Category Archives: Testimonies

I Can Stay Sober Amidst a Mountain of Marijuana

By Sherry     After smoking marijuana for 13 years I was able to quit, by the grace of God, on July 15, 1987 and have remained 100% sober since that day. When I got sober it wasn’t popular, because it seemed like everyone I knew, including my relatives, were getting high daily. They were nasty about it and asked me when I was going to stop going to “those stupid meetings.”

However, society, in general, was encouraging to people trying to get and stay sober. At least — back then — it was considered self-destructive to use drugs, smoke marijuana, drink alcohol and take pills. (Sherry wrote of the events leading up to the choice of sobriety in a testimony two years ago.)  Today we live in a different country that has fallen prey to the lobbying of Big Marijuana.

Aerial view shows how illegal pot growers clear areas and cut down trees in mountains of northern California. This view is in Lake County

Now I am surrounded, living in Northern California, by marijuana smokers. I can smell it on the streets, on the customers that walk in to my store, and even driving on the freeway! Who would have dreamed that we were going to end up living in a society in which marijuana would be king? Our business, a highly successful retail store, really took a hit during the Recession. We haven’t returned to the kind of sales we once enjoyed, but the marijuana growers are doing great. Regular farmers are now beginning to plant marijuana, rather than their traditional crops, and the marijuana advocates are jumping for joy. I can’t help but wonder what people would think (sober people, that is) to see workers drive in to my store from state, county, city, and utility jobs reeking of marijuana at 7 in the morning?

It was Tempting to Get into the Pot Business

My brother-in-law offered us $5,000 a year if we would get medical marijuana cards and allow him to grow pot on our property up in the mountains. This was back during the worst years of the Recession. His offer was tempting, since we couldn’t make money selling normal, productive products. But we turned him down. I told my husband, “Your mother would roll over in her grave if she knew you participated in this.” Although it was legal to get a medical marijuana card, legal to grow 6 plants a year, and legal to smoke it, it isn’t legal to batch it together and sell marijuana on the black market. We have relatives who are buying cars, motorcycles, property, having their homes remodeled – all from the proceeds of selling marijuana – while we struggle to make a legitimate living.

I have to keep my focus on what matters to me today: helping other women in their recovery from marijuana addiction and alcoholism. It is daunting, because so many women who are trying to get sober today end up going back out on marijuana, unable to stay 100% sober. They have been sold a bill of goods about how marijuana is harmless and, in fact, medicinal and good for us! Marijuana has become so ingrained in our society that people don’t even view it as a mind- altering drug.  So if they have some clean time from methamphetamine, heroin, alcohol, or pills, they will accept a marijuana joint if someone offers it to them. The next thing they know they are off to the races with their drug of choice, fueled by marijuana. It is terribly sad.

Here’s to Staying Sober and the Sober Life

Life is still difficult in sobriety, but there’s hope. Every day leading a sober life expands that hope.

The women’s recovery meeting I started in January is now thriving and the women in that group are feeling stronger, more capable of maintaining a continuous sobriety. It’s tenuous, since they are so surrounded by the big pot cloud hanging over California. But there is an answer. You CAN stop smoking it. There is a life out there to live outside of a haze. God helped me get and stay sober. It wasn’t me – it was Him. I did the footwork and God did the rest. He took my impossible situation and He guided me into recovery and through the last 30 years – all the credit goes to Him. Life is so much more beautiful when it is viewed through a lens of sobriety. I don’t miss getting loaded one bit.

It is nice to drive around in my car and never have to worry that I might get pulled over with marijuana roaches in my ashtray. It is nice to be able to have a full, rich relationship with my husband and not have our marriage ruled by the getting, growing, smoking, and the repetitive pattern of marijuana addiction.

It is REALLY, REALLY wonderful beyond description to have an adult daughter that I raised without marijuana and other mind-altering substances in her life. She turned out to be what we in the program call a “normie.” My infant granddaughter is being raised in a household with no substances and I don’t have to worry about her parents, because they are lucid, responsible and in love. I have the ups and downs of any life, but I am better able to handle it. Yes, a life lived in reality is a miracle and a beautiful thing – and I thank God for it. I raise my glass of spring water in a toast! “Here’s to another 30 years of sober life!”

Editor’s Note: You can read Sherry’s first testimony which describes the events leading up to her desire to get sober, and Part 2 which describes the sober life.

