Did you know that roughly 47.1 million Americans are living with a mental health condition of some kind in 2021? And that’s only including people with official diagnoses! For a long time, your only (legal) options for treating mental health conditions were harsh prescriptions and therapy. While these are good and necessary options for some, they aren’t for everyone. Luckily, the medical community has begun to embrace the possibility of cannabis medicine positively affecting a person’s mental health. At UTTHC, we see patients every single day that tell us how much happier they are after switching to Medical Cannabis, and some of them have even agreed to share their stories with us on Utah in the Weeds podcast, hosted by our founder, Tim Pickett. If you’re no stranger to poor mental health, you know how easy it is to feel alone and helpless at times. I promise you’re not. Here are just a few of the success stories shared on the podcast about using cannabis for mental health conditions.
“I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD three different times over 25 years. The first one was when my husband was killed by a drunk driver. I had a lot of really weird situations. Anyways, neither here nor there, I think that I self-medicated all those years because I couldn’t take antidepressants and I didn’t want to be wiped on Valium or Xanax. I had a full-time job, I had a kid to raise, didn’t have time to mess around. I’ve always paid my own bills, always been super responsible. So, it’s hard to admit back then that I was that heavy of a pot user because people would judge me and be like, ‘Oh.’ But if you didn’t know me and you met me, you’d never guess now, would you?”
“With the PTSD/bipolar combo, sometimes you just don’t know what the hell you’re going to find when you wake up. You can be happy and having a good day and you wake up the next day and it’s going to be three or four weeks of pure hell of being miserable and depressed, or even worse getting into a mixed episode where your anxiety is amped up. And cannabis is essential in calming me down. The way that I used to describe it to my wife before she got her Med Card and got her to understand. How it works is: it’s like a nerve blanket. So it’s my nerves are just fried, they’re frazzled, they’re raw. And it’s like somebody just put a blanket around those nerves and just calmed them down and helped me relax.”
“I was on SSRIs, I was on anti-anxiety medication, I was on sleep medication, I was all sorts of pharmaceuticals and the most unhappy I’ve ever been. So for me, it was like, ‘I’ll just use it at night. I’ll just use it for sleep. And if I break a tooth, then I have it for pain.’ So that’s what I qualified under. And it wasn’t until I started experimenting — because I tried the flower, I tried the capsules, I tried the tinctures, I tried the stuff you rub on your jaw, like the balms, I tried the vape. I tried all of it — and that’s when I noticed, ‘Holy shit, this is actually helping my anxiety. I wonder what would happen if I used it for a panic attack.’ And so I would try it that way. And I think that’s when I was like, ‘Oh my God, this isn’t just a party drug.’ There are so many different things that this is helping with.”
“(Cannabis) helps more than any of the ADHD medications I’ve ever been on either. It helps with my anxiety more than all of those drugs. It helps with my ADHD, PTSD, my pain. It really helps in a better way than all of them.”
“I suffer from PTSD — and when I say PTSD I really just mean I suffer from the nightmares of war that haunt me — and in order to put them to bed, I smoke Indica so I can sleep. I don’t want to dream, and I prefer that way, way, way over what I had chosen previously, which was alcohol.”
“Sometimes I’ll close my eyes, I’ll stop to relax, and then I’ll get a flashback of something, and it’ll just make me uncomfortable and I’ll cringe, and I just get really anxious. And depending on the flashback and the severity of that situation, there are some nights where I just can’t sleep, period. With cannabis, if I have a higher dose edible, that’s the biggest part. That’s the biggest help for me, is being able to fall asleep, stay asleep, not have any nightmares. Usually, I have really great dreams or no dreams at all, and I’m just out.”
While Medical Cannabis isn’t the answer for everyone, we want you to know there are alternatives out there. Keep in mind that in Utah, PTSD is the only approved qualifying mental health condition for Medical Cannabis use. However, many of the patients we see at UTTHC for other qualifying conditions find that their canna-medicine treats more than what they had bargained for. Take a quick, confidential prescreen to see if/how you qualify for Medical Cannabis in Utah, or give us a call to chat about your options. (Note: always be open and honest about your cannabis use with each of your medical providers. Cannabis & mental health medications may interact poorly.) And remember, you are not alone in this.
If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). For those located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately.