Can Marijuana be a go-to for any underlying mental or health condition? Here is how 33 years of toking has affected me.
After arguing with myself for about 20 minutes. I finally decided that writing this article could be more valuable to others than it could be damaging to me.
Smoking through guilt
I know I already mentioned I’ve been smoking marijuana for 33 years. But, it hasn’t been consistent, and many times I would guilt myself into quitting.
The first time I partook of cannabis was with an old high school friend whom I had met prior to attending the same school he did. I was dating a girl from his hometown, which abutted mine, and through her and her friends, I learned of this crazy and wild guy who went by the nickname “Ozzy”, due to his huge love of Ozzie Osbourne in the ‘80s.
Ozzy and I had been playing some tennis a couple of years later at the ages of 16 on the local park courts. It was an early Saturday morning and no one else was around (Yes, I was 14 when I first started dating).
We took a break and he had me follow him over to one of the dugouts on the baseball field. He took out something I’d never seen before. It was a sleek glass pipe. I don’t remember what it looked like, but I remember getting a little nervous.
I was generally a “goody-two-shoes”, and hardly ever did anything I thought would get me in trouble with my overbearing father.
I have no idea how my friend talked me into trying this stuff he put in the bowl. Maybe he just handed it to me, and under pressure, I decided to try it. He may not have known it was my first time, or I may have told him.
In any case, I went to take my first hit and immediately started hacking, but I didn’t pull my mouth away from the bowl, and I ended coughing through the piece and sending his packed weed all over the dugout floor.
This was my first experience with cannabis, and I have to be thankful that Ozzy didn’t kick my ass. Although I think he did get a little perturbed, he quickly started laughing his ass off and commented that it must have been my first time. Sheepishly, I said, “yes”.
Where does guilt come into play now?
Over the past 33 years, I’ve quit smoking, I’ve thrown my weed and bowls in the garbage, or even out the car window on the highway. Guilt used to take me down a dark road, and I would beat myself up mentally over the idea that I was a marijuana addict.
I would tell myself I’m a scumbag, a loser, and have destroyed my life as a pot smoker. At first, the reason I might quit was just plain guilt over where my life might have been at that given point, then it was a wife who wasn’t a big fan of the stuff, then it was my first child, then I became a born again Christian for 9 years, and sang on the worship team, the whole time toking away against the church’s rules for membership and service.
Was I really a horrible person for using this drug that only seemed to help me, but was considered evil or bad by many people? Was I an addict? Did I have good reason to feel guilty?
No matter how guilty I would feel, time to time, or how often I tried to quit, I consistently returned to smoking the wonder weed.
My brain on “grass”
This is going to be a bit involved because I have a lot to tell you about this subject that I believe I’ve learned over the years from personal use, experiment, and the support of my education in psychology and health.
To briefly back up what I will talk about in this section, I have an Associates of Science — Individual Studies with classes completed in Nursing, Pharmacology, Psychology, Chemistry, Biology, A&P I and II, Animal A&P I&II. My combined GPA was 3.5 for this degree. I also constantly read ongoing research in many areas of health and science.
First of all, I am writing this now while having taken a couple of hits. As I mentioned already, over the years I battled with whether smoking marijuana was good or bad.
When I was young I over smoked, and got overly stoned all the time. The memory of those days stuck with me for a couple of decades lending to my occasional guilt trips over the years.
I had an abusive childhood and was often an outcast and that combined with becoming a pot smoker made me believe that I was using this drug for all the wrong reasons. Much of my life, I was using it as an escape from my feelings, unhappiness, stress, and the anger I built up throughout my childhood and teens.
Subconsciously, I was abusing the drug for all the wrong reasons.
This battle in my mind lasted until just a couple years ago at the age of 47. I was already seven years into a continuing fight with my deteriorating health, and marijuana was really taking off as an accepted form of medicine across the country. I couldn’t believe my eyes as story after story had begun to leak into publications as to the benefits of using cannabis.
By this point in my life, I had learned to use this “medicine” in a useful way. No longer do I get “high” or “stoned”. I do smoke throughout each day now, but I will only take one hit most often. This is enough to help keep my stress, anxiety, negative thoughts, and depression at bay in combination with my meds.
At no time am I not in control of my thoughts. I remain as active as my health will allow me to, and don’t just sit around doing nothing but watch television. In the next section, you will see why I could be doing nothing, and how marijuana helps me to stay focused on being productive from a couch.
Ever since cannabis started being legalized across the country my attitude toward it completely changed. After three decades of doubting, guilting, feeling like a criminal and a bum, I turned my habit into a daily regimen of small dosages. I met just the right person who brings me a monthly supply for next to nothing which has allowed me to keep a steady schedule of use, without ever feeling stressed I won’t have it.
