Part 4: I followed my gut and began investigating. I went up to my co-worker and we started to talk. We discussed how the marijuana’s appearance was getting worse, downright unnatural looking. Patients and co-workers described worsening physical and mental effects. She told me about chemicals used to decrease marijuana plant growth time and increase yield.
I decided the flowers from my Corporation needed to be tested or I couldn’t continue working for the Corporation. Continue reading →
Disabled Marine Says Marijuana is Not Preferable to Pharma Drugs
By Andrew , a veteran’s testimony from Oregon
I wish there were better warnings and awareness on marijuana (there aren’t, currently, under Oregon regulations), especially in regards to mental health.
I am a 100% disabled combat veteran who served in the U.S. Marines during the Iraq War in 2003-2005. I never made any progress in my post-traumatic stress disorder when I was self-medicating under the elusive medical marijuana card. Continue reading →
My husband and I have four sons. Our oldest, Trevor is 16. It gives me a great deal of pleasure and emotion to be able to write this letter, because he has overcome so much in the last six months. Since Trevor was 12 or 13, we had emotional difficulties with him and trouble in school. He started experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana with his friends, which was a shock. Trevor hadn’t been exposed to any substance at home, since we don’t even drink, let alone consume drugs or smoke anything. Right about the same time, the discussion about legalization was hot, and Oregon voted to legalize marijuana in 2014.
We knew something was off with Trevor, but at first we didn’t know if it was just typical adolescent troubles, a phase, or what. When we discovered he had been exposed to marijuana, and was using it, parenting became such a challenge. The availability of substances became rampant in the wake of legalization, and yes it was affecting our oldest son.
The Slippery Slope
Trevor moved beyond marijuana and got involved in so much more:
Dealing/trading other drugs, pills and alcohol
Stealing from friends and family
Driving without a license or even a permit
Skipping school, lying and promiscuity
How we finally got help
The effects of drugs on the teen brain are horrific. Many adults don’t even know, and many kids have no idea what they are doing to their brains when they’re doing pot. One must live through it in their own home, with their own child, to understand the dynamic and heartache this behavior brings. In our situation, the county juvenile services became imperative. We were forced to turn our own son over to authorities. Without the police and the county services, Trevor would not have progressed so far in the right direction.
Trevor has a support system in place: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and therapists. Counseling was pivotal for him. With time and much effort on everyone’s part – particularly, Trevor’s efforts, he appears as of now to be on the mend. We’re also thankful for cognitive therapy and accountability. It is vital that we somehow teach our kids the importance of their daily decisions and how it can impact the rest of their life. Our culture and media influence in many cases does not help. Our kids are being exposed to images and ideas promoting substance use.
As a mother, I’m aware that at any point this could turn and he could be headed down a dark path once again. Trevor’s probation is over I pray he has learned some valuable lessons. I’m on a community coalition board for a non-profit educator and our city. I’m determined to make a difference and would like to be able to help other families as they face similar challenges in the wake of drug legalization and normalization. Our communities are up against so much in terms of our youth. Legalizing pot is a mistake!
Our Corporation’s buds were harsh and unappealing. Plus, I had seen the mold on marijuana buds in both the cultivation center and in the dispensary. When the Colorado ex-CEO, now a “consultant,” announced that the dispensary would be selling high potency THC concentrates, I immediately switched exclusively to concentrates. People call the concentrates wax, shatter, BHO or dabs. A little dab went a long way. Dabs promised to be a far “cleaner” product, and they were a “a more ‘medicinal’ way to medicate.”
I’m embarrassed to admit that I believed it would be a much safer and palatable way to ingest my Corporation’s marijuana. So gullible was I! I believed what our “Consultant” said and did not conduct any online research whatsoever.
I bought one of the dispensary’s side-car dab rigs, a butane torch, and shatter testing at over 94% THC. Though I had consumed our dispensary’s high THC flower, doing a dab was a sensation that I had never attained with marijuana before in my entire life, or from any drug for that matter, including cocaine. It was extremely powerful. The phrase is “a little dab will do you,” but that’s not the mindset when one is consuming a drug that instantaneously floods your dopamine receptors in split-second, napalm upon the brain.
How a little dab works
A little dab won’t do you. In fact “a little dab” is quite addicting and it will do you in.
I became a great fan of high potency THC concentrates and recommended them, especially if patients told me that the flower was harsh or causing adverse effects. To this day, I feel such guilt and shame for having sold concentrates to individuals under 18 years old. They would come in with their parents or guardians, who would have to calm them down at my counter. I should have realized from how overexcited they became at the prospects of getting more wax or shatter, that something was wrong.
We have always been told marijuana should have a calming, peaceful, happy effect on people. However, my patients and co-workers were describing being ill, they were looking unhappy and angry. I noticed that patients who consumed dabs would be prone to IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder) outbursts in the dispensary. As for me, as my concentrate usage continued and escalated, my physical and mental health declined.
My physical symptoms worsened to nausea, abdominal bloating, pain in my abdomen and GI tract and urinary incontinence. I started to experience extremely painful spasms in my calves, up to 10 times a night. Then came the onset of constant electrical sensation and twitches in my calves. Though these symptoms were alarming, I thought that they were due to dehydration and pre-menopause and would subside.
Getting into a dark place before the light
I could perceive that my psyche had changed in a very bad way. I was no longer desiring to do activities that once provided pleasure and joy, such as mountain biking. My mind was hijacked. I could feel nothing whatsoever unless I was dabbing, doing it more and more but powerless to stop. My friends detected that something was really wrong with me, later telling me “that dab had a hold of you.” But no one knew how dark and disturbed my thoughts had become.
I had started to experience escalating thoughts of committing violent actions. First I was vividly daydreaming about vandalizing cars, then beating people with a baseball bat, then shooting people with a gun. After dabbing for 9 months, I felt completely devoid of spirit, truly despising myself and on the brink of suicide. Non-violent person by nature and a yoga practitioner for 20 years, I would rather end my life than take another.
So close was I to falling off the cliff of sanity. I was teetering on the precipice of a psychotic break or suicide until that fateful day in the dispensary, when I watched a co-worker. I saw the look of sheer worry and concern in her eyes when interacting with patients describing adverse effects from products. At long last it woke me up that something was really wrong. A little dab will never satisfy you, as you want and crave more. When you dab, you’re incapable of perceiving its great harm upon your body, mind and spirit.
(To read how the story continues, see Part 4 and Part 5).