As of last Monday, I’ve been on new medication – and so far, things are going pretty well. I’ve not used the Sublinox (my favourite, knock-you-out-in-twenty-minutes-and-leave-you-unconscious-for-eight-hours-minimum sedative) nor the Prazosin (which eases the chest pain somewhat, and helps prevent trauma nightmares … just sorta keeps the adrenaline levels down to a reasonable level) … haven’t used either one in the last week. I am still on Zoloft (sertraline) – not messing with the antidepressant dose at this point in time, though if things stay stable for a bit longer, I might talk to my doctor about attempting a taper-off. For now, I’ll just keep taking it: I have no negative side effects from it and getting off of it is bound to be unpleasant, even if it turns out I can safely stay off of it. For now, yellow pills at suppertime.
Over the last week, I have had some chest pain breaking through and I’m taking longer to get to sleep (not surprising since I’ve gotten used to just dissolving a Sublinox under my tongue and going unconscious), but as I’m still titrating dosages, I’m quite pleased with the results so far.
What is this new drug?
Yes, after a lifetime of never experimenting with weed (not even once, truly, and not just the “I didn’t inhale” thing – I never even wanted to try it) … at age 46 I now have a legal prescription for medical cannabis.
I started with edibles – I’m not a smoker, and I absolutely cannot stand the stench of skunk weed (though I have to say that the stuff I got smells pretty good, actually – very herb-y, definitely green, but not skunky in the least). I made some pretty awesome brownies (yes, I know that’s cliché, but they were really good), one batch from each of the two strains I purchased. I am registered* with CanniMed, I chose them because they’ve got a few low-THC blends. THC is the stuff that makes you feel more stoned and is best for physical pain, CBD, the ‘other major chemical’ in marijuana, is more sedating and better for people with anxiety issues (like PTSD).It’s been discovered that people with PTSD have deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system in the brain – basically, we are low on the chemicals that marijuana provides. So, supplement with the stuff you’re missing and you feel better.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research into various ways to prepare and ingest these (very expensive) herbs and my kitchen has turned into extraction central. Fortunately, I have plenty of experience doing tinctures and so forth, as I survived with nothing but herbal supplements for the first several years of my PTSD experience, until my body adapted to those as well and I was taking enough wild lettuce / valerian / melatonin / passion flower / chammomile to knock out a horse and still lying there awake all night. I know how to make tinctures, how to titrate doses for myself, all that kind of thing.
The edibles work well for a nice, steady state of low impact relief. I don’t get woozy, I don’t feel particularly different … but I *do* feel unwound. And, I get to eat brownies for breakfast! When I first took Prazosin, I felt that whole body wash of warm water, that sense of “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah” … the deep relief of having tension you are so accustomed to you don’t even feel it anymore finally go away. Of course once I adapted to the Prazosin, I didn’t get any subjective sensation from it anymore (just fewer bad dreams and less insane running around doing weird stuff) … and I have to say, that feeling of restfulness is so lovely. My body has adapted to a very unhealthy concept of homeostasis, so I just don’t get that feeling without chemical assistance. And now, I get it from herbs that I can titrate to *exactly* the effect I want.
I made Green Dragon: soak decarboxylated marijuana (heated to convert the chemicals in the plant into the kind that your body can use) in Everclear alcohol (which is way too strong to drink, the label even comes with a warning about flammability), freeze it, shake it, freeze it, shake it, strain it, reduce the alcohol by heating over a double boiler (to concentrate the solution) and then take one mL or less in a glass of water which you swish around your mouth then swallow (if you take it straight, it’ll burn your mouth, but absorption through the mucosal tissues in the mouth is what you’re after).
It tastes utterly vile. It really is green. And holy moly is it powerful! You really don’t need much at all.
I made the first batch from a blend of my 4:10 and 1:13 strains (low TCH, high CBD). The second batch, which I just finished reducing, is made with the 1:13 and some chammomile and Sleepy Tea added in for good measure. I heavily decarboxylated the cannabis first so it should be very sedating … that gets tested tonight.
So, am I walking around stoned out of my gourd all the time? Nope. I don’t really feel all that different (that’s the whole goal of titrating to an effective dose) – just more mellow, a little sleepier than usual, and I don’t feel the overwhelming need to have a drink after supper every evening. This is a good thing: my liver can only handle so much, and I was self-medicating a bit too heavily with liquid sedation.
It’s still early in the experiment, but I’m feeling very good about the prospects here. If I can reduce my need for sedatives so that I only have to take prescription stuff once in awhile, then yay. (The fact that my insurance doesn’t cover the Sublinox so it costs me just over $2 a night to sleep is definitely factoring into this decision.) If I can get to where I need *less* of the other meds, then that’s a good thing – cost wise, for sure, and also to reduce the load on my system. If I can figure out the best way to get the marijuana into my system for the different effects I need (mild sedation during the day, slightly higher and more physical sedation in the evening and knocked right out at bedtime) and in ways that maximize the use of the herbs (the stuff ain’t cheap at $8-9 per gram, though I’m thinking I’ll settle out at well under half a gram per day, which will be a wash cost-wise with what I’m presently taking, more or less).
Right then. I think it’s time for my afternoon brownie.
* In Canada, to be a medical marijuana user, you now register with a vendor – your doctor has to send them a letter outlining your dosage and the script is good for one year. You used to register with the government directly, but now you go through the vendors. It’s all rather gray at the moment, in many places, but it was very important that I be fully legal as The Reluctant Farmer and The Boy are both subjected to random testing and if the dogs smell something on their clothes they need to be able to show a copy of my card and say “we live with her, it’s not our stuff they are smelling, feel free to check our bags or test us”. I’m being quite cautious about processing when they aren’t around, to at least reduce the off-gassing they’ll pick up on their things.