10 medical cannabis strains sure to uplift angry or sad people with PTSD or CPTSD

Unless they’re in denial, most people with PTSD will tell you that anger can be the most debilitating part of our condition.

For those of us with chronic PTSD, it’s an especially sobering truth. Anger that never completely goes away.

No, we can’t just get over it. That’s why chronic is placed in front of our PTSD diagnosis. That’s why we’re allowed to legally smoke pot in Illinois.

I know about anger better than anyone, unfortunately. But PTSD and even chronic PTSD anger is manageable. Here are 10 cannabis strains worth trying if you’re an explosively angry person with PTSD.

  1. Kavalier Cookies. I often say this strain will get you stoned to the point of being disabled. You won’t be able to think about much of anything, so if that’s not a feeling you care for, or can handle, I would suggest something a little less disabling. If you’re a seasoned pot smoker and angrier than hell, this will allow you to forget about whatever upset you, at least for a while. Kavalier Cookies has a significant CBD content on top of a high THC content. I have to say it induces fogginess; not for us if you want to be creative. This strain is for when you’re madder than a hornet.
  2. Pre-98 Bubba Kush. This is a classic CBD strain that is generally about 1:1 THC-CBD. This strain is perfect for daytime use and can effectively manage PTSD in many people 24/7.
  3. Anything “Kush.” I have found that all strains “kush” provide remarkable relief for my PTSD, especially banana, blueberry, lavender, tangerine, and huckleberry kush.
  4. Granddaddy Purple. This classic PTSD strain is my best friend. You can always expect euphoria and the giggles, followed by deep sleep. Much like lavender kush, granddaddy purple contains Linalool terpenes.

Read more: What are terpenes? Find out in this DavidHeitz.com report

Strains for when you’re less on the angry side, and more on the frightened side

Sometimes, but not often, I am more frightened than angry. This can actually be an even  worse symptom for me than anger, at least for the short term. I have found these strains help bring about a sense of security:

  1. Northern Lights. It’s trippy and it hits you quick. Suddenly you will remember the time you had your first cup of strawberry Kool Aid instead of obsessing on whatever you were frightened about.
  2. Silver lights. This strain is amazing. You can be scared stiff, unable to work, and after a few bowls of this be back in the swing of life. Problem is, I can’t find it very often.
  3. Mag Mile (Iranian Landrace). This easy-to-find strain epitomizes “stoney,” with its relaxing effects washing over you like a wave and allowing you to remember those dozen or so bars of “Smoke on the Water” that you know how to play on the guitar. Mag Mile has saved my life on many a night from a broken heart.

Read more: Learn about the first time I ever smoked Northern Lights

Strains for when you’re feeling sad and blue

  1. Cresco Cookies. This venerable strain is generically known as “Girl Scout Cookies” and has been trending quite a while as a national favorite recreationally. Why? It’s happy. It’s earthy. It’s social. It will get even the pissiest of PTSD sufferers talking at a party.
  2. Pineapple Express. Another strain that makes people giggle just hearing the name. Despite the goofy flick that might detract from this strain’s serious medicinal effects, Pineapple Express is an incredibly effective anti-depressive for many. Its delicious taste will leave you licking your lips. Read more: Check out my review of Pineapple Express.
  3. Thai Lights. Think of it as a cross between Silver Lights and Cresco Cookies. Fun.

PTSD may suck, and at times it may feel like nobody is your friend. Cannabis, however, never will let you down.

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Misbranded cannabis summit proves addiction recovery ‘experts’ in dark ages

Photo courtesy Pixabay

At least behavioral health professionals are making a feeble attempt to educate themselves.

And I’m so disgusted and triggered right now by the two #Cannabis17 presentations I watched, I won’t be watching any more.

But I at least wanted to wrap up my coverage, for however long it lasted. I would continue to watch if I was hearing anything new, but instead, I’m hearing discussions and comments that were resolved a few years back if not longer than that.

The conference appears to be an affirmation of arcane ideas that fuel ignorance-induced poor decision making with patients.

Read more: Why cannabis should be used to treat addiction

I got sober without a treatment center or AA, beyond the first 90 days and a meeting here and there after that. While I long have been appalled by what I saw and heard in AA and never would recommend it to anyone (or criticize those who do find relief there), I feel like I have truly given the behavioral health community a fair shot.

Boy, lol. They have a long, long, long way to go. I am beginning to think behavioral health is not really about helping people, but in fact, it’s all about money. Of course, that’s an old hat comment. But after four years as a reporter in the mainstream medical community, I believe it now more than ever.

So, it’s time for me to step aside and just start writing about, and advocating for, medical cannabis.

Read more: Medical establishment admits cannabis effective at treating nerve pain

I’m not saying that all behavioral health professionals and addiction treatment centers are bad. But, hey. They are fueling Pharma chemical-induced addiction every single day with their “maintenance therapies.”

In that context, the #Cannabis17 conference and some of the things being said there are beyond outrageous.

Recently, someone who I like very much who has struggled many years with addiction reached out to me. This person had just spent a whopping amount of money at a well-known chain of addiction treatment centers (none that I ever have written for, thank God).

Now, he’s still a heavy drinker and he’s broke. This person, who has not reached out in a very long time, wanted to share his entire story with me.

Sadly, I cut him off and then blocked him. He used to run with a crowd that is, shall we say, in the forefront of my PTSD-related triggers all last week and this week. I hope it is over soon, so I can move on with my life and try to re-establish personal relationships.

Read more: For many people with PTSD, CBD from cannabis offers great hope

I have been through hell and back and got sober in the middle of it. Then, I was pumped full of benzodiazepines, then relapsed after two and a half years.

Now, while nothing is perfect in light of what I have been through, I’m sober again. Nor were the relapses any sort of disastrous, end-of-world doomsday scenario, which is what AA would have made it out to be, causing many people to hate themselves and again start the drinking/drugging cycle.

Read more: How I got off benzos from 4 mg of Ativan per day

God, they have hurt so many people, yet all they do is toot, toot, toot about those they helped. Come on, AA. After 75-plus years, it’s time to admit you have a problem.

