashing.”

The rest of the week had been very stressful and the kids were adding to it. Before I smoked I found that they would push me until I raised my voice or cursed. Occasionally I would jump up at them if they persisted to push my buttons. Over the next couple of nights I took 1 hit at about 9:30 PM. It helped me unwind from the tension that I was building from my kids being loud since I walked in the door 3 hours before. I also found that 1 hit was enough to have me tired within an hour so I could get to sleep without an Ambien. Generally I woke up and felt refreshed, but within a few hours my knees and back would be sore from sitting in a chair all day.

Over these couple of days I also started weening myself off of Ambien, Colazal, Vicodin and Omeprazole. I haven’t had Ambien in 4 days and have been sleeping well at night without. I still toss a bit, but less then I normally would. I’ve reduced Colazal to 1500mg from 3000mg without any stomach cramps or diaries. I’ve taken about 4 doses of Vicodin over the 4 days because my knees and back ache during work and I don’t want to be high at the office. I’ve stopped the Omeprazole, but continue to have heartburn. I’ve taken 3 tabs of 150mg Rantidine to help heartburn over the past 3 days. Normally I would have had to take 6 tabs over the same period of time.
In conclusion, I have found that medical marijuana has helped with several of the medical conditions that I suffer from. Most notably are chronic back pain, joint pain and insomnia.

I’ve also relaxed a bit and find myself not as irritable as I would normally be. I’m going to continue using low doses of marijuana in the evenings for the next couple of weeks to manage pain and sleeplessness. I’m going to see if I need to increase the amount that I am taking to get the same effect that I’ve been getting this past week.

Finally, I’ve been reading articles on alternative ways of ingesting cannaboids. I am experiencing a tight chest and cough when I wake in the morning and find that inhalation of smoke is irritating my lungs and throat. At first I thought that edibles would be a good idea, but I don’t have the luxury of making them whenever I want and I worry that someone may unknowingly ingest them. I don’t want to have to worry about the kids finding brownies and eating my stash : ) Then I thought that butter would be a good idea, but again I don’t want to be cooking it in the house and risk that the kids might ingest it. So I started reading about making oil from it. Seemed like I could make it outdoors. It also seemed easier to consume and conceal then baked goods. However the process of making it wasn’t as effortless as I would like. Watching Sweet Baby Ruth on YouTube had me cracking up. She's sooooo high.

Soon I came across something called a tincture. It’s basically alcohol that marijuana has been soaked in. You can cook it, but I found recipes for cold tincture which I think I can make without worrying about stinking up the house. I also think that it would be the easiest delivery method to conceal and use covertly. The mixture is put into an atomizer (small pump spray bottle) and absorbed underneath the tongue. I like alcohol so I’m hoping that the taste will be palatable.

I plan on trying to make a couple of small tincture batches this week to try. I’m going to try Everclear, Bacardi 151 and 100 proof vodka of some flavor. I may even see if I can find 100 proof peppermint schnapps. I’ll post my experience doing that.

Thanks for letting me share my experiences.
Any feedback is welcome.
 
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cearp

New Member
:thanks:
 

Captain Kronic

Member of the Month: July 2011
I don't have nearly the medical problems that you suffer from bastrange1, but I have recently been able to ween myself away from fairly heavy daily doses of M-done.
It has been years since I started taking it, I won't bother w/the gory details of what it has done to me... suffice it to say that it was killing me and not too slowly either.

Now that I am 100% MMJ w/no pharms, I feel sooo much better, I'm not out of the woods by any means, but I can see the edge of the trees... I'm running for my life to get there.

I hope you find what you are looking for in your MMJ journey. I can tell you that it has saved my life, no joking!

Oh yeah... Welcome to the 420 mag family!:Namaste:

PS... have you given thought to getting yourself a vaporizer... w/your lung and throat probs, that would probably be a good option for you!
 
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