Sep 072018

I have only been drunk a few times in my life, maybe half a dozen at most, and that was back during my Army days raising hell with the guys when we got off duty. That phase of my life didn’t last very long for a number of reasons, including I don’t like the taste of alcohol, I don’t like having my head scrambled, I realized it was dumb to spend money to drink something that caused other people to tell me what an ass I was the next day, and because getting shot in the stomach makes it hard for the body to process booze. Some people start their night drinking and hope to end it holding some girl they met in a bar. Every time I drank, I spent the night hugging the porcelain throne.

Another factor was that when I was growing up I had several family members who were heavy drinkers, and I never liked being around them when they were plastered. So, I haven’t had a drink of anything, including beer, for well over 40 years.

And I never smoked grass. I’ve been around people who smoked it, but like I said, I don’t like having my head scrambled.

All of that being said, it’s official. I am now a certified card carrying pothead. As regular blog readers know, I’ve got a very bad back. In the past I would have a bad spell a couple of times a year that would last for a few days and then I would get back to whatever passes for normal for me. But it has gotten much worse in the last eight months or so and I’ve had almost constant pain.

A recent MRI confirmed that I have some badly bulging discs and a couple of deteriorating vertebrae. I’ve been to doctors, chiropractors, ERs, and anybody else I thought could do me any good. Some things have helped more than others, but short of surgery, which two different doctors have advised against, I don’t think the problem will ever go away.

Doctors love to give you pills, and I’ve got some heavy duty stuff. But I have a terrible fear of getting addicted to opioids, and just like booze, they left my head so foggy I couldn’t function. But that all changed after I discovered medical marijuana.

Now let me tell you right up front, I was very hesitant to try it. I knew it has some great benefits to it, but I had to get over that “it’s a drug” thing in my own head first. But when you’re in enough pain that never seems to end you get desperate enough to try anything. So I did.

Not actual pot, that’s illegal here in Florida, but medical cannabis is legal in a couple of different forms, including oils. I got some, Terry mixed it into a batch of fudge (you all know I have a sweet tooth), cut it up into squares a little smaller than an inch and I gave it a try. I was amazed at the results. Within a couple of days my pain level was reduced by 50%. I had already cut out all of the heavy duty prescription drugs, but I was taking four ibuprofen’s three times a day. Now I sometimes take three of them once a day, and usually none.

Until that point, my back was hurting so bad that I could only sleep sitting up in my recliner. Since the first time I ate a piece of the marijuana oil infused fudge I have been able to sleep in bed. My regular sleep pattern has always been to toss and turn, trying to get comfortable because my back hurts so much, and usually sleeping for two or three hours, then having to get up and move around a little bit and going back to bed to try again. Now I am sleeping five and even six hours straight through before I get up for a potty break. And then I go back to bed and fall right back asleep.

I started out taking two of the squares of fudge a couple of hours before bedtime, which was a mistake because it did make me high. So I switched to one square in the morning and one square at bedtime, which seemed to work and I don’t feel buzzed at all. Now that my pain level is down so much, I cut out the one in the morning and I’m just taking one piece at night.

Before I started on the cannabis oil I was using a cane to get around, and for a while, two canes. After a week or so I didn’t need the cane anymore, and this week I am back to doing a half mile twice a day on the treadmill. Those are real world results I can appreciate!

You have to jump through a bunch of hoops in Florida to get a medical marijuana card, including first being examined by a doctor who looks at your medical history to see if you qualify, then sending his report off to the state for their approval, and after all that’s turned in, along with the $75 filing fee, it took about three weeks to get approved.

I know are there a lot of people in this country who still don’t approve of marijuana, even for medical reasons. I know there are people who will tell you it’s a gateway drug that will lead to abuse of stronger drugs. My response to that is, since I started taking it I’m no longer using the drugs that the VA was pushing on me. I’ve been convinced for a long time that the pharmaceutical industry plays a big behind the scenes role in keeping marijuana illegal. It’s all about money with them. As for me, I am now a believer in the benefits of medical marijuana.

And I will say this, too. In all of my years publishing small town newspapers, I covered a lot of fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers, domestic abuse stories that stemmed from alcohol, fights and murders that all started with somebody getting drunk and stupid. But I never once went to a crime scene or an accident scene where the perpetrator was high on pot. I think those guys were home watching TV and eating Pop Tarts.

