So, I’m not sure if I’ve told you, but I write blogs for a local marijuana dispensary once a week. It wasn’t an intentional gig, just one of those curious adventures Life throws at us sometimes. I’d gone in to get my weekly supply, and the owner said, “you’re a writer, right?” and I confirmed I am. Then he said, “want to write our blogs?” and I said, “sure.” That was 14 months ago.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot about cannabis. I’m basically an expert, or I would be if I could remember all the chemistry involved. Anyway, despite its legality, marijuana is still a touchy topic with varying opinions. Given everything I’ve discovered and considering my personal experience, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned.
A Bit of Backstory
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this either, but I had brain surgery back in early 2014. Don’t worry, I’m perfectly fine now. I had a Cavernous Malformation, a fancy name for a problem with the way some blood vessels formed in my head. They began leaking blood into my brain, which caused me to have what’s called an aura (no, not a migraine). Auras are a type of warning people prone to seizures experience just before a seizure hits. Auras can consist of all kinds of symptoms, and combinations of them.
Thankfully, I only ever got the auras without a seizure following, and the surgery was to make sure it never progresses that far. My aura symptoms are always the same—deja vu, extreme anxiety, intense nausea, pins and needles in my shoulders, hot flashes, lightheadedness—and last about 30 to 40 seconds from beginning to end. I have them every few hours and last for days before completely disappearing for weeks.
To my chagrin, I still experienced auras even after my surgery. The doctors blamed muscle memory in my brain, and said the auras should cease within a year of my surgery—but if they don’t, I’d have them for the rest of my life. Guess what? A year later, I was still getting them.
They aren’t debilitating, but they are exhausting and drain me after a while. I attempted everything I could think of to make them stop for good. Then finally, I tried marijuana, and I’m happy to say that I haven’t had a single aura since July 31, 2020.
What Have I Learned?
Due to space restraints, I’ll skip over the strain types and various consumption methods. Instead, I’m going to focus on the health risks, benefits, and discoveries.
While weed is as excellent in some regard as people claim it to be, it’s not for everyone, and there can be a downside. Most commonly, consuming too much can lead to increased anxiety and feelings of paranoia, and according to the CDC, some people can become addicted — one study claims 3 out of 10 users will, while another study says 10 percent will.
There are plenty of ways cannabis is good for us, and far too many for me to include here. For more information, just click on any of the links.
When inhaled, instead of harming our lungs like cigarettes, cannabis, for some reason, actually increases our lung capacity.
Endocannabinoid compounds in cannabis appear to work as a mood stabilizer and help with mood disorders like depression.
Marijuana is known to not only help bones heal faster but also make them stronger.
While some people may become more distracted after consuming cannabis, for others, especially with ADD/ADHD, weed can actually strengthen their attention span and focus. (I’m not diagnosed with either, but weed does help me focus.)
Recently, I discovered something kinda wild. It turns out that, depending on dosage, cannabis can affect our ability to dream. More specifically, it seems to decrease or suppress REM sleep (the stage of sleep when we dream), instead, we spend more time in Stage N3 sleep (the most restorative stage.) Though whether this effect is a good thing, or worrisome is still being debated.
What’s especially bizarre is, once someone sleeps without the influence of weed, they sometimes experience a sort of “rebound” of dreams. Often rebound dreams consists of more nightmares, increased rapid REM sleep onset, denser REM sleep, and elongated REM sleep cycles as a way of playing catch-up.
I tried it, and it’s true—at least it was for me. Before learning this, I didn’t realize how long it’d been since I remembered dreaming. So I took a break from weed and boom, an onslaught of vivid, high-energy dreams. Though thankfully, no nightmares.
There’s obviously still much to learn about cannabis, but everything we’ve discovered so far is pretty fascinating. Some argue marijuana is safer than alcohol, especially since overdosing on weed is highly highly unlikely. It boggles my mind that cannabis has been villainized for so long when so much good can come from it.
Regardless, we’re often terrified of things that are different or new. Even with the growing research, I think it’ll take a while longer before cannabis is fully accepted. Though, thankfully researchers continue discovering new information that will help this process along.
If society hadn’t demonized weed decades ago, how much more would we know about it? Sure the psychoactive effects of THC can be fun, but marijuana is more than a way to get high. Then again, the same could be said for hallucinogens. My home state, Oregon, was the first to legalize magic mushrooms for therapeutic use. I’ve never dabbled in psychedelics, but now I’m super curious to learn more about them. Though, I suppose I’ll have to save that deep-dive for Curious Life on Monday.
Travel further down the rabbit hole by subscribing to my Curious Life newsletter for $5 a month. The subscription fee helps me survive as a writer and allows me to continue providing these moments for you to escape the realities of today and let your mind play.
If you don’t want to commit, but you still want to show your support, I’ll always enjoy a cup of coffee.