I am an almost-90-year-old, ran a successful small business, a great-great-grandmother, and I smoke marijuana.
I have been smoking regularly since I was about 13, which is a solid 77 years. While I was breaking the law most of my life, I also knew from my own experience that weed made me feel better and sleep better without the side effects of everything else. During that time, I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, taught philosophy at several major universities, became a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer. I also live in Jamaica for a few years, where even though marijuana was not yet decriminalized, I would seldom get harassed by the police.
I could have taken pharmaceuticals. After all, I know them well. My father took medication for asthma, allergies, anxiety and high blood pressure. Our medicine cabinets were always full. While my parents taught me that people often needed help in the form of pharmaceuticals, so did life. My mom’s mental illness and my father’s choice to take care of her, sometimes at the expense of my well-being and safety, left me anxious and socially inept. As a pre-teen I was in chronic physical pain due to severe endometriosis and emotional pain from my messed up family.
I choose to smoke marijuana to help me manage chronic pain (nerve pain from shingles and back injuries, among other issues), anxiety and insomnia. I like to be in control of my body and behavior. As an adult, most people I know drink alcohol, some take narcotics and still others take antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills.
I want to fully experience life and enjoy the process. So when my doctors tried to give me some of those same prescriptions, I realized that pills, legal and socially acceptable or not, were out. I have always been too risk-averse to really gravitate toward cocaine, meth or opiates. Alcohol sometimes made me sick and left me too out of control. The one drug that was natural, kept me functional and always eased both my physical pain and anxiety with no unwanted side effects was marijuana.
Now, I also do other things for self-care. I found Pilates and reiki to be great pain relievers and relaxers, so they help. I also eat well and take anti-inflammatory and probiotic supplements. The only pills I take now are supplements, allergy medication and Synthroid.
Do I smoke all the time? Not really. I rarely go over one joint per day. I don’t crave marijuana in the same way I might crave chocolate, but when I have it, I get in a state of utopia.
Smoking marijuana affected my job opportunities because I refused to take drug tests, which ruled out working on Wall Street. I was fine with that. Instead, I trained the Wall Street people when their backs go out from sitting at a desk all day.
I use my cannabis to help me relax, get out of pain and help me sleep, preferring to work out before I imbibe. While many of my clients liked to exercise high, I did not. However, when I have exercised after smoking weed, I perform as well as I do without it.
I am respectful of other people’s choice to not smoke weed. I don’t smoke on the street or in places where other people have to smell it too. Any place I have lived, I use a good fan blowing out an open window to keep the smell at bay. Plus, now I live high up, away from people. I regularly spray with a good, natural odor-remover. I plan to continue being respectful when marijuana is fully legal in all 50 states.