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medical marijuana

Posted by pocochina on April 13, 2008

I have a sleeping disorder.  It fucking sucks.  I’m trying to fix it, or at least some way to find it manageable, or at the very least, get a diagnosis that’s not “I can only sleep in the middle of the day.”  Really, any one of the above would work, but lookint for any of those three things sucks too.  In the last four months, I’ve met with a GP, a pulmonary specialist, a psychiatrist, three therapists (one of whom was such an insensitive prick he made me cry for a week) a sleep specialist and a sleep technician.  In the last I talked to my doctor (I affectionately refer to her as “#4”) on Friday, I heard – no, I am not making this shit up – that “we think you might have trouble getting to sleep because you have insomnia.”

Right now I am taking Ambien.  Which also sucks.  My health care providers suck more, though, because out of the seven so-called expert people involved in Operation Pocochina Dozing, only one of them warned me that my drugs would cause tolerance and I’d need to up my dosage, and none of them warned me that they mess with concentration, that they cause anxiety and depression, that they make it hard for your mouth to say what your brain is thinking, and for your brain to think at all.  All five of those things have been happening to me in the last five months, so the anxiety and depression (THANKS AMBIEN!) is doing a number on my healthy but fragile self-esteem (THANKS MOM AND DAD).  Which has played really nicely in with the most stressful year ever.  (THANKS LAW SCHOOL.)

Which brings me to pot.

When we talk about medical marijuana, we tend to talk about desperate cases.  Chemo patients who may suffer just a tiny bit less.  I’m totally for marijuana for them.  It’s an embarrassment that we as a society do not allow our medical profession to treat its patients to the best of their abilities.  “First, do no harm” does not end with “to the drug company’s profits.”

But I’m also a potential medical marijuana case.  Pot does put me to sleep – it eases me down gently, if I’m in a quiet place and have nowhere to be.  It doesn’t fight my circadean rhythm* all the next day if I’ve done it at slightly the wrong time, the way Ambien does.  The day’s stress and care – which are critical parts of sleep-onset insomnia – would seem a lot lighter as I was dozing off.

Now, I’m for drug liberalization for everyone, I am against mandatory minimums, I abhor crack/cocaine sentencing disparities.  I think it’s a travesty that we lock people up because there was hash at a party.  I know that when pot is legal people will continue to use it the way they do now – that is, some to treat illnesses; the vast majority to have a good time – and I fully embrace that.

But I also really, really want to be like everyone else for a couple of days a week.  Fall asleep at night, be able to function all day, and then fall asleep at night again.  I can’t fathom who I would be hurting if I could grow a couple of plants under my windowsill.  I could be a productive member of society, free of this dark cloud that I pack away and carry with my casebooks.  I wouldn’t have to wonder if my bad mood was some drug; or if it was, which drug, or maybe I’d have a good mood again once in a while.

It might not even work for me.  But I’m so angry that I don’t even get to try.

*Fun thing to think about next time you see a health professional – my psychiatrist (#7) didn’t know what a circadean rhythm was the first time I met him!

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