So I guess the moral to this story is that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Especially if you wrap those tricks in some of Miss Terry’s delicious fudge.

And in closing, here’s a chuckle to start your day, from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – If we start calling it potato juice, vodka becomes a health drink.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  21 Responses to “Card Carrying Pothead”

  1. I’m sooo happy you found relief with the marijuana oil. I’m hearing of more and more seniors going that route and finding real relief.

  2. Hey ! It woiks !
    More fudge please !

    Glad you got some relief.
    Pain just sucks.

  3. I’m glad you found something that works!

  4. I am so glad that you gave it a shot and it worked!!! Yay!!!

  5. So I’m curious … does it just ease the pain or is it decreasing the bulging discs in your back and that’s why you feel better? Either way, I’m glad you found something that works.

  6. Glad it is helping. Following your recent FB post asking about CBD, I ordered a jar of 15mg gummy bears. One before bedtime has drastically helped my hip that has bothered me for a long while. So, thanks for all of your sharing.

  7. So glad it is giving you some relief. I will agree with you about car crashes and marijuana. I was a Paramedic in New York for 32 years and never had one caused by someone smoking pot.

  8. Its still classified as a Drug or controlled substance because of the drug companies but is actually an Herb that grows in the ground. Welcome to the dark side, LOL CBD’s do work.
    Glad you got the help.

  9. Congratulations! We are NOT kids chasing a high. All you have to do is drive your rig across the border into Colorado, and you see older folks getting out of their cars and toddling into the cannabis dispensaries to obtain pain relief. We went that route for years to deal with my husband’s chronic and debilitating spinal pain. There was no surgical remedy. Multiple xrays, MRIs and so forth … evaluated by neurologists at the VA … showed bulging discs AND facet arthritis, absence of discs, etc. He was a mess. He cannot tolerate opioids, and despite the use of anti-nausea drugs beforehand, is violently ill. ( Plus, they make him nasty.) I have been making fudge for several years. We also use regular edibles from the dispensary here in AZ (he is also a card carrying member!) for ease in carrying. Fugde melts in the heat! Gummy candies do not! The VA here in Tucson, and perhaps in your area also, has a wonderful program of multi-pronged approaches to dealing with chronic pain. Once enrolled, you can be educated on various methods and then experiment to see what helps. Yoga, therapy, physical therapy, Tai Chi, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, medication, water therapy … anything that works. They tell you, “We cannot always take the pain away … but we help you learn to deal with it.” The VA does not “recommend” using cannabis. They CANNOT, because they are a Federal Agency. But their attitude is that you should use whatever works. Doctors ALL KNOW that cannabis is MUCH safer than opiates. It is a tool for pain relief. And it is a VERY GOOD one.

  10. Whatever works. You are wise in choosing medical marijuana over opioids .

  11. That’s awesome, happy you found some relief Nick

  12. That’s terrific. I’m so glad to hear you got relief.

  13. I’m happy you’re finally finding relief. I could hear how miserable you were when we’d speak on the phone and it’d break my heart knowing you were in such constant pain.
    These days when we talk I can hear how much better you are and you seem like yourself again.
    I love you and absolutely support your decision.

  14. Here on the left coast, marijuana is legal in Oregon, Washington and California. Lots of options in edibles. Live and let live. So glad you have relief.

  15. Thank you for the thoughtful article. Marijuana has been a taboo topic for so long, it takes courage to step forth and say it helps. I am very glad it works for you. I have enjoyed its benefits and find it far superior to both alcohol and prescription drugs.

  16. I have a question. If anybody can buy the gummies, why do you need to have a med card? Or aren’t the internet gummies as strong? What strength do you use?

  17. Reply to Sally: Internet Gummies? I am not familiar with them, but they must not contain any THC(Tetrahydrocannabinol). You can buy straight CBD oil (cannabidiol) as a tincture on Amazon and any number of places on the internet. It is not illegal in any state. It can be helpful for many things … I give it to my dog for his arthritis! There is also Hemp Oil, which is also useful for some things … slight differences in manufacture and application. The strengths and quality of manufacture of those items is a bit variable, as there is not a lot of regulation for “Natural supplements”. For severe, debilitating pain you really need to get the good stuff at a dispensary that contains a measure of THC along with the CBD. THC is the part of the plant that contains psychoactive properties … it may get you “high”. Different varieties or strains of marijuana are better for different ailments. Nerve pain, insomnia, depression, seizures, nausea … may be better addressed by one type over another. The folks working in the dispensaries are usually very good at recommending one product over another based on your preferred method of getting the medicine onboard. You can smoke it, eat it, drink it, or rub it on as a lotion. It is a blessing that should be studied, prescribed, and offered to everyone who needs it. Like I said, we are not kids chasing a high. In many years of working in the Court system and listening to case after case … the real problem is people pouring alcohol down their throats, not sitting at home smoking weed and eating Doritos. Can you tell that I am a bit passionate about this??

