Although I’m usually more known for my love of booze, given that today is both a blog day and 4/20, it seemed if there was ever going to be a fitting opportunity to tackle this topic, this is the best window I’m likely to get. We’ll start with a few caveats, the first of which is that if you’re unfamiliar with the fact that I have psoriatic arthritis, you might want to catch up on that first, it plays a part in today’s blog. Additionally, while society as a whole has gotten pretty chill about marijuana in the last decade, our Attorney General is a doll made from racist dog turds and brought to life through dark magic. So, for the sake of legality, let’s just assume any time I talk about using marijuana below, it was in a state where such actions were legally permitted, even if I don’t add details. Cool? Cool.
It might surprise you to learn this, given my overall “shitshow” demeanor, but I was never much of a weed guy growing up. Maybe it’s because there wasn’t as much in the small town where I grew up, so opportunities to try it were limited, maybe it’s because I came from a heavy drinking culture, but regardless I made it through high school and college without ever really going down that road. I don’t say that as a brag, so much as I do to establish that when I finally did turn to cannabis, it was for actual medical purposes.
As stated above, I have psoriatic arthritis, and have for about six or seven years now. The problem was that for the first three of those, I went improperly diagnosed due to not presenting the psoriasis symptoms. Unfortunately, being misdiagnosed meant I was also being mistreated, and regular arthritis drugs generally do dick all to help with PA. For those three years, I was more or less living in some level of constant pain. Not to shock a ton of you, but my drinking also picked up in those days, trying to numb the ever-present ache in my joints, yet even that wasn’t especially effective. With the months wearing on and the pain not subsiding, I eventually decided to try something new. I’d been hearing for a long time that marijuana was good for this exact kind of situation, so after reaching out to a few friends who I knew smoked, I decided it was time to give going green a whirl.
Much as I would like to tell you I took one hit and suddenly the world exploded into pain-free magical unicorns, I can’t. The purpose of writing this is to talk about the drug and its effects honestly, and the truth is that smoking didn’t make all my pain vanish. It did, however, make it ignorable, and I really cannot say I could distinguish much between that and the unicorn magic version after lugging that pain around for years. It was the first evening in a long time that I had managed to get a good night’s sleep, without my hip and shoulders searing at the slightest movements. I felt true, genuine relief, the kind that booze and the parade of pointless prescriptions could never manage to offer.
Despite what you might think, I didn’t suddenly go whole hog onto the marijuana band wagon. Giving it a try was one thing, but at the time I still had a day-job where testing was possible, and certainly wasn’t living in a state where I had regular, legal access to a supply. Would that have been different, in our current climate? Now that you can get CBD just about anywhere and lots of states are opening up legal options… maybe. I can’t really say what I would have done in the past with different circumstances. But the point is that even though I didn’t jump all the way on to weed treatment, just having it as an option made a difference. I knew that if I really, really had to take a break from my pain, there was a method out there. Although that might not seem like much, when you’ve lived for years without that option, it makes a huge change in your mentality. Having at least one thing that works gives you hope that maybe someday, you’ll find another.
In my case, I eventually did. Once I was finally diagnosed properly, I was given Humira, which almost completely obliterated my symptoms. Now, that drug has a few issues of its own, but compared to some of the side-effects from the meds I was getting they’re basically negligible, and it’s a shitload better than just living with the pain. I’m lucky, though. Not every form of arthritis out there has a silver bullet drug. Hell, for plenty of people with PA, even Humira doesn’t always give such stellar results. Thankful as I am to have found my treatment, I know a lot of folks out there are still gritting their teeth and bearing through the pain, because its literally the only choice they think they have.
Eventually, I did get more into marijuana on a recreational level, my goal here is not to try and claim some moral high-ground (unintended pun) of how to use. No, my point is to simply to serve as one of countless examples to those who oppose it entirely and truly don’t think there is any purpose to this drug beyond the fun recreational use celebrated today. My journey wasn’t easy, yet there are so many going through so much worse, and I can’t even imagine how much that small patch of relief means to them. As we move toward legality and usage becomes common-place, it can be easy to forget about the reason that got this push going in the first place: there are people out there who sincerely need this treatment.
Whether you use medically, recreationally, or not at all, I hope you have plenty of fun today. And if you’re someone struggling with a condition, still searching for some method that offers respite, and today is the day you finally give weed a try, I hope it helps, even just a little. Because sometimes even a little relief makes a huge difference.