This topic might seem off-brand for me, but it really isn’t. This is, after all, The Foul-Mouthed Woman blog, a woman speaking uncomfortable truths. Well this is a doozy. At least for me.
While contemplating the merits of sharing my personal story, my college classmate posted her nephew’s story on FB. As if a sign, I suddenly felt compelled to put my experience into words and share it along with his story. Please take a moment to read the courageous share of Randy’s life – and death.
I have never heard of anyone experiencing this before and when I heard Randy’s story I immediately thought ‘that was going to be me’…except I wasn’t a 21 year old recreational user who started using at the age of 15. I was a 57 turned 58 year old woman seeking a natural alternative to insomnia…for 4 months.
Up until October of 2022 I had tried cannabis one time in my life, without much adieu. No high. Just sleepiness. Nothing really remarkable about it and I didn’t touch it again, until it became legal in Michigan and I was struggling with severe insomnia.
My issues with insomnia started before 2009 and steadily increased. I would find natural products that would work for 6 months or so but then their efficacy diminished. By October of 2022 I was down to 1.5 hours of sleep a night and I was desperate.
After my sister gave me my first edible and I felt so sleepy (and dry mouthed) I decided to try edibles as a remedy for insomnia. The edible I took was for sleep and was a combination of THC, CBD and CBN.
I have always been reluctant to rely on medication to remedy ailments. I am a firm believer in natural remedies, so since cannabis is a natural product, used by Indigenous people, I felt it might be the right solution for me.
It worked like a dream! Pun intended! The first night I slept for like 5 hours and woke with no pain. The second night though! I slept a straight 9 hours! Each night I experienced greater benefits. I no longer had anxiety about not sleeping. I fell asleep within an hour upon going to bed and no pain all day! I developed a nice routine and was in bed at a regular time because I was tired. Huzzah!
After years of taking OTC pain meds once or twice a day, I stopped cold turkey! Just stopped. No more pain keeping me awake. No more pain during the day. I was elated and recommended it to everyone I knew who was struggling with insomnia.
I’m not sure when I first noticed some negative side effects, but it was around the end of the first month, I think. I talked myself out of any concern because I felt the benefits outweighed any risk.
While I lay there waiting for sleep to overcome me I had seriously anxious thoughts – but no actual feelings of anxiety. I would hear noises in the house and get up only to find nothing definitive. I also experienced some weird headaches while lying there. Headaches that made me start to think I had an aneurysm about to burst.
I remembered that cannabis could make you paranoid and chalked it up to that. Well, if you know it is paranoia and you don’t buy into it, it isn’t a problem right? I mean, if I had a paranoid thought, didn’t panic about it, and fell asleep all was well, right? I did what I always do, and checked my mindset and decided if my mind could play tricks with negative thoughts, I could counter it with positive healing thoughts. So, that’s what I did. Thinking I was overcoming the worst effects and getting good sleep.
About 2 months in though, I wasn’t feeling all that rested anymore despite sleeping for 9-10 hours. I rationalized that it was just going to take some catching up on the decade+ of insomnia struggles.
Another month later and I was still having thoughts of brain aneurysms, but I wasn’t just having them after having taken the edible and lying in bed. I was now having these thoughts throughout the day too, again, having no anxiety about it. I was just welcoming death. I was resigned, “Well, if that is how this goes, then so be it. My work must be done.”
I struggled a little with the idea of leaving my daughter. If I died she would lose both her parents before the age of 30, but again, “if that is what is meant to be, then so be it” was my resolve. My rationalization being that because she is a strong capable woman with her own full life, she doesn’t need me. No concerns about leaving my husband. I figured he’d have less to worry about if I was gone. I was preparing for an unexpected death, but not in a healthy way. (I see that now, but I didn’t see that in the moment. That’s an important part of this.)
My blood pressure began to rise. I had not taken it in awhile because I was sure it was going down because I was finally sleeping. I was absolutely distraught to find my pressure was 183/127! This only served to support my paranoia about a brain aneurysm erupting.
Someone online happened to mention that THC prevents REM sleep. That was the first red flag to get through to me that this was not a medication for my best interest. I started researching these weird effects as side effects of THC, but found no real data around any of it. Nothing about high blood pressure – except that it might spike shortly after taking but then go down. Very little about preventing REM sleep, but I hadn’t had a dream since the first few weeks of use, so that had to mean something. I KNOW REM sleep is vital to mental health. This was nothing to play with or ignore.
(I’ve since learned that several Medical Journals are stating a connection between cannabis use and first time strokes, as well calling for more research into exactly how THC affects the brain as well as the developing brain.)
