My Cannabis Use

*Even more cautions, do not interpret any of this as advice, rather information you can consider in forming good opinions, if you decide the thoughts are worthy.  Your bias should be set negative, my opinions and experiences are in a different body, mind and set of circumstances.  Comparisons of historical examples across 4 millenia are obvious and valid by comparison.

I have a minor medical issue, nothing at all life-threatening, in itself not even life-shortening, which nevertheless produces a great deal of stiffness and aching, active pain when combined with, for example, a simple backache due to lifting or exercise.  And standard medicine apparently can’t even diagnose a problem, much less tell me how to eliminate the cause of it.  Nobody ever tried to convince me it was psychological, for what that is worth.

I took ibuprofin max dose 3x daily for years, it was hard on my stomach and I would still take codine+aceteminophen every now and again. When this state approved medical cannabis, I went back to using it more.  I had done so on and off over the years, always liked it a lot.**

Over the last 2 years, it has been taking a lot higher doses to get by, and a few weeks ago I noticed that the backache that had me hobbling bent over with small steps slowly down the hall completely disappeared when I was very very high, only a few minutes later. Probably cost me $5 that day, but I could walk completely normally whenever I had enough cannabis in me.

I had had inklings of that effect forever, the reason I had so increased dosage, but somehow never got around to researching that aspect of cannabis.  Turns out, acting as an anti-inflamatory is one of the big effects.  That paper also explains why extracts have different effects than ‘whole weed’ use.

As an honestly honest member of the Honest Party, I owe you this information so you can judge both ideas and source.  I use a lot of cannabis, as much as 3 grams of hash oil a month, cost of $30 per gram.  I mostly eat it, otherwise vaporize the clear version. Vaporizing is cheap but irritates the throat.  Eating is 4X more expensive, a gram of oil perhaps lasts 5 or 6 days, but I am very medicated through the entire day at that level.

And I write most of what I write in some version of cannabis high.  As I write this, pretty high, I feel good, a rare experience in the last few weeks as my allergies start kicking in at the first small signs of spring and the ache is whole-body with great tiredness sweeping through me at frequent intervals.  I try to be aware of the gulf between mere misery and even minor agony, but my philosophical fortitude frequently fails and I am an unproductive, irritable bastard.  It takes gumption to work through code tracking bugs, to set up the next complex test, or work through chains of consequences of changing things in social systems, and these health problems sap your gumption, drain mental fortitude. But, add cannabis, and I am doing far more than I could otherwise.

I go off cannabis for a week every few months in order to reduce my tolerance (at these levels, it probably takes several weeks) and to make sure I am not misleading myself about thinking cannabis is pretty benign.  It would be easy to do that, cannabis is so good it covers up problems, allows things to continue past when you should have seen an MD. Every medical user says that.  As with any medicine, check to be sure you still know what the base state is.  Also, of course, you can’t judge your judgement when in the state being judged, same as any belief system, and the reason people go so wrong in beliefs of both kinds so often.

I was off for a week in January.  Background problem was tolerable if stoic enough, no allergies.  Pain and stiffness were worse the first 3 days, using cannabis produces receptors to fill, and they miss being filled, so your experienced pain level is up some.  When I got back to a ground state, it was not incapacitating, just a chronic background that I would have taken ibuprofin for, and used codeine a lot, because those symptoms make you tired and less resistant to being tired, drugs made me able to go on doing work.

In no sense have I ever felt dependent upon cannabis, it just isn’t that kind of thing and/or I am not susceptable in that way.  I miss it those first few days, oh yes, but that is a very specific reason, every muscle, joint, bone and tendon hurts, I get very tired, and it is hard to concentrate, appreciate life.  It isn’t the drug I miss so much, nice as that independent high and release from mental stress is, it is the concentration and the life I miss.  I did a lot of notes while I was going through this, am reasonably sure of those facts.  I don’t shade facts if I can help it, took good notes, reality in full context is the thing we must subordinate our minds to, or we can’t pursue our own interests.  Mentat hardass in doing that is a requirement for civilized minds (modern engineer’s restatement of Stoic philosphy), no matter how great the initial suffering the few years after your son grasps this concept.

In a normal mental state, or as close as I get, I re-read stuff I had written during the year, as I had at least quarterly every year.  I still like it, nothing to be embarrassed about, and a few of the pieces I am proud of both ideas and the writing, many more I am still pleased with the ideas.**

Low-level misery, and my problems certainly never even reach serious pain, much less agony, but prevents work, and cannabis directly deals with the inflammation as it boosts my sense of well-being.  I can get that without the high, the CBD-only strains cost more and I can abstain when I want to drive, so high is OK.  Even people who know me well, e.g. my wife, can’t tell unless I get to the heavy-lidded level, and often not even that if she isn’t able to see them.  That is to say, my mental processes are liberated by being relieved from the pain background, and no doubt a bit looser than usual.  But they have always been over in that direction, strange points of view at a moment’s notice has always been my thing.

