The Biggest Mistake I Made When Smoking Pot Was… (Not Starting Earlier)

Unless you’ve been in the black hole of darkness that consumes you during a severe case of depression, you’ll never know the lengths to which you’ll go to change everything. First and foremost, there is a stigma attached to depression; it isn’t something that ‘real’ men feel. Oddly enough, I didn’t much feel like a ‘real’ man when I broke down sobbing in front of my daughter late one evening.

Then there is the stigma attached to marijuana. The ‘stoner,’ the ‘bum,’ the ‘lazy’ and ‘unmotivated’ users of this wonderful plant. When your life is on the line, there is no room for stigmas because you’ll take whatever the hell works. An anti-depressant called Citalopram fit the bill for me; at least for a while. It helped me a little, but I gained weight, had bad headaches if I tried to wean off too fast, and eventually, its effects began to dissipate.

Enter Queen Mary (Jane)

It had happened again. One minute I was relaxing on the sofa and the next, I was at the traffic lights trying to calculate how fast a car would have to hit me to kill me clean. Yes, it had become that serious, and my therapist was naturally concerned about the recent escalation. ‘It was time’ he said, ‘time to take a chance on marijuana.’

He urged me to do some research on it and referred me to a physician in California who would analyze me and determine whether I was eligible for a Medical Marijuana (420) card. This was before the recent legalization for recreational use, so there were still a few hoops to jump through. I was nervous before the meeting; what if he rejected my application? Fortunately, he was very supportive and understanding and said I was a prime candidate for medicinal marijuana.

High Stakes

Mission accomplished? Not really. As happy as I was to have another opportunity to try and turn my life around, it was still a nerve-wracking experience. This was mainly because I felt as if it was the last chance saloon. If marijuana didn’t work, the tunnel of darkness would become eternal.

My work performance was also suffering, and I have to admit, I called in ‘sick’ on numerous days when all I wanted to do was hide under the covers. Going to the workplace was a painful and miserable experience, as was the actual job. All I wanted to do was complete my tasks with as little human interaction as possible.

This also meant that I had no desire to go out to restaurants or bars. My wife had to persuade me to go out for a walk now and then because outside of work, I was a virtual shut-in. I wanted to enjoy playing with my then 14-month old daughter so badly, but it was a chore. Both her and my incredibly supportive wife, deserved better.

A Game Changer

I had several consumption options and chose edibles when my daughter was at home, and I smoked it while she was away at the nursery. I was fortunate to live in a state where marijuana was easy to purchase. I was able to go online and tried a couple of strains that were specifically designed for depression. With Harlequin and Pineapple Express on my side, it was time to light up and hope for the best. I also elected to use a high-quality vaporizer to ensure less mess.

I wasn’t expecting miracles, although I did feel relaxed and happy after my very first use. It was important to be sensible, so I experimented with different amounts until I found what worked. It transpired that the recovery process was faster than I had ever imagined possible.

Fast forward six months and I almost don’t recognize the person I have become, and I mean that in the best possible way. There are still bad days, but these are in the context of a ‘normal’ person’s life. Let’s face it – you’re going to be annoyed when stuck in traffic, if someone cuts you off on the road, or when you get into an argument with your wife!

During the last few months, there have been isolated incidents where I was feeling especially anxious and low to the point where I had to hold back tears. Remember, men are not supposed to cry! In those situations, I took a quick hit of marijuana and within minutes, the anxiety was gone and my mood was elevated.

One of the best things about cannabis, aside from the speed it works at, is that I don’t need much to keep me going. I can take the odd hit or two and still act as a functional parent, enjoy myself in a social situation, or go back to work like nothing ever happened. There are no anti-depressants or anti-anxiety pills on the market capable of helping me in the way that marijuana has.

My Biggest Regret?

That’s easy — not taking marijuana sooner! It is truly a shame that I was so concerned about the stigma associated with weed that I held back and only used it upon the recommendation of my therapist, and when it was clear that nothing else was working. I live in a state which probably has the ‘best’ attitude towards marijuana in the entire country, so there was no excuse to stay away from it for as long as I did.

The result was losing a year of great times with my young daughter and wife, and those are times that I can’t get back. Fortunately, I can make up for it now because I feel as energetic, happy, and determined as I’ve ever been in my life. And since I am still in my thirties, there are hopefully plenty of miles left in my tank.

Even better news, though, is the recent legalization of weed in California for recreational use. I don’t even have to worry about renewing my card or making multiple consultation appointments, because marijuana is widely and legally available. I truly hope other states see the light so that the millions of people in my situation can get the help they deserve.

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