The first step to putting 2 and 2 together, was recognizing I was in a very dark time. It didn’t feel like my Dark Night of the Soul but it was similar. Beginning after Halloween, through Thanksgiving, and by December I was not in the holiday spirit at all. I lacked joy. I lacked motivation. I lacked belief in myself as a professional, as a mother, as a wife, as a friend and truly as a human being. It was then that I took the first step to saving my own life.
I ‘prescribed’ myself a regimen of self-care.
I was working with a client who lacked in self-care so I used her as my beta tester along with myself and I created a Soul-Care Assessment and Plan. I started following my plan every morning. Each day, with each task, I chipped away at the darkness like a prisoner escaping Alcatraz with a hand trowel. I began to gain clarity.
It was during this time I finallly noticed that my magick had been taken from me. My connection to Source was hazy. My intuition was off. My psychic powers were dulled. I felt like someone had knitted me into a giant mitten. I didn’t have brain fog or feel groggy. I just felt ‘dark’. I couldn’t feel the Spirit side of life. I wasn’t hearing Spirit when I communed. I no longer received messages. I no longer felt the energy of the trees, or snow, or animals. I wasn’t feeling vibes off people either. No empathic connections. No intuitive hits. No impressions. Nothing. It was energetic darkness.
I had become disconnected from the Light.
Take away my spirituality and mysticism, no wonder I felt no purpose to my life. Leaving my family didn’t matter to me. Though I considered the pain it might cause them, I truly felt they would get over it and be fine…circle of life and all that.
That’s when I started retracing my steps and created a timeline which pointed right to cannabis as the impetus.
That was my final straw…and my last edible.
Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t make moves on some of these issues, like the high blood pressure and the aneurysm etc. Well, I wondered too. Now I have come to attribute the lack of action to the THC as well. It is what I mean by having no motivation. There was an absolute lack of desire to engage, change or resolve. The best way I can explain it is to say it I was an engine with a full battery but no gas.
It’s because of that, I say I am not sure I would have been able to recognize the changes in my mental state if I hadn’t spent the majority of my life contemplating my naval. I just don’t think it would’ve clicked.
The most dangerous side effect of THC is the inability to recognize negative side effects and the lack of motivation to address the negative side effects you do recognize. This feels like a modern take on the Siren’s Song from The Odyssey.
(For those of you concerned, my BP has returned to what it was before the THC and I have had no more experiences of anything resembling an aneurysm about to burst.)
For decades it has been my mission to be aware of how things affect me – everything from food, to people, to environments, to supplements, to pharmaceuticals. I am hyper-aware of the slightest effects on my body, my mind and my Spirit.
That is why I believe sharing Randy’s and my stories can be valuable to those who may be using cannabis on a regular basis, either recreationally as an escape, or medicinally for insomnia or pain relief…and to those who are considering use and looking to make an informed decision.
I am a huge advocate for natural remedies and I had always considered cannabis a natural remedy, however, after doing more research I came upon some interesting information. This excerpt from Missouri Medicine Nov-Dec 2018 explains it perfectly.
Advocates for the legalization of medical and retail marijuana are quick to point out all the possible benefits that a community might see from such a venture. These include increased jobs, increased tax revenue, possible medical benefits and they advertise it as “safe” and “healthy” and “organic.” They utilize the words “cannabis” and “marijuana” for everything without differentiating between the different forms of cannabis that can have very different effects on the mind and body.
Many people who have voted for legalization thought they were talking about the marijuana of the 1960s to 1980s when the THC content was less than 2%. However, without any clear guidelines or regulations from government officials, the cannabis industry has taken a page from the tobacco and alcohol industries’ play book and developed strains of marijuana and concentrated marijuana products with much higher concentrations of THC, the psychoactive component that causes addiction. The more potent a drug is, the stronger the possibility of addiction and the more likely the person will continue to purchase and use the product.
The active component in marijuana that people find so desirable was not really known until the 1960s when a research team in Israel found that after injecting THC into aggressive rhesus monkeys, they became calm and sedate.1 This team discovered that there was a receptor in the brain that fit THC like a glove so they named these receptors cannabinoid receptors. It was not until the 1990s that this same team discovered why we have these receptors in our brain.1 They discovered compounds produced by our bodies that fit into these receptors which they named anandamides, a Sanskrit word for “supreme joy.” These receptors are found all over the brain and are still called endocannabinoid receptors but that is not because they are meant for people to take in THC.
