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Is cannabis therapeutic for the 'mentally ill'?

A

Apotheosis

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lola86 said:
i dont know his is the right place to write this but just because i smoke a bit of cannabis now and then does not mean i dont want to get better.
I don't think it's simple; & very much depends on many factors & the individual involved.
If you have a 'psychotic' condition; & you are using UK 'street cannabis'; which has high levels of THC - it will exasperate symptoms, often severely.

I smoked it for 17 years - very heavily. There were little breaks away from it in that time - but generally I'd get through a quarter ounce a day.

In the past 8 years I have smoked it once - 2 years ago, for one day. In the past 8 years I have also been following a recovery off all alcohol & all other drugs (apart from one med). I had a 'slip' with the alcohol too; & had the odd drink - I got drunk around 4 times. I am tee-total again; for these past 2 years.

Cannabis is stored in the fat cells of the brain. It takes 6 months of an initial detox to come out from the system; physically. Deeper physical, psychological & bio-chemical changes can take years to balance back out - some changes are permanent from cannabis smoking.

I have read the in depth story of a man who smoked half a cannabis joint; & suffered extreme psychological problems as a result for the rest of his life. Such stories are extreme, but they do happen. I was in hospital with a guy who had been there 30 years. He was originally sectioned at around 16, with a cannabis psychosis, he used to smoke it with his dad. Upon discharge (at 16) - he smoked it again - & spent the main part of his life in the psych hospital.

Although not all the 'mentally ill' have substance misuse issues - a huge amount of them do. It appeared that most of the people I have met in psych hospitals have indeed used substances. I am not saying this caused their mental illness - but there is a relationship to exasperating symptoms.

When I stopped smoking cannabis I hallucinated permanently for a very long time. It took 2 years before I balanced out to any degree. 8 years later I still get some very odd days & experiences; that a lot I put down to past substance abuse. I was told by quite a few people to give it 10 years before things really settled down - after 17 years of drug taking. I think it's silly to expect to feel better straight away after putting down drugs - even after a year. We aren't talking about smarties.

Psychiatric hospitals are full of people; who are there in part due to habitual drug use. There are wards in London specifically utilised for the treatment of 'cannabis induced psychosis'. Personally I think all drugs should be legal - & for most people a joint isn't a problem - but 'we' are not most people. Promoting, condoning, & portraying drugs as a bit of light hearted fun & relief from severe MH conditions - is I think; irresponsible; especially on a MH forum. There are plenty of 'cannabis forums' that people can go to, & chat all day about the 'joys' of cannabis addiction.
 
unlucky

unlucky

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I don't have any 'substance issues'. I enjoy a drink with my husband but thats about it.
I dabbled with a few drugs when I was younger (18 or so), cannabis(just made me feel sick), speed (couldn't stand the comedown), acid (hated the hallucinations) but I really only tried them once or twice each, never had any problems with them.
I have a male neighbour who used to smoke an awful lot of cannabis and used speed a lot and he now has drug induced schizophrenia and has said he'll never work again. Is this a lifetime condition? He hasn't taken any drugs for 8 years - does it affect you permanently. Forgive me, but he seems fine to me and I often think he just plays on it. He is on incapacity benefit and DLA and has blatantly told me he makes everything on his forms up, even trying to give me tips!! Obviously I know this is not the case with everyone but I just wondered if drug induced things were irreversible.
 
unlucky

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Oh, just as a wee ps. I'm of the opinion that cocaine is the devil!! My best friend killed himself after becoming hooked on it and I've had 5 casual aquaintances who have also killed themselves after becoming involved in it. Strangely enough all men. What annoys me is that these won't be in the governments drugs death statistics because they took their own lives but I am in no doubt that cocaine was the major factor in their deaths.
 
J

jamesdean

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Its such a difficult one because of physical pain though I said that I would never take cannabis again but I have alittle n if I had enough cash would get it regular right now, in all the ten years that I used it I was so chilled out n yet look at me right now trying to do it the correct way with the mh service n the phyical health teams n yet I just seem to be going from bad to worse. They honestly cannot even organise an out patients appointment n yesterday I receieved a copy of the letter adressed to my gp in fact it wasnt even my gp but one in our practice saying could you encouage this patient to turn up to his apointment. I was furious n just seen red but the think is I dont want to argue with these people all that I wanted was an apointment, but to be quite honest I just feel like giving up anyway last time I was this low I stayed off the forum n posting because I felt more of a responsaible person to give encouargement but I just dont have any energy now n just wished I had the guts to job right now.

I had even asked some one if they could get me some cocaine the other day.