There are no statistics on people like myself who persevere through hard work and faith in God, not a hunger for belonging at the cost of their self-respect.

I remain hopeful about the future every single day, even when I don’t have the money for medical cannabis, which is most of the time these days.

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Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, had I known the person who reached out to me had planned on going to rehab, I would have told him to save his money and apply for a cannabis card.

I’m not saying that’s the solution for everyone. But for many people, traditional rehab would never work in a million years. Cannabis would.

Either behavioral health professionals and those who employ them can get with the times, start helping people, and maybe even find a super-hybrid of cannabis and psychotherapy that is a breakthrough treatment.

CBD and CBT, if you will.

Or, they can continue to lose customers who are tired of hearing their ancient rhetoric about cannabis.

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Ataraxia’s potent, tasty Gold Leaf brand cultivates medical cannabis fit for royalty

There is no doubt in my mind that Ataraxia’s Gold Leaf, hands down, is the finest medical cannabis brand in Illinois.

Gold Leaf isn’t a brand I normally purchase, however. At least it wasn’t before last week.

I have tried some Gold Leaf high-CBD strains including ACDC and White Harmony and haven’t been terribly impressed. Not that it was bad, by any means! Just not bowled over one way or another. Probably because they were CBD strains, let’s face it. Effective isn’t always memorable when it doesn’t get you high. And that’s not always a bad thing!

However, I did buy a gram of Gold Leaf Green Crack a while back and wrote this review. I was impressed and shocked by how you can get so much energy out of marijuana.

I also had tried Grand Doggy Purps recently and found myself taken in by the delicious taste and generally euphoric feeling, which is followed by a nap every time you smoke it. It’s an easy way down from a PTSD trigger, into a nap, and on to moving past it all when you wake up.

So, when the dispensary had a “Gold Leaf Flower Flight” special that included a gram of five different Gold Leaf strains, including Green Crack and Grand Doggy Purps, I couldn’t say no for $70.

I’m so glad I didn’t. If I had, I never would have learned about Magnificent Mile.

Magnificent Mile

From the second I opened the bag, I knew it was going to be incredible stuff. It has a Middle Eastern smell. It actually is subtitled “Iranian Landrace.”

Another intoxicating strain that I ran across in Colorado that I also have purchased here is called Durban Poison. It also has Middle Eastern roots and literally makes my eyes roll up inside my head.

Magnificent Mile takes me even further.

Admittedly, it’s a recreational trip. Holy wow. Loads of profundity, problem-solving ideas, everything you might remember about the first time you smoked pot 30 years ago. That’s Magnificent Mile, LOL!

I definitely could never smoke this in a group unless I was with someone very, very special who was my best friend. I would get way too paranoid.

However, by myself I was laughing so hard I was rolling on the floor. When I would laugh, it literally would pop the joints in my back that had relaxed along with the muscles from the weed.

I seriously am that tense a person. When I smoke weed, my back relaxes enough that when I take a deep breath, my back will pop. It’s alarming to people who hear me do it, but to me it’s instant relief!

I found an extraordinarily heightened sense of smell and sound while smoking Magnificent Mile. When the air conditioning kicked on once I thought a jet plane was flying low over my house.

Again, like the first time you smoked pot. Oh, the stories we all have.

I was in a basement in Laguna Beach, Calif. in 1993 and I saw a head on a door. Yes, like The Cure song. I was lying in bed and I opened my eyes and saw a head on a door. I thought a human being was hanging from a hook on a door.

In fact, it was a hat, on a hook, on a door.

Magnificent Mile actually is an indica, although I found it very stimulating and wildly trippy. THC is 28.75 percent, which is pretty high.

Grand Doggy Purps

As powerful a strain as Magnificent Mile is, Grand Doggy Purps is the same, but different. Just total and complete relaxation, with scrumptious flower that truly makes your mouth water even after that first hit.

The terpene myrcene found in Grand Doggy Purps relaxes the muscles and induces sleep. Again, just what the doctor ordered for me.

G6

G6, also known as “Jet Fuel,” is some stimulating sativa. It has a powerful, unusual, sort of citrusy taste. The bud itself feels as soft as a kitty cat’s fur.

Although G6 motivated me to mow the lawn, the euphoric, energetic high was very smooth and not at all jittery.

Green Crack

It’s just as it sounds. It’s mental alertness, energy, and clarity.

Gelato

Gelato is an indica-dominant hybrid, yet it gives me plenty of energy. Like all the rest of the Gold Leaf cannabis, the taste is out of this world. It gave me a relaxing body high after I was done mowing, which led to a 30-minute cat nap after a refreshing shower.

The Gold Leaf Flower Flight variety pack is a must-buy. Go on, you deserve it!

BREAKING: Study says cannabis effective at treating nerve pain

Photo courtesy Pixabay

Research published today in Annals of Internal Medicine shows that cannabis is effective in combatting neuropathic pain, the type suffered by people with multiple sclerosis, HIV, diabetes and possibly some forms of fibromyalgia.

It’s a noteworthy conclusion given that cannabis is still scheduled as an illegal, class I controlled substance by the federal government, with “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” to use the DEA’s own words.

Also today, Annals published research about cannabis and PTSD, although it essentially concluded nothing.

Despite the federal law, medical cannabis already is legal in more than half the states in America, with the above-mentioned conditions and chronic pain listed as qualifiers in many of those states.

“Investigators’ conclusion that there exists clinical evidence supportive of the efficacy of cannabis in the mitigation of neuropathic pain is consistent with both prior reviews and with the anecdotal reports of patients, many of whom are seeking a safer alternative to the use of deadly opioids, and it is inconsistent with federal government’s classification of the marijuana plant….” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a statement to DavidHeitz.com.

NORML is a Washington-based marijuana advocacy group.

The research was published as part of a three-article package on cannabis that went live on the medical journal’s site at 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday.

Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians, a tenet of the mainstream medical establishment. I attended the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting in San Diego in May, as a member of the credentialed news media.