  18. One correction to Carol’s excellent comments above. What you can get depends on the state. Here in Florida you can’t get the type you smoke or edible like gummies with THC. Here it is all oil based or a derivative of oil. I have been using 2 kinds. This one is best for daytime use

    And this one for nighttime. It really has helped me sleep pain free all night long.

    In both cases, Terry first heats it in the oven until it starts to bubble. This activates it. Then she mixes it in a batch of fudge (does not have to be fudge, that what works for me) and cuts it into one inch squares. I was taking one piece in the morning and one at night, but after a week my pain level had dropped so much that I no longer needed the morning one and just take the night one.

    Each person is different and you may have to experiment a bit to see what works for you. Maybe a little more or a little less.

    I am truly amazed at the difference. I saw a friend yesterday who I had not seen in a couple of months and she was amazed because the last time I needed two canes just to walk. Now I am moving around pain free.

  19. I appreciate that info, Nick! I have not had occasion to travel to Florida for several years and was unaware of the limited availability. One thing that I did not mention is that we have always been forthcoming to our doctors about the use of cannabis. It doesn’t pay to try and hide it. Many will decline to prescribe painkillers for you if there is a positive test for THC, and that is because they say they cannot determine the dosage you are taking. Doesn’t really make sense to me, because the dosage is clearly given on any opiate prescription and folks just gobble them up in excess and become resistant to the drug and have to keep asking for more, more, more. Every time I make a batch of fudge (I make my own cannabutter from leaf product) we need to calibrate the amount needed for relief. He starts out with a small piece and titrates up from there. The edibles (preferred by his physician over smoking) at the dispensary are uniform in dose. When discussing the use of cannabis with various doctors before he was certified in AZ, they would ask how we obtained the supply. We were full timing in our RV and spent a lot of time in CO, WA, and OR, we told them. “When are you going back?”, they asked. They know. The medical community ALL know that it can be a godsend to sufferers of chronic pain and is MUCH safer than any opiate.

  20. Nick and Carol, after reading both of your blogs, I’m convinced I should get a card. I live in the middle of Arizona and it takes a card in order to get any THC that I might be able to mix with the CBD oil I’ve been able to buy. The CBD alone does not help me much, even though I’m able to buy, for a pretty penny, the 1500 mg oil. But if I take a 10 mg Oxi and two droppers full of the CBD oil, then I can sleep through the pain, something I never could do before, even with 20 mg of Oxi. I’m positive that my doctor will no longer prescribe any amount of Oxi if my “pee test” shows THC; he knows I take CBD Oil. I’ve been told that to get a card is very expensive and that is why I’ve held off til, hopefully, MJ products get approved here in Arizona, which I hope would be soon. I suffer with L3, L4, L5, S1 demolished disks, plus had to have one hip replaced in 2013 and it has never stopped hurting since then. My email is in case any of you should want to email me, since that may be the only way I can read what you have to say. Am not on blogs too much. Thanks much, Ursula

  21. Ursula … Cannabis products for medical use ARE legal in Arizona. I am not sure where you live, but I am fairly certain that there will be a Certification Center within a reasonable distance of your home. The certification procedure is fairly simple. Find a Certification location, make an appointment, gather your pertinent medical records. In our case it was a record of injections at pain clinics, discussion of diagnoses in Doctor’s notes, radiology reports after MRIs and CT scans of the spine, etc. I am fairly sure that the fee for the medical card must be paid by cash, check or debit, but the “office” fee for processing the paperwork may be paid by credit card. After it goes to the State for processing, you wait 10 days or so and it arrives by mail. It is a photo ID, so there is no danger of someone trying to steal it. Once you are legally allowed to access the products found in the Dispensary, you may find JUST what you need to mitigate your pain and end your use of opiates entirely. Best of luck to you!

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