 

Marijuana Crack Weed Advertised on Instagram

By Patricia Silva-Duran, Texans Against Legalizing Marijuana

It’s so difficult to be happy when my 19-year-old daughter is succumbing to using illicit drugs; I pray and wish she’d stop using but with this new drug culture in our country.  This culture is trying to normalize recreational drugs such as marijuana which makes it difficult for her to stop.

This is a picture from a drug dealer on Instagram; they sell to people on social media; does this look natural to you? It’s today’s crack weed marijuana and THC levels are extreme.

I was able to snap this picture from my daughter’s Instagram of someone she follows. This is not natural.  I oppose ever legalizing marijuana because it’s causing mental illness and breaking apart families; that’s the real drug war.

“Dabs” and “wax” are considered the crack weed of today. There are websites which promote these products that can cause immediate psychosis. It’s not “natural.”

I feel like a failure as a parent; I couldn’t protect her from drugs because society is influencing her.   Please, other parents, please be warned about the drugs and drug dealers, and what they are doing to your kids.  Watch out for crack weed.

Follow Patricia Silva Duran in Facebook at Texans Against Legalizing Marijuana

Editor’s Note: Alternative names are “wax,” budder,” “rosin,” “earwax”  “710,” “shatter” and more.  Search for our other articles on dabbing for a better understanding.

Marijuana through the eyes of a doctor in Emergency Medicine

 Warnings from a Doctor

by Brad Roberts, MD:  I recently finished my residency in emergency medicine and began to practice in Pueblo, Colorado. I grew up there, and I was excited to return home. However, when I returned home, the Pueblo I once knew had drastically changed.  (Above photo is of people lining up at the opening of a pot dispensary in 2014.)

Where there were once hardware stores, animal feed shops, and homes along dotted farms, I now find marijuana shops—and lots of them. As of January 2016, there were 424 retail marijuana stores in Colorado compared with 202 McDonald’s restaurants.These stores are not selling the marijuana I had seen in high school.

Multiple different types of patients are coming into the emergency department with a variety of unexpected problems such as marijuana-induced psychosis, dependence, burn injuries, increased abuse of other drugs, increased homelessness and its associated problems, and self-medication with marijuana to treat their medical problems instead of seeking appropriate medical care.

I had expected to see more patients with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (and I have), but they were the least of my concern. Our local homeless shelter reported seeing 5,486 (unique) people between January and July 2016, while for the entire year of 2013 (before recreational marijuana) that number had been 2,444 people.2

Most disturbing, we weren’t seeing just homeless adults but entire families. It is a relatively common occurrence to have patients who just moved here for the marijuana show up to the emergency department with multiple medical problems, without any of their medications, often with poor or nonexistent housing, and with no plan for medical care other than to use marijuana.

They have often left established medical care and support to move here for marijuana and show up to the emergency department, often with suitcase in hand.

Increasingly Potent & Dangerous Drug

This new commercialized marijuana is near 20 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis), while the marijuana of the 1980s was less than 2 percent THC.

This tenfold increase in potency doesn’t include other formulations such as oils, “shatter” (highly concentrated solidified THC), or “dabbing” (heated shatter that is inhaled to get an even more potent form) that have up to 80 or 90 percent THC.3

The greatest concern that I have is the confusion between medical and recreational marijuana. Patients are being diagnosed and treated from the marijuana shops by those without any medical training. I have had patients bring in bottles with a recommended strain of cannabis and frequency of use for a stated medical problem given at the recommendation of a marijuana shop employee.

My colleagues report similar encounters, with one reporting seeing two separate patients with significantly altered sensorium and with bottles labeled 60 percent THC. They were taking this with opioids and benzodiazepines.

In some cases, places outside of medical clinics, like local marijuana shops, are being used to give screening examinations for medical marijuana cards.4 Reportedly, no records are available from these visits when requested by other medical providers. A large number of things treated with marijuana, often with no cited research at all or with severe misinterpretation of research, are advertised online.

These include statements that marijuana treats cancer (numerous types), cystic fibrosis, both diarrhea and constipation, hypoglycemia, nightmares, writer’s cramp, and numerous other conditions.5–7

Although there are likely some very effective ways to use the cannabinoid receptor (probably better termed the anandamide receptor), putting shops on every street corner and having nonmedical personnel giving medical advice is a very poor way to use this as a medicine.

Furthermore, to suggest that combustion (smoking) be the preferred route of medication delivery is harmful.3,8–10 I am also concerned that this is being widely distributed and utilized as a medicine prior to safety and efficacy studies having been completed; widely varying dosing regimens, concentrations, and formulations are being developed, sold, and utilized.

