After Shane recently referred to an earlier post on medical marijuana, I had to write and tell about my own experience with it, here in the state of Colorado where medical marijuana is legal.

A year and a half ago a friend of ours suffering with illness as a result of withdrawal from over-prescribed anti anxiety and anti depressant drugs, was horribly ill.  Anxiety, bodily pain, uncontrollable depression, etc.  were controlling his life leaving him jobless and unable to function. A doctor that he went to prescribed medical marijuana. This doctor lied on the medical marijuana paperwork on the reason for the prescription, since this man did not fall into the legal reasons for prescribing.  He also prescribed a large amount, which he could obtain for a whole year, and was not watched by the physician thereafter.

Our friend became severely addicted.  In fact it was difficult to tell whether the original reason for the marijuana was even there anymore.  Smoking both the weed and the hash, vaporizing the weed and the hash and using marijuana syrup drops under the tongue every 2-3 hours around the clock.  He could not work, he could not drive, he could not function at all.  And he did not have to go back to the Doctor who prescribed it.  For those of you that don’t know, this is high quality stuff, and costs about the same as the street price.  Very expensive.

The end of the story is that we had to have an intervention, and send our friend to a rehab facility.  He is pretty messed up from the whole ordeal, but now has a job and is getting his life back together.  The cost of the marijuana and the rehab facility was so huge.  It had a horrible impact on him and his wife, their families both financially and otherwise.

In case any of you wonder, this is a Christian man, a member of a good, Bible believing Church.

My Opinion:  I can’t say myself, especially in my current situation of being sick with an illness that marijuana is prescribed for, that I would never take it.  But other medications have been just fine for me.  I really tend towards thinking it is not a good idea.  I know that some of the medications that I have had, especially after surgeries, have given me a feeling of being ‘high’.  But not really having experience with illegal drugs myself, I have nothing to compare it to.  Also, when I have been given prescriptions for pain medications, it has always been controlled.

I know there are thousands of opinions on this, and many arguments for and against.   But this is more personal for me.  I was guilty of not only approving of my friend using it, but enabling him,  helping him financially, letting him and his wife live in our home.  The experience of the intervention, my still struggling friend, and the heartbreak his wife has had to endure, altogether has been far more difficult that the original reason he used the marijuana.

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  1. Just another example of the cure being worse than the disease

    I used to smoke hippy hay on a regular basis (near daily), but no longer seek it out (honestly speaking though, if the conditions are right and I am offered I will indulge), my state does not allow for medical marijuana.

    When I was about 11 or so I had my appendix out and they offered me pain killers after the procedure — I found the pain from the injection to me much worse than the aches I was experiencing and refused any more such treatments afterwards. Not too long ago I had my wisdom teeth out and they prescribed vicodin afterwards. It was a big help but I I never recall experiencing the sort of feelings those who use illicit drugs look for.

  2. After I had my appendix out I had morphine, and 3 other drugs. I was loopy for sure, but have nothing to compare it to. From what I understand, even marijuana is experienced differently by different people.

  3. Colleen,
    Good thoughts. It seems to me that the problem wasn't specifically with the marajana itself, but the irresponsible doctor that gave a long, open ended prescription with no insistance on follow up. It should be treated like any other addictive drug. I personally had a friend become addicted to traditional pain killers (mainly Vicodan) and had to go to rehab. The drug was different, but it was the same problem. Doctors consistantly renewing prescriptions with no dead lines or monitoring.

  4. Good points Diana, and I agree with you for the most part.

    One question though, as long as you have known me, did you not know my name only has 1 l?? haha


  5. Your friends problem existed before he ever even went to a dr and was prescribed Medical Marijuana. This is just another example of ignorant people who say that marijuana is addictive when the reality of it is yes there is an addiction to marijuana very similar to the addiction one developes for caffiene from coffee, tea or soda. Marijuana is not a seriously addictive nor toxic drug, quite the opposite. “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest, most therapeutically active substances known to man.”-Francis L. Young, DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge, 1988. The real crime Dr here is the one who over prescribed physically addictive anti-anxiety drug such as Xanax. I am a recovering heroin addict who owes my life to Medical Marijuana which enabled me to quit heroin15 years ago and controls my chronic nausea and vomiting from Diabetic Neuropathic Gastroparesis (paralyzed stomach) even up to today. I am also a Christian and I believe that God put Cannabis here for our use.

  6. As a pretty hardcore libertarian, I am for this being legal. Yet as my philosophy has developed, I think that with the state grown as large as it is, many other political and moral bodies have atrophied. Where there was much less state, there would be much more control of other sorts. Contract laws and enforcement bodies. Now, as it is, to do what your friend did meant going outside of controls, which tends to go poorly. While my political ideal remains libertarian, I want it clear that this does not mean anyone doing whatever they feel like doing. For social pressure would keep people in line more. None of this really helps the situation of the post. It looks like you were flying blind and doing the best you could given the situation. It will probably be decades before we have the wisdom necessary to navigate this kind of situation well. In the meantime, this sounds like the doctor was remiss in his duties. I would expect that the doctors who are prescribing medical marijuana are among the best and the worst in the profession. I think that someone who would be willing to take the risks that you did, both becoming involved and then participating in an intervention, sounds like an ideal friend.

