The importance of having those conversations about cannabis


Enjoying my morning coffee along the banks of the Platte River in 2011.

2011 was a life-changing year for my husband and me. After he got laid off from his job, we decided to put most of our worldly belongings into storage and take off with our 4 dogs in our 22-foot motorhome. Aside from camping and hiking, we spent most of 8 months traveling around Colorado talking to people about marijuana. We talked to patients, dispensary workers, growers, and just average citizens. We wanted to get a feel for what the state, outside of Denver, thought about medical marijuana in Colorado.

I have a lot of conversations with a lot of people, usually about marijuana. People are so curious. I never really know what impact these conversations have. I just try to open people’s minds to new possibilities.

The other day I got a surprising message from someone I met back in 2011 but haven’t talked with since. She reminded me of our long conversation about the NSRI antidepressant Effexor.

I was originally prescribed Effexor for my fibromyalgia. After awhile, I started experiencing devastating side-effects. Withdrawing from Effexor was absolutely horrible, something  I wouldn’t wish on anyone. No one can tell me that these drugs aren’t addictive. But cannabis and my wonderful husband got me through it. Today I use cannabis exclusively to manage my symptoms.

At the time, she was considering weening herself off of the drug, but after reading about how difficult it was for people to do, she was really scared. I talked to her about my experience and how much cannabis helped me through the withdrawal.

Here is an excerpt from her message to me:

Hi there Teri! I hope this finds you well. Sorry that it has taken me so long to respond, but the delay has been worth while as I recently (spring of this year…) stopped using effexor for good!!! I wish I would have reached back out sooner but really was apprehensive to do so until I had fully weened myself off of effexor. When I went to write today, I saw your old message and was reminded of that. Thank you again so much for your caring and compassion. I actually credit our conversation 3 years ago to being the catalyst for my much needed change. I have fully replaced pills with cannabis and have no plans of going back. Sorry that this is so long winded and all over the place: I’m having trouble putting three years of feelings and gratitude into writing. Anyway, I just wanted to reach out and say thanks again for your support back then. Hope you are well and congratulations in all that you do… I know I am one of many whom you have helped.

The first few times I read this, I broke down in tears. I was overwhelmed with joy that she had successfully managed to get off of Effexor. And I was so very honored to think that our conversation way back then had helped her get the courage to do it.

It just goes to show that you never know what impact the conversations you have today will have on people tomorrow. That’s why it’s so very important to keep having these conversations. Keep talking to people. Keep your heart open and lead with compassion.

We’re all changing hearts and minds, one conversation at a time.

Categories: Advocacy, Mental Health, Pharma

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. If we don’t talk about cannabis nothing is going to change. You sound brave. Great post, and I hope you have a lovely day!


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