I no longer feel any guilt about smoking pot and the outcome of having used it more steadily and medically for almost two years is incredible. I have not felt depression since March of 2018, anxiety went out the door about a year ago, and I am the most at peace than I’ve been my entire life.
I have become much more focused on what I love to do, and recently my consistency brought on by no longer focusing on my feelings or self-loathing has turned into production and increased income right here on Medium.
How cannabis has treated my health
As far as I know, there are only two parts of the human body that it is believed by some that cannabis might harm. The lungs and the brain.
In 2009, when an x-ray of my lungs was taken to look for probable pneumonia for the first and only time in my life, the ER doctor came back and informed me I had a rare auto-immune disease called Sarcoidosis.
I saw the first specialist in my life. The doctor was the best pulmonologist in the area and well known for her toughness and strict demands to take care of your health.
She informed me after a breathing test that I had mild asthma. I asked her how I got asthma when I didn’t have it my whole life, as far as I knew. She asked me if anyone smoked in my home when I was a child. The answer to that was a very strong “yes”. My mother chain-smoked whenever she was home in the old days.
The good Doctor asked me some questions. Have you ever had an issue with breathing that didn’t seem right? Then it hit me! Anytime I did a musical on stage when I was younger, including a rollerskating musical I starred in for a year, I was always out of breath quicker than anyone around me.
I figured it was from smoking marijuana. I was incorrect. I developed asthma as a child. This also explained why whenever I took a hit, I coughed more often and harsher than any of my friends. Why I never got a clue that I might have asthma, I’ll never know. I believed I was an Ox with no health problems until I was 39.
Of course, I asked her if my lungs were bad from smoking marijuana for 23 years, at that point. I had also smoked cigarettes off an on in my life, but never consistently. She said they sounded clear, but would be able to give me a better answer after a biopsy to support the Sarcoidosis diagnosis.
After my surgery, as I slept, the doctor informed my wife that my lungs still looked like a baby’s. They were pink and healthy. No signs of damage other than finding Sarcoidosis, which are simply spots of fibrous tissue growth in an organ from too many healing cells affecting the area after a sickness such as pneumonia or whenever I got bronchitis.
I also asked if my multiple bouts of bronchitis were from smoking marijuana and she stated it was from my asthma. She straight up came out and said that marijuana, in her opinion, was not harmful and has never told me to stop smoking it. My lung biopsy backs up that sentiment and opinion.
Ever since I was given inhalers for my bi-yearly bouts of asthma ten years ago, I have not had bronchitis. Yet, I smoke on. My lungs still considered clear by every doctor who listens to them, including the pulmonologist.
Now, I’m 49 and diagnosed with Stage III Parkinson Disease. Marijuana is helping my brain cope, keeping my sleep a little more intact and my dreams at bay. Smoking calms my tremors when sitting down and my shaking when standing. Toking lowers my Parkinson driven depression and anxiety.
Genetically, when looking at my younger and older brother’s physical well-beings, I am certainly the worse off of all of us. I have other physical conditions that make it very hard to walk anymore or tor go anywhere, too often.
However, if you can ignore the health issues, and just stand us next to each other, you will see how marijuana has helped me and my body. Okay, I weigh a bit more than they do, because I eat well from smoking. Something I’m currently working on. I have lost 15 pounds in the past three weeks. If I didn’t smoke, I wouldn’t eat and I’d waste away. Without marijuana, the thought of food makes me nauseous.
So, there we are, lined up. One is 2 years younger and the other 5 years older. They both have plenty of silver hair. The older brother has had a full head of silver hair since he was 48. He was a lifetime alcoholic until 15 years ago approximately. My younger brother started greying a few years ago and is well ahead of me. My hair is still black with just a few countable silver strands.
My older brother’s face looks 15 years older than it should and leathery. Probably from the years of drinking and too much sun living in Carlsbad, California for the last 20 years. M younger brother looks ten years older than he should from years of stressful jobs and too many hours, and the same past I have as a child.
Neither of my brothers has the muscle mass or makeup that I have. Although, the older one has been in both the Navy and Marines at times in his past. Other than the internal health issues I face, that has nothing to do with smoking marijuana, I look healthier and much younger than both of my brothers. Most people tell me I still look 35ish, and I will be 50 in November.
Maybe I got the best mix of genes as far as how I look on the outside, or maybe it’s been the years of smoking marijuana keeping me looking younger than they do.
Whether it is my brain or my health, or how I look, marijuana has done nothing but good things for me and continues to help me face multiple health issues and elongates my life left here on Earth.
There is no physical or technical evidence that cannabis has harmed me any way what-so-ever after 33 years of toking, and I don’t see it every harming me until the day I die.
Hurrah for the legalization of a natural-growing, universe-giving medicine that mankind is finally realizing can cure or ease just about any health problem we know of.
If you’ve ever doubted its attributes, doubt no more. Marijuana is my savior!