  7. Some of what you say is true. But there is a small group of people, who do get addicted to marijuana. He was using A LOT. I did not take a stand on this issue, as I even said that I will not promise that I would never use it.

    Having said that, my friend was living in my home during the end of this situation. I was the one that was taking him to the Emergency room in the middle of the night when he was shaking uncontrollably and about to kill himself.

    And while I know that my friend has some mental illness also, it may have been for that reason alone that he should not have been given so much of it.

    As for Xanax. I am not a fan of it. But I have a severe anxiety disorder because of an adrenal gland issue. And if it were not for certain drugs, I would be a mess. That along with my other health problems. I take a lot of meds. Because of that, and considering that some of my meds are things like Oxycontin, I get why someone would use marijuana.

  8. You know you are speaking an agenda. Marijuana isn't addictive? Tell that to about 50% of the kids I work with in the Polk County Youth Services' Detention Center. I'll give you that it is not even remotely as addictive as say meth and heroin, but it is addictive nonetheless. You also are presuming knowledge about Coleen's friend that you do not have.

    As I share with the kids who ask me about cannabis. Yes God put it here on this earth, but he didn't tell us to roll it up in a joint and smoke it. There is much on this earth that God gave us that we misuse.

  9. Nothing that I didn't already know about what you think about this. I think we had this discussion a few times at Rod's house.

    You know I respect you, and you are smarter than I am, so I really can't argue.

  10. Thanks Shane. You seem to have more experience with this than I do. I am not a marijuana expert. I only have this one experience. (I have lived a sheltered life)

    Good comments.

  11. Taking into account the scientific fact that Marijuana is not physically addictive, and there is no risk of dependence, we can conclude that this mans problem(s) are not marijuana related.

    Like any prescribed drug, the effects are not guaranteed. Looking at those who fight mental illness we see trial and error when it comes to finding medications and dosages that work.

    Sadly, the cold truth is that your friend likely messed himself up pretty badly on the pharmaceuticals his doctor prescribed to him before the marijuana. Most of those substances are hideously bad for you. They are all toxic, highly addictive and generally prescribed as medical trials. This is the real story.

    While marijuana is proven to be generally harmless and safe, it is still not for everyone. If Marijuana was not helping him with his mental illness, or not improving the quality of his life in any way, then he probably should not be using it.

    It also sounds to me like he was taking THC concentrates and not using marijuana in its natural form. Without having someone to tell him the difference he would not know that the effects are vastly different. Marijuana is safe enough to be used without a doctors supervision but that doesn’t mean a doctor couldn’t or shouldn’t provide information to the patient.

    As far as needing treatment to stop taking marijuana; This person has mental illness and needs therapy for that. Therapy is part of treatment but it is not always the kind that is most needed. Treatment for imaginary marijuana addiction will not address the long term underlying problems in this mans life that he must attend to. Was it difficult for him to stop using marijuana? If he is severely depressed all the time and marijuana relieves that depression, then I would say yes, I’m sure it would be. But that isn’t addiction.

    Sounds to me like the biggest problems for this poor soul were the medications he took prior to the marijuana and the withdrawal he had when he stopped those meds. He did not become “severely addicted” to marijuana, as you put it. That is physically impossible.

    What did happen was he became severely depressed and sick from the mental illness and withdrawal from the pills he was taking. He used THC concentrates and hashish as a band-aid treatment to the withdrawal sickness from his anti depressant medication. Despite the fact that it probably worked, and got him through the worst moments of his withdrawal, this is still not the best reason to be using high doses of THC. Particularly if your already diagnosed with mental illness.

    His doctor might also have mentioned to him that most people do not care for the concentrates because they find them way too potent. They find the milder natural herbs to be effective without having to take 100% THC concentrate. THC is not the only beneficial substance in the plant, either. We often forget that. It is likely the combination of substances in Marijuana that make it beneficial.

    The author wrote : “He could not work, he could not drive, he could not function at all.”

    I’d like to point out that these are symptoms of depression and not of Marijuana use. Marijuana use will not prevent a person from working, driving safely or functioning as regularly as anyone else. While it is unclear if the marijuana was helping him deal with the meds withdrawal it is obvious that marijuana was not helping his depression.

    This is a story of mental illness, bad doctors and misplaced interventions. I hope that in the wake of it all the guy finds the real help he needs. I promise you he wont find it in drug treatment. His problems are obviously deeper than that.

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