“Addiction” is Only Relevant to Recreational Use. If You Can’t Stop Taking it Anyway, Who Cares?

After about a year of costly trial and error in trying to find which medical marijuana products and dosages worked for me to treat the unrelenting pain, symptoms and damage of my Crohn’s disease, I finally found a cannabis product that kept me at a comfortable level of medication 24 hours a day — transdermal patches.  Some people only need a half a patch and can leave it on for 48 hours and stay comfortable but I found that I needed 2 full patches, and I will change them every 24 hours if I am feeling ill, or leave them on for 48 hours when I am feeling relatively well.  These are very low dose and very expensive per milligram compared to other products like edibles and vape, but I have found that this delivery method works the best for me especially with regard to gut spasms and urgency where I no longer feel tied to the bathroom and can mostly take care of what I need to in a day.  The low dose does not make me feel stoned either, just physically and mentally comfortable and not constantly reminded of my pain and not constantly monitoring my condition and having to think about medicating, worrying about getting “too low” where my pain and symptoms came back with a vengeance and then not worrying about getting “too high” where I was incapacitated from the medicine.

When I discovered the patches, I felt like I had finally gotten my life back although as a chronically ill person with an incurable and progressive disease, I never really feel “well” as a well person would define that, and I have not felt like “myself” in 6 years.  And now that I have been using the patches for about 2 years I have noticed that I cannot comfortably come completely “down” from them without my symptoms returning immediately — if I let it go longer than 24 hours when I am sick, or longer than 48 hours when I am feeling relatively well, I know it.  I begin feeling run down, feverish, have a weird full-body sensation of extreme physical and mental irritability which I can best describe as a combination of humming/vibrating and crunchy/scratchy, I have sleep disturbances and insomnia, and my gut symptoms return including deeply aggravating gurgling and bubbling, nausea, bloating, heartburn, terrifying esophageal spasms for which many people visit the emergency room of hospitals every year because it feels like you are dying and can be mistaken for heart attack symptoms, gut spasms, bogginess, pain, urgency, and diarrhea.

Of course, I had already had all of these symptoms, including the weird irritability crunchy/scratchy/vibrating thing just from the Crohn’s and well before I ever tried medical cannabis.  I have researched the effects of “cannabis addiction” and withdrawal, which seem to be a thing although being merely extremely uncomfortable it’s nothing like the dangerous and potentially deadly effects of opioid and opiate withdrawal, and the symptoms of cannabis withdrawal seem to mirror the symptoms of Crohn’s more or less exactly.  So when I “come down” from my medication, am I having symptoms of cannabis withdrawal or Crohn’s?  And if I am “dependent” on and can’t stop taking the cannabis anyway because as a person with a dangerous inflammatory bowel disease I will need to take anti-inflammatory or other medication for the rest of my life to avoid a dangerous flare, and cannabis is a powerful anti-inflammatory, does it even matter if I am “addicted” to or dependent on the cannabis at this point?  If I can’t stop taking it anyway, who cares?

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