The other articles published today in Annals concluded that there is not enough evidence to know whether cannabis is effective in treating PTSD (but that new information will be coming soon) and advised doctors that “the horse is out of the barn,” regardless.

Research cannabis looks like grass clippings

While the study found only “limited evidence” of cannabis’ efficacy on neuropathic pain, it’s important to understand that the cannabis being used for medical research is incredibly weak and not remotely representative of what’s available on the market to medical cannabis patients.

Because of the arcane federal law that classifies cannabis as being more dangerous than crystal meth or heroin, researchers at academic institutions studying the medicinal effects of cannabis on people must obtain the plant from the federal cannabis garden at the University of Mississippi.

This garden grows remarkably weak strains of weed with THC levels topping out at 8, 10, maybe 13 percent, depending on which reports you want to believe. Most cannabis available in medical dispensaries these days has THC levels of around 20 percent. Some have THC levels as high as 30 percent as far as flower goes and, with concentrates, THC levels can go into the 80 percent range and higher.

The weed out of the Mississippi garden is so vile that one researcher recently alerted the Washington Post. You can read here how PTSD researcher Sue Sisley got some nasty, moldy bud. After determining the mold levels would not be toxic to patients, she decided to use it anyway. It’s not like she has any other choice.

Read the Washington Post story for yourself and get a look at the nasty government “grass clippings” by clicking here.

I asked Armentano if he could fill me on the latest regarding the federal government’s ditch weed garden at the University of Mississippi. He sent me this link.

 To the federal government’s credit, the ditch weed garden is evolving to include high CBD strains. Once upon a time, it grew only one nasty strain instead of five nasty strains.

The link is hilarious. The feds charge researchers $10.96 for a “marijuana cigarette.”

It could be worse. A “placebo cigarette” will set you back $13.94!

“Obviously, these products do not represent the broad scope of actual cannabis-based products that patients are using in the real world — a point that has been raised frequently by critics,” Armentano wrote in an email to me. “You are correct that any cannabis administered as part of a FDA-approved trial must be provided by the University of Mississippi.”

And yet, I bet when the 5 p.m. news reports the medical research coming out in Annals tonight they aren’t going to explain that the weed used in those studies is nothing like the medical cannabis available to people treating themselves for pain or PTSD.

The garden also completely ignores the science of terpenes, compounds in the plant that vary by strain and have medicinal qualities as well as an aromatic effect. You can learn more about terpenes by clicking here.

 One wonders where the government even gets the seeds to produce the funky cannabis like what they dispense to medical researchers.

The truth is in our stories: Cannabis is saving lives

The Annals pain study actually was a review of research already published. It analyzed 27 chronic pain trials.

Its official conclusion: “Limited evidence suggests that cannabis may alleviate neuropathic pain in some patients, but insufficient evidence exists for other types of chronic pain.”

It then adds the always scary-sounding, “Among general populations, limited evidence suggests that cannabis associated with an increased risk for adverse mental health effects.”

To the researcher’s credit, the flaw in the research that renders much of it null and void in my opinion is listed: “The cannabis formulations studies may not reflect commercially available products.”

We know anecdotally, overwhelmingly so, that millions of Americans are effectively treating their pain with cannabis. Opioid overdose deaths are down in states where medical cannabis is legal. Fewer painkillers are being dispensed.

As I left the dispensary this morning, a woman shared with me how she ended up being hooked on fentanyl after a surgery. Now, with her medical cannabis card, she is off opioids completely.

Just as I am completely off benzodiazepines for my PTSD. You can read about that here.

Last week I wrote this blog post about how cannabis should be used to treat addiction. I have pinned the post to the top of my Facebook page. The conversation is so lively I can’t even keep up with it. The number of new likes to my Facebook page just this week, since I have written that piece, is well in excess of 300.

I also have been inundated with emails of personal stories. Just this week, two veterans receiving VA medical care informed me they have been put on notice for their illicit cannabis use. Both have been told if they “drop” (the VA urine tests veterans) for cannabis again, their medications will be revoked. One is on benzodiazepines for anxiety; the other is on opioids for pain.

This is shocking. Abrupt discontinuation of these highly addictive medications may result in death. And again, medical cannabis is legal in more than half the states.

You can read the VA’s medical marijuana policy here.

Medical establishment’s blessing would expedite cannabis availability

The medical cannabis blessing from the mainstream medical establishment would be an important first step toward getting insurance companies to pay for the treatment. That would make it more widely available.

But the establishment isn’t going to do that without further, more rigorous clinical trials. Expensive trials…where researchers are required to use government grass clippings.

“While more rigorous clinical trials of longer durations are arguably warranted, call for such trials should not overshadow the reality that tens of thousands of patients in the US are presently using therapeutic cannabis to safely and effectively address various hard-to-treat conditions, including chronic pain and post-traumatic stress — which is why well-respected advocacy groups like the American Legion and AMVETS are lobbying in support of greater patient access to marijuana,” Armentano said.

“Further, it must be acknowledged that the longstanding politicization of the cannabis plant, and its ongoing schedule I status, has greatly impeded researchers’ ability to conduct the sort of robust, large-scale, prolonged clinical trials that are typically associated with eventual FDA drug approval. Such trials are typically funded by private pharmaceutical companies seeking market approval, whereas cannabis research must be funded by academic institutions. These institutions possess limited funds and they are not in a position to — nor are they seeking to — attempt to bring the drug to market.”

In the Annals editorial accompanying the research meta-analyses, Dr. Sachin Patel of Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital in Nashville writes, “Although several well-designed trials are under way to address (treating pain and PTSD with cannabis), to some degree the horse is out of the barn – and unlikely to return. Even if future studies reveal a clear lack of substantial benefit of cannabis for pain or PTSD, legislation is unlikely to remove these conditions from the lists of indications for medical cannabis.”

Any medical cannabis patient with PTSD or chronic pain – and I suspect those two conditions make up most of us in many states, if not nationally – will tell you not only is it effective, it’s highly effective.

