I begin with some bad news. The country singer Willie Nelson has been arrested at the age of 77 for possession of Cannabis. Six Ounces of Cannabis were found on his tour bus when it pulled into a police checkpoint in Texas, the singer was bailed for £1500. You can read (a little) more about this at the Telegraph.
This, however, is not what this article is about. Readers will note that I have been elated at the effect that Cannabis has had on my life in recent months, so much so in fact, that I believe I began to forget just how difficult life had been prior to my use of this fantastic plant.
Unfortunately, earlier this week, I was given a stark reminder of just how difficult life was.
As any cannabis smoker will tell you (well except for those who cultivate their own), there are occasional ‘dry’ spells when it is very difficult to find someone with weed to sell. A bit of research often leads to the ‘news’ of a police raid in earlier weeks, often disrupting the supply chain by intercepting cannabis as it enters the country.
The Government tout this as proof that their Prohibitionist stance is having an effect, and in some ways they are right. Do they realise, though, just what they’re doing to people like me?
On Tuesday I discovered that I was running very low and didn’t have enough for a single effective dose. No-one seemed to have any going spare so I had to make do with what I had. I viewed it, initially, as an opportunity to experiment with lowering my dose to try and make my supply (when I have it) last longer.
Although I smoked enough to feel ‘stoned’, by the morning all effects had gone, including the analgesia. I had no choice but to try and get through the day with Paracetamol and Ibuprofen as my only analgesia. It was one of the most unpleasant days I have ever had, and is probably burned into memory for the rest of my life.
You see, the pain I’d experienced prior to cannabis was at least tempered by my prescription painkillers. Wednesday’s pain was tempered by nothing but over-the- counter painkillers (and cheap ones at that!). I may as well have taken Smarties for the pain. I simply ceased to function, any job that required me to leave my desk simply had to be put off until the pain had gone.
My knee decided to help matters by swelling and taking on a very dark colour.
I’ve not been in that position since shortly after the accident that caused this nightmare to unfold. It was truly horrific, and all I could do was to try and get through it. After all, I could hardly approach my boss and say “do you mind if I go home, I ran out of Cannabis last night so now I’ve got no pain relief” could I?
I’ve always said that if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’re doomed to repeat them. I learnt a few things from this ordeal, and I’m sharing them in the hope that others will be able to understand the importance of (most of) them;
Lesson 1 – Always Pre-Provision
I try to minimise the amount of Cannabis that I actually possess on the basis that it could make the difference between being charged with possession and with ‘intent to supply’. Whilst the underlying reasoning remains solid, I cannot allow myself to go back through Tuesday’s ordeal. The Law may set an arbitrary limit on how much you may hold before being considered a ‘dealer’, but my first duty is to myself and the wellbeing of those around me. The sad reality is that it’s clearly not possible to observe both.
The only way for this to change is for the Government to realise that their prohibitionist policies just don’t work, and to change the law.
Lesson 2 – Dosage is Important
I was already aware that I take quite a large dose daily, but I hadn’t realised just how important this was. I think I’d probably be in a better position if I could smoke less more regularly throughout the day. Unfortunately whilst prohibition remains in place, this simply isn’t possible considering the risks of detection.
So, in my eyes, not only are the UK Government denying me the medicine that works for me. They are also ensuring that I cannot take this medicine in the safest and most efficient way. Even smoking half the dose twice a day could be sufficient to put my life back to ‘normal’
Lesson 3 – Descriptions of Pain are often understated.
You’d imagine that it’d be impossible to forget how painful something is, but in reality our minds tend to deliberately repress these memories a bit. As I’ve written in the past, my life was unbearable before I began smoking cannabis, what I’d forgotten is just how unbearable the pain had been at times. I’ve been on painkillers for such a long time, I’d forgotten just how bad the pain was without them at all.
It would seem that I’ve underestimated the effect that any of my painkillers were having, the very fact that I could walk on Tuesday was more down to sheer bloody- mindedness than anything else. I spent the entire day willing myself not to either scream or break down into tears.
The ordeal made me realise that if I’m affected by this phenomena, it’s likely that many others are too. So, perhaps, when someone is describing what their pain was like before they started smoking cannabis (or taking any other medication) we need to keep in mind that their brain may be protecting them from how horrific it was?
I’d certainly be interested to hear from anyone else who has discovered the same thing!
My experience earlier this week has, to me, reinforced what I wrote recently about Cannabis being good for society. I barely managed to last a single day of work without analgesia, if there was any chance that I’d be experiencing this long term I’d be unable to maintain any form of employment.
Thankfully, I managed to replenish my supply that night, because I honestly don’t believe I’d have been able to make it through a second day.
So next time you see the Government boasting about their latest seizure, think about how I could have to relive this ordeal as a direct result.