We see a lot of cannabis use among my son’s friends, all middle-class, children of serious people. Some still in high school.  The medical mj laws have had an interesting effect, as 18-yos can get a prescription.  The prescription system maintained the illegal supply lines, of course, so mj is effectively illegal while widely used.  That structure allows cops to go on arresting people if they have any reason to do so.  So the kids can’t get beer legally until 21, but can get cannabis legally.*****

Mostly, they don’t do both alcohol and cannabis, and the cannabis users look down on the alcohol users as less careful, less controlled, the people who have accidents more often in cars or on bikes.  Another use we hear about is in working out, body builders are using cannabis because they can do harder workouts****, a friend said that every other issue of the body building magazines have an article discussing that.  The number of vegan bicyclists using cannabis in training and meditation my son knows is considerably larger than I would have expected.

But the reality is that cannabis has been more available, cheaper and of increasing quality and concentration continuously and everywhere throughout world history and thus ever-more widely used.

Outside of things strongly affected by, or controlled by, government, e.g. justice, policing, education, health care, forestry, industrial farming, environment, water supplies, banking, insurance, accounting, economy, … our civilization has continued to improve all the while.

A Lebowski Enlightenment for you : why did you read this here? Just guessing, but I bet a majority of the writers in the world do a lot of their work while cannabis high.

*I always liked the opiods also, one pain pill makes me feel happier for 3 days, but that stuff is dangerous, especially in combination with other drugs.  Any neuropharmacologist would advise you to get your kicks with safer baselines.

**All of my ideas are undoubtedly stolen, of course, but I don’t remember where from, so have a clean conscience wrt plagarism.

****That seems true.  Best thing for my pain is to get high enough to be able to exercise hard, go for an endorphin effect.  That often gives me a couple of good days.

Added later: the explanation for that.

*****I can’t figure out how such a compromise was reached.  Medical at 18 couldn’t be compromised, abortion would have been the comparison.  And probably MADD wouldn’t give up beer at 21. But 21 for beer vs 18 for cannabis, a drug on the Federal Schedule I?  If that doesn’t twist your brain into a pretzel, it means you realize the primary reality is not the law, rather they are both drugs with rather long histories co-evolving with humans, cannabis much longer than alcohol, and we get along better with it.  Good medical thinking, even tho medical was a mere excuse for all this.  The question not answered is “Why not full legalization”. Wise state, Colorado.  And patriots of America owe the weed growers of America a vote of thanks for setting a lot of the stage on this, them and the weed smokers provided the prison fodder whose wasted lives and huge costs of incarceration finally started the system back toward Freedom, and whose continuing push from everyone in the industry and the activists still provide much of the energy in the Freedom ranks.  I can’t claim to be among those, just a casual user on and off since college, tho my brothers grew tons of the stuff when we still had the farm.  Never on our farm, neighbors who would have no idea how it happened, just put the seeds in the ground where the farmer couldn’t till, down by the creek, and harvest it in the fall.  Herbicides in the water would probably kill them now.

Added after first re-reading this just after I published it.  Solipsist that I am, I haven’t discussed the effects of this on people in my life.  Wife would rather I didn’t, cannabis is not much accepted in her world, although her mother likes it a lot for arthritis.  But she hasn’t had specific complaints of late, as I first built up the  tolerance she thought my conversation when high was less than interesting.  I thought it greatly enhanced my wit.

Kid and I have good conversations whatever my state.  Mother can’t tell, I think, but no reason to ask or tell.  Brothers stopped using years ago, not something that comes up very often.  Sister confesses that she and husband were naughty at New Year’s party and indulged.  Friend has switched her main drug from alcohol to cannabis on medical advice. They inhabit states that have not yet even managed medical.

Added a day later, as usual I find an article.  I never know what to make of articles like that.  One the one hand, it reports data, one must assume solid research and nevertheless keep in mind that a) Psychiatry really wants to make cannabis addictive and b) Ioannidis says 50% of articles published in referred journals are wrong.  Generally speaking ,motivated papers have a much higher rate of being bogus, e.g. the drug trials reported by drug manufacturers always produce higher effectiveness than subsequent trials run by independents, even when paid by the manufacturers, which are higher than independents not paid by manufacturers.

So it reports physical results and mental test results suggestive of lower mental performance in those most affected as shown by the amphetamine release test.

For my case, and I am so aware of human judgement being biased just as researchers are, same minds everywhere, the problem would be to judge that.  End of June, I could possibly do the test.  Before then, I often have good ideas, write down a few sentences, and then run out of mental energy, have to go on to something else.  The choice isn’t fun highs using cannabis with reduced mental performance vs no fun highs and better performance, it is no mental performance whatsoever versus the thinking and writing I do.  Every drug has negative aspects, including ibuprofin.

