Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Trip to the Dispensary

Cannabis dispensaries are popping up all over in my uber-urban neighborhood. So, I checked one out.

It was a suite in a medical plaza, totally innocuous except for the security guard. I walked up the stairs and he asked for my card and my ID. I provided both. Then he escorted me to the door and knocked for me, three times quickly. The door opened from the inside and there was a man, smiling at me. He invited me in and handed me a clipboard with some waivers to sign. I sat in a generic waiting room chair in a dimly lit, yet otherwise generic waiting room. They had a really nice television that was unfortunately playing JAG a little too loudly. I initialed the forms in a hundred places to acknowledge that I would not share the marijuana, sell the marijuana, or take photos of their marijuana. If I violate these rules, there will be no more marijuana for me. There was something about financial assistance, which I completely forgot to ask about. I finished signing everything and was told to wait. I waited. But not long. I didn't even have time to ask someone to turn down JAG before they called me back.

I was led to a back room that was occupied by another smiling man who was standing behind a small counter, apparently holding court over the dispensing. The counter was bare except for a digital scale and an adding machine style calculator. In a corner there was a chest-high refrigerator with a glass door, stuffed full of colorful packages of various sizes with writing too small to read casually. To the right was a six-foot display case filled with about forty large, square, glass jars of marijuana. It was a rainbow of green with highlights of orange and white and purple, and they were all neatly labeled with creative names like Sour Diesel, Maui Wowi, and OG Kush. I specified to smiling man number two that I needed something for migraine. He made a recommendation. I asked about edibles. He made another recommendation. Then he pulled out something organic and my inner hippie clapped her hands and jumped up and down with glee. After a little bit more discussion, the transaction was made and I was on my way with a nondescript white bag of potential.

This was my first time visiting a cannabis dispensary. Previously I'd gone through a delivery service. The convenience of having someone bring my order to me is beautiful. I don't even have to get out of my jammies. However, with the particular delivery service I used, it was difficult to find a favorite strain because their stock changed so often. And even if the establishment had something I knew I liked in stock, there was no guarantee that my delivery person would. We very rarely got the same type of marijuana twice. But for the most this wasn't an issue until they were flooded with a certain sativa that made my head scream. I couldn't get anything else from them for a week; that was all any of the drivers had, besides the the stuff that costs so much we wouldn't eat if we got it. (They always seemed to have plenty of what I couldn't afford.) We've since learned to have a back-up plan.

It's not as easy as it sounds to self-medicate. Some types of pot make my head much worse, and smoking too much in one sitting can make it all nice and explodey. But if I take it slow, with small, frequent doses, it improves my productivity more than I thought was possible when I was on the standard pharmaceuticals. Yes, I sometimes get the giggles, or lose cognitive skills after smoking, which can embarrass me and make me feel self-conscious of my choices. But then I remember experiencing what we lovingly call a soma coma. And being impacted. And the constant heartburn I had on that one drug. And how my skin broke out like crazy on that other one. And that six months (a year?) that I was on oxy-something or other that I have very little recollection of. These side effects were uncomfortable at best, torture at worst, but I would withstand any of them if they made a dent in the chronic migraines. They never did. I'm not anti-pill, really. I'm open to trying, I'm just anti-futility. And I refuse to live in that constant state of sedation and constipation again. Luckily for me, with marijuana, I don't have to.

**I'm absolutely NOT judging anyone else's medical/pain management choices and any negative views of treatments are my own opinions that are based on my personal experiences.


Diana Lee said...

It sounds eerily similar to what they showed on Weeds! Cool post. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Sounds great that the people you went to knew their products. Just like a pharmacist, they should know what goes into what they dispense!

The problem with botanicals is just what you say, the dosages can be inconsistent, no matter what botanical you use!

Faren said...

I'm really glad that you have found something that helps you fairly constantly.

Shauna said...

Hi there;

From a sister in pain to another...your writing is so truthful, selfless and honest. Excellent blog. I'm adding you to my Blogroll if that is alright with you. :-D

I'm all for anything that helps each individual. I'm a very liberal person; I happen to be a nurse, (retired now due to being Disabled), and my specialty was Palliative Care. Hospice nursing taught me that anything, literally any substance, or a mixture of a select few; that worked for my beautiful patients as they eased their way out of this existence, as pain free as possible....well, that taught me that society needs to loosen the straight-laced belts a tad, and realize that alternative treatments work on some pain sufferers, dying or not. Unfortunately, until a person suffers pain, and pain that stops being Acute and moves on to Chronic; will not, and can not know or understand what we feel.

Not simply relief of pain was my focus. The whole person was assessed, and all needs were met; from spiritual, to social, personal to their family support system. It was an honor, I consider it; to be present when someone left this earth. It is a quite sublime experience--truly not explainable with words.

My mom and dad were both under my care on hospice, ( they had Hospice nurses, I was their primary caregiver.) yet they both waited until that one night that I left and spent the night at my house. I believe that was their choice...a decision made even through a coma.

Let's keep in touch--we have a lot in common sister!

Gentle Hugs <3