Cannabis Legalisation – From Someone Who Experienced The Negatives

by Samantha MacKenzie

Cannabis Legalisation – From Someone Who Experienced The Negatives

With the recent legalisation of Cannabis for personal use in the ACT, I thought it would be a great time to share my view as someone who had a negative reaction to smoking it myself. So many of us have an opinion on this matter, but how many have experienced the negative side effects?

My Story

I was probably 16 the first time I smoked weed. I was alone at home and I had the smallest bit. I felt tired and that was the end of it. I smoked it a few times at parties or with my best friend but that was ‘normal’. I remember calling my best friend one night and asking if she would smoke with me before school. The next day on our walk to school we smoked, and I must admit I had way too much. Everything was fine, we laughed and talked and out of nowhere the trees started moving. I experienced what I can only explain as an out of body experience.

I felt as though I was looking down on myself while at the same time feeling dizzy and weird. I sat down for a few minutes and then walked up the path to the school. I began to feel thirsty and remember thinking I was going to die like a rat that had eaten poison and drank itself to death. I then began throwing up so much water and really freaking out. My friend was fine, a bit stoned but no negative effects. I became so scared that I ran to the office and asked for an ambulance.

It turns out that I had experienced my first Panic Attack. I was fine after the effects wore off. Not even a little anxiety. Until a few days later when I was heading on a class trip with a small group of girls and 1 teacher in a taxi. Panic Attack 2! From here on I had anxiety and panic attacks every single day for years.

Did smoking Cannabis cause my Mental Illness?

For a long time, I blamed the weed for making me sick. I went from ‘normal teenager’ to unable to function. But the truth is, I was already suffering from Mental Illness. I was depressed, bulimic, a cutter and I had always been an anxious person. Cannabis didn’t cause my illness, it triggered an underlying issue. Something I was already predisposed to. I didn’t believe any of this at the time, weed ruined everything and no one should ever touch the stuff.

To Legalise or not?

This surprises even me, but I am 100% for the legalisation of Cannabis.  I’m not a doctor or scientist but from my research, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive component of cannabis. This is the stuff that has a major effect on the part of our brain responsible for the regulation of emotional experiences. THC is what effects someone’s mental health, and even then, not everyone reacts the same way. CBD on the other hand has some truly incredible benefits. It has been studied for it’s role in easing and aiding so many health issues including Pain, Migraine, Anxiety, Depression, Heart Disease, Parkinson’s and Cancer. We’ve all seen the stories on the strain Charlotte’s Web – that stuff saves lives and eases suffering. It’s a natural alternative to the many drugs on the market with far more serious side effects, huge price tags and the chance of dependency.

Despite the effect smoking Cannabis had on me, I think the legalisation would help to ensure people are getting the safest possible product and being educated on how to use it the right way for their specific needs. In Canada there are dispensaries with people who know all of the different strains, their benefits and who should be using which. Besides smoking there are also tinctures, edibles and topicals which all have their own benefits.

It all comes down to safety and education.

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