The Pharma medications for those conditions – benzodiazepines and opioids — churn out addicts and alcoholics (benzos are booze in a pill) every day. In the midst of a national opioid crisis, why aren’t the feds declaring pot legal as part of a national addiction emergency?

I bet that would solve Trump’s popularity problems quick. An executive order legalizing cannabis!

I’m going to end with a final quote from the Vandy doctor who wrote the editorial. I’ll warn you…it’s insulting. But I’m using it, and I’m ending with it, because it’s so incredibly ridiculous and out of touch with the realities of people suffering from pain and addiction that I hope it gets blasted around social media far and wide.

“As Nugent and colleagues note, patient characteristics associated with clinical response to cannabis products for pain are unknown,” Patel writes. “Another, more controversial explanation may be the complexity of chronic pain, with interrelated behavioral, emotional, and cognitive domains.

“Perhaps cannabis decreases the clinical effect of chronic pain in some way not readily operationalized by traditional pain rating scales. Of course, it’s also possible that cannabis’ effects on perceived pain are simply not robust, and such catch-all diagnoses as pain to justify legal access to cannabis may be overused.”

At the end of the day, the people of this country are only going to tolerate the mainstream medical establishment’s delusional “reefer madness,” to use the words of Berkeley medical researcher Amanda Reiman, for so long.

Grass clippings, folks.

Follow David Heitz on Facebook at @DavidHeitzHealth and on Twitter @DavidHeitz

Hey! Can I try that? The nose knows when it comes to medical cannabis

(Photo courtesy Pixabay)

The other day I posted in my medical cannabis group about exhaling smoke through the nose. I said I noticed that I got much higher that way. Or shall I say, I got a much better dose of the medicine I legally administer.

And that’s what it’s all about – feeling better.

One commenter quickly noted that it makes sense that you would feel some of the therapeutic effects more quickly that way. That’s because the nose contains mucous membranes that quickly absorb smoke, and the smoke contains the terpenes from the plant.

Pretty soon everyone was trying it, LOL, and posting the results online. Everyone agreed…it takes you higher. However, it also burns your nose a bit depending on the terpenes. Some smell like pepper. That’s not so pleasant blowing through your nose.

What are terpenes? Terpenes are those cool little molecular compounds that make the plant smell so darned good. All of the different terpenes convey different medicinal and psychoactive effects.

I learned from a story at ProjectCBD.org how terpenes were “discovered.” A couple of American expatriates formed a company in Holland that studied terpenes and infused marijuana plants with terpenes. They found that marijuana plants with half the THC of other plants became far more potent when infused with terpenes.

While a terpenes lesson is old hat for hardcore stoners and even most medical cannabis patients, all the old ladies following me on social media want to know! By God they are thinking about it for their arthritis.

Follow your nose…it always knows

Terpenes are found throughout nature. They convey an odor to flowers, vegetables and other plants.

Much like aromatherapy, ProjectCBD says “Follow your nose” when choosing which plant to puff. Do you like lavender? Then try lavender kush.

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I LOVE lavender like a cat likes catnip. My dispensary has some lavender kush right now but only in ounces. I can’t spare 300 bones right now so that is on the “next time” list.

Oh, the smells of cannabis terpenes. Lemon, pine, lime…they all do different things.

Plants that smell like pine contain Alpha-pinene, or essential pine oil. This terpene opens up the air passages and make it easier for asthmatics to breathe.

I absolutely love cannabis that smells like pine, and I have not bought any since obtaining my card. I need to do that. It has been many, many years since I ran across that strain.

Limonene, of course, smells like lemon and lime. It has been used on everything from gallstones to mood to heartburn, according to ProjectCBD, and even “has been shown to destroy breast-cancer cells in lab experiments.”

I have two strains of lemon right now – kush and tag. One is for day, one is for night. Both are solid and dependable.

Myrcene is a terpene that essentially puts you to sleep. It’s used for pain, stiff muscles, and insomnia.

All told, there are about 200 different terpenes. One of the joys of legal cannabis is that you know exactly what you’re getting terpene-wise when you spark up.

Terpene tutelage from Dr. Dustin Sulak of Maine

I first learned about terpenes while interviewing Maine osteopath Dr. Dustin Sulak for a Healthline News story. Dr. Sulak explained “the entourage effect” to me.

“Compounds in the plant, called terpenes, that give the flowers their aroma, are responsible for modifying the effects of the cannabinoids,” he said. “So, you can have two different strains, both with 10 percent THC and close to zero percent CBD, and one that smells like fruit might be sedating and a great treatment for insomnia, while the other that smells like pepper might be stimulating.”

As I went on to explain in my Healthline story, “This knowledge of how marijuana works and the effect of terpenes isn’t being put to use and studied, however, because the U.S. government only allows medical researchers to use pot grown at the University of Mississippi.”

Sulak also told me about “the entourage effect” of all of the medicinal properties of cannabis. That includes THC (the psychoactive ingredient most people think of in terms of getting ‘high,’ but in fact, it also prevents children from having seizures), CBD (not psychoactive and getting lots of media attention for its uses in treating people with PTSD and other conditions) and finally, the terpenes.

All plants are different and contain different levels and amounts of all three properties. Regardless of your medical condition, when it comes to choosing cannabis, there no doubt is a bud for you.

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Navigating the workplace as a medical cannabis patient with PTSD

The sun’ll come out, to-mor-row!

You bet your medical cannabis dollar it will.

But the sunshine doesn’t come cheap! I’m doing better after yet another expensive trip to the dispensary, deemed necessary after a night of flashing lights three doors down.

But I need the income I’m accustomed-to to maintain this level of medicine! So, think about that a second. Think about people with PTSD who are not writers, or who cannot otherwise work from home (no need to interact with others aside from occasional interview).

Many people with PTSD cannot work. I certainly cannot envision myself working ANYWHERE publicly, meaning in a public place, in my town. There are too many people who I could offer a slice of my mind to, at any time.

