A controversial issue today is the legalization of marijuana. The old view of marijuana a gateway to hard drugs, like cocaine or heroin, is becoming questionable. Research is showing that most marijuana smokers do not go on to harder drugs. At the same time, marijuana for medical use is more accepted. Benefits include pain control, sleep problems, and a variety of other medical issues.
Today, marijuana smokers have adapted the Native American peace pipe. The hip generation always associated love and peace with smoking marijuana. My history of using it goes back to my high school days. I smoked it for fun. Because it was illegal, I was anxious and it was harder to find peace when I used it. The positive was that it put me into a mind-set, where I saw the world differently. At the same time, it made me very happy and I enjoyed being around my friends more.
Drinking was illegal for me also until I was 21, but the side effects made drinking not so pleasant. Too much drinking gave me a hangover and left me feeling sick. Too much marijuana spaced me out and made me lethargic, but seldom had other physical side effects. For me, the main problem with both drinking and marijuana was they were illegal, but I still enjoyed using them.
I stopped drinking in 1971 and marijuana in 1976, although I occasionally I used them in social situations. In 1981, I got sick with multiple sclerosis and never thought marijuana would be good for dealing with a terrible disease like MS. I heard from a neurologist that marijuana was successfully used in dealing with MS. I started using medical marijuana when it became legal l in my state in 2009. I found positive effects. The main reason I use marijuana is to help me fall asleep.
This is how I use it today: About 20 minutes before I go to bed and after all the things needed to do, like brushing my teeth, I prepare to smoke. I do that alone, because socializing distracts me from the purpose of going to sleep. Before I go to sleep, I smoke just a few tokes—not to get high, but to relax me before I go to sleep. When I do it regularly, it becomes a trigger that prepares me for sleep. It becomes a useful habit that helps me incredibly.
I used to take sleeping pills, but the negative side effects were headaches the next morning and hard to wake up. MS is making it increasingly hard to swallow. Then I smoked marijuana, which had positive side effects, except it irritated my throat and lungs, which made it uncomfortable. Now, I use a vaporizer pipe and, so far, I have no side effects. It puts me to sleep after 3 or 4 tokes and has no uncomfortable effects, like in my throat and lungs. A couple nights a week, pain wakes me. Because I only smoke very little, I then have to smoke again about an hour later. When I smoked marijuana in a joint, it left a marijuana odor. My wife disliked the odor, leading me to smoke in another room. Now, the vaporizer pipe is odorless and she does not complain about it.
When I lie down to go to sleep, I don’t necessarily think of things in the past. I lean more on a creative side, either in my work, my poems or my interactions with people. It is like, instead of falling asleep, I float to sleep in a relaxed, non-thinking state of mind. I have no negative reactions .The next morning, I wake up much more rested—sleeping longer hours. I get up at 1 am and 7 am to take pills and fall back to sleep easily.
Not only is this medical marijuana useful in helping me sleep, it is the only medication I really enjoy using.