Why It Is Time to Legalize Medical Cannabis Country-Wide

By Maya Novikov.

It is 4 am, but I have not slept yet. My stomach is rumbling, but I can not eat without throwing up. Sudden electric sensations in my head, known as brain zaps, are irritating. I also have to deal with mild, but persistent headache: it won’t respond to over-the-counter painkillers. Restlessness. Nausea. Shivers. It has been five days I got off Lexapro, the most popular SSRI antidepressant in the United States.

What does it have to do with legal cannabis, one might ask. Well, Lexapro is widely used to treat anxiety disorders, be it generalized anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In legal states doctors are allowed to recommend patients with anxiety to try CBD (cannabidiol, one of the dozens of cannabinoids, marijuana’s ) tinctures and high-CBD low-THC strains of marijuana. According to several recent studies, cannabidiol proved to be effective in treating anxiety. Pure CBD tinctures do not contain THC, therefore they are not psychoactive, in essence, they can not get anyone high. That means there is no risk of abuse.

Lexapro has plenty of side effects: dry mouth, dizziness, insomnia, significantly decreased libido, even suicidal thoughts on early stages. Patients who has been on it for a long time, especially those who were treated for depression, also report weight gain and “zombie-like feeling.”

Meanwhile people who use CBD to treat their anxiety, sometimes combining edibles, drops, or vaping liquids, with cognitive-behavioral therapy, do not report any significant side effects except for the cotton mouth. Frankly, I would be OK with that.

Please do not get me wrong: I can not complain, Lexapro has done miracles for me. My social anxiety is gone, I have no panic attacks and unexplainable aches anymore, and I am definitely not depressed. But I still think about how would I feel at this very moment if my doctor had the right to recommend legal cannabis products before putting me on SSRI.

By the way, unexplainable aches were not easy to figure out. I have visited several medical professionals, and, unable to find anything, some of them just prescribed Vicodin or Tylenol-Codeine to me. They give these pills away as they were Halloween candy. Which they are not.

According to American Society of Addiction Medicine 2016 factsheet, four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers. Sound scary, right? There’s more of it: “People often share their unused pain relievers, unaware of the dangers of nonmusical opioid use. Most adolescents who misuse prescription pain relievers are given them for free by a friend or relative.”

Every day, 52 Americans die from opioid pain medication overdose, National Safety Council reports.

Is there a way to stop opioid epidemic in the United States? Medical marijuana could be the key. In the states, where medical cannabis is legal, opioid overdose rate decreases substantially. In many cases, marijuana can be used as a safer alternative to opioid painkillers, especially when a patient needs a long-term solution for chronic pains. Besides that, there is some evidence that marijuana can be effective in treating addiction and preventing overdoses.

What if my doctor could just recommend marijuana instead of antidepressants and painkillers? Most likely it would help me with anxiety and aches, and I would not be going through this nightmare called “withdrawal.” Should I self-medicate? I would, but CBD products with their groundbreaking healing and relaxing power, are not even sold in my state legally. There is only one answer to this problem: legalizing medical marijuana on federal level, the sooner the better.



2 Responses

Ayad Maher
Ayad Maher

June 24, 2016

Right on Amy

Amy Mellen
Amy Mellen

June 08, 2016

Thanks so much for putting the spotlight on #bigpharma, anti-anti-anxiety & anti-depressants, and #opiates.  Let me tell you, this topic hits home! See these opiate companies almost took me from my family multiple times. It started in 2006 after a near-death car accident, I became opiate dependent for 10 yrs. I am now #opiate free as of July 31, 2015 because of #cannabis. And, I’m a #newbie. I did not smoke weed, party, skip school; any of that. I had an accident and 9 surgeries, I needed pain relief. But, just like others, I was being told lies by #bigpharma, and they witheld TRUE information; regarding the dangers of getting off said meds. I have detoxed 27 times from opiates and let me tell you, PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) is no walk in the park. That’s exactly why people don’t get clean. ypu REALLY think you are dyimg. Imagine the worst flu times 10. Plus you’re suicidal, hearing things, feel like bugs are crawling on you, and more. I’m not a vindictive person, but I would like to see these corporate wigs get hooked on opiates, benzos, or other meds that effect the body and brain; then have to deal with PAWS. Just once, thats all it would take for them to turn this around. But instead, we have average every day families, who are struggling with addiction, dependency and dysfunction at one of the highest levels. People DO NOT have to suffer!!! I am walking, living proof that cannabis can be used for the treatment of #chronicpain and used as a #substanceabuse #protocol. In fact you can add weight loss into that too. I’ve dropped over 100 lbs in a year since starting cannabis; 186 lbs total. Oh and let’s not forget I’m no longer diabetic either, it “cured” that in 2 months! Now I share my story and experiences, to help others be free of the #opiatebondage. I fight in my home state of Oregon, for my rights, and others rights as medical marijuana patients.  I educate and spread awareness to other people who are thinking of becoming #cannabisnewbie’s. So when I came across your article it struck a cord with me. I love seeing articles that shed light on this #silentepidempic, open discussions, and bring awareness to alternative healings. And yes, I agree, you are experiencing withdrawals. Detoxing happens when a medication that’s been put in the body has altered it and now your body is trying to right itself. It’s a hard pricess, but so worth it! May I suggest you educate yourself on PAWS, knowing is half the battle; and remember to be gentle on yourself. Thanks again for putting your own struggles out there, it’s how we help others learn. Keep up the good fight! Write your state Reps, go to any and all meetings and hearings, and encourage others to show up too.The more numbers they see IN PERSON the more of an impact it’s making?

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