I am blessed in what I do, so long as the work keeps coming. Self-employed. Work from home. I create pretty much in a vacuum, and it’s awesome.

Think of the stigma (heck, the drug test! how do you get past that as a medical cannabis patient, especially if it’s random?) a medical cannabis patient seeking employment faces. I understand this scrutiny for some jobs, but not others.

On top of it, let me tell you something. This stuff costs a fortune. People who are buying it on the street gasp when I tell them what it costs. But that’s fine. My stuff is tailor-made for my medical condition, made in a controlled, regulated greenhouse, and not purchased from a dealer who might go psycho and lace my shee-ot, thank you very much.

Last night was rough: Too many flashing lights

I won’t dwell about what happened last night, because I have no idea what actually happened. I just know the flashing lights, the location of the incident three doors down from me…it all added up to a huge and massive trigger.

But here’s the thing. I never once called the police department last night. And that is really, really huge, given what the whole thing looked like to me regardless of whatever happened. People have asked today if I am going to call down to the RIPD and ask what happened, or play reporter and go ask to look at the police report.

No. That’s the worst thing I could do. It doesn’t matter what happened. I need to try to forget about it. It was after the police left that I began to trigger. At least while they were there I felt safe.

For me, work isn’t just about income. It’s about staying busy. I have a lot of energy. That said, if I am overwhelmed with work, it becomes too much. Then, that can be a problem. It’s why I let Vital Updates go. It’s a fine line.

My point is, any idle time I have means I might look at QCTimes.com, or the Scott County Sheriff inmate listing…all things I just need to not even look at. Ever. It’s too much right now. I had stopped doing all of these things (and also stopped watching local news on TV) and was doing much better.

Had I not seen the Quad-Cities Most Wanted story and noticed the son of the former owner of this house on it, I would have not even begun the PTSD freak-out cycle that actually started last week. Then, for last night to happen…let’s just say I reported two years ago – correct? – when I first learned that “yeah, Uncle Benny’s house was the big party house!”

It’s all sickening and chilling and disgusting in the context of EV-ER-Y-THING that has happened to me. I hope my house is not contaminated with meth-making materials. My brother made the joke about “under the crawl space” and “under the floor of the shed,” after all, upon learning Frank Fitzpatrick is on the QC Most Wanted list.

Now I’ll stop.

If I hadn’t had medical cannabis this past week, hard telling how I would have handled all of this (or not). Not to mention some severe financial stress after losing a massive client of two years.

But the truth is, the client was a gem and even is offering to give me a reference. Why I have not focused on that I do not know. I feel like an outcast in my local community.

Thank God I have worked almost exclusively for national clients the past two years. The dishonest evildoers in my community told lies and fervently tried to make me look bad just as I totally pulled it all together, was fiercely watching over my dad, walking everywhere with no vehicle…for a year. I had sustained this for a year. Everything was fine, until I was poisoned, or whatever the hell happened.

Give. Me. A. Break. They threw me in jail on no charges at all after I reported something that has become quite scandalous. In fact, I called them about something else, then was questioned about what has turned out to be a big local story.

I keep hearing I might get a logical explanation. That would be fine. I doubt any logical explanation is coming, however. An explanation may be coming, that’s for sure.

It’s just becomingly increasingly obvious every day how crooked a lot of people in Rock Island County governance are and it is making me even antsier for the justice I may never see.

There are people in powerful positions in this county who are quite sick.

NOW that I have that out, and took 300 words to do it, oy, I want to say that I have landed a very good paying assignment for a huge healthcare company. It occurs to me nobody needs to even know who my clients are on content I produce that’s not bylined. (Update: The gig did not work out, and it was an extremely poor fit anyhow)

So, there’s a workaround for any client who doesn’t want to affiliate with the medical pot guy!

It also is an incredibly important assignment as it pertains to improving patient outcomes for the elderly.  We all know that’s something I can get passionate about.

My gig is unusual and incredible, and probably about as good as it gets for a medical cannabis patient. And yet, I still struggle during transitions of client to client.

What about all the military people with PTSD with a cannabis card? They are paying these prices too, and if they have PTSD and were in the service, chances are employment is extraordinarily difficult for them. What are they supposed to do?

Check out the VA’s disgraceful medical cannabis policy.

What about victims of violent crime – rape, attempted murder – who are angry and cannot function properly in the workplace? And then, to make the only effective treatment for some of them so pricey it’s out of reach? I am NOT complaining about the price of medical cannabis. I’m saying insurance should help pay for it.

The only people laughing at that are completely healthy, judgmental people who never have smoked medical cannabis. I assure you.

Outrageous.

No health plan on earth (or at least in the U.S.) that I know of is going to pay for your medical cannabis at this time, even if you have the best health plan on earth.

It’s wrong.

Medical cannabis reviews are fun, fun, fun

I am having a nice day watching concerts on AXSTV. And this is all happening the day after a difficult night.

Tomorrow I hope to wake up fresh and spend the entire day on my paid assignment, for which I am excited about and extremely grateful.

But today I’m enjoying my NTI bounty: Brownie Scout, Cuvee, Brazil Amazonia, Ghost x Flo, and Shangri-la.

To think all I went in for was the “Smoke Sessions” special – free joint with purchase of eighths of certain strains.

I bought an eighth of Bio Jesus, which is awesome. You can check out my review of Bio Jesus right here. I’m not a joint person, but since it’s pre-rolled and I don’t have to do it, I’m going to spark up my free joint in a minute.

And heck yeah, I’m going to review every single one of those other above-mentioned strains I purchased today. I never have tried them before.

Check them out right here, at DavidHeitz.com.

Recovery and mental wellness through medical cannabis. Every day.

You won’t want to miss my fun little reviews!

Here’s even more proof that the plant is a way out of addiction

Photo courtesy Pixabay

From the “About” page of my newly revamped website, DavidHeitz.com:

“I am an Illinois medical cannabis cardholder with the qualifying condition of chronic PTSD. Do not let anyone ever tell you that you are not really sober if you are using medical cannabis.”

