This morning a young patient met a doctor, since the patient has entered a depressive period. The patient has previously used antidepressant drugs, but has single-handedly stopped taking them because the side effects were absolutely awful. After that the patient has promised him/herself to never again take such drugs, and has instead begun a healing journey where personal development is central.
Although the patient made it very clear to the doctor that s/he will not take any drugs, the doctor throughout the meeting tried to convince him/her to start taking antidepressants again. The patient consistently said no, but the doctor still wrote a prescription and even called the patient a few hours later to inform the patient that s/he could pick the drugs up from the pharmacy now.
It should be added that this is the first contact that the doctor has with the patient and that the contact is only temporary, since the patients regular doctor will be back soon.
Is it really okay for doctors behave in that manner? Is it okay to peddle drugs to people who explicitly do not want them? Is it compatible with good medical practice to act in such a way when it comes to a young and vulnerable person?
Photo: February 22nd by Carsten Schertzer on Flickr
Cannabis is a hot subject that people often ask my opinion on. Every plant in nature has a purpose. I try to never make statements about which plants are good or bad, because plants just are.
When working with people that smoke marihuana very often I can note a grey cloud similar to that of a person that chain smokes. It is over and around the head. This is one of the reasons why some healers don’t like too much marihuana.
Why does too much marihuana cause these kinds of blocks?
Well, by smoking it the energy itself doesn’t really have the strength necessary to detox the body. In others words one seldom vomits with marihuana. Therefore the energies that need to be released accumulate in the head chakra, since that is where the marihuana is most active.
Is it possible to develop higher consciousness with this plant?
I have met the spirit a few times and once I managed to reach the center of it. What I saw was that the spirit of this plant helps us to get in touch with the information and knowledge that we have already achieved in our lives, but it won’t give us anything new.
This explains why some people start to take drugs – they are looking for knowledge. But sooner or later these people have reached all they have inside and their hunger for knowledge will drive them to find more with other substances or in other ways. Sadly in our society’s way of thinking there is not much difference between drugs and plants, so people can easily get confused in their search.
You can also understand why some people like artist and writers like this plant, since it helps them to easily access their own information. But if they for example would start doing diets, their abilities would increase and develop much more, in the same way as it would if they worked with such plants like Ayahuasca and San Pedro.
What about healing properties?
Marihuana can heal certain kinds of diseases, but we must be aware that not all diseases can be healed with this plant. In some cases marihuana only covers the symptoms, which is exactly what many normal medicines do.
So in conclusion – marihuana helps you access information that you already have. It helps break down the filters of the normal state of mind. That is why you feel relaxed, but it won’t help you to develop a higher consciousness. Also remember that this plant helps with pain, but doesn’t heal the pain. It only covers the symptoms that are causing the pain. If you for example have emotional problems the marihuana might cover the problems, but it won’t heal them in the way that for example ayahuasca does. At some point you will have to stop covering things up and start facing them.
Here is another obvious lesson when it comes to sex…
It takes two yeses, but only one no.
…or as many yeses as there are people involved, of course.
It sounds so incredibly self-evident that it only takes one no for it to be a full stop, but for many it isn’t. There are fortunately few who are prepared to completely ignore a no and knowingly rape someone, but there are many who will nag, punish and blackmail their sex partner emotionally.
Such things are easier when there is a common understanding in advance. So say to each other beforehand – “Hey, just so we’re clear on this. There needs to be two yeses, but only one no”. And it should be easy to say no, without encouraging cowards to chicken out.
Photo: Photographers expand horizons in 2010 Army Digital Photography Contest 110311 by U.S. Army on Flickr (Photo taken by Emily Skolozynski)
In the BDSM context, it is common to use a stop word, which is a word that you say when you can go no further and want the other person to stop immediately. To stretch ones sexual boundaries simply require such security measures. It seems obvious that there is a need for such security when one lets someone else tie, whip and use ones body, but this is actually such a simple precaution that I am surprised that we have not all been taught it.
The version that I have been taught is green – yellow – red. Red – means stop immediately. Yellow – pause. I need to catch my breath. Green – everything is fine. Go on.
It’s very good for several reasons, but mainly because it has several steps. To have one (1) stop word (red) is like only having an emergency brake. It is certainly good to have an emergency brake, but yellow and green add aspects which the emergency brake lacks.
