These are the real words prepared by some of our patients explaining their experiences with cannabis.
We thought it would be a good idea to provide some context to the debate over cannabis by including the experience of some regular users of the drug.
Their words are presented undedited except where there is a risk others may be identified and with their express consent to use them.
Their inclusion on the site is for information only and we do not endorse any of the opinions expressed on this page.
I started to smoke Cannabis 36 years ago, when I was 21.
I smoke it on a daily basis although not in what you would call large quantities e.g. half a cone of a medium metal pipe a day.
I also sometimes smoke through a vapouriser as this is the way Cannabis is administered in the Medical Marijuana clinics in Canada and the US, and minimises carcinogens.
When I smoke, I find it relaxes me, puts me in a happy place and I find I enjoy doing things more.
I don't smoke Cigarettes or drink any sort of alcohol.
I don't find it has any negative effects on me. I hold down a full time professional job, exercise 6 out of 7 days a week and have no problems with motivation.
Despite having smoked it for 36 years, I have no cough and don't experience any of the wheezing some smokers do.
I have many friends that also smoke and I have also never been aware of any adverse effects either, even though two of them, have smoked for over 50 years.
It annoys me that alcohol is legal and causes a lot of pain to a lot of people and costs society millions of dollars and many people their lives. Yet Cannabis, which is illegal, costs millions of dollars to police, millions of dollars to recover crops. I guess it causes deaths through Lung cancer but you don't see the deaths created directly through the drug when comparing with other harder drugs such as Heroin, Methamphetamine and P, where users regularly overdose and die.
I don't feel I'm addicted to Cannabis and have traveled numerous times overseas in the last 15 years and rarely, if at all, think about it when I'm away and certainly my body doesn't crave it like it would addictive drugs.
When I smoke at night, I get a very sound sleep. I wake up in the morning and don't feel any ill effects from it.
It's a natural plant and from what I hear, has wonderful medicinal properties.
I had a friend who had terminal cancer. The highlight of his week was when I took the vapouriser around It dulled his pain and gave him the munchies so he could eat.
My life of involvement into cannabis.
dispell some myths.
1) Cannabis, Indian Hemp, Mariuanja, Is not a Gateway drug into other harder, more addictive Narcotics. Such as " P " or methamphetemine which was and still is in some countries a legitimate drug, initially used for diet loss but soon realised the illegal trade and the addictiveness. There are Dexedrine, sometimes in replacement of Ritalin, ( sustained release now ), Benzedrine which is slightly more stronger and addictive, and do not know of it's use in this or other countries, ( but I'm sure there are ). And Methylphenidate, or Methadrine, " P ". Simple to make still, using a different precursor and a rudimentry knowledge of Chemistry. But is now one of the most highly addictive drugs sold in NZ usually by Orgainised crime, of which you can make your own minds up.
Cannabis used to be sold in packets of 10 in the early 1900's for Bronchitis, inflammation of the mucus membrane, but mainly for Asthma, a disorder of allergic origin, and they worked. Some years back an 1880's cottage was been demolished in Kilmore st, and in behind the wall lining was a packet of cannabis cigarettes. Why? I don't know.
Now my use of cannabis from the age of 14 upwards. Being of sound mind and above average intelligence I started to experiment with " dope " as I will call it from now. I have to say I had very little success, and not knowing what to expect kept to using LSD. This was an unusual, ( depending on the type Lysergic Acid Diethylamide 25 was the best and most pure and was actually legal in the USA until, I think, 1968, or thereabouts. So dropout, tune in and take copious amounts of LSD which was pointless because what you took one day or night would have no affect the next, and generally a few days to a week was enough of a gap, this was because it (the LSD) depending on the strength, etc would actually initiate a chemical, we all have, to create hallucinations via the brain and eyes, as well as at the end of the area untill now a small quantity of arsenic was added to keep the drug stable on its usual journey from Amsterdam to the US, and eventually NZ or direct in some cases. In the late 60's and 70's Drug Squads didn't exsist. The first one was made up of 2 males, (name redacted), not a bad (redacted) bloke and (name redacted), bless him, as he often got inside first and gave us a 1 min warning. And as they really had no Idea what to look for they missed a lot, but this was when ' Mr Asia" became notorius, and kiwis in Australia became looked upon with respect, amongst the underworld.
