Investigating Medical Marijuana Part IV

Orange California, in the heart of the OC is where our investigative reporter has been working with a user of medical marijuana named “Jack.” This final entry is the follow up on Jack’s experience with medical marijuana.

Since the idea that originally got me to go along with Jack on his quest for medical marijuana was a curiosity as to how all the legal aspect of marijuana was going to affect a casual user, I decided to do a follow up with him after about two months to see how it was working out for him and see if he had increased his usage.

So, I gave him a call and asked if I could interview him. He said ‘sure man, come on over,” and I have to admit that his slow speech sounded like he may already be high (it was around 11 am on a Sunday.)

Driving over I spotted two dispensaries. It has become a little game I play now while driving. I try to find all the “hidden-in-plain-sight pot clinics” I had never noticed before. They are normally in strip malls and have names with “caregiver”, “patients association”, or “natural medicine” etc. and many have a green cross or the red, yellow, green font like the dispensary I visited with Jack. Everybody I point them out to, is stunned by how many there are here in Orange County.

I pulled up to his place and immediately upon entering noticed he was missing some furniture and the place was a bit of a mess. I thought, wow he’s really smoking too much pot; but he explained that his girlfriend of a couple years had recently moved out.

I gave him my condolences and jokingly asked if the breakup had anything to do with her having to compete with “Mary Jane” for his affections. He said no, that she wasn’t a huge fan of his pot smoking, but assured me that they had been doomed for months. I let it drop but thought about the relationships I had ruined over the years drinking, and how I never blamed the booze.

I asked him how many dispensaries he had been to since he got his prescription. He laughed, “probably about six.” I said that seemed like a lot. He said it was, but he was lured in by the “first-time specials” the dispensaries offer their new customers. I remembered the free half-bottle they had given him and asked if having all the extra weed was causing him to smoke more. He thought about it and said, “I don’t know. Probably, yeah. I may not actually be smoking a ton more, but I’m definitely high more, with all the edibles I’ve been taking. They last forever and they are so easy to take.” He reached into a drawer and pulled out a medicine dropper I now recognized as tincture and said, “This is so easy. I’ve definitely fallen in love with this stuff. Just a couple drops and you are good to go. Or I’ll eat a lollipop anywhere. Nobody even knows you’re doing it. It’s awesome.”

Then after making me confirm that I wasn’t going to use his name, he admitted that he has even taken a few drops before work or smoked at lunch which was something he hadn’t done before. He must have seen a worried look on my face because he quickly added, “I’ve just been depressed about the breakup, and we’ve been really slow at work. I’m not going to keep doing it I swear. It’s just been a couple times.”

I told him that was kind of what I was worried about, with the ease of access leading to an increase in use. He was quick to defend, saying “Hey man, I was smoking anyway. I may be doing a little more because of the edibles, but, normally after a breakup I do a little depression drinking, but I bet I’ve had 3 beers since I got my prescription. So I guess I’ve just picked my poison.”

After a bit of reflection, he said, “You know, I don’t think you should use me as an example. I think the dispensaries really do help people that need help. People with cancer, arthritis, chronic pain. It’s legit man. I’m not a great example. Sure I think it really does help with my migraines and insomnia, but really, I like to get high. But, hey, I was going to be high either way, so why not make it legal, tax it, I’ll pay! And if it really was impossible to get, I’d just drink more, and really, drinking has to be worse. I’m a much better stoner than a drunk.”

I told him no problem, I wasn’t trying to make him the poster child for medical marijuana; I just wanted to see what the experience was like and share it.

Now that I type it up, I think he is right. Maybe I should have found somebody that was truly suffering; who really found an extraordinary amount of relief from medicinal marijuana. But, on the other hand, he seems like the typical smoker I know that is getting prescribed. Somebody that finds a little relief, but really, just likes to get stoned, and is going to do it, whether it’s legal or not. So why not make it legal?

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder as I drove home, picking out dispensaries every couple of miles, how many casual users would ramp up their use with the new convenience. How many of them will start going to work high that didn’t before, ruin relationships, and eventually have to seek help to quit? And would this increase in addiction be worth it to help the people that really need it? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Until then, as always, if you or anyone you know needs help recovering from a marijuana addiction, contact a representative at a drug treatment facility like Sober Living by the Sea.