The emergency brake is of course almost exclusively used by those who are being “subjected” to whatever is going on, but there often arises situations where the person subjecting wonders how the other person is doing. Then it is easy to ask “What colour is it?”.
This is all very obvious for BDSM practitioners, but judging by the horror stories about people who can’t say no or understand a no, it should probably be made public knowledge.
Photo: Too Much Sunlight and you Might get Skin Cancer by Surian Soosay on Flickr
More and more people are being diagnosed with high-functioning autism aka Asperger’s syndrome. Some might see such a diagnosis as a confirmation that something is wrong. After meeting my fair share of people with Asperger’s I however doubt that they are actually the problem. I think it might be the rest of us that are falling behind.
Let me take some examples.
One trait that seems to me to be characteristic of Asperger’s is that you tend to speak the truth and stand by what you know is right. That is obviously quite problematic if the rest of us are used to manipulating and telling the occasional lie. But who is really the problem in this situation?
Another distinctive feature is that people with Asperger’s often have a special interest that they become somewhat obsessed with. That becomes a problem if one is expected to be a generalist who knows a little about a many things. But is the problem really that too many of us are experts? Or are perhaps too many of us talking too much about things we actually know nothing about?
People with Asperger’s often need to consciously learn behaviors and reactions in social situations.
“Now he raised his eyebrows in that way, which usually means that he is skeptical about what I said. An appropriate response to that is that I … ”
The rest of us do much of that subconsciously. We react to stimuli automatically. It can be a gift not to have to think about such things all the time, but is it really?
The rest of us often react to stimuli that we have not consciously perceived and provide a response that we are unaware of giving. We stored that response a long time ago, and many times it is not up to par. In the worst case scenario we continuously and unconsciously play back unsuitable responses without ever understanding that they are automated in us.
What is really more problematic? Is it to be unaware of one’s reactions, or is it having to deal with social interaction at the conscious level, which opens the possibility to consciously adjust reactions based on what you learn?
We often forget that we live in an ongoing evolutionary process. Since changes take place in a reasonably manageable pace we imagine that things on the whole will remain as they are now. We imagine that what is considered normal today will always be regarded as such. That is obviously wrong. Much of what is considered normal today will be regarded as completely backward tomorrow.
It must be quite tricky to have Asperger’s when everyone else is behaving in the backward manner that the rest of us often do. Then it may be worthwhile to consider who is really the issue. If those with Asperger’s are on the next evolutionary step, the rest of us could be the problematic evolutionary laggards.
Photo: Just let it be by Brigitte goes RAWR!!! on Flickr
If you look at the meaning of the word diet, one understands that it refers to the “restriction of something”. What are these restrictions in a shamans diet?
Alcohol consumption, for obvious reasons, is not allowed while one performs a diet.
Sex or masturbation is not allowed for simple reasons. At the moment of orgasm you release your energies or you catch energies from your partner. When we are on diet we want the energy that is contained in the plant or crystal that we are dieting to become a part of us. If we have an orgasm we will lose the energy that we have accumulated.
When one is on a diet it is recommended to stay away from the city, because our body is in an open state, which helps us to be receptive to the energies. Therefore the place will influence the outcome of our diet. You must be isolated or surrounded by those who are helping you with the diet, like the shaman or other people on diets. How isolated you need to be also depends on the plant that you are dieting. Some plant spirits can be more demanding than others, just like people.
This point is very important because nowadays, especially in the city of Iquitos, various centers have no idea of the importance and the reasons behind the food that should be served during a diet. When you are on diet, you want to create the least amount of distractions in your body so that the spirit of the plant can work on you. The food should generally contain little nutrition or energy. It is usually recommended to eat rice and lentils once a day, since everything you eat will compete with the spirit of the plant that you are dieting. For example, if you eat a carrot, the carrot has lots of “personality”, which will compete with the plant spirit that you are dieting. This does not mean that you cannot eat a carrot. You can, but the benefits from your diet will decrease. If you eat vegetables in your diet your learning might decrease by 40 percent.