I honestly cannot even grasp reality right now I would just love to be stoned right now n out of this low!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Please excuse me n dont take my advice anyone please
 
A

Apotheosis

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I don't have any 'substance issues'. I enjoy a drink with my husband but thats about it.
I dabbled with a few drugs when I was younger (18 or so), cannabis(just made me feel sick), speed (couldn't stand the comedown), acid (hated the hallucinations) but I really only tried them once or twice each, never had any problems with them.
There is to my mind a massive difference between 'addiction' & recreational use - the vast majority of people are not 'addicts'. I am - all substances are a potential problem for me.

Nor are drugs black & white - good or bad. There is every shade in between.
We are all so very different in out psychological & physiological make ups. There are so many variables involved in drug experiences. Let us not forget either that 'meds' are drugs.

Obviously I know this is not the case with everyone but I just wondered if drug induced things were irreversible.
This is a very good question & I don't think that there are any clear answers. LSD, mushrooms & ketamine; as well as other hallucinogens; & other drugs - I do personally think have made permanent alterations to my brain, & perceptions. I fail to see how someone could take LSD & not be permanently altered by it in some way. The issues of 'mental illness' & how much can be brought about or exasperated by drugs is a complex & difficult one. I cannot know how I would have been without 17 years of addiction - or if I had never taken any drugs. It's chicken & egg to a degree. There is no proof as far as I am aware that street drugs can cause 'schizophrenia' or any other major MH label. Rather it seems to be part of a continuum of influencing factors relating to cause; or exasperating a condition.

Many people I have known to have consumed & taken as many, if not more drugs than me - have no mental illness of the type I have suffered. That isn't to say that they are not mad; just that they have not been 'ill' in the same way as me - & pathologised with a label.

Some people say that if a 'drug induced psychosis' has not cleared up within a set amount of time, of stopping drugs; then the 'MH condition' is separate to the drugs & underlying anything to do with them. I would think that the 'truth' is more complex than that; if someone is given very high doses of certain drugs; permanent damage can occur. The brain however does have a great capacity to heal, due to it's plasticity.

It would come down again very much to individual circumstances. Recovery for me, since I stopped taking drugs; has been very slow & gradual. But I have been able more & more to separate out different factors. So that there are many factors that have influenced my mental health. For me the drugs exasperated certain mental & emotional pain & did send me mad. There are however deeper & multiple reasons for the causes of why I habitually used drugs.

When I got clean 8 years ago I fully expected that the 'psychosis' would pass; that I could successfully get off meds; & that everything would improve quickly. That I would not experience the same continuing difficulties. This wasn't to be the case - in the past 8 years I have had 3 of the worst 'psychotic breakdowns' I have ever had. I am dependant on meds. I have been too unwell to work. Stopping drugs raised a lot of issues that I had 'blocked out' for years. There are many rewards however; & overall my quality of life is much improved. It is not like I imagined. It is very hard; impossible in fact, for someone in active addiction & habitually using drugs - to comprehend what life is like clean. It isn't an end to problems & difficulties. But rather an increase in personal responsibilities & an appreciation of more of the subtleties of life.
 
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unlucky

unlucky

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It must be true that its in your genetic make up with regards to whether you will be affected in adverse ways with drugs. When I met my husband he was taking ecstasy 3-4 nights a week. He only came off it when I told him it was either the drugs or me. That was 7 years ago and he has never had any adverse effects and his mind is absolutely fine (well thats a lie, the daft bugger got married to me so his minds obviously not fine!!). Hes a little forgetful but he was doing this every weekend for at least 3 years, but then thats not to say he won't suffer consequences of this in his later life.
 
M

maudikie

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Cannabis

My son dmitted to smoking cannabis on only a few occasions. He said it did nothing for him.It hasleft him withpermanent mental health problems for which he takes medicationon a regular basis, and feels ill if he misses a dose.
He is fortunate in not having too many side effects from the original medications i.e. the older ones, but occasioannly gets the twitches. He doesn't complain but they are slight but noticeable. He has not put on a lot of weight withOlanzapine, and takes Kenedrine as well. He is active, but when he has had enough exercise just flops. Concentration for reading ispoor, so books are no good. Short articles he can manage, Is a delightful character and most helpful to family and neighbours.
 
