Medical Marijuana & Me

by Chani The Hippie

I smoked my first blunt when I was 19 with this guy from Chicago at a party. I was high out of my mind and I ate every single hot cheetos in one of those $4 bags. I hated the feeling and I waited until I was 21 to ever do it again. At the time I never thought that weed would be the thing that would help my anxiety.

I have acute anxiety disorder triggered by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to trauma from my past including my older sister's murder and an experience of sexual assault. My anxiety has crippled me in many ways giving me panic attacks, making me nervous in small settings, and keeping me from situations that remind me of my experiences. I have missed class, work, family gatherings, birthdays, and more because of it. I have broken glasses and punched through walls when my symptoms have been unbearable.

I've taken Valium, anti-depressants, Xanax, and have self medicated with alcohol and other drugs I would rather not name. These things have often helped me cope, but I was never able to prevent my anxiety until now.

I started working at and a dispensary earlier this year and I began to smoke indicas to calm myself down after a coworker suggested it to me. I am a very high energy and high stress person so they never make me tired. Instead they help me calm down and stay focused. I no longer am afraid of the casual encounter with a man bigger than me, or walking to the bathroom alone. When things in my life are in disarray I don't go into a panic attack and hide out in a shell. Now I am able to tackle things head on not afraid of the unknown after a few puffs.

This has improved my quality of life immensely. I have better relationships with the people in my life, I enjoy my job, and I am not pushing aside important things in my life.

I am not the only one who uses medical marijuana. My mother, a sufferer of chronic pain, a patient of mine with Lupus, another patient of mine with stage 3 cancer, a patient of mine who is a gunshot victim, and more use it to help them. Whether it is to gain their appetite back, eliminate pain, keep from having seizures, etc. medical marijuana has properties in THC and CBD that are helping millions across the country.

Our country is currently in a battle to legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use. Many states like California, Michigan, Colorado, Alaska, and more have legalized it in some form allowing people to access it without worrying about doing 7 years in prison for having 28 grams in their car.

The benefits of medical marijuana are often overshadowed by stigmas like it being a gateway drug and that people are using it just to get high. In my case, it has helped me to keep anxiety in check and flourish in ways I never thought before. As the battle for it to be legalized continues the testimonies I hear from patients at my job show me that l am not the only one who's quality of life has improved from its medicinal properties. Marijuana helps so many and I am thankful that I am reaping the benefits.