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Marijuana Changed My Life


Originally published on August 27, 2016.

I am 58 years old and a recovering alcoholic/drug addict. Since I use marijuana to reduce stress, for pain relief, and to get high, I no longer fit the Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous (AA/NA) mold. It took most of my life adult before I could allow myself to use cannabis without remorse.

Since I switched from Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and many other drugs to pot, my life has changed. I was on pain medications for most of my life. I have been spending time with Mary Jane on a full-time basis for just over a year and amazing things have happened. My hair and fingernails have changed, they are stronger now. For the first time in my life they do not chip or peel and my hair is thicker and shinier.

One of my greatest fears – weight gain from having the munchies. Contrary to my worries, I have not gained weight, but have lost about 50 pounds! My family says my eyes are no longer dull and lifeless.

Arthritis Attack & Meeting Marijuana

When I was 11 years old, my body began being riddled with arthritis. It first attacked my right shoulder, then both knees. Within two days I found myself unable to walk. I was hospitalized two weeks later after my parents took me to the doctor because the pain and swelling would not go away.

By the time I was 13, the disease had spread to my hands, hips, and spine. I took so much aspirin that my belly was inflamed all the time. That was the year I met Mary Jane. Mind you, this was in 1972 and unless you knew someone who actually grew marijuana, baggies held nothing but shake, seeds, and stems.

Even with the minuscule amount of THC, my cohorts and I thought that Mary Jane was the best friend a person could have. We felt stoned. Looking back, I laugh at the difference between pot then and now. At some point in my late teens, alcohol was added to the bag of tricks I used to numb myself. My mom thought that it was wiser to smoke pot than it was to drink booze. She asked me if I would introduce her to marijuana. My brother rolled a joint and the three of us puff-puffed and passed. Mom choked herself to tears!

I Quit

Having a baby and finding God caused me to end my friendship with Mary Jane. Well, not entirely. What developed then was a love-hate relationship and I smoked when peer-pressure was too hard to resist. In the mid-1980s my friends who smoked pot talked about strains and growing methods.

Marijuana no longer resembled the pot of my teen years. I was prescribed liquid morphine in 1999, then a couple of years later Fentanyl and Oxycodone took place of the liquid hell. In 2013, I was told by my doctor that he wanted to wean me off of all the pain medication I was taking. His reason still does not seem rational. Apparently, there is this study that says the effects of pain meds on a senior did not have enough research and he thought it best to have all of his “older” patients off of narcotics.

Still anti-cannabis, I regarded him with skepticism. His medical assistant told me that I was a perfect candidate for medical marijuana. It took almost a year before I reluctantly agreed to begin the tapering off of narcotics. An old friend reentered my life. It was Mary Jane, and she had new tricks up her sleeve! Marijuana-infused edibles! These were not the horrid pot brownies of my youth.

Why Did I Quit Marijuana?

That is a question I frequently ask myself. I think I quit for many reasons but the biggest was I was terrified of being arrested. I had a kid and moms were not supposed to use drugs. I was, indeed, my own worst enemy! However, I criticized every person I knew who used illegal drugs. When Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) was prevalent, I was a big advocate.

I treated Mary Jane the same way I treated Jim Beam and Harvey Wallbanger; since I was an addict, they were forbidden. Alcohol and marijuana were big on my taboo list. Surprisingly, after all of the years of using prescription narcotics, I found myself with a low-tolerance to THC. Even high-CBD/low-THC edibles and bud have an elevating effect on me.

I am a cheap date, so to speak. My friendship with Mary Jane cost less than my co-pays for the narcotics did. I cannot remember the last time I even needed an aspirin. Being banned from AA/NA is a huge benefit – I no longer have to listen to other people whine about their lives. Did I mention that my life has changed as a result of substituting marijuana for oxy?

Opinion by Cathy Milne-Ware
Featured Image Courtesy of Cathy Milne-Milne – Used With Permission