I am a Disabled Navy veteran with Major depressive disorder and Bipolar. I was diagnosed in 1995 for depresssion and bipolar in 2002. I recieve 100 percent disability from the VA and full social security. As a teen, I used for fun, now that I'm in my 40's, I am becoming so tolarant to the meds that the VA gives me that I DEPEND on having my lamactil and Klonapin every day. I was on 800mg of Serequel and it made me sleep so deep I couldn't stop having incontinance at night. I started taking Trazadone and it made me feel horrible the next day, as if I didn't feel crappy enough. I'm on Melatonin now and might get 4 hours sleep a night. Over the last year, I decided to try using marijauna, even though it is nearly impossible to find in my Mormon town. I started on low grade and used an ounce a week easy, it just flattened my mood, which was ok, but I got into the more expensive higher grade and I was able to start a hobby, leave the house, work outside and be somewhat social. My mom found out that I was using and easily understood the reason as she had seen how little my prescription drugs were working. I was frequently suicidal and didn't give a crap about anything before I started to smoke. People around me think that Marijauna is evil, but I feel that it has boosted my lifes outlook. It is very hard to find in Utah. I am thinking of moving to a legalized state, but I would lose all my family support. Some states dont even support mental illness as a legalization diagnosis. But, I have read over and over that MJ supresses mania and raises depression thus balancing my cycles. I cycle 3+ times a week, sometimes in the same day. I've been hospitalized 5 times over the years and taken EVERY bp med available. Now my doc wants me on Lithium and lamactil. This is killing me to be 41 and retired. The VA has deemed me unable to work along with Social Security. I am doing the illegal track, but I have no other option. I get very unstable when I go dry and have difficulty locating goods. I am not in MJ to get high, I need medical help that pills (with horrible side effects) cannot provide. Why can't doctors just understand it's helpfullness?
I have severe bipolar. At the time I was institutionalized (mental) there were very few medications that could be used for this illness. Even today, conventional medications do not always work and can involve multiple drugs.
When I was released from the institution I tried to function and could not, my illness kept getting in the way. The medications that were available at the time essentially made me a zombie so realistically they were not an option. I ended up turning to marijuana. Please see the attachment to understand the effects that marijuana had on my bipolar and depression. Also note how it affected my physical ailments and my whole outlook on life. Quite frankly, it was a miracle!
Hopefully, the attachment will help you see the depths of the darkness that I emerged from in dealing with bipolar. I wanted to share what medical marijuana can do for some people that live with this type of illness. I think there are many people that can be helped.
There are few success stories when it comes to bipolar. I am one of them that made it. I firmly believe that I would not be where I am at today if I had not used marijuana. I also think it saved me from spending a substantial portion of my life incarcerated, both physically and mentally.
Please consider the side effects of conventional medications, they are substantial. Also note that these medications don't work for 30% of the people that have bipolar. One in five of us commit suicide.
I plead with you to allow reasonable access to medical marijuana for people with a debilitating mental illness. It could mean the difference between suffering through a dark unproductive life compared to a productive happy joyful life and in some cases, life and death.
You have the opportunity to do what is “Right”. I promise you, if you make the right choice and allow reasonable access many people will be helped. If this isn’t enough, please consider the impact on the state budget if all the people that are helped don’t need as much support from the state. What a windfall while helping people lead more productive lives. This is a win/win situation.
Marijuana is not a gateway drug except for the fact that under the old laws, in some cases, the same people who sold marijuana also sold hard drugs. With the legalization of this medicine, the two are being separated. Due to this I ask you to consider that it could actually reduce the use of hard drugs and reduce prison costs.
Don’t be afraid of marijuana. In the long run it will not hurt our society but actually help it.
Please make the “Right” choice, my life depends on it!
PS: This is a letter written to the Colorado Legislature in 2010. MJ is still not legal for bipolar but in many cases there is an associated physical illness (severe pain) that will qualify for the Red Card. The Legislature has setup a program that is working and regulated. A petition has been submitted to the Health Department to add PTSD which would open it up to mental illness. It was also submitted last year and turned down.