But back to Dope, it was only a Gateway when the gangs selling it offered other more addictive drugs to snort or use I.V., and that was the only way. i e, when the NEP, needle exchange, thanks to Rodger Wright, RIP, and Jim Anderton put their weight behind it making it legal were cry's of " more IV users" and the like, actually it went down, and not only that but HIV in this countries IV users is one of the lowest, shame they didn't do the same about HCV, until to late 1990. In late 1968 and into the '70's was a Phenomonon called "Buddha Sticks " High quality dope wound onto a thin stick about 9 or 11 cm long, and about as fat as your index finger, depending who you got it off. I first experienced in Christchurch straight from the importers where it came in nylon sacks, about 20cm long and twice as thick as a person's 2nd finger, the stick i mean. Then there would be about 2 to 3 oz's of crumbs at the bottom of the bag. The sticks were cut in half, shaved and then passed on to the seller for about $10 who sold it for $13, a good profit when a jug of beer was 50 cents. I was 18 and had been smoking and selling for 2 to 3 years now, not getting rich but I was working and smoking recreationally. I found driving or in those days riding a motor bike was extremely nervous as I had to, me anyway, concentrate on my driving/riding. I could see how easy it could be to have an accident, not because, of speed, or undue care but and as many smokers will say, they are more careful, and to a degree that is true. But their reaction times are slowed down, going through a red light instead of stopping when it turns yellow (not Orange) and with traffic waiting to have their lights turn to green, usually 5 sec, try it, timing I mean. And crash ,bang, boom, a nasty accident. From Aust., cars like holdens, falcons and or early British cars, not the safest compared to todays vehicles, or even American cars then.
As the Vietnam war wound up in the '70s the rush to get both dope and hard gear was becoming more difficult especially with the neither confirm or deny american ships not being able to berth in NZ. I found while working in wellington it was very easy to board a british ship, or other and buy cheap drink, and gianormous Buddha Sticks which cost nothing to smoke but cheap to buy at the original size an excellant opportunity. One time my girlfriend and I took the afternoon off work as I had purchased about 4 joints worth of Sth African dope, very dark, very sticky, in fact I thought it maybe rubbish but we rolled a joint up on the grass frontage of the Wellington Railway stn. and the last thing I remember was taking a second puff, then found myself down Gibson Quay. Everytime I looked at someone I burst out into giggiles for no apparant reason, full on deep Giggiles, as did my girlfriend who was trying to stop me because of our odd behaviour, but just became worse than me and then couldn't remember what she was trying to do. It was an afternoon I will never forget at age 17 going on 18, now 60. It did show that diferent plants, and today hybrids grown under licence for varing medical problems, can help alleviate, or in some case's so far as to cure a uncurable medical problem. I personally was involved in a nasty bike accident which left me in pain, nerve problems, guilt, and the inability to hold down a job, which was the worse because I was constantly being told if I trained for this or that via ACC, and had certain furnitrure provided I would be able to get a job 100%. In the early years, I was 26 when I had my accident bike v's car((redacted car description), at night with only a left hand headlight, as the parklights went off when headlights went on, and so assumming a motor bike coming the other way on the left of the middle line ) that is important and I will explain later. I knew cars. I was on a (redacted bike type) 49cc sports bike, on the (redacted date), having just arrived back in NZ after appealing a deportation order in (redacted) and was 1 step ahead of the 'Fed's' who were trying against all promises, etc to put me into a deportation cell, in (redacted), much of whats happening today in the 2016.
Once I arrived back in NZ 1 week ahead of the Deportation order, I handed myself into the police once I got a Soiliciter, Mrs ## &&, now a very fine judge. I was on remand, released 10 days later and that was the (date redacted) on a drizzly, greasy Rd, on a large left hand bend heading into town, I saw this 1 headlight just to the left of the white line, thinking a Motor bike and before I realised it was a car I saw the headlight not going, which I broke, splitting the Guard right up to the door post, My wife to be flew in a direct straight line across the roof and landed 2 car lengths behind, yet the car somehow miracously ended up on the correct side of the Rd, and a huge Gap between myself and (redacted)(who had never smoked dope before).