In Peru the shaman will normally close a diet or post diet with chili, since it cuts energies. Chili also has a hot energy, which can give you a headache while on diet. The only exception to this case is when one is dieting chili, but that is a very special diet and not very common due to its degree of difficulty. Then it is usually consumed as powder up the nose and it is mainly for protection.
Salt is one of the most powerful sources of energy for our body. Therefore it is a big interference for plant or crystal. Since we don’t want the energies to compete, salt is generally used to end the diet. It is a signal to the body that the diet is over. When you stop eating salt before starting a diet you are also opening your body to energies around you. It’s important that you eat salt before ceremonies or your body will feel weak. Also nowadays we are eating far too much salt. The amount of salt that we need is only 2 grams a day. It is also good to keep in mind that salt sometimes comes with additives such as Fluoride, which is a poison.
As I mentioned, when you’re on a diet, you are in a receptive mode, or one might say that your WIFI is switched on. Therefore it is important that the diet is done in a secluded place in nature, not only because of the importance of creating a safe place and being in contact with nature, but also not to expose yourself to other people’s energies. It is highly recommend not to have any physical contact with people. Remember that our skin can absorb everything, not only creams or water, but also energy. Handshakes and hugs are not allowed during a diet. The only contact you may have is with the shaman. Usually the shaman asks the patient to hold his/her hands as if to receive something and then blows smoke for healing, cleaning or to provide energy.
You should not use any electronic apparatus during a diet, so forgot about your laptop or your mobile. The signals that electronics emit are not good for you during a diet. They can make you feel sick or give you headaches. Using your cell phone to communicate with the rest out the world while you are on a diet is not good, especially if you receive bad news. You need peace, not problems.
Every shaman has their own specific rules about diets. These are kind of general rules. Some shamans are stricter and won’t even allow people to read books, but I think that is to exaggerate. You won’t be with your diet energy 24 hours a day, so you can have moments when you distract the mind. Just make sure that you read something nice.
If you have taken the decision to start a diet, you must finish. You have made a promise to yourself and might very well get sick if you don’t keep it. I will talk more about that in another post.
We seem to be trapped in an unhealthy system of healing. We are so set on modern Western medicine having all the answers that we don’t see what else is out there. Alternative and traditional healing methods are being kept away from the public under the pretense of science, but with time there is coming overwhelming evidence that there are often far better treatments out there. But even with evidence the best treatments are often being opposed because they don’t fit in to our way of thinking.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that we have a patient that is suffering from severe chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia. And let us say that we have four treatments which might help.
C. Cannabis oil.
Painkillers are a wonder of modern medicine and I think we should be truly thankful that we have them. When they work they are a great relief, but there are several very serious drawbacks to them. One is that they don’t always work, especially when it comes to more complicated conditions that modern medicine yet doesn’t seem to fully understand, such as fibromyalgia. While modern painkillers might be effective, they are far from 100 percent so. Another one is that these modern medicines come with a long list of side effects which are often worse than the ailment that they were first used to treat. Yet another one is that these medicines are addictive and possible to overdose and die from. People die every year from either unintentionally overdosing or mixing medicines which aren’t compatible, but also from intentional overdosing when committing suicide.
Some drawbacks are much less in alternative therapies, or altogether non-existent. Massage for example has much fewer side effects and counter indications, and I still haven’t heard of anyone killing themselves by overdosing massage. Hands on physical therapy is often effective for treating fibromyalgia, but the availability within the system of the modern Swedish health service is at best patchy. Many doctors will outright refuse to refer you to such treatment or even take your condition seriously. I have met a practitioner within the health care system that will give such treatment, but who will disguise it as something else in the paper work. And I have met others that are true miracle workers with their hands, but are written off as quacks by the health care system and thus excluded.
When the legal options are exhausted a few courageous people take matters into their own hands and try therapies and medicines which are illegal. Just yesterday I published a text by Andreas Thörn, a man who broke his neck and was paralyzed at the age of 15. He has suffered since and after having gone through the entire stock of modern medicines, except Methadone, he chose to try Cannabis. It turned out that it worked wonders for him, in a way that modern medicine hasn’t been able to for the last 20 years. Another person that I have featured here is Jens Waldmann who overcome his severe depression with the help of Cannabis. The doctors wanted to give him Bensodiazepin instead, fully aware that he had abused that medicine before and that it would not solve the underlying problem. Coming back to the subject of chronic pain Cannabis and Cannabis oil are well known for their ability to relieve pain, even such pain that painkillers won’t touch. In my experience smoking Cannabis is addictive, but definitely much less so than for example opiate painkillers. It might also have counter indications, but is less toxic than most medicines. It is actually physically impossible to die from a Cannabis overdose.