A

Apotheosis

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Oh, just as a wee ps. I'm of the opinion that cocaine is the devil!! My best friend killed himself after becoming hooked on it and I've had 5 casual aquaintances who have also killed themselves after becoming involved in it. Strangely enough all men. What annoys me is that these won't be in the governments drugs death statistics because they took their own lives but I am in no doubt that cocaine was the major factor in their deaths.
Sorry to hear that. I used cocaine habitually along with a lot of other substances. I 'sniffed' daily for around 5 years. Eventually I had to move area & avoid a lot of people to get away from it. This was around 4 years before I got clean off everything. Drug education in this country is very poor & one sided. They don't tell people how great certain drugs can make you feel; but it is a sobering fact that drugs are highly addictive. I remember when I first did Cocaine. I was hooked from then. It got to the stage that I would feel wired & paranoid, before I had sniffed, I knew that sniffing some would make me more para & feel worse, & I had no control over taking it. After I stopped using it daily, whenever it was 'there' I used to take it.

Having said this about cocaine - I found cannabis a far harder drug to stop; & had to get a huge amount of help & support to stop cannabis smoking.

As regards to suicidal behaviour. I first got clean at the age of 21 for around 6 months - before an 8 year relapse. I wound up in a treatment centre. I had been on a massive high & very psychotic - I came crashing down & became very low. I was given prozac & shortly after tried a serious suicide attempt; landing back in psych hospital. I was lucky to have lived through it. Knowing what I know now about the potential for 'anti-depressants' to cause suicidal & homicidal behaviour; in certain people - especially in those that are younger; how much of the cause of that suicide attempt was the result of prozac?

My cousin became very depressed; he was put onto anti-depressants & hung himself. Unfortunately he succeeded in taking his own life.

Since I have been made dependant on an anti-psychotic (11 years). A part of me has been much iller; & attempts at stopping meds have left me more ill than I have ever been. A lot of this has to do, I believe with a withdrawal effect; which is very hard to separate out from any underlying condition.

Any open-minded & rational discussion on drugs; must I think look deeper than whether individual substances are legal or not; & best not to judge the merits or dangers of drugs; based on their legality/illegality; & nor on whether they are prescribed or obtained from the 'black market'.

In many ways I feel that I have been more damaged by legal & prescribed drugs - than I have 'street drugs'.
 
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J

jamesdean

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You know my friend is going through hell at the moment because her bf having just been through rehab for alcohol is back on the drink big time a bottle of vodka a day plus n the arguments well it isnt even arguments its just him shouting shouting shouting all the time every night n day n there are two small children involved n its really upsetting me whot she has to go through n this a a legal subsatnce n this is happening to them, it isnt because hes a horriable person it really is an addication at its worst, the alcohol it seems is just his way of coping afters years n years on drugs, he just cannot handle life, but this by far the worst situation the one child is being helped by a social worker n the next step will be the children being taken off them to get them out of the enviorment, I care so much about these people they are my best friends but to see this happening is just so sad.
When he came out of rehab he was so lovely n he was having some spliff n that was such more chilled out, I think alchol should be banned myself.
 
A

Apotheosis

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It must be true that its in your genetic make up with regards to whether you will be affected in adverse ways with drugs.
Why?

This is the grave mistake which I think is made with 'orthodox medicine & psychiatry'. The orthodox viewpoint is taking biological factors as being primary & sole cause for 'problems'. Without much consideration for many other viable factors & potential reasons for cause (often having more provable evidence as to potential cause). There is also no evidence or categorical proof for the biological causes of mental illness. This is fact - these things are theories; & it should be acknowledged openly that they are; by doctors, psychiatrists, & pharmaceutical companies.
 
unlucky

unlucky

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Gosh, you have been through a lot haven't you. But then, even if you don't think it sometimes you are one of the lucky ones - theres so many who don't come through the other side. As for you having to move area, in 2 of my casual aquaintances deaths I think the fact that they owed a fortune to dealers was also a major contributing factor - they probably thought it was best to do it themselves than get tortured to death!

Regarding legal drugs (anti d's), its a valid arguement. I got involved in the mental health system 9 years ago and have never been off some kind of prescribed drugs and still I have peaks and troughs, although I'm afraid the downs have outweighed the ups. I often wonder if I'd be better coming off the drugs altogether but then its a bit of a vicious circle because I can't work and rely on incapacity benefit. If I came off the drugs the doctors prescribed then I would be viewed as fit for work when I'm afraid I'm far from it.
 
A

Apotheosis

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.....n this a a legal subsatnce n this is happening to them, it isnt because hes a horriable person it really is an addication at its worst, the alcohol it seems is just his way of coping afters years n years on drugs.....

.....When he came out of rehab he was so lovely n he was having some spliff n that was such more chilled out, I think alchol should be banned myself.
Sorry to hear that your friends are going through that. I have see some awful things. I have to try to not be around that kind of thing too much. I have to put my own recovery & sobriety above other things. Alcohol used to get me in a lot of trouble; I used to do a lot of drinking too, & I have no trouble identifying as an 'alcoholic' either; I consider it the same underlying condition as 'addiction'. It is great hypocrisy that alcohol & tobacco is legal & other drugs are not; given that tobacco kills 120,000 people a year in the UK alone.

