There are days when you will do literally anything to stop the fear and anxiety and lack of self-anything churning away in your gut. On Saturday, I had one of those days. My brain was pounding out of my skull, I was taking regular breaks in the kitchen to slump my head between my forearms in despair to hide my uselessness from my daughter, the hate and anger and wretchedness wreaking a merry dance of havoc in my broken mind.
In frantic desperation, I stared at my husband in tears, willing him to call down some thunder and lightening, bunnies out of a hat, anything to bring a halt to the spiral of destruction.
‘Weed?’ he quipped.
I rubbed my eyes, perplexed, but distracted enough to push aside momentarily the worse of the self-hate.
‘You know I don’t like drugs.’
My loathing for ‘recreational’ drugs is almost as great as my loathing for the legal drugs I have sitting in the kitchen cabinet. Long story. Suffice to say, if it’s smokeable, pill-poppable or requires some invasive procedure to enter my body i.e. a ten-pound note or other foreign object, forget it. Doctors always stare at me in surprise (and suspicion) when I tell them I hate drugs, because apparently with Bipolar, BPD and CPTSD I should be a walking junkie, but addiction is one issue that passed me by. Thank God. I have enough to contend with.
Drugs are gross. They’ve never appealed to me and they never will. I’ve lived in the Netherlands for six years and I still do a double-take when I smell weed on the street, clutching my imaginary pearls until I remember that it’s legal here. My husband also knows this. He knows that weed makes the paranoia and anxiety multiply x1000.
‘I don’t mean you should get stoned. There’s medicinal properties to cannabis too.’
We’ve just watched an episode of Ridiculousness where Chanel has her medical marijuana card. That must be his lightbulb moment.
‘The one time we tried it together it was a disaster.’ (My husband is teetotal and has only tried eating spacecake once soon after we met each other, in a failed attempt to help me with PMT.)
‘I had a great time,’ he replies mildly, turning the laptop towards me. ‘If you ever want me to sing Cliff Richard songs to you and solve the world’s water shortages through supplying every village with a tap, feed me two pieces of spacecake and I’m your man. But anyway, this is what I’m talking about. CBG oil. It’s extracted from the plant but doesn’t have the THC, the chemical which produces the high. Loads of people have recommended it for anxiety and panic and to regulate emotions. And,’ he frowns at one blog entry on his phone, ‘with Temazepam in horse-strength dosages apparently, if that’s your thing. But that’s not quite what we’re after with you.’
(I should add that I have a month’s supply of Temazepam sat in aforesaid cupboard. My husband has checked interactions with lithium and the -pams already. He is organised.).
After reading through the info online, I felt a surge of hope. It was 5.15pm and there was a ‘health shop’ only a bus ride away, open till 7pm which we could get some of my potential new best friend.
Well, you couldn’t get me out of the house faster. I will literally do anything to not be the person I am, anything to be a better mother and regain a modicum of control over my life. Reading up on the journey, I felt some apprehension. The last thing I wanted to do was get stoned, or find myself ‘hooked’ or dependent on another drug. Then again, if there are no side effects and it does the job, how is it any different to me taking lithium every day?
CBG oil is not the same as oil from weed. It doesn’t have psychotropic effects, and because I am fortunate enough to live in the Netherlands, there’s some really top quality oils available to try. I wanted to also try out vaping but, having quit smoking 17 years ago, I didn’t want to also go back to anything resembling smoking.
That’s the bottle, above, which cost us 50 euros. Three times a day, three drops a time, the man from Appolyon advised. With a bright smile, we were out of his shop in a trice, clutching my muddy brown liquid mental gold. Once my daughter had gone to sleep, I dutifully opened my mouth for my husband to deposit three drops under my tongue, where we’d read would be the most effective place. I waited ninety seconds then swallowed.
The taste is very, erm, weed-y, unsurprisingly. But it’s perfectly palatable. The major question is though, does it work?
Yes. I’m on my fourth day of these now and, I can safely say hand on heart, especially given that I’m in the latter half of my cycle and I am awaiting referral to a specialist PMT clinic, the effect is astonishing. I feel……neutral, balanced as I remember what it was like with smoking weed without the high I hated.
One of the ultimate tests was out walking the dog. Now, while I still get anxious when I see other dogs, it’s so muted as to render me a normal person. I don’t have the hysterical PTSD flight, the paranoia and fear that something bad is going to befall my dog if two dogs meet. I’ve tried this out several times and I can actually walk my dog and enjoy it, rather than permanently being on edge and terrified. This is PROGRESS.
I’ve also noticed my sleep has improved, always rough in the latter part of my cycle. The other thing I noticed so far is the ability to not have a meltdown over situations I find unbearably stressful. I am having a benefits review and I have an appointment next Tuesday. While I found talking on the phone really hard, I was able to do it and go lie down afterwards and recover, not sit with my head spinning firing off in all directions as I spun disaster scenario after disaster scenario out of nothing.
It’s early days but honestly, compared to the absolute mess I was on when given Topimarate, Haldol, Serquil and Fluoxetine, this is a real revolutionary step for my mental healthcare. I don’t see CBG oil as some wundercure, but it definitely has had a positive impact on my ability to cope and remain more neutral throughout the day.
We’re going to also get me a vaping kit – the oil gives you a longer term effect while vape is more of an immediate, short-term impact. This will help when I come out of stressful situations and need a little boost.
If you also want to try this, make sure you:
- check the quality of your CBG oil. The place I purchase from makes it themselves, which I like. But I’ve read online from many people saying the quality can be crap if you’re not careful.
- check what the regulations and laws are in your own country. It’s legal for me in then Netherlands but many places are still rather backward in the view of cannabis (which I see as no worse than alcohol but yeah, debate for a different day!).
- check whether CBG oil/vaping will interact with any existing prescription medication you take.
- Read up on this. There’s a couple of links here, but keep reading around the subject because there’s various different oils out there – for example, the difference between CBG and CBD oil, wtf is that? If you’re like me, it may take a bit of getting used to the idea. That said, if Holland & Barrett sell CBD oil then there’s probably not much to worry about.
The main takeaway? If it helps you get through your day and feel a bit better, it’s worth it to have a break from the sometimes relentless grind surviving mental illness can be. CBG oil definitely achieves this, and then some, for me. I hope it does for you too 🙂