Well as things go injuries took their time, skin grafts, (redacted) Father died the week before, she was virtually fractured completely around the skull and was in a coma for 2 weeks. with both of us having plaster on 1 leg each and later both with me, sex was impossible in the old empty ward 2, especially when half a dozen nurse's walked in to have a smoke( you could in hosp., in those days) and left giggling and us also laughing at the prediction of it. Something ever since I live by a motto, The past is the past, you cannot change it, and the future you cannot predict, so you never know what will happen in the next 30 sec. Ever been dropped off by a mate out of his car, got out, turned around and walked full force into a concrete lamp post, I have and it hurt, it was funny but it hurt. and that is what I mean. My accident completely changed how my life was going to improve to the better, and it was then I realised, as I was concious, until I was put into the ambulance caring only for Stephanie, yelling her name and getting no reply, and no one would tell me, cause she died at the scene, twice and was brought around. We are divorced, but are still good and I hope always friends.
This is when I noticed that although on painkillers that were hopeless, sleeping tablets that were hopeless and the guilt that (redacted) would never be able to cry, laugh, gag, in fact give much of a facial expression, and the guilt I felt because if I hadn't got out of remand, if I hadn't decided to go back to (redacted) early for some loving sex, If I was able to recognize it was a car coming the other way, even though I was as far to the left as possible, and driving slowly because of the greasy Rd.These are the future's I was talking about, futures to that ineffective point of time, that biological point of time that if I had left 5 mins early or late the outcome may have been different or maybe the future had an outcome for us both that no matter what we still would have suffered. For that is the future, that what we cannot possibly have concieved. This Haunted me and still does to this very day, I dream every night of that accident and what could I have done different, but always ends up the same.
The only relief I get and as does my ex-wife is to have a small bowl of dope before bed, or sleep. We found different sorts,i e, skunk, bush, etc, had different effects. Some made us philisophical, some definetly helped, in fact most helped with sleep, and when we Divorced which I blame on myself, I let her keep the house, and 80% of most things. She was and is a chef, and so was always able to get work, food is always wanted. Me I was a hopeless Junkie. I had returned from Aust., determined to begin again with an australasian Co, a positive outlook, an highly intensive therapy course that lasted 12 weeks, a satisfaction of beating the Aust., Govt., at their own game, and it all came crashing down like a deck of cards. No matter what pain relief, what anti- Depressants, etc, the only help was a smoke of dope, it didn't take the physical pain, it didn't take the emotional pain, it didn't help start new relationships, it didn't show what to do when a taught behaviour in therapy didn't work, such as being critisized by Stephs mum for the accident, it was my fault, the answer yes, that's right it was, when it wasn't, chilled me to the bone.
The only answer to all these negative problems that had no possitive outcomes was to have a couple of puffs of good dope to help with my mental feelings, my physical feelings, and to help me with my distractive feelings, such as for pain, cramp, which sounds silly but it worked if I could relax enough or else take 15mg valium, something I fought so hard to stop when I was in Aust,. I was probably halfway there because I tried to commit suicide when I was out of Yatla Labor Prison, trying to use the therapy courses which didn't work, so I smoked dope. Dope was a cross between not using hard gear, narcotics, valium, other Benzos, speed, like benzedrine, or Dexedrine, or Ritalin, to lift my mood knowing I would crash cooking up a batch of homebake. Dope was the only drug, herb, whatever that helped me and didn't bring me crashing down. I've smoked for 46-47 years, it's the one drug that has kept me level, even in hospital, with (redacted), a Drug squad cop who broke his leg and his mates, like (redacted) whose wife died the day after he retired. I saw him the day he retired, he had so many plans, and I thought, " (redacted) you have no clue whats waiting for you in the future " and then I heard his Wife died. I though (redacted) have a smoke, which he probably did. A really genuine guy, even though he was a cop and had given me a couple of hidings for innocent things, but he was a lot less hard than the rest. He understood me, and I understood him. I had known him since I was 15 and he was 22, (redacted). A genuine nice guy. I cried for him when I heard about his wife. I cried for (redacted) who retired and died of cancer 2 years later. Another genuine nice drug squad cop. He probably smoked lots of dope going through chemo'. It helps with the nausea so much you hardly feel it. Dope has so many uses, not just bits of it but the whole effect of getting Stoned, completely distracts the mind, helps you read a book, but beware those who are young but show no signs of Bi-polar it will surely bring it out. My mum (RIP) said it made her feel ill, but when I snuck a half a joints worth in a cookie she perked up immennsley, although she died a few weeks later on my 60th birthday. The future can be surprizing, and with Dope even better, I don't really know but I do know it will make it less negative and thats whats important in our fleeting lives like a grain of sand on the beach.