Last year, my mother passed away. Two days later, I lost my first out-of-college dream job. Two weeks later, I moved back in with my dad for the first time since I was 17.
I’d always struggled with mental health, but I’ve only started getting help in the past few years. For nine months after my mom’s death, I saw a grief counselor twice a month. She observed some of my behaviors: racing thoughts, hopelessness, bursts of distraction, random crying spells, precarious irritation.
I’ve been previously diagnosed with panic disorder, dysthymia, eating disorder not otherwise specified and anxiety. I still don’t have firm a diagnosis of my current mental condition(s), which could be a different range of behaviors and disorders. Hell, without a clear diagnosis, I might even be just like everyone else, or so it feels.
During a regular work day, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by my to-do list. I add simple tasks, like charging my iPad or checking the mail, to my to-do list. I feel anxious about not remembering to finish certain tasks, no matter how simple they are.
It worsens with tasks that require more effort. The anxiety adds urgency to every specific item, prioritizing a writing assignment over eating dinner, even when I’m hungry and days away from a deadline.
When I try to connect with others, even those that are anxious, these racing thoughts fill my mind and prevent me from interacting with them, even close friends and family.
Adding prescription medication could help mediate these problems. It’s helped during brief periods when I was younger. However, prescription medication adds a new responsibility to worry about. Sure, taking medication seems like a simple task, but amidst the chaos of everyday life, it’s easy to miss a dose or get dehydrated, which both affect work performance.
I’m self-employed, and quite frankly, that process won’t work for me now. Thankfully, I’ve found a way to safely self-medicate.
Growing up, I believed the false rhetoric about marijuana. It was a gateway to harder drugs. It made people lethargic. It was addictive.
When I joined my local NORML chapter a few years ago, I started learning about the body’s endocannabinoid system. Our brains have special receptors associated with appetite, pain, mood, and memory, which can be treated with cannabis.
I’d used cannabis recreationally before, in college, but never from a medical point of view. Earlier this summer, it was time to try it for myself. In July, I stocked up on hard candies from my local CBD store.
According to Project CBD, cannabidiol has an extremely low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level, unlike other types of cannabis. Compared to what I smoked in college, CBD edibles don’t give me a head or body high.
For two short weeks, I found myself more focused on daily tasks, but I still suffered from similar anxieties about not finishing work on time. If you’re any type of writer, you know meeting deadlines is one of the most important parts of your job.
I decided to give cannabis another shot. I booked a brief writer’s retreat in Colorado for the following month. The goal was to write a book proposal. My weekend hypothesis was: Will edibles make me more productive?
Before 4 pm, I slammed through my to-do list. I wrote the proposal. I applied for a writer’s residency, which requires a polished portfolio and cover letter. I created a three-paged (single-spaces) action plan for my blog, which I’ve put on hold for months.
The next morning, I ate a gummy in between sips of green tea. A moment later, I glanced over my to-do list and booted up my laptop. I typically get to work around 10 am, but it was only 8 at this point. I ate another gummy after lunch around 2 pm as well.
I don’t live in a state with legal cannabis yet, but I’m leaning towards moving to a place that does. In the United States, 25 states have medical marijuana programs. Of course, each state has their own criteria for obtaining a medical card. That means it can be more difficult to obtain cannabis to treat anxiety in Louisiana compared to Oregon.
If you live in one of these states and want to treat anxiety with medical cannabis, research specific qualifying conditions for your specific state. If you have a qualifying condition, you can then seek out a registered doctor affiliated with the state’s medical marijuana program. It might be helpful to contact a local dispensary for their recommendations.
Cannabis is here to stay.
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