I quietly made the change about two weeks ago, fully realizing that I probably can forget about any more great-paying work from rehab centers. I got into journalism to help people anyway, not get rich.

The next sentence likely sealed the deal that I won’t be getting any more work from members of the staid medical establishment.

“I believe addiction should be a qualifying condition for a marijuana card if deemed appropriate by a doctor. It goes without saying that federal laws about cannabis need to be abolished to align with science and the majority of the states.”

Read more: My paid addiction/recovery portfolio

I’m not worried. The mainstream medical establishment is on the wrong side of this issue. I have no doubt work will be forthcoming from more progressive medical sectors.

Consider a new survey by HelloMD. It shows almost EVERY opioid user surveyed in a study for the site agrees they can decrease their opioid use with cannabis, and that they would rather be medicating with the plant.

I have no doubt that the day is coming – perhaps it’s here already – where there will be rehab centers that discuss cannabis use as a path to sobriety.

This has been going on in AA chapters for decades, folks. Many have established pot dealers among their ranks. And many – way more than you would think – smoke their cannabis at home, keep it to themselves, and just go to their 12-step meetings with their mouths taped shut.

When your doctor says ‘The research just isn’t there’

Nobody likes making medical claims based largely on conjecture. And let me stress that I am not a doctor and my website is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice from a trained professional.

But when it comes to cannabis, we don’t have much choice. The federal government not only has resisted allowing clinical studies on cannabis, the studies that have been done only have used a few different types of plant. That’s because the feds require the weed used for research be grown in their garden at the University of Mississippi.

So today I report, with vigor, some anecdotal evidence I do not find surprising: According to a new study released last week by HelloMD, 80 percent of people surveyed found CBD “very” or “extremely” effective for treating their ailments. More than 40 percent reported that they have stopped using “traditional medications” in favor of cannabis, according to the HelloMD survey.

Read about my medicine cabinet shakeup: Bye-bye Xanax, hello medical cannabis (CBD)

When I got off benzodiazepines about two months ago after being on them for two years – 4 mg per day of Ativan in the height of it all – I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment. It felt so good, in fact, that it renewed my commitment to sobriety after falling off the wagon after 2 ½ years in January.

In July, I stopped drinking completely again after a spurt of relapses that lasted about five months. The relapses continued because my commitment to sobriety had waned. I was no longer making an effort nor did I feel the need to. With the cannabis, I feel an overall sense of hope again.

I have been through a lot. And I’m quite certain it’s not over yet.

Even more importantly than getting my sobriety back is the fact that I physically and mentally feel a hundred times better. The reason for this is that my Illinois medical cannabis card allows me, as a qualifying patient, to purchase flower, oil, sprays, topicals, patches, pills and edibles high in CBD content.

I can purchase anything I want at the dispensary, actually. You’re not actually written a prescription by a doctor, at least you don’t have to be. Responsible doctors who are acknowledging the powers of medical cannabis are doing that, however — when qualified — to help their patients make knowledgeable cannabis decisions.

The truth is, many doctors aren’t qualified to make recommendations about cannabis. And too many have no interest in learning about it. And that’s precisely why people are turning to HelloMD, where real doctors trained in medical cannabis can get you started on the qualification process – all right online.

It’s very cool.

Over the weekend I posted a video about dabbing CBD oil on candy to treat PTSD-related symptoms throughout the day. It was a huge hit, without a single derogatory or anti-cannabis comment.

Obviously, the secret is out.

CBD doesn’t make you ‘high’

CBD is not THC. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that makes a person “high.” But don’t fool yourself – THC has significant medical properties, too. While CBD keeps me calm, it won’t put me to sleep. An indica-dominant strain with high levels of THC and the right terpenes does (Lemon Skunk, Granddaddy Purple, Cuvee, Shangri-la, Starry Night).

CBD, however, is fast emerging the true doctor in the house when it comes to medical cannabis.

Read more: How medical cannabis is funding mental health services in Shelby County, Ill.

According to the HelloMD study, conducted by the Brightfield Group:

  • People who treat their illnesses with CBD spend less per month on medical cannabis than those who treat their medical conditions with THC-dominant strains. While the study references people getting by on as little as $80 per month, I’m not sure that’s applicable in states where medical cannabis is extremely expensive, like Illinois. In other states, like California, it may very well be the case that you can medicate for $100 per month or less.
  • More than half say their CBD products do a better job at treating their medical conditions than their Pharma scripts. Amen. All I take now is blood pressure medication.

What is CBD used for?

In addition to PTSD, which is my qualifying condition, CBD is used for:

  • Joint pain
  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic pain and severe pain
  • Arthritis
  • Nausea

What HelloMD has to say about its study

More than 1,400 people participated in the HelloMD survey.

“The latest publication from the National Academy of Sciences clearly refuted the ‘gateway drug’ theory that using marijuana can lead to opioid addiction, instead finding evidence of cannabis having multiple curative benefits,” Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer of HelloMD, said in a news release.

“Our study further substantiates this. Hopefully this will awaken the public, medical professionals and legislatures to this fact that cannabis is a safe, non-addictive product available to help fight the opioid epidemic,” he added.

Amanda Reiman, a PhD at the School of Social Welfare, Berkeley, led the study. “The treatment of pain has become a politicized business in the United States,” she bluntly explains in the news release. “The result has been the rapidly rising rate of opioid-related overdoses and dependence.”

When all is said and done, I have interviewed too many opioid addicts who got off the drugs with marijuana to continue to endorse opioid maintenance therapy as a long-term solution.

Reiman echoes exactly what I have heard, over and over and over again: “Patients have been telling us for decades that this practice is producing better outcomes than the use of opioid based medications. It’s past time for the medical profession to get over their reefer madness and start working with the medical cannabis movement and industry to slow down the destruction being caused by the over prescribing and overuse of opioids.”

Amen.

To check out HelloMD’s report for yourself, click here. 

Read more: My portfolio of paid articles about mental health issues

 

Green Crack: Blisters on my feet, 2,500 words on a sheet

Like a true addict, there was no way I could say no to the crack.

