My experience of medical cannabis
This article was written by a young person and is about their experience of using medical cannabis.
TW: This article includes references to suicidal thoughts.
I was diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depression in my teens, and my GP prescribed me anti-anxiety medication, which seemed to have no positive impact on my mental health. They then prescribed me a few different antidepressants, but again I found no relief from my symptoms, if anything I felt more suicidal after taking them for a few months. I first tried cannabis when I was 16, but this was occasional and mostly at parties.
I’ve now consumed cannabis nearly every day since I was 18, and I am currently 24. When I first started using cannabis regularly, I thought I was doing it recreationally, and I didn’t consciously use it to improve my mental health. I had problems at home with my family at the time, and I always wanted to get out, so I’d meet my friends and we’d “get high”. I saw it as a method of escapism, and a way to connect with my friends.
Cannabis & mental health
Over time, I found that cannabis helped my anxiety and depression. It helped me to calm down when I felt close to having a panic attack. It would motivate me to get out of bed in the morning and go out and see the world. It even reduced my ruminating thoughts and helped me sleep at night. At this point I started to feel ashamed of myself, and thought “If cannabis is an illegal drug, am I now addicted to illegal drugs?” But I didn’t feel like a drug addict when I was taking anti-depressant tablets every morning. What is clear to me now is the difference the legality of drugs makes, and the stigma surrounding those that are illegal.
After researching about cannabis online, and talking to other medical cannabis users, I discovered that there was a lack of research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis until very recently. I read other cannabis users’ stories, and I realised I’d been using cannabis medicinally for a while, and I hadn’t had the negative side effects from it like I had with prescription medications. The only negative effect I find that I receive from cannabis is dry mouth, and that’s nothing a little water won’t fix!
How to get a prescription
At this point, I knew cannabis was the medicine I needed, but I was having to go to street dealers to purchase it, which increased my anxiety and paranoia. A few years passed and finally, this year (2022), I found out there’s now access to medicinal cannabis in the UK, on private prescription. I was recommended by a friend to a company called Sapphire Clinic. For prescription they require you to have an illness listed within their treatable list, and to have tried at least two prescription medications for your illness.
Assessment and delivery
So, I sent off an online application on their website and booked my video assessment with them. I had my initial one-hour video call assessment with a psychiatrist, and they then had a multi-disciplinary team discussion regarding whether to prescribe me cannabis or not. A few days later, it was confirmed to me by email that I had been prescribed medicinal cannabis for mixed anxiety and depressive disorder. Then, I was sent my medicinal cannabis by tracked DPD delivery, and a few days later I received my prescription to my door.
Perks of medical cannabis
I am now comfortable and proud to say I am a cannabis user, and a legal, medicinal, law-approved one at that! The perks are that the medicinal cannabis is consistent, affordable, arrives by tracked delivery, and is grown with care. I consume cannabis in a more stable way now; I weigh out my daily amount each morning and I consume it at set intervals throughout the day, similarly to how other medicines are generally taken. I don’t feel like I always have to watch my back anymore, I feel valid in my consumption.
Awareness of medical cannabis
Medicinal cannabis is a useful medication for various illnesses, such as cancer, MS, anxiety, depression, ADHD, epilepsy, and many more. I want to raise awareness of how we should aim to educate young people on the true effects of cannabis, good and bad, rather than just using scare tactics to frighten them away. Cannabis is the first medication I have found that has given me some relief to my symptoms of anxiety and depression. I want people to be allowed to have access to the medicine that they deserve in order to have a better quality of life.
Support for your mental health
If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts, get in touch with the team at The Mix who are there to listen and offer free and confidential support.
Read our guide to having a conversation about suicide.
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Updated on 03-Oct-2022
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