But ‘withdrawal’ is physical symptoms.  There are no physical symptoms of withdrawal after stopping cannabis that I have ever noticed, not even from very high doses, and I have never read credible research supporting ‘addiction to cannabis’ or withdrawal symptoms.

The evidence that I see  says cannabis is a positive contribution to a civilization.  Also that making it illegal was stupid in the extreme.

And, btw, as I wrote this addendum, took me maybe 15 minutes, I was nicely high from an oral dose 3 hours ago.  High enough I don’t hurt sitting here, but not so high it covers up the fact that my head is not working well this AM and I feel quite lousy from some other problem.

Added a week later: Just found this on drudge.  It says heavy use of cannabis, ‘more than 50 times’, at age 18 or 19 leads to a higher death rate at age 60.  Heavy cannabis use is associated with 8 points lower IQ and with increased health problems and with increased psychological problems” are claims from the author wrt other studies and his.

This is the same class of claim that more emergency room visits are associated with cannabis use.  Yes, ‘associated with’, because more people are using it and inevitably some go to the emergency room.  More people have health problems and mental problems after using cannabis because they did before hand, those select for all kinds of strange behavior, and other drugs also.

The study I rely upon was in Science from the 1970s and tested the IQs of some Rastafarians, who smoke constantly, 25 years after high school. Their IQ scores were the same.   That only makes them 45, 60 is older and so perhaps not directly relevant.

But, if the effect was anything marked, it would have shown up in a lot of studies by now, as authorities are very anxious to make cannabis look bad, the evidence would not have been suppressed.

That is my problem in all this.  I can’t trust medicine on any research on a politically or socially sensitive topic because funding so clearly determines answers. Profits, in the case of Big Pharma and and vaccines very specifically.  CDC’s safety data for vaccines is very bad, according to very reputable insiders in the vaccine industry.  Wide criticism, and very much data showing  executives moving freely between CDC and vaccine companies.

The government lies for its part, e.g. the EPA head saying the air was just fine immediately after 9/11, a decision made by the Bush Whitehouse that wanted to get Wall Street open again as fast a possible.

Added later, another aspect of all this, the many studies saying ‘decriminalize’, no action.

Also, I cut my cannabis way back the last few days, even in the middle of allergy season, eyes are very dry.  The reason is that I was enduring an experiment more or less forced on me by my MD, and my care in knowing for sure.  The issue is my thyroid hormone intake, which she thought was much too high.  However, my last MD, sadly retired, thought that thyroid was a drug where you treated the patient, not the test.  My problem was, maybe, some variety of fibromyalgia.  He didn’t like the name, thought that the syndrome was real, and was very confident that the problem would be gone 3 weeks after I started thyroid.  Took a couple of days longer, but it certainly gave me a lot of confidence in that MD.  Having made sure my pain symptoms came back, along with being cold, being dumb as a rock,  etc, I put the dose back to where I had it, and here we are again, pain pretty much gone.  Heart and BP are fine, contrary to new MD’s prediction, and as they were before I started this idiocy.  Please do not use me for medical advice !

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3 thoughts on “My Cannabis Use

  1. You don’t mention it, but have you tried meditation in conjunction with cannabis? I find that the two work together nicely and, if you practice the meditation routinely while off cannabis as well, that the meditation can produce some positive benefits while sober as well. I’m fairly new to both though.

    I’m currently on a one day on, two day off cycle myself. As I use the pills, I’m high for most of the entire on day off of one dose.

    My own symptoms are mood related rather than pain related. I feel for you and your situation. I hope that things improve for you

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    1. Thank you for the good wishes. I have tried meditation, I don’t have the patience to have a calm mind, at least that is one aspect of whatever the problem I have. I can’t get to a point I can see it helps. I can more easily control my thinking to work through problems, a much more direct and rewarding use of the same effort. Cannabis makes that harder in some ways, easier in the sense that connections are easier, so more and stranger ideas, but evaluation functions don’t work as well so you have to record things and rethink later, when you aren’t high. Also memory is sporadic, kalaidoscopic, so tracking through arguments isn’t as methodical. But I can program, even when very high, only memory is the issue.

      I was off for the month of July. No big deal, allergies were not a problem, so background pain wasn’t much. I was more sensitive to pain the first 4 days, joints hurt more, then it would have been nice to have ibuprofin, but not too distracting. Didn’t affect writing, thinking, etc. that I could tell. I kept notes, was careful to record enough I didn’t over- or under-estimate effects, I think. I went from heavy use to zero, except for the sensitivity, no effect. I suppose that period of sensitivity could be considered a withdrawal phase, and just maybe there are psychological equivalents for some people, but I don’t know of such evidence.

      Good luck, and thanks for the comment.
      Lew

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