Let's talk about medical marijuana

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 26, 2024, 9:41 PM | comments: 0

As a Gen-X'er, I am solidly in the cohort of "just say no" people. We had it drilled into our heads that drugs are bad. (And also, sex is bad, instead of irresponsible sex is bad, but that's a different topic.) I have never in my life smoked a cigarette, let alone a joint. Hard drugs, obviously, never.

I had been around weed in a trivial way in college, and from time to time after. It was very much a demonized substance. And I'll say that even now, I would lump it in with alcohol. If you're an addict or junkie, you should be avoiding weed. I don't think that has changed. But unlike alcohol, there's enough research, much of it anecdotal, that suggests that marijuana has potential benefits. At the core of this is the way that THC and CBD, or the combination thereof, affect humans.

Florida passed a ballot initiative a few years ago that made medicinal marijuana legal. I certainly voted for it, and not because I wanted to use it, but because it seemed that a substance that was at worst like alcohol, was classified as a Schedule I substance. To be clear, that's how heroin is classified. Heroin. The weird thing where we have this disparity between state and federal law is pretty weird, because the state gives no fucks about your medical marijuana use, but the feds do. This November, we have an initiative to make it state-legal for recreational use. I'll vote for that, too.

Since the pandemic, or maybe I should say pandemic plus 2020 election and other political upheaval, my anxiety has reached a point where it's kind of quality-of-life changing. By extension, that has led to insomnia, weird because I've been a historically great sleeper through anything. Diana, who shares the same primary care doctor with me, prescribed medical marijuana to help manage her back pain, and maybe the migraines. It seemed to have at least some benefit. I got to a point where I was ready to try something new, because while bupropion has certainly helped with depression, not sleeping was affecting everything else for me. So I asked her if it was appropriate to try, and she said yes.

First off, because of the legal ambiguity, the doc has to split the whole treatment situation. Insurance isn't gonna cover it, obvs, so she has to work in cash. Then the state requires a payment to get what is essentially a weed license. Dispensaries only accept debit mechanisms or cash to get the product. It's all kind of ridiculous. Regardless, because I'm not gonna smoke something, I settled on edibles, which seem to have better quality control in terms of dosage. I got 10mg THC gummies, as well as some that are 10mg THC to 10mg CBD. The former seems to be best for sleep, while the latter (and formulations with more CBD) seem better for waking anxiety treatment.

I don't know what it means to feel "high" from this stuff, because those most I've ever had was 10mg of THC. But mostly, I've taken 5mg of the gummies with just the Indica THC. Spoiler alert, it has allowed me to sleep almost flawlessly. The bigger surprise though is that it seems to completely eliminate restless leg syndrome, which I haven't really had an official diagnosis for, but I'm pretty sure thrashing around in bed and needing to walk around at 3 a.m. is in fact that problem. This is further validated by the fact that I didn't have it when we visited DC, and I had a pretty bad night, unable to stay still.

And therein lies the biggest problem with the substance. You can't leave the state with it, or the country for that matter. That means no taking it on cruises. At the very least this is because of the fed classification, but not even Jamaica is OK with it, despite its reputation.

As I said, I don't thin addicts should be using this stuff, just as they shouldn't drink, but the reality is that this stuff has legitimate medicinal purpose, and I can attest to that in a meaningful way. Sleep is so fundamental to our daily lives, and when you don't get enough, it ain't good. Those 5mg, which I only take on "school nights," is making a significant difference in my quality of life. It's time to reclassify marijuana. Regulate it, of course, but in the way that alcohol is regulated. Let the ATF oversee it. But stop throwing kids in jail for carrying a little herb. That's insane to me.

Above all, reclassifying means that universities, pharma, etc. can finally start doing meaningful research about the real affects of this particular drug. Nancy Reagan, may she in rest in peace, was wrong. It's time to get over it. Just say "allow research and decriminalization of marijuana."


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