Green Crack, that is.

Green Crack is a strain of medical cannabis. It is cultivated by GoldLeaf.

I have heard people rave about this strain. But as someone who was addicted to crystal meth from 1997 until 2001, and easily could have had a heart attack (once or twice I think I did) while tweaking, I don’t think kindly of the “crack” vernacular being applied to anything medicinal.

Names like this strain’s are one of the biggest stigmatizing forces the medical cannabis industry faces, if you ask me.

Check out my portfolio of paid articles about addiction and recovery

What’s the flip side?

The flip side is that the addict in me absolutely has been wanting to check it out. If it’s called “crack,” and if people like it that much, something tells me I may find it pleasurable. And it’s legal!

Hmmmm. Irresponsible marketing? Not really. The stoner vernacular is to describe a strain as exactly how, well, a stoner sees it I guess. Bio Jesus. Girl Scout Cookies. Ghost Train. Etc.

That’s another blog post for later this week.

At any rate, experimenting with uppers is what led me down addiction’s beaten path. It was all fun and games on the dance floor in the beginning. You can read about my struggle with crystal methamphetamine by clicking here.

Green Crack helps sick, weary rise from bed

I certainly would not compare Green Crack to crystal meth or crack cocaine. However, it does hit me in the groin and make me horny, like crystal meth always did. I do not feel the least bit impaired cognitively. I do have quite a bit of energy, especially considering I got up at 3:30 a.m. and it is now almost 1 p.m.

Who would need something labeled “Crack” as medicine, one might ask. Well, for starters, how about depressed people? Or for that matter, anyone with a condition so debilitating, be it from physical or mental pain, that they don’t even want to get out of bed each day.

Do you know what that feels like? I do. But it has been a good many years since I have felt that way.

You do kind of wonder how “green” can make you feel like this. I understand it has to do with terpenes, the sativa strain, etc. Still, it definitely is an ampy feeling, but without any of the harsh side effects you would find in unnatural uppers like meth, or dirty ones like crack.

Add Moroccan melt for three, two, one…ignition…

However, like a true addict, it wasn’t enough for me to simply smoke the Green Crack flower. As a grand finale, I sprinkled Turbo Lemon Cake Moroccan melt atop one final bowl.

Now that is quite something. I just power-walked three laps around the block. I have plenty to do here inside the house as well.

Green Crack effectively powered me into the tenth, eleventh and 12th hours of my workday today. When coupled with Turbo Lemon Cake Moroccan melt by Revolution Cannabis, the power-walk laps around the block served as an effective cardiovascular routine in between writing cannabis blogs and book chapters.

Green Crack contains large amounts of psychoactive THC. For people suffering from anxiety or mental illness, such a strain could induce psychosis and other undesirable effects.

I have been high strung most all my life, but in the past week feel better than I have in years. I found the Green Crack to be a fun supplement to my day that resulted in increased productivity.

Check out my paid reportage on mental health topics

David Heitz is a freelance writer for Contently, which provides America’s most recognizable brands with the finest content in the world.

‘Green Room’ fast becoming my favorite in the house

Through the years, I’ve had friends who designate rooms of their homes “Green Rooms.”

You can imagine where the namesake comes from. After all, I have just rebranded my site, “Mental wellness, sober living and medical cannabis. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

I might drop the second sentence. I mean it in a good way, but it sounds like I’m poking.

I also thought about “Cannabis and Recovery. Every day.” In fact, I declare that one mine, too!

At any rate, my friends with ‘Green Rooms’ always have made me, well, green with envy.

Once decorated with Bozo, two twin beds

This used to be my bedroom.

Book preview: Dad and I reclaim the property

Picture it: Rock Island, Ill., 1974. Me and my brother crammed into this room with two twin beds. Bozo the Clown curtains and bedspreads. I was 4; my brother, 13.

Lucky him. He moved to the cellar when mom and dad built the room addition in 1976 and semi-remodeled the basement, and this became my bedroom.

It had been closed off for a very long time. I never really used it. I never really slept when dad was here. I always was chasing after him. When he went into the facility, I started sleeping on the couch. Finally, I moved into his old room.

The room became a junk collector.

Room a gratitude reflecting pool

The real reason I am writing this column is that I glanced in here and just thought, “Wow, I love this room. I am so grateful for so many things.”

It’s a nice distraction when you are upset about something to focus on your blessings. We all have them. If you dig deep you can always find one uniquely yours – whatever helped you get through the day, be it a cup of coffee or a call from a friend.

Imagine the day without that one thing.

Maybe it was as simple as buying a head of lettuce for 39 cents.

Read more: Here’s why we need education, not misinformation, about medical cannabis

Maybe it was a warm bed, or a cool one.

I used to get so mad when people talked to me about gratitude. But it really does work. Trust me.

Meaningful items bring about serenity

I love the items in the room. An old friend stopped by a few months back. I could tell he was exasperated that I remodeled the house but mostly have the same old stuff. I like my stuff.

The desk is a table that I bought at Ikea in Carson, Calif. in 1993. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it, then someone else wanted it. It was the last one, so I bought it.

That plant was given to me by my next-door-neighbors – the ones in the home the plant is facing, fact. They gave it to me when dad died. It is growing by leaps and bounds. I call it my Jack and the Beanstalk plant.

The Oriental-style lamp was a Goodwill find — $7.77. The cool wastepaper basket? It was expensive, even on sale, and from Target. I’m embarrassed to say what I paid for it. But I love it in the room!

The same goes for the kitschy LED lamp. Target. Not cheap. And on sale. But so cool!

AIDS LifeCycle T-shirt reminder of important work

The T-shirt draped over the wooden bar stool was sent to me by the Los Angeles LGBT Center when I covered AIDS LifeCycle the second year. They are wonderful people there. My HIV reporting has been an extremely important part of my medical writing career and where it all began.

Read more: Sharing my personal relationship with HIV as I ready for AIDS LifeCycle

I can’t wear the T-shirt because it’s a – now, I’m serious – extra small.

