Thoughts from an Editor
By William Bradley
Why I Advocate for Cannabis
I have been using cannabis since I was 18 years old. I discovered it in college. At the time, I did not think it was anything special, although I would smoke it if it was around. However, I partied a lot when I was young and struggled with alcoholism for almost 20 years. To me, cannabis was a party drug for many years, and I would not go out of my way to find it or obtain it.
All of that changed slowly over time. Fast forward a few years, in my mid 20’s. I was working in Norman as a shift manager at a very busy Taco Bell. Between the hard work and long hours, crappy pay, lack of benefits, and lack of advancement, I eventually became more and more disillusioned with the whole work, eat, then drink-myself-to-sleep cycle. I began to experiment heavily with psychedelic drugs as a way to cope with increasingly difficult to manage alcoholism. I began to realize that cannabis was a far superior way to manage stress as compared to alcohol. Over time, I began to buy my own and my consumption increased over time.
A few years after leaving Taco Bell, I met my friend Don, whom you can read about in the Veteran’s Section. Don taught me that cannabis could alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, and I began to view cannabis more and more as medicine and less and less as just a party drug. By this time, I had done most of the party drugs and I knew the difference. However, all of that came to a sudden halt when I was arrested. After spending 5 months in the county jail on charges of trafficking LSD, I was released and had to do a mandatory 30 days of drug treatment and I ended up in the recovery community.
I finally quit drinking alcohol about 10 years ago. For several years, I considered cannabis as off-limits as I pursued total sobriety. I do not regret that time spent because I was finally able to overcome alcoholism.
However, approximately 5 years ago, it began to become clear to me that the reason I became addicted to alcohol was that it managed the crippling social anxiety that I had suffered from for most of my life. I could drink a few drinks and all that anxiety would just bleed away from me. Unfortunately, I am extremely physically addicted to alcohol and I cannot safely consume it at all because it is so powerfully addictive for me that it just destroys my life. That seems like a pretty high price to pay for simple anxiety relief.
I began to realize that cannabis was also able to moderate my anxiety and with none of the nasty side-effects that I got from consuming alcohol. Plus, its not addictive, which is a huge bonus for me because I’m not looking for any new addictions at this point in my life. I have always been able to pick up or put cannabis down as the situation warranted.
I got my card a little over a year ago (yeah, I know I am slow. I wanted to make sure the Gestapo didn’t show up and round all of you activists up 😉 Call me paranoid if you want but drug raids tend to have that effect on people.), and I began to learn which strains worked best for anxiety relief.
I also use cannabis for pain. I am 52 and have lived through the school of hard knocks so there are days I hurt in places I never imagined I could hurt. It also seems to help a bunch with regulating my blood sugar which is pretty jacked up from years of alcohol abuse.
More importantly, though, is all the stories I have collected over the years that have always just rattled around in my head. I met Michelle and she was needing some technical help with her magazine. I decided a WordPress blog would probably suit our needs well. We share a common goal of being driven to advocate for cannabis as medicine. She encourages me to write this stuff down and get it out of my head. Believe me, once I get over my anxiety, I will talk your ear off.
Most of these stories are going to be happy stories, but the one I chose to start with is not. It is quite sad, in fact, and is a huge part of what drives me to advocacy. People are still being thrown in cages for using cannabis. People are still being ridiculed and vilified. People are still being harmed for pursuing medicine from a plant that our Creator gave to us.
This site, in part, for at least my part, is in memory of Don and a homage to him, because whether he was aware of it or not, he taught me that cannabis is powerful medicine. This one’s for you, Don. May you rest in peace.