Ayurveda is a different thing all together. Food is the basic medicine in Ayurveda, since most (if not all) of our imbalances are a result of or can be alleviated with food. When you eat right you heal and stay healthy. It is a way of healing which requires dedication, but which also teaches you a great deal about yourself and how you can function better. Lifestyle changes are often fantastic medicine.
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Going back to what I was first saying – there seems to be an unhealthy emphasis on one way of healing. When modern medicine doesn’t do the trick, we are left hanging with no help. And even then we are openly discouraged to seek other healing methods.
There is no one system which works for all. No one truth that holds true for all. The painkillers might work for some of the patients, but what kind of healing system seeks to heal some of the patients while leaving others stranded? By bringing in alternative and traditional therapy we could be healing close to everyone. We just need to find out what works for them.
Of course there will be areas where Western medicine will still keep its dominance, simply because it is superior. One such area is acute physical trauma. But there will also be areas where Western medicine will be obliterated, simply because it is inferior. An area where Western medicine would probably quickly lose credibility is mental health, since it has a great lack of knowledge about people’s inner workings. Why else would the system be mass drugging us with such medicines like anti-depressants, even though they don’t do much more than put a lid on things and lower our motivation to heal?
For the sake of the people who need to heal is time to get rid of this dominance that Western medicine has had, but to do so we will also have to overcome our white egos, our bullying tendencies and the paternalism that has come with it.
This is a story of pain, frustration, hope and despair.
A story about the struggle for better health.
A story of medical cannabis.
This is my story.
I would say that I am a rather ordinary man in my upper 30s. I live in the countryside with my wife and our daughter. On weekdays I work as operations manager in health care. I have an interest in diet, exercise and health, both mental and physical. In my spare time I like to watch movies and series, travel, go to dinners, watch ice hockey and socialize with family and friends. I’m a typical average Joe I guess.
What separates me from most others is that I broke my neck in a motorcycle accident at the age of 15, which left me completely paralyzed from the chest down and partially in the arms and hands. Today I have been sitting in a wheelchair for 21 years and my need for assistance is around the clock. Despite my disability I have never seen myself as especially different. I have always had a positive attitude towards life and I have lived it like most others.
My spinal injury was a gigantic shift in my life and has brought with it a lot of hard work. In addition to the paralysis I have many problems that have to do with the complications of the injury. My biggest problem is neuropathic pain (phantom pain in the paralyzed areas), spasticity, inflammation and overworked shoulders, twisted stomach, sleep problems, urinary tract troubles and prostatitis. When these complications become too intense and protracted, it happens that it goes to the psyche in form of anxiety. And then sometimes the anxiety results in depression. These periods have been the worst in my life. They are something I never want to experience again.
At its worst my neuropathic pain feels like a tank ran over me, from my nipples down to my toes. Pain in varying degrees are a part of my everyday life. It has been so for over 20 years and the pain has gradually increased over the years. I rarely show my pain outwards, but it’s hard to hide it from the family. On days when you can barely get out of bed it is difficult to hide it from anyone.
I am very careful with my health. I eat healthy and controlled. Earlier I rarely drank alcohol and now I don’t drink at all. I exercise regularly. Having no synthetic drugs (which incidentally is very rare among people with spinal cord injury), except when I become seriously ill, as with a urinary tract infection which requires antibiotics.
I have during my years had very high standards for what I expect out of the health care system. I have always been involved in my health. I’ve talked, listened, proposed, nagged, argued and cried to get the help I need. Some doctors listen. Some understand. Some give out pills as if it were Easter candy. All doctors have had one thing in common – no one has yet been able to help me. I have tried most drugs and treatments for my pains and other problems. Lyrica, Gabapentin, Sobril, Tradolan, Tramadol, etc. The side effects of each of these drugs have been terrible and unacceptable when compared to the little relief they have given me. In a last attempt to help my pain I got a referral to a pain clinic. I was called by a senior physician who simply said: “We see in your journal that you have tested most traditional treatments. What we can do for you is to offer you a treatment with Methadone. There is unfortunately nothing else we can do.” That was the verdict. It may sound strange, but you didn’t misread that. All they had left to offer me was Methadone.
