Part one of this experiment. What experiment? The experiment of Medical Marijuana, CBD, and how they pertain to mental health per my experience.
Remember, I was a general street pot head since I was 13 until around 18. I stopped because I got busy with college and went into a period of being still crazy, but very positive and hopeful. I forgot what depression was, I felt I could handle the anxiety. Until the real paranoia or brief hallucinations started well into my second year of college.
Since those experiences have heightened, I noticed I keep bouncing in and out of psychiatrist offices again, buying into (briefly) the idea of a magic pill. Until I’m faced with the prescription in my hand and remember my own personal beliefs. That’s usually when I tear up the prescription. And then cry on my knees a week later for having done so. Then pick myself up and remind myself of why I tore it up. Then I’m on my knees again and . . . well, you get the point.
It wasn’t until the big Medical Marijuana legalization and controversy sprang up here again did I wonder about the benefits. So I researched, came across CBD, hybrids, and a load of strains of cannabis I never knew existed.
So I got the card, got the stuff, and have some interesting things to say.
First things first. What have I decided to use it for, mental health wise? A few things.
- The PTSD: Flashbacks and thoughts always swirl uncontrollably. I don’t know if anyone else experiences this, but flashbacks aren’t always just images. Emotions can be a flashback as well. CBD calms the body and therefore calms the mind.
- The anxiety: The shakes, the avoidance, the rumination, the aches, the physical upset, all of it. As I said, CBD calms the body and therefore the mind.
- The depression and mixed emotions: There are times I can’t get out of bed and am devastated and valueless. There are times I can’t figure out what emotion I am and that usually results in self harm or broken doors and cracked walls. I get violent.
- Other things: I am technically on that spectrum of schizophrenia disorders, although it keeps being bounced back and forth between severe dissociation and some “lesser” form of schizophrenia. Whatever. There are times where I don’t feel much at all, or I feel a lot at once, and either way it’s not going to show up in my face. You’ll find me laughing and smiling a lot, not because I’m happy but because it’s my reaction to my own emotions and others emotions, bad ones, good ones, unsure ones. Rarely, you’ll see me monotone entirely, and that’s when It’s gotten into danger levels. That’s how I was in the hospital and that’s why they thought I was depressed. Anyway, i’ll lose my motivation but I’ll also lose my ability to really care much about it. So when I hear I’ve failed three classes or haven’t kept up to my responsibilities–self-care wise, work wise, people wise, myself wise–the thought just goes through my brain, chills for a minute, but evokes no real panic or anxiety or sadness or anything really. Sativa helps with this.
I’ll explain how each has been transformed a little bit, more so than I’ve ever experienced with psychotropic medication.
Knowing about the types of strains are important. The main two, Indica and Sativa, have different properties. The Hybrid type does as well, said to be more balanced between the two. Being grown indoor versus outdoor–all these little things matter. Having been your average teenage drug dealer at one point (not a very high status, but in high school it meant you were the SHIT) and your average teenage stoner at one point, I can confidentially say getting dealt with things from the street versus in a dispensary are drastically different. At least around here.
CBD has no THC, but can still be Sativa or Indica. You won’t get high. You can Dab it (i.e, burning concentrate (wax, crumble, shatter on a glass rig) and still not feel anything “mentally”. For all you who have dabbed, you know how crazy that sounds.
Your body will feel it, though. Your pain will dissipate, you might feel a little clearer, or notice your stomach isn’t churning anymore, or that your cheeks aren’t burning anymore. It’s a very physical high, less of a mental head rush.
So, that being said, CBD sounds like a godsend for Anxiety. For me, it calms my heart rate. Listening to that thing pump like crazy sends my head into a tizzy and makes my anxiety worse. Having that thing sound steady took away 40% of my anxiety immediately.
The stomach stops churning and hurting and nothing is very urgent anymore, that’s the signal your brain gets from your body at least.
The thoughts can still swirl and be a tornado and be overwhelming. But that’s what’s so great about CBD. You’re not disconnected from your brain, you’re being forced to deal with your mindstate clearly, absent of any bodily interference or mind fogging “high”. That’s something not even psychotropics can do.
Sativa is the upper, Indica is the downer, that’s how I see it. Sativa will kick motivation into gear, focus, energy, and I’ve noticed for me the more focus I have, the less my anxious thoughts hold me back, and that’s where the anxiety relief comes from. Not everyone’s anxiety is helped with Sativa, though, so be warned. Sativa is the strain I was least confident about, giving my issues with anxiety and fast heart rates, so I go about that strain with caution.
So far, Sativa has kicked me out of bed and giving me some focus time. No weighted depression, no avolition issues–yet. It took me a while to balance the Sativa with the THC to a level I could mentally withstand, but the CBD Sativa works fine.
Indica will relax you and put you to sleep. I guess people say it helps with depression because it might influence dopamine? I have no idea, it’s always worsened depression for me. It will wind down that heart and that brain and your body will melt if you do enough of it. Struggling with dissociation I have to be careful of that, because I will slip off an edge if I “melt” too much. I’ve noticed in the past, since I was heavy into Indica and the body melting, that the morning after my depression will be full blast for the next few days, just as getting off any anti-depressant would do–but without the bodily side-effects.
So far, I’ve only used it to put me to sleep and I’m sure that will be its main purpose. It doesn’t take much, with the strength of strain I’ve got, and it’s helped me stay on a consistent sleep schedule. I’ve noticed it increased paranoia as well, and hallucinations, but that’s how it’s always been with Indica and me for whatever reason. Seems backwards, right?
I have only tried a Sativa CBD. I use Indica with THC because it does more than just relax, it physically puts me to sleep.
If I were my teenage self, I’d see this as an opportunity to spend all my money getting high. But because I’ve noticed my limitations I understand this is no different than Prozac or Haldol or any of that: and if I had those medications I wouldn’t buy more than I needed and take extra. I won’t do that with MMJ either. Because I’ve noticed the huge difference between being high and being, as they say, “medicated”.
I guess I will say this last week and a half, I’ve briefly felt what I assume normal people feel. Mentally balanced. The anxiety can be taken down so far I get confused: turns out I was experiencing close to zero anxiety. Never experienced that in my life, not even from the street things, supplements or psychotropics I’ve tried.
The important thing to know, if deciding to try this, is your mind and body’s limitations. CBD you can feel secure with knowing there is next to no THC and the probability your mental state will be “chemically” affected is also next to none. With THC, just test it. It’s no different than jumping between medications, albeit being safer, albeit having no side-effects, and albeit not being man-made.
If you’ve tried everything else, don’t be afraid to open your mind to this. You never know what could happen.
That’s the Sativa talking.
NOTE: I have suspicions Sativa influences serotonin. If you are sensitive to serotonin as I am, be cautious. I notice a headache (just as every other SSRI has been for me) and I notice the teeth grinding and twitching (which has also accompanied things that increase serotonin or serotonin-like receptors in me). I have ONLY noticed with this the THC Sativa strain, NOT the CBD. It’s also sent my thoughts in weird directions, as SNRI’s have, but that’s because I did more than I should have. My mistake. The more I leveled out my amount, the better the results were. Complete focus, Complete ability to stay in the present.