Recreation to Medication: The Shift from Cannabis Smoker to Patient

They say that as individuals, we grow from our personal experiences. If there is one thing that my personal experience with cannabis has taught me, it's that growth is just the beginning.

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[quote_right]If I hadn’t been wearing my seat belt, I would probably be dead[/quote_right]

The second day of my senior year of college was one that changed my life not only as a user of cannabis, but as a human being in general. It was a hot August afternoon and a friend and I decided to go grab a milkshake before night class. We were about two miles from campus when I put on my seat belt after I realized I hadn’t been wearing it. Not even two minutes later, I was crawling out of the mangled car onto the road pulling myself across a four lane boulevard. One of the only things I remember about the following hours was being told that if I hadn’t been wearing my seat belt, I would probably be dead. Those are not words that can be easily forgotten.

In the months following the accident, I began to experience more pain, anxiety, insomnia, and depression than I ever had in my life. I was helpless. I still don’t know if it was all related to the accident, but my doctor and chiropractor both told me that what I was experiencing was normal. I knew that with little to no effort I could be prescribed a buffet of painkillers, antidepressants, and sleeping pills in a snap. I also knew that a prescription drug dependency was not something I was interested in crossing off my bucket list.

It was at that point that my use of cannabis began to shift from recreational to medicinal. I started to become more aware of the beneficial effects that I had not fully appreciated or been aware of prior to the shift. Cannabis went from something I used to catch a buzz at the end of the day or pass in a circle on the weekends to something that became my medicine. The thing that kept me going. While I still experience my fair share of pain, it is nothing in comparison to how I felt before I began using cannabis to medicate. Once in a blue moon I find myself feeling a little anxious or depressed, but I’m also a 23-year-old female with student loan payments living in one of the largest cities in a state that doesn’t recognize the medicinal value of cannabis, so I assume that is to be expected.

[quote_left]It wasn’t until I started to experience its medical benefits first hand that it started to become something I’ve become so passionate about[/quote_left]

I can’t stress how important I think it is for people to share their voices regarding their personal experiences with medicinal marijuana. While I believe recreational legalization is also an important topic, there is a serious need for others to see first hand how this incredible plant truly changes lives medically, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Prior to my accident, my knowledge regarding cannabis was amateur at best. It wasn’t until I started to experience its medical benefits first hand that it started to become something I’ve become so passionate about.

Most passions develop out of personal experiences. And while it’s not my goal to convince every Tom, Dick, and Harry to spark up and discover the wonders of cannabis, it is my goal to help make people aware of its capabilities and respect them without judging those who benefit from a natural way of medicating. I’ll end with some words of wisdom, one of my favorite quotes, spoken by Richard Neville. In so few words, he manages to say so much. When asked if he believed marijuana to be an addiction forming drug, he simply answered, “Is marijuana addictive? Yes, in the sense that some of the really pleasant things in life are worth endlessly repeating.”