So, I want to share a bit about my personal experiences with THC. Let me emphasize: I’m just talking about my personal experiences. Let me also emphasize that in my present location, THC is sold legally. This website IS NOT advocating for any type of illegal behavior. I am relaying my personal experiences with a legal substance. And, my intention, truth be told, is in the spirit of harm reduction. If you read this article you’ll see that I’m saying that THC isn’t as across-the-board harmless as many folks portray it.
I still have a little pain that comes and goes resulting from my spinal fusion surgery. For pain managment I do a lot of things including stretching, yoga, walking, meditation, proper nutrition, etc.
But, I was curious about whether legal THC might help me with pain management. Given that I also have OCD, I was nervous about this. But, I felt it was worthwhile to give it a try.
Table of Contents
Is THC harmless?
I know there are many people out there who think THC is the greatest thing on God’s green earth. And, I’m not telling them they’re wrong. I’m just talking about my life.
And, I do think there’s room to honestly push back on the general notion that THC is harmless. I think for a lot of people it can be. There are people who take a few edibles every other Friday night, and it doesn’t seem to cause them any problems whatsoever. This is the general reputation of THC: it’s a mild and mellow harmless thing. And, the truth is…it does appear to be harmless for many people who use it moderately. This isn’t my field of expertise! I’m just relaying what I’ve observed over my life.
But, it really isn’t harmless for everyone. I can say that with certainty because it has a bad effect on me personally. This is sometimes particularly true, it seems, for those who have some underlying mental health things going on…there’s some controversy surrounding that, so I will mainly focus on my personal experiences. I included that link to show that I’m not the only person who shares this opinion. But, as I mentioned, this is controversial terrain. There are many who will passionately argue for the benefits of THC. And, I am not saying that it doesn’t help some people. It does. Life is tricky. It’s not just black-and-white.
With this article I want to try and balance things out a bit. Because, it seems the predominant view is that THC is at worst harmless and at best a miracle cure for everything. You can drive through some towns for a few miles and pass five different dispensaries along the way.
First THC experiences in high school
I started using THC when I was sixteen. I was in high school. They call in high school for a reason: at least, that was true for me! We smoked it just about every day. And, on the weekends without fail. I remember getting it by the ounce. That was a very healthy looking sized bag.
THC and adolescent depersonalization
Back then I didn’t even fully enjoy the experience. I enjoyed the weirdness of it in a way. But, it made me feel paranoid. And, it also created a sense of both depersonalization and derealization. WebMD defines derealization this way:
a mental state where you feel detached from your surroundings. People and objects around you may seem unreal. Even so, you’re aware that this altered state isn’t normal. More than half of all people may have this disconnection from reality once in their lifetime.
A lot of people don’t associate TCH with negative effects like depersonalization, derealization and excessive anxiety or even panic attacks. These negative consquences aren’t experienced by everyone. But, they are experienced by some users.
Here is an excellent article that discusses the differences between depersonalization and derealization.
So, in a sick way I kind of liked that derealization/depersonalization experience. But, it was also coupled with anxiety most of the time. So, it wasn’t enjoyable, honestly. But, in a sick way I liked it. It’s hard to explain.
I had the risk factors such as being an adolescent male. I think another unusual thing about my circumstances that may have contributed…maybe…was that I did LSD before I had gotten high on marijuana. I was a pretty fucking weird kid I guess. When I think back over my life, one of the weirdest and dumbest things I did was trying fucking LSD before I even got high on marijuana! What the hell was I thinking!
Addiction, generally, is difficult to explain. But, I also think peer pressure was part of the appeal. Not so much pressure. But, I wanted to remain in the friend group. And, that’s what the little friend group did: smoke weed.
So, while no one was pressuring me to do anything. There was no way to just go along for the ride. That would have been awkward and weird. So, I smoked a ton of weed with my friends in high school. In my first year of college, I basically stopped the THC use. I said to myself, “This is making me paranoid. I’m not really enjoying it. What’s the point?”
THC use as a middle-aged man
So, many years later as a much older guy…in a society where THC is now legal…I decided to give it another try. I’d like to try and reduce my physical pain. And, I’m also not against plain old-fashioned relaxing if possible!
And, damn…is it ever strong these days! I could take four edibles…20 mg…and, be just…totally messed-up! And, I was quickly reminded of why I stopped using it in the first place.
While there are moments where it makes sitting around musing about things rather interesting, the negatives are too negative for me. And, once again: I’m just relaying MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. But, these are some of the THC negatives I get as a middle-age guy:
- Excessive thirst
- Negative, gloomy thought loops: this experience is particularly disconcerting!
- Just an underlying feeling of being unsettled
- A lack of motivation that can continue for days
- A worsening of OCD: this is also just awful.
- Pretty crazy mood swings for days after: this can be like a manic state.
I stopped using THC
So, once I figured out that THC was carrying all these negatives with it, I stopped once again. But, I will admit that it wasn’t easy stopping. Even though I knew it was harming my life, I continued using it. And, that’s where you begin getting into the insanity of addiction: when you understand something is harming you and you still have the compulsion to use it.
I Researched OCD and THC
Yes, I should have definitely done this research prior to using THC: not after I stopped! Story of my life!
The relationship between THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is complex and not fully understood. Some research suggests that THC may potentially worsen symptoms of OCD in certain individuals, while other studies have explored the use of cannabinoids for therapeutic purposes in managing OCD symptoms.
Potential Worsening of OCD: Research indicates that THC, due to its psychoactive effects, can lead to increased anxiety and heightened sensitivity to obsessive thoughts in individuals with OCD. THC’s impact on cognitive function and perception can exacerbate pre-existing obsessions and compulsions, leading to a worsening of symptoms (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020).
Cannabinoids for Treatment: On the other hand, there has been interest in the potential therapeutic use of cannabinoids, including CBD (cannabidiol) and THC, for various mental health conditions, including OCD. Some studies have explored the effects of CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, in reducing anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms (Blessing et al., 2015).
It’s important to note that research in this area is still in its early stages, and findings are mixed. The effects of THC and other cannabinoids can vary widely based on individual factors, including genetics, dose, frequency of use, and the presence of any underlying mental health conditions.
If you or someone you know is dealing with OCD or any mental health concern, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance. Considering the potential risks and benefits of using substances like THC for symptom management is crucial, and a healthcare provider can offer appropriate advice based on your specific situation.
Information Sources along with my personal experience
- Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825-836.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/marijuana.