Somewhere around that time I felt that the health care system had reached its limits when it came to my pain problems. As they themselves came to the realization that they really could not help me, it was easy to lose hope altogether. For believe me, hell will have frozen to ice before I voluntarily slaughter my body with Methadone.
Since I have always been very careful with medicines that do not drastically improve my health or relieve my pains, I have been interested in alternative medicine and herbal remedies. I have tested herbs, roots, flowers and oils of all kinds. For my pain and my anxiety (that live in symbiosis), I have never found anything that gives me the relief I need.
Many years ago I read an article on Cannabis and the plants analgesic properties. After a bit of research I decided to try cannabis in pain relief. This was 15 years ago. Over a 10 year period I tested cannabis a handful of times. They were different types of “street pot” that I managed to get hold of. I have quite a low tolerance level when it comes to alcohol, tobacco and drugs. The same applied to cannabis. I was uncomfortable and generally felt pretty bad even in relatively small amounts. It did have some effect against the pain, but the side effects were too great. It is said that Cannabis is not for everyone. Cannabis was not for me.
A few years ago I was reading a discussion about neuropathic pain on a forum for spinal cord injuries in the United States. The thread discussed pain management using cannabis containing high levels of CBD. It was a kind of Cannabis without the, in my case, undesired side effect of being stoned. I was very curious and continued my research on CBD and discussed it with the people who use CBD-rich cannabis for their pain. These people used cannabis with a distribution of approximately 1: 1 CBD / THC. CBD unlike THC is not psychoactive and does not cause intoxication. CBD has for example been shown to have anti-epileptic, anti-depressants and anti-inflammatory properties. Together, the CBD acts as a neutralizer of THC’s psychoactive properties, which allows one to take advantage of both THC and CBD’s’s medicinal properties without experiencing any rush.
I came in contact with some people on the CBD Crew, a group of dedicated people who specialize in developing CBD-rich cannabis of that particular type. After long discussions with knowledgeable individuals in the world of medical cannabis and a deep moral discussion with my wife, I decided to make an attempt to medicate with CBD-rich cannabis. I grew my first plant in early 2013. I harvested, dried and cured it. I do not smoke so I made the oil which I planned to eat.
I started at low doses and slowly increased. The result was astounding and I must of course tell you what cannabis is done for me. I cleaned my mail recently and found a message that is written to my doctor at the end of last year that describes this pretty well. I have always had an open dialogue with my doctor about my use of cannabis as medicine. He has witnessed the health benefits I had with cannabis and he has also made notes about it in my journal. Below is the email.
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I am going through my medical records of recent years and thinking about the future and my health. Now it has been more than a year since I started self medicating with my green herbal remedies. It is quite clear when I read my journal what a positive impact this medication has had.
Before I started this, I had several periods of deep concern and on a few occasions it was so bad that I became depressed. XXXX was involved for a while and can certainly attest that I was not feeling great. One period was so bad that I had to be medicated with antidepressants for half a year (by family doctor). In addition to this, I have troubles with among other severe pain, insomnia, IBS and spasticity.
These years that I have had since I introduced my medicine have been the best years for a very long time. I have not had a single day with even a hint of anxiety. My pain is less severe. I have no trouble sleeping any longer. I am basically free from spasticity. My IBS is better. I have more endurance. I am a positive, energetic, happy, and see life with totally different eyes. I have increased my working hours. I have started exercising regularly. The relationship with my wife is wonderful. And the list goes on. My life took a radical turn and my surroundings – wife, daughter and assistants – all say that they see a completely new person in me.
However, my new life comes with a price. According to Swedish law I am committing a pretty serious offense medicating myself as I do. I risk a fine and maybe even prison. I risk my work. I risk my family’s and my reputation. It’s a very high price. At the same time I risk losing all of that if I stop with my medicine, because I dare not even think about how I felt 2 years ago. In addition to this, it is not easy to always have access to my medicine. It is becoming an impossible situation of trying to have enough medicine available. It is also a constant concern that this information ends up in the wrong hands.
