Marijuana Therapy - An anxious stoner's perspective

Updated: Aug 21

How to overcome the anxious stoner paradox and intentionally use marijuana for good.

My first experiences with MJ were very half-assed. I would take a puff of my sister's bowl or my friend's joint here and there and all I remember is I'd feel happy and we'd have fun. Twice I got smacked in college when a couple of friends passed me a bong, but besides my throat burning and the dire need for Cheetos, nothing was overwhelming about it. With time I grew to understand it as a fun way to hang out with other people. However, even with these experiences, I never fully appreciated its' power. Fast forward to Austin, TX when I got my first "water pipe" and forgot how to operate the dang thing. I choked, I coughed, it was fun, and I was hooked.

It was something about the way it made me stop thinking so much. It was the ritual of having something to do with my hands when I felt so awkward simply being me. MJ brought me the opportunity to pause and sit with my thoughts, feelings, and complaints. To not only have these things but to process them. For the next couple of years, my now-husband and I would sit, smoke, and talk for hours about the world and our place in it, how we feel, and what we'd like to change as a weekly (often daily) reflection. Before smoking, I never realized I had anxiety. Immediately after smoking, I didn't realize I'd had anxiety either. It took trial and error, experimenting, and then a period of feeling comfortable. That's when the accumulated emotions of a lifetime came flooding in.

Unrelated to the weed, I had bottled vast amounts of childhood trauma inside as a means to move on with life. Being naive then led to the need for personal development now. Uncontrollable anxiety and depression flowed in as if they were always there, but now they've taken physical form instead of simply hiding in my belly. MJ helped me survive. Between the aching physical pains, nausea, and the immobilizing emptiness inside, the small boosts of energy and relief cannabis brought me were better than anything prescribed medication could've done.

LARGE SIDE NOTE ON PRESCRIPTION MEDS FOR MENTAL HEALTH: I respect and appreciate that medications for mental health disorders were created. Am I beyond frustrated at the overuse, overprescribed, and misunderstood nature of them? YES. I've been on medication 3 different times throughout the course of my life, starting in college when I was first prescribed an antidepressant for a concussion injury. I was immediately suicidal - it was not a good fit. Later in life, when the depression came in full force, I went to a doctor and got prescribed meds in a 5-minute conversation (while I was crying) and was told "these will help" as she continued to walk out of the room like she solved world peace. It's so hilariously absurd. Mental health disorders cannot be 'fixed' by one thing alone and anyone who tells you otherwise is painfully mistaken. I believe medication is best for unsteady lifestyles, and emergency or intense situations, until you've learned the proper method for managing and taking care of your own unique needs. This would involve mental/personal development, wellness, and physical care for your body.

Every single person on this planet ought to learn how to take care of their own unique needs. It's no different regarding people who live with mental health disorders. (Which is still over a quarter of Americans.) We may simply need a more intensive self-care system. Marijuana is part of my self-care system used intentionally to provide relief and focus more naturally.

Disclaimer: I will not say I've always been a healthy user, I've learned over time what's a good dosage for me and that continues to adjust as my lifestyle does.

The biggest hurdle with smoking MJ and having anxiety and/or depression is the tendency to avoid, mask, or rely upon cannabis. When we're feeling bad, we often immediately reach for something to make us feel better. From a stoner's perspective, medical marijuana is the obvious answer here. BUT THE OBVIOUS ANSWER ISN'T ALWAYS THE HEALTHIEST AS WE VERY WELL KNOW. Instead of covering the bad feelings with a stimulant, it's vital to stop, assess, and analyze WHY the feelings are present in the first place. Think about what can be done to cope in a healthy, healing manner and what is the next best step to take. Only then should you reach for lady Jane to lift your spirits and get on with the day. The key is to always be intentional.

MJ grows by strain. Indica = more sedative properties while Sativa = psychotropic and stimulating effects and Hybrid = a combo of both.

Experienced marijuana users know Sativa strains can enhance anxious symptoms depending on the user and intensity of terpenes. In the same way, a Sativa strain can relax migraines or lessen depression. On the contrary, some Indica-dominant hybrids can sneakily make you more energized than relaxed. Using cannabis can be a complex process, most likely needing trial and error before picking your favorite healing strains. Researching on sites such as Weedmaps or Leafly before going into a dispensary is always a good bet, along with having a thorough discussion with your budtender so they know your exact needs while helping you.

I believe that the more connected to the earth and yourself you are, the more you'll be able to cope with and relate to the rest of the world. Every gift given has the opportunity to be misused or honored. Please don't let a negative perception of past marijuana use affect your overall view of plant medicine and its overwhelming healing power.

We're just getting started :)



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