How Cannabis Helped Me Through Withdrawal

It was a humid and rainy July day when I got to the medical marijuana office in downtown Montreal. 

It was modern and impeccably well decorated. It looked like somewhere you could order a coffee that cost more than 15 dollars, and meet a hipster that would inspire you to have a theme for your Instagram. 

I sat and filled out questionnaires until I saw the first doctor. And then, I saw the second doctor who gave me my first cannabis prescription. 

At this point, I was nearly 2 months off being on benzo for 10 years. I was barely sleeping or eating, and my vision was so distorted that the pavement was caving in into itself when I went on walks due to mild exertion. 

I explained my symptoms and how I struggled with PTSD from being raped as well as complex developmental trauma, and several mystery illness diagnosis throughout the years. I was so desperate for the suffering to end that I gave in to many chemicals that shut me down just to sleep. But they weren't working for me anymore and I had dangerous and massive allergic reactions to them. My main issues were a sleep disorder, lack of appetite, debilitating nausea and bodily muscular and joint pain. Lest not forget the several long and intense panic attacks a day, the dizziness, brain fog, and the inability to drive.  

When the first doctor, who felt I was a good candidate for medical marijuana, brought me into to see the main honcho - her boss and the man who founded the controversial clinic - he looked at me and empathetically said, "Sounds like you got wounded by life a little bit huh? We are going to help you."

I was in so much pain at the time that this validation gave me the natural impulse to breathe a loud exhale. Yes, finally. It was nice to be acknowledged in the sense that I had been an involuntary addict and my body was in shock. I needed to sleep and eat again. I needed help that worked, that was natural and that did not cause more issues to solve one problem. 

You should know that I never touched cannabis products until June of 2017. So I wasn't going into this looking wanting to smoke a joint every day legally. I was doing a lot of work with my somatic experiencing practitioner, when he suggested I try CBD oil to help me sleep and have an appetite as I was going through the grueling stages of the pharmaceutical withdrawal. He got me a vial and I tried it. It helped me feel way more comfortable in my body and for the first time in months, I slept five to six hours straight. 

I was highly invested into my stigma about weed. My brother had gotten into trouble for consumption and I didn't want that to happen to me. I was also naturally neurotic and paranoid most of the time, so I didn't want to end up having any kind of negative or scary reaction by choice. 

Furthermore, I was fed the story that pharmas from doctors was medicine, and drugs that were illegal such as MJ was the gateway to losing control of your life. 

I did research before I put it into my body (because I had just lived and learnt big time), and I learnt how CBD oil actually helps protect your brain from things such as alzheimer's whereas benzo's create these issues. 

I definitely encourage everyone to do ample amount of cross reference research before putting any drug or plant medicine in their body and listening to their gut instinct about if it's right for them or not. And actually following through on that gut feeling. 

I used to do this with psych meds as well, but I would ignore my gut feeling and take the pill anyway because I didn't want to suffer any longer.  I was willing to suffer this time around, because I was determined to cure what the issue was, and not just put a band-aid over it. Even if that took time and I didn't feel good for a while. 

As long as the cannabis I consumed was totally clean of pesticides and from a reputable source that grew the plant with loving care, I felt comfortable trying how the medicine could help me. 

I am sure most of you know this, but in the cannabis plant, there are two main components, CBD and THC. THC is the psychoactive part of the plant, where as CBD is the pain reliever and anti inflammatory part of the plant. 

For those wondering what it feels like to consume CBD oil, it doesn't make you high. To me, it just feels like a better and totally organic version of an advil. It's plant medicine. The same way lemon balm tea calms your nerves, just a bit more powerful. 

A day after I went to the clinic in Montreal, I moved my things in a small U-Haul to my father's house back in my hometown. Since I had just been accepted as a patient in Montreal, I was able to transfer my documents to the Toronto area, and from there I was linked to a licensed producer, having access to any type of medical marijuana that my heart desired under my prescription limits (1 g a day for 4 months as a test run and then it got renewed for a year at the same dosage because of the great results I was having). 

I can choose to smoke, vape, have oils and edibles, or use a concentrate. 

Since I am not after being high, I stick mostly to the CBD concentrates. I micro dose my oil (1-2 grains of rice worth) starting at 4 pm until 10 pm every two hours to sleep well. I wouldn't be closed off to trying vaping in the new year, because I found I don't do well with ingested THC, but I could do better with THC strains through vaping (we absorb it differently and in different time frames by the way we use it.) I can give you guys a report on that when I try it. It'll be funny to own a vape pen... it's so not on brand for me. 

Within my first month and a half of medical marijuana usage, I was nearly back to my full capacity at work and in life.

By sleeping well, I have less pain and more appetite during the day - to the point where I am actually hungry now. Before, I had no sense of hunger. And if I have a tough night anyway, I micro dose dose during the day and it helps me be more socially engaged so I can work easily. 

Again, CBD oil does not make you high, it makes you more comfortable and back to yourself by reducing inflammation in your central nervous system. 

I've had quite a few people ask me on Instagram what kind of CBD oil I use and where I get it from since I started briefly sharing about how it helped me massively through withdrawal. So because I have a medical marijuana prescription, I can get my products online and delivered to my door by my licensed producer (Tweed). 

I also like the phoenix tears CBD from Miss Envy botanicals.

The only thing I will say about the phoenix tears is to make sure you get the CBD concentrate version and not the THC concentrate version, unless you want to be high for 24 hours and sit on the couch watching Seth Rogan movies for 8 hours wondering if it will ever end. I straight up thought I was Wiz Khalifa's soulmate for that whole afternoon. Still sort of do. 

Otherwise, can't say better things about phoenix tear concentrates if you want to try them out. 

The only bummer is that my MM license to have is only good within the parameters of Canada, so when I travel to the states, I have to get a bit creative. I have tried hemp based CBD in the states, which is completely legal, and they haven't done the same thing as my cannabis based ones back home. 

I've had a few Americans friends tell me they tried CBD oil or capsules and it didn't do anything for them. My bet is that they tried hemp based products that didn't have strong enough medicinal plant properties to remove inflammation in their CNS. 

In summary, CBD oil was something that helped me through withdrawal so I could have my basic functioning back. By having this stability in my body, I am able to do all the things I love to do again. And if I have a tough day, I have help that does not harm me and that actually heals me. 

I recommend it based on my personal experience and I hope this helps. 

 

Emily Aube