Seriously, Gil Diaz?! 😉

Finally, there’s a little man laying out in the sun underneath the LED lamp. That came from a dear old friend long, long ago.

Longtime friend.

I think my Green Room is the grandest of all.

Do you have a Green Room? Tell me about it!

Read more: My portfolio of paid work on infectious diseases/public health topics

Here’s why we need education, not misinformation, about medical cannabis

(Photo courtesy Pixabay)

Why aren’t we treating cannabis like the medicine it is?

I have written an awful lot about marijuana during the past few years. The beauty of it, however, is that I have reported the gamut of research about cannabis, which is what I have decided to call the plant from here on out.

Admittedly someone long fond of bud, I have chosen to abstain from it during periods of a year or longer. That’s not my choice now, as I am finding great relief from my PTSD-related anxiety, nightmares and tendency to withdraw since receiving my Illinois Medical Cannabis card.

In this new era of getting our information on social media, some experts call what I do “Wisdom Journalism.” Wisdom Journalism is when you know the topic you’re writing about so well that even though it may contain nuance that other reports leave out, it is considered acceptable by your audience.

Of course, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, or if you don’t walk the walk, your audience will abandon you.

I’m in a funny position having made a pretty good living the past couple of years writing branded content as a freelancer for some of the finest drug and alcohol treatment centers in America.

In general, addiction specialists traditionally have considered marijuana use a bad thing. The model of abstinence remains predominant in inpatient treatment covered by insurance companies.

Beyond that, true abstinence from all substances really is an ideal foundation for true recovery from drugs and alcohol. That said, it’s not always possible.

My views about marijuana or any topic in no way reflect the views of any of my clients.

Addiction, mental health interwoven

The reason the treatment centers I write for are so good is because they specialize in treating the co-occurring mental disorder as well.

Many people who suffer from various forms of mental illness find great relief from marijuana. But it has to be monitored, and the patient needs to know what they are doing.

Because not only can treatment with marijuana be ineffective for people with mental illness, what’s worse is that it could really screw them up.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do your research, try to make educated choices in consultation with your doctor and therapist, and then try alternative treatments. We can’t stop flat out lying about the benefits of cannabis any more than we can pretend it’s not addictive or that it doesn’t induce psychosis in some people.

Have you taken anything made by pharma lately? By no means are these perfect alternatives. Some of us, including myself, have determined some chemical treatments to be far worse than any side effects the proper dosing of the correct strains of cannabis might induce.

I am proud to say I am one month benzodiazepine free, but it hasn’t been easy. You can read about that here. It would have been impossible without the cannabis; at least right now given the dose I had been on of Xanax and Ativan before that.

So, we need to be fair and honest about medical cannabis.

And we need to be honest about how it interplays with addiction. While I have written extensively about marijuana having a dangerous role in recovery, the truth is I am finding more and more people – particularly those with PTSD – who have quit or drastically reduced their alcohol intake post medical cannabis card.

That is never a bad thing. Everyone deserves to feel better and break free from substances that are destroying their life. The “addiction” argument as it pertains to marijuana always falls flat with most users because they don’t feel marijuana is destroying their life. In fact, many marijuana users do know what that feels like, which is one of the reasons they smoke marijuana now instead of using other substances.

University of Mississippi garden provides research cannabis

Remove the mental health issue, and medical cannabis has broad, safe applications for an endless number of ailments. The most obvious: Helping the sick to get over nausea and to eat, and easing pain.

Then there are the headlines that tug at the heart strings – epileptic children finally seizure-free after cannabis treatment.

As is so often the case, I first broke into reporting about medical cannabis for my friend Josh Robbins. While I have written for Fortune 500 healthcare companies, major health news sites, and everything in between, Josh runs a little ol’ website like me.

Josh’s site isn’t really little, and it is HON certified. The point is, we have had tons of huge journalistic “firsts” together in the healthcare reporting space, particularly as it pertains to HIV, while working as a team.

I wrote this piece for Josh’s site. It was then that I learned that all the cannabis used for medical research in the United States comes out of a ditch weed garden at the University of Mississippi.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re wondering how medical cannabis is legal in more than half the states, with hundreds of strains, and yet our government only studies a decades-old ditch weed and lumps it into research for all marijuana.

That is just crazy. And it’s a fact. There is no disputing it, even though it is finally changing – after half the states have made medical marijuana legal. In 2014, shortly after I wrote my story, the program expanded. You can check it out for yourself right here on the official University of Mississippi cannabis garden page.

Do you realize that would be like the FDA using only one type of pill as a catch all for all medical research?

Can you imagine the industry backlash!

Writing about cannabis from an informed point of view

From the dangers of making your own dabs to why smoking marijuana is risky for people trying to get off opioids, I’ve written about it from many different angles. And the lens I view all of this through has become much clearer.

People are dying of opioid overdose. People also are sharing their story en masse of how they not only got off opioids via cannabis, but also opioid maintenance therapy. The sad reality is that opioid maintenance therapy also is being abused and people being treated with it still are dying.

Even the tamper-proof opioid maintenance therapy isn’t working because addicts have figured out how to crush it, snort it, inject it and everything else.

We can’t keep lying about cannabis when it’s helping people. I certainly don’t intend to.

The truth is, the Colorado program is more about tourism than medicine, and cannabis detractors are having a ball with that. I wrote this story about Colorado cannabis for Healthline a couple of years ago. I visited Denver in May and did the full-blown Colorado Cannabis Tour.

It still doesn’t seem to have much of a legitimate medical program, from what I could tell, at least not in terms of high CBD levels and THC-CBD ratios. However, for people who had the medical card the cannabis they could get cost next to nothing compared to Illinois prices.

I can get 1:1 ratios at my medical cannabis dispensary in Illinois, for example. The CBD is what brings me relief from my chronic PTSD-related anxiety. I could not work as a medical writer orbiting my house on THC all day!

And I hope to start adding some clients from the cannabis world to my portfolio.

See you soon.