[Lots of text where I beg my doctor to let me try Sativex, one of the few approved cannabis medicines in Sweden.]
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CBD-rich cannabis works really well for me, to say the least. Thanks to cannabis I have an opportunity to live a life I never thought was possible. A life where I wake up every morning and look forward to getting out of bed. A life that no longer revolves around trying to cope and survive the day. A life where my health doesn’t hinder me and my family’s lives. A life where I can work, contribute and be part of society. Without noticeable side effects.
Two months after this mail, January 22, 2015, was the day when everything came tumbling down. I was eating breakfast when there was a knock on the door. Outside were two men in plain clothes waving their police badges. They asked to look around and began asking questions. I understood that lies wouldn’t help me, so I told them my story about how and why I use cannabis as medicine. They took my three plants and a small amount of finished medicine that I had left. A brief hearing was held and they left our home. I won’t go into detail about the encounter. The police were respectful and the whole thing was quite un-dramatic.
Once the initial shock subsided came the shame, anxiety and feeling of being very small and insignificant.
After a few days the pain began to come back, the spasticity increased and my sleep was disrupted, my stomach began to fuss and I began to be reminded of how my life actually was before. A life that I can no longer imagine for myself. After two weeks I caved. In sheer panic I called my doctor and said that I refuse to give up and I do not accept to live this way.
I now have Sativex on prescription, but not subsidized, which my doctor had tried to fix. Sativex is incredibly expensive. So I took from my savings, bought Sativex and hoped that it would work as well as I thought it should. I followed the entry stairs dosage and gave it a decent and honest chance. The effect I got was extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and total incapacity to manage my work and my life. For my health Sativex did nothing else than reduce my spasticity.
The disappointment was complete.
The neuropathic pain is worse now than ever, my IBS symptoms are out of control, I have urinary tract malfunctions, I have high levels of anxiety and my sleep problems reinforces all these ailments. Without reason. There is help to be had. I just do not have the permission to use it. 1 step forward and 2 steps back pretty much sums up my current situation.
Now I will be prosecuted. I will be tried and punished.
They are going to punish me because I have chosen to help myself to a better, healthier and more dignified life. I have chosen to defend myself against the illness. That choice is based on the fact that the healthcare system cannot help me. It is a choice based on the first hand knowledge that heavy narcotics cannot help me.
It’s not enough to take away my medicine, my health and my dignity. I should also be punished, at any price. There is something very warped and inhuman to it.
I have committed a crime, I know. A crime in which there are no victims.
But the bigger and more relevant question is, have I done something wrong?
Is it wrong to refuse to feel bad?
Is it wrong to relieve pain and other health problems?
Is it wrong to work, contribute to society and have a decent life?
Is it wrong to be a better father, husband and friend?
Is it wrong to think for yourself and dare to challenge?
Is it wrong to choose a good health?
Is it wrong to choose life?
Is it wrong to use medical cannabis in order to achieve the above?
My answer to the question is hopefully quite clear. I have finally found a medication that works for me. A medication that has given me my life back. For me it’s about survival and the right to a dignified and healthy life. I have been asked if I regret my choice. The answer is no. How could I? Now I know that there is help for me. After so many years of suffering, there is hope. The hope of a better life.
My battle starts here. I intend to stand up straight and do everything in my power for the right to better health. I choose to take the fight because I feel a responsibility to myself, my family and my friends. I also feel a responsibility for all the sick, persecuted, oppressed and vulnerable people who can or will not stand up for their right to a humane life. I am far from alone. There are too many of us suffering in silence. Without reason.
I risk being slandered, attacked, questioned, discredited and diminished. But I will never give up. Never.
What really matters and can make a difference in the end is what you think. Next time it could be you, your best friend or your loved ones who are denied the right to health. Your opinion, like mine, means something. I will be happy to answer questions.
Share. Comment. Tag. Mail. Call. Make your voice heard. Say what you think. Question. Criticize. React. Act.
Thank you for taking the time to hear my story and an extra big thank you to all wonderful people who have supported and helped me along the way.