I’ve been an anti-drug advocate for eons. It’s probably because I feel my grip on reality is so tenuous, if I started using, I’d be dependent. I also have seen the impact of drug abuse on friends and relatives, even worse the tangled, chaotic, destructive pain they dump on their supposed loved-ones.
Yet count me in the ones who advocate de-criminalizing the stuff. It’s proven we’ve lost the War Against Drugs, and these efforts don’t make a dent in drug use. Their impact—ruining lots of lives with long prison sentences, raising taxes, splitting families.
This stance opened the door and my eyes to the use of marijuana. As campaigns to legalize the stuff spread, I began to learn about people who have been helped by their use—health concerns such as arthritis, epilepsy, cancer treatments.. I heard the scare tactics from decades ago, which created my intense paranoia about negative impacts, were very much blown out of proportion. Then my home state legalized use several years ago.
In what might be considered serendipity, I was suffering from an autoimmune condition that affected my legs. Discomfort, itchiness, restlessness kept me awake at night. My search for relief brought me to seven or nine kinds of skin creams and lotions, various over-the-counter pills, and sleep techniques, none of which really helped. During lunch with a friend, she mentioned she suffered from arthritis in her knees. Since she’s an avid hiker, she’d also been chasing a treatment that would enable her to continue her exercise. Turned out to be a marijuana cream and patches.
She accompanied me to a marijuana dispensary and helped me through my first meeting with a salesman. In a candid interchange, she told me what helped her and what I might consider. I walked out with a salve which turned out to relieve my aches and pains. Every person is different, and some aren’t helped. The treatment doesn’t cure me, isn’t uniformly effective, but does more than anything else has.
After my little sampling of this psychoactive drug, I’m most pleased to find that I’m capable of changing my mind. Many people, me included, feel the older you get, the more rigid you are. How you are at about 30 pretty much sets the pattern for the rest of your life, except you get more inflexible in your opinions. Not a good position to be in, for we all should be able to face new situations, learn new information, and adapt for our own benefit.
This is one old dog who’s learned a new trick.