The primary problem with the current available cannabis in dispensaries in Colorado is that the THC content is not like it used to be. Prior to the 1990s it was less than 2%. In the 1990s it grew to 4%, and between 1995 and 2015 there has been a 212% increase in THC content in the marijuana flower. In 2017 the most popular strains found in dispensaries in Colorado had a range of THC content from 17–28% such as found in the popular strain named “Girl Scout Cookie.”2 Sadly these plants producing high levels of THC are incapable of producing much CBD, the protective component of the plant so these strains have minimal CBD. For example the Girl Scout Cookie strain has only 0.09–0.2% CBD.
The flower or leaves that are generally smoked or vaped are only one formulation. We now have concentrated THC products such as oil, shatter, dab, and edibles that have been able to get the THC concentration upwards of 95%. There is absolutely no research that indicates this level of THC is beneficial for any medical condition. The purpose of these products is to produce a high, and the increased potency makes them potentially more dangerous and more likely to result in addiction.
Based on my experience, Randy’s experience as his parents describe it, my own observation of others, and now understanding how it has been manipulated for profit I feel confident in saying there is no benefit at all to using cannabis for any reason.
My only disclaimer would be for those in end of life care who find cannabis to be the only relief for pain. I cannot speak to that, as I’ve not had that personal experience, (nor am I aware of having a client with that experience) however I do want to caution those individuals that it’s use may prevent the motivation needed to complete desired end of life goals such as emotional estate planning.
It was my understanding that Native Americans and other Indigenous people used cannabis in sacred ceremonies. That is not accurate. There is no indication that cannabis is recognized as a sacred herb in any recognized Indigenous Tribes.
The herb that was historically noted in ceremonial pipe smoking was not an ancestor of today’s cannabis, since cannabis and hemp were brought to the Americas by Eastern and Central Asians. It is not native, therefore could not have been used by Native Americans before that time for any reason. Today, many tribes do not currently allow any medical or recreational use of cannabis.
Based on this research, as well as my own experience, I would caution anyone looking to have a ‘spiritual’ experience facilitated by currently popular conscious altering plants, as they likely also have been manipulated for profits as well.
I belong to a few social media groups that include ‘enlightened’ or spiritual folks who advocate for their own use of plant medicine to facilitate spiritual epiphanies. My own observation of these people has been they are not ones I would follow. When I listen to their words, it sounds like/feels like justifying behavior, not a resonant choice. It feels more like someone ‘trying to be relevant’ than someone who truly sought a spiritual revelation. I personally have weekly metaphysical spiritual experiences and revelations without the use of ‘plant medicine’. (The reason I put that in quotes is because ALL plants are medicine, not just the ones you want to justify using to get high.)
That’s what it feels like to me as an empath, healer, shaman and intuitive, your mileage may vary.
For this moment I’m going to use the term ‘sensitives’ to describe all those beings who are sensitive to energy: psychics, intuitives, healers, shamans, HSP, mediums, and whatever else I’ve missed. I fall into several of those subcategories, so I find it easier to reference ‘sensitive beings’ as the collective.
As a sensitive being I have discovered the more I work to increase my vibration the more sensitive I become. All of my gifts have increased in power and I have even developed some I didn’t have before. This means I am more sensitive to ALL energies. So, while my vibration has increased, so have my ‘allergies’ and ‘reactions’ to food, supplements and pharmaceuticals.
It is the natural result of continually developing my spiritual mastery. So, it is understandable that I might have a more sensitive reaction to cannabis than general users. And there will be people who say ‘It’s ok for me because I don’t experience any side effects.’
First, I’ll refer you back to the part where the most dangerous side effect is not being able to recognize you are experiencing negative side effects.
Second, I will state that just because you don’t feel the damage, doesn’t mean the damage isn’t being done. I give you the person who suddenly experiences a bleeding ulcer after years of use of medications that are known to affect the stomach lining. Just because they didn’t feel the med eating away at the stomach lining, doesn’t mean it wasn’t.
Third, (and this is for those who seek spiritual guidance or healing from others) a person who is truly sensitive to energies will be sensitive to the energy of THC and other plant altered consciousness facilitators. So, if your healer gets high, find another healer.
I am so very grateful for this experience. I learned so very much and am able now to articulate my heretofore intuitive impressions about it, with empirical personal experience. I have clarity around it and can offer more substantial feedback to others because of it.
I urge you, if you haven’t already, to read Randy’s mother’s account of her son’s experience. His parent’s lesson was far greater and Randy’s life should be honored by sharing his cautionary tale. At the very least they deserve our love and support in such a time of great grief.
Blessed be to Randy on his journey.
Leave a Reply