Growing up, I was taught that smoking weed was the same as smoking meth or heroine. People were called stoners, bums & burnouts. Cannabis is a life ruining drug. If you smoked you might as well throw your life away, you’re going to live out the rest of your days stuck to your couch eating potato chips and then one day, the high from cannabis won’t be enough so you’ll move onto more powerful drugs.
Weed is a gateway drug
I believe that cannabis is a gateway drug, but not to hard drugs like a lot of people I know believe. I believe cannabis to be a gateway to seeing, feeling & healing in a way that some don’t have the ability to do without using cannabis.
I have rotator cuff tendinitis. Basically, the joints that move my shoulder are inflamed causing severe pain, stiffness, and swelling. I was diagnosed in high school and was offered 2 options, both of which did not work for me or my high school sports career. Option 1. Corotozone shots. Option 2. Surgery. Both of these options would take me out of the game permanently and that wasn’t going to work for me. I decided to “suck it up” and play through the pain and do the few physical therapy exercises my doctor showed me.
Fast forward a few years. The pain has increased, I am only able to sleep in 1 position that relieves the pain of my rotator cuff but irritates other parts of my shoulder. I can no longer throw a softball like I used to, and I’ve lost strength from fear of over using my shoulder. I am frustrated, broke from numerous doctor visits, and sick of taking pills that relieve the pain momentarily but don’t fix the problem. Not only did these pills not fix the problem, but I felt I was becoming dependant on them. They made me fuzzy, cranky and unhappy.
Time to explore other options.
I made an appointment to see a doctor that specializes in medical marijuana. I didn’t know what to expect. Was it going to be like any other doctor visit? Was my doctor going to be a hippie? Maybe an undercover cop waiting to bust me since marijuana is still federally illegal? What was going to happen?
It was like any other private physicians office. There was a couple of nurses, a receptionist, and plaques on the wall showing my doctor is legit. I was greeted by 2 ex-Iraq war dogs that were both super intimidating but the sweetest pups. If you know me, you know that I almost always prefer dogs over people. These two eased my anxiety and made the whole experience ten times more enjoyable! After filling out the required paperwork for both the doctor’s office and the State of Colorado, the doctor brought me back to the exam room. He took a look at my paperwork and asked about my shoulder and how much pain I’ve been in. He performed a brief exam, rotating my shoulder and feeling the grinding that happens every time everytime I raise it over my head. He asked if I had a history with substance abuse and my preferred method of taking cannabis. He then wrote me a prescription and explained what I needed to do with this pile of paperwork to finalize the prescription and to receive my medical marijuana card in the mail. That was it. I was now a medical marijuana patient.
I was now a medical marijuana patient.
I received my card in the mail a few weeks later and couldn’t wait to go into a dispensary. I’ve heard stories about candies, drinks, lotions, everything you could think of they make with cannabis in it. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning walking into that store! There were walls lined with different products, I wanted to try them all. Then I started noticing all the different strains and types of cannabis to choose from. Thank goodness the lady helping me knew what she was doing. I explained my pain, my inability to sleep and my anxiety. She grabbed a few different things for me to look at. I ended up choosing to purchase some CBD candies and an eighth of indica flower.
I immediately wanted to try the candies! I opened up the package and popped 1 in my mouth. I had never experienced edibles before and wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Is it an immediate high? How intense is the high? What did I get myself into? Well, I didn’t get high. See, I had purchased CBD candies. CBD or Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike, THC (the stuff that gets you high) it is completely nonpsychoactive. After about 45 minutes the pain in my shoulder started to cease. It was still there, but it was not as severe. The first night I tried those candies I remember having the best sleep in years. It was glorious! After 3 years of no relief, I had finally found something that seems to help.
Flash forward another couple of years and I have learned a lot about cannabis. You CAN be successful and partake in marijuana. You can smoke and be productive. You can heal from a combination of physical therapy and the right types of pain relievers and relaxants. In my case, that was cannabis. Since starting yoga and my continued use of marijuana, I have gained my strength back in my shoulder. I can sleep at night. Handstands are NOT out of my reach like they were just a few years back. When I vape before yoga class I find it easier to focus on my breathing and hold my poses longer.
Now, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I have also smoked too much before practicing and fell flat on my face. I’ve ingested too much and could only lay in savasana. It’s all about moderation, micro-dosing and figuring out what your body needs to be pain-free and free minded to obtain all the physical and mental benefits yoga has to offer!
Marijuana is not for everyone. I know some people that shut down completely when they use, they get anxious, nervous and hate every second of it. There are certain strains that I do not use due to how they make me feel. Everyone has their preferences and if you are interested in exploring/using cannabis, I recommend talking to an expert before trying anything new. I prefer to vape vs smoking because of how the smoke makes me cough and hurts my lungs. I enjoy indica/cbd heavy strains because of their pain relieving compounds and how I am still physically and mentally able to go about my day without being stoned out of my mind. Everyone is different and luckily, we live in a world where there are hundreds of strains and ways to gain the benefits this beautiful plant has to offer!