Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pot Mom

I stopped taking Prozac, after titrating my dose for several months, in July. I had taken a large dosage daily (except during pregnancy and lactation) for about twenty-five years. I don’t even remember what the initial diagnosis was but it was probably something like depression and anxiety. I stopped taking Prozac under the supervision of psychologist Leslie and a nice psychiatrist and felt markedly better when I did. I have had a prescription for medical marijuana for over a year and I find it assuages depression and anxiety much more effectively and without the mental dulling caused by the more traditional and widely prescribed Prozac. I have been open with all my practitioners about the substitution of marijuana for Prozac and have been treated with respect and taken seriously. I can make a compelling case for why marijuana is more effective for me than Prozac and yet, as I type this, jittery and anxious after 48 hours sans cannabis, I will admit that the patient herself is not 100% sold.

Prozac never made me feel good. I presume it made me feel less bad but there was a palpable dullness that lifted as I discontinued the drug. When I first visited the psychiatrist he was certain that another prescription antidepressant could be more effective. After several visits though he decided that medical marijuana did seem the most salubrious for me in particular and even put this in writing for me to have my medical marijuana recommendation renewed.

Pot makes me feel good. Is that bad? Have I totally bullshitted myself and my minions of medical experts? I have described here what I knew at the time was a dangerous and degrading addiction to opiates. Because the literature recommends the cessation of pot use for a week annually I am sitting here feeling funky. I sat at the same window in my office a year ago in the throes of full blown opiate withdrawal. This is nothing compared to that but nevertheless, I am chastened and thinking about what I put in my body and particularly, why.

I have used marijuana recreationally on and off since high school. I like being high on pot, just like I enjoy a few drinks, in the right circumstances. The first time I went to a marijuana clinic it was a big thrill and my inner pothead got a big rush at the veritable cornucopia of cannabis and related products. And perhaps it does speak to the authenticity of my medical need at how fast this got old.

My ritual is to consume an edible (brownie or cookie) first thing in the morning. I was using an excellent dependable suspension for a while but this is no longer available and I have been unable to find any other liquid or capsule form of marijuana that is reliable. The voters of California voted that marijuana should be considered a legitimate medical treatment. There are a lot of asshole clinic owners making big bucks from this, completely flaunting the intention of this referendum and clearly selling pot for recreational use. The federal government still considers any use of marijuana criminal. It is therefore a real challenge to find marijuana dispensed appropriately and knowledgeably for medical purposes. Although the dangers of smoking anything are quite apparent, for some reason, there has been much more of a crackdown on edible marijuana than on smokeable and it is difficult for me to find edibles in Southern California.

When I took Prozac, I filled it monthly at the pharmacy and got exactly the same dose everyday. I have actively educated myself with regard to marijuana as much as possible but because there are virtually no standards, it’s a crapshoot every day. Sometimes a brownie will have no effect at all and sometimes, I find myself too high. When the dosage is correct I am not particularly aware of being medicated but am less likely to experience physical jitters or hobbling anxiety. I think that this is how I want and how I should feel. Since beginning yoga and bootcamp and engaging in some serious discussions with an enlightened clinic owner, my medical pot consumption is about half of what it was. If I could get a uniform dosage of pot from the Rite Aid, I would probably take it and give it as much thought as a vitamin. Because the drug (I think) I need is messed up with crime and government and not offered in a normal medical venue makes me ask questions of myself that I might not otherwise. Might. I do have a history of drug addiction so it would be foolish of me to get on any high horse. A friend (in recovery) wrote me a confrontational letter several months ago about my pot use. It hurt and has been taken seriously.

I hate to eat in the morning and one of the things I look for in an edible is potency in a small size. I found some tiny brownies and cookies at a clinic in San Francisco. Edibles are plentiful and inexpensive in the Bay area. Fuck if I know. These are extremely small and extremely strong and because they were so tiny, I didn’t bother cutting them in half. I spent about a week feeling overmedicated and decided that this would be a good clean out week but the fact that I had to approach it using the recovery argot of "one day at a time" gives me pause.

I might go home and smoke this evening. I might hang until next Wednesday and make it a full week. Maybe at the end of this week, after extra yoga and bootcamp my anxiety will be at bay and I’ll continue being abstemious. Anxiety and depression have fucked me up. So have drugs. So has (most particularly) being full of shit. Prayer on the other hand, has never fucked me up and as I struggle with this, and so many other things, I pray to be able to pray.


FionnchĂș said...

Well, I am witnessing every step you take, every move you make. Hang in there, baby, as Leo would quote the beloved 1970s cat poster's motto. xxx me

harry said...

My love, and support, are with you, of course. I got so beaten down, that I stopped worrying about the language that described my struggle and surrenders. Maybe the buddha is right; spontaneous right action is the deal. I can't get there, I can only do what I do. And only you can figure it out. What some experience might say is that the figuring, while lonely, can ultimately only be summed when shared. As best I can, I offer you my experience, very shakey strength, and relentless hope.