Patients are not being informed of the adverse effects associated with marijuana use, but instead, they are being told, “There are no adverse effects.” I am in favor of using the anandamide receptor for treatment purposes. However, we should do this safely and appropriately. What is occurring now is neither safe nor appropriate.

There are numerous adverse effects of marijuana that are significant. Marijuana use may lead to irreversible changes in the brain.3,9,11,12 Marijuana use correlates with adverse social outcomes.3

It is strongly associated with the development of schizophrenia.13–16 Dependence can lead to problem use.17,18 There are adverse effects on cardiovascular function, and smoking leads to poor respiratory outcomes.3,19,20 Traffic fatalities associated with marijuana have increased in Colorado.1

Pregnant women are using marijuana, which may lead to adverse effects on the fetus, and pediatric exposures are a much more common occurrence.21,22

This photo represents a few of the 270 Pueblo physicians who signed a petition last fall to opt out of marijuana for the city and county.

Different Approach Is Needed

We should approach mass marijuana production and distribution as we would any other large-scale public health problem. We should do what we can to limit exposure, and we should provide clear, unbiased education.

In the case of prevention efforts being unsuccessful, we need to provide immediate treatment and assistance in stopping use. If we are going to use this as a medication, then we should use it as we use other medications. It should have to undergo the same scrutiny, Food and Drug Administration approval, and regulation that any other medication does. Why are we allowing a pass on a medication that very likely would carry with it a black-box warning?

As emergency physicians, we are on the front lines. We treat affected patients; we need to be at the forefront of public policy recommendations at both state and national levels.

Originally published by ACEPNow,  a journal of Emergency Medicine.    We also published the testimony of another emergency doctor in Pueblo, Dr. Karen Randall.

True Confessions from a Marijuana Addict in Recovery

Detox Patient Hopes Cyclical Vomiting Ends

By KM,  this testimony comes from a patient in rehab who struggles from the cyclical vomiting syndrome associated with marijuana.

CHS symptoms lead me right into rehab. Morphine was the only thing that helped when they cut me off morphine I started getting pills off the street. I found cocaine helped so I was doing it everyday just to make it stop. Finally, I graduated to heroin and fetanyl and let me tell you the dope sickness plus CHS is a real treat.

I was in denial for 6 years I was actually told I had Cannabis Hyper………whatever Syndrome, CHS, but was so confused cause pot actually seemed to help.

I’m a little more than a month into rehab and I’ll tell you I already notice the difference. The problem is you’re sick for so long you forget what it’s like to live, so you keep on going back to the old ways and smoking pot. You lose all of your friends and jobs. You begin to isolate and you bond with the only thing that will bond with you and it turns out to be the drugs.

I remember screaming and crying in the shower. Begging strangers to rub my back in an emergency. Going to the psych ward because I would freak out and try and kill myself.

I know it sounds like a huge drastic thing but if you can’t quit put yourself in rehab. Or some kind of detox place. There will be doctors there to help you, and they will show you a new way of life and you won’t want to go back. Even though it has been over a month, I still get sick after I eat but the difference is undeniable. I know people don’t think they need NA and AA for pot but when it really comes down to it, marijuana is a drug and it’s ruining your life. You will lose everything with CHS. It’s only a matter of time if you haven’t yet. I know it will be a rough few months without it but I promise you it’s worth it…

I’ve even asked to be a case study so other people can get information. If it doesn’t get better after a few months maybe it’s something else. But try and rule this out and then the doctors can take a better look at you. But if you find yourself taking frequent showers, that is a pretty much dead give away. I hope you all luck and I wish I could take this pain away from you but sadly I can’t. Only you can help yourself by taking 3 months out of your life and quitting pot.

 KM

The information in this testimony backs up some of the information we shared from a previous blog article, Cannabis Hyperemesis Exposed: Toxic Side Effect of Dangerous Drug.

“…doctors find that even when cannabis use is consistent, the bouts of hyperemesis come and go, which further serves to keep the patient in denial about the connection to their drug use.”

“The most prominent cases are among long-term users that started using the drug at a very early age and have used daily for over 10 years…”

“Symptoms reported in a Current Psychiatry article include cyclic vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, gastric pain and compulsive hot bathing or showers to ease pain.  Frequent bathing and vomiting can also lead to dehydration and excessive thirst. Mild fever, weight loss, and a drop in blood pressure upon standing are other symptoms.”.”

“Complete cessation of marijuana use is the only known cure for Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome.”

In San Diego, Dr. Ronnet Lev’s  explained the vomiting during a press conference against Proposition 64.