Addiction/alcoholism is hell. I really don't see much difference in what the substances are that are involved. I spent my time in active addiction substituting one substance for another - switching drugs thinking that a specific substance was the problem. It took a long time to realise & know that the habitual use of alcohol/drugs are the 'symptom'; that addiction is at a far deeper level of thoughts & feelings. The 'spiritual dilemma'.
 
J

jamesdean

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I guess I'm quite lucky that I do not get addicted to stuff I can take it or leave it mostly leave it but to be quite honest I do think that alchol is the worst because in my experience drugs has such n though it isnt nice for the person thats addicted dosent seem to give you an ggresive streak I lived with a guy who was addicted to alcohol many years ago but its the argumentive side of it that they just will not shut up until they have drove you to the ground, then I dont know I just get happy on the drugs that I have taken like cannabis cocaine n speed perhaps because I havent got addicated its better but I know I can be responsable for arguments on alchol n it gives you such an hangover which I dont find with drugs but then my bf gets quite nasty on spliff when he knows hes had it but once for about six months I was cooking with it n he was so F****g happy until one day he thought he was having an heart attack that I had to tell him, it was a few years ago.

All this is doing to me to day is making me want to be stoned n I have to tell everyone whot a prat I have been I gave someone my last £50 for some concert tickets n I have been conned today whot a twat I am, has if I wasnt low enough I have kicked myself to the ground, I just wish I could numb my pain right now
 
A

Apotheosis

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I do think that alchol is the worst because in my experience drugs has such n though it isnt nice for the person thats addicted dosent seem to give you an ggresive streak I lived with a guy who was addicted to alcohol many years ago but its the argumentive side of it that they just will not shut up until they have drove you to the ground, then I dont know I just get happy on the drugs that I have taken like cannabis cocaine n speed perhaps because I havent got addicated its better but I know I can be responsable for arguments on alchol n it gives you such an hangover which I dont find with drugs but then my bf gets quite nasty on spliff when he knows hes had it but once for about six months I was cooking with it n he was so F****g happy until one day he thought he was having an heart attack that I had to tell him, it was a few years ago.
Alcohol used to get me in a lot of trouble. Drink does appear to cause a lot of related aggressiveness, violent behaviour & other stupidity. When I used to go out I would rather take other drugs on top of the drink; as I seemed to get in less trouble when I did.

I have an alcoholic friend - all he ever really wants to do is argue. He stores up what has been said in every argument & conversation previously & brings it all back up - but in his addled brain; gets very confused over everything. I have known him 8 years - he gets progressively worse & more ill. People in addiction appear to be at odds with everyone; & they live in resentment.

I stress again though; that I don't think most people who drink & recreationally take drugs are addicts. It is a personal admittance to admit to. I would love to be able to have the odd joint - go out & have a few drinks, the odd pill or line of coke. I can't; I really cannot stop when I start; & it leads to holding cells & the nut house; if I'd carried on it leads to an early death. I don't want that life back any more. I see nothing wrong in people taking drugs if they choose to. In an ideal World all drugs would be legal.

All this is doing to me to day is making me want to be stoned n I have to tell everyone whot a prat I have been I gave someone my last £50 for some concert tickets n I have been conned today whot a twat I am, has if I wasnt low enough I have kicked myself to the ground, I just wish I could numb my pain right now
I have spent the afternoon in PC World - helping a dear friend to choose a laptop & digital camera. 3 hours later & they eventually decided on one.

I sometimes feel like getting totally out of my head & numbing the pain; of taking something to change the way I feel. But, for me, I know where it leads. It doesn't work for any length of time; but ultimately makes things worse. Usually I buzz of having a straight head. I have done more than my lifetime share of drugs. ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSXjs9opy4w
 
A

Apotheosis

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Gosh, you have been through a lot haven't you. But then, even if you don't think it sometimes you are one of the lucky ones -
Luck I think is all based on perspective. I can say I was lucky that I didn't get into IV use; or heavily into heroin & crack - but compared to some I wasn't lucky at all with some of the things I went through. Pain - especially mental/emotional pain is very subjective - we can't compare pain.

If I came off the drugs the doctors prescribed then I would be viewed as fit for work when I'm afraid I'm far from it.
Whether you are on a prescription dug; does have some bearing on eligibility for benefit; but I would not think it is critical to make a claim. It would depend on other circumstances too. I have hope to get off the prescribed drug which I am on - one day. Ideally I would love to be in a position to be self supporting & not have to rely in any way on the state. Unfortunately that is not presently my situation.
 
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