Ask MA at MJ Consulting LLC
Your medical marijuana Q & A
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Question: I have been on psychiatric medication for a long time and want to know if marijuana or hemp would help me get off them?
Answer: Yes, however be cautious. Most drugs for mental health issues are difficult to stop cold turkey, like I did in 2001, producing serious withdrawals. I use a variety of herbs instead of prescriptions. If you have a health care provider to help you decrease and eliminate medication that is best, but they are rare. Most patients start decreasing medications by cutting ¼ off a pill and using a marijuana or hemp product in its place. Several weeks later they cut ½ off the pill, a few weeks later decrease to consume just ¼ of the pill. If you are on a time- release pill they cannot be cut. Ask your doctor to prescribe a non-time-release. If you have been on the medication for years you may need even a slower reduction such as 10% decrease a month, which is what we did for our son after 18 years. If you take multiple doses of the same medication such as a morning and nighttime dose, start with decreasing only one dose such as your morning dose. Once you seem to be ok taking ¼ of the pill away then try taking ¼ away of the evening dose.
Do not expect your mental health provider to be happy with your request to reduce the prescriptions for marijuana. Mental health is waiting for the studies and approval by the FDA. You have a right to participate in your treatment and using marijuana is known to be much safer and a personal choice you get to make.
Using marijuana to treat mental health issues is about going low and slow. Low doses with small increases until you obtain the desired effects. I recently ran across this study.
Beyond the high
Gruber heads a privately funded project, Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND). Started in 2014, MIND’s mission is to study the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on patients’ cognitive performance, conventional medication use, sleep, quality of life, measures of brain structure and function, mental health and other variables.
Gruber, who is also the director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital’s Brain Imaging Center, has worked with recreational marijuana users for over 20 years, but the MIND program focuses on medical marijuana users—and the two populations are very different.
Recreational consumers are happy to say they use marijuana because they want to change their mental states, but many of Gruber’s medical marijuana patients tell her they don’t want to get high: They just want to feel better.
MIND has conducted a number of studies on patients using cannabis for medical purposes, looking at the impact on their cognitive performance over time, starting before use and following them at three- and six-month intervals for up to two years.
These studies have found that the patients, who used cannabis to treat a range of medical problems including anxiety, had largely improved cognitive performance, reduced clinical symptoms and anxiety-related symptoms as well as a reduced use of conventional medications, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and other .. mood stabilizers and antidepressants.
Dr. Sue Sisley has been approved to conduct a mental health study regarding schizophrenia in Arizona. We trust Dr. Sisley and look forward to the outcome.
Submitted by MJ Consulting LLC as information, not legal or medical advice. We do have doctors that can assist patients with this process.
MJ Consulting LLC 8540 E. State Rt. 69, Prescott Valley, AZ 863147, 928-772-2011 www.mymjfamily.com