By Jerry Rodriguez
As an individual that is wired a little different than everyone else, I have had many different chemical cocktails used to stabilize what they deemed a disorder. I am clinically diagnosed as Bipolar 2, ADHD, and anxiety. In the 2nd grade I was diagnosed with ADHD by a doctor at Kaiser in Riverside, CA and began my unfortunate relationship with chemicals to alter my chemical imbalances. It later became Prozac, Norpramine, Dexadrine, Aderal, Serequal, Welbutrin, and when finally diagnosed Bipolar 2 as an adult they added Lamictal, and a few different tranquilizers. There was always a different combination and always a regurgitation and experimenting when I started with a new therapist. They wanted to try the same chemicals that always only got part of the job done. My fondest memory of medication adjustments was when I was taken off of, I believe Norporamine; because it was causing cardiac arrest in teenagers. That was the first time I became leery of what these doctors wanted to give me. I was still a teenager, so I did what I was told but never felt right about it.
My approach to my mental health changed greatly when I was planning on moving from California to Washington and losing my medical insurance. I knew that I had to find another way because I could not move states and have a come-apart and lose a new job or worse. This meant I needed to find a way to treat the imbalance with alternatives. This led me to the best control of my life up until that point. I went completely away from prescribed medication and I started adding to my diet many different nutrients that feed the brain the chemicals it is lacking. I dove into books and read about doctors that believed many mental disorders were caused by nutrition deficiencies. I added and took away and exercised, meditated and went completely holistic in my approach to finding my balance. This all worked great for my ADHD but didn’t really touch my Bipolar 2 and anxiety. I tried a few different supplements but never found a solid answer to my mood swings and panic attacks.
That all changed about two years ago when I was introduced to CBD because I was dealing with joint pain and other pain issues. My wife was also trying to treat her neuropathy with CBD as well because so many had told us the wonders it did for pain. They were correct except many forgot one key fact. For us, however, CBD worked much better when combined with THC. This is due to what is known as the entourage effect. Which basically means that the numerous cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant work best when they are completely together.
During my search one day for a better CBD dominate strain, I got into a conversation with a BudTender at a shop in Airway Heights, WA. He shared with me that CBD was not only good for pain but also mood enhancement. As I investigated his claim, I found information that shows that CBD can take a good mood that is usually transient, or short-lived and stretch it out for a much longer duration. This had me very intrigued because it seemed to be the missing ingredient to my mental health cocktail. I spent the next few months speaking to doctors and counselors and any professional that would listen, to make sure I was on the correct path. Often, I got the same old not enough research statement but it also came with, if it is working, it is working.
That is exactly what it does too. It works and basically kills two birds with one toke. What I found was that it took my good moods and stretched them out through my day. So, I begin each day with a toke and then listen to uplifting music or some comedy or talk to someone and try to laugh and smile as much as possible. This combined with meditation my days seem to be much more mellow and stable. This all works because of what we now know to be the ECS (endocannabinoid system,) which is an inner receptor system in each of our bodies that is designed to process cannabinoids like CBD/THC/THCV and so many more. In high school and into my early 20s I had a very fond relationship with cannabis and now I understand why, much more than I did then.
My methods are not perfect for everyone and is what I have found to work for me. I strongly urge you to do some research and talk to multiple doctors to find the best choices to bring great balance into your life.