Hi My cousin has smoked cannabis for over 20 year, she was a bad diabetic and used to say it helped with all the diabetes issues, eating and appetite, pain etc etc. She always had to smoke first thing in the morning, otherwise she could not eat..... and being a diabetic she had to eat to keep her blood level ok, so we all accepted this reason for her smoking several joints daily for the past 20 years (she is now 42yrs) After her kidneys started failing at the beginning of the year, she started on dialysis and was put on the transplant list. Lucky for her.....6 weeks ago she underwent a double kidney and pancreas transplant..... she was very ill after the transplant, and did not recover has planned. Besides her lungs collapsing and having to go on a life support machine for three weeks, she had many infection following the operation. She is slowly recovering, and the best part of this is she no longer has to have kidney dialysis 4 times a week, and she is no longer a diabetic... great we thought!!!!! But the past three weeks whilst in hospital going through all this, she appears to be suffering like nothing ive seen before. I have read many of your stories about cannibalistic withdrawal, and thought this is what my cousin is going through......... She has become like a completely different person, she cannot eat, her appetite is so bad, she has lost 8kilos which is making her quite ill, she has daily nausea, diarrhoea, severe back pain, depression, vivid and horrific nightmares, sweats etc etc, obviously this is not helping with her transplant recovery and the doctors and concerned and curious to all her constant illnesses daily.... and don't seem to understand why she is still so ill after 8 weeks. ( I dont think the doctors really know the the extent of how much cannabis she really did smoke and how often). Can cannabis withdrawal last this long???? When will it all end for her??? seeing her suffer and making herself ill, with not been able to eat, I am considering asking the doctor if she can have medical marijuana, i know her appetite will come back if she has this.... What can we do ????? It is never ending.... i think... that she thinks all her illness are to do do with the operation and transplant, but the more i read the more i think it is more to do with cannabis withdrawal. Please.... help.... any advice which way to go to enable me to help my cousins recovery would be very grateful!!! Thankyou
Your cousin's conditions are far too complex and critical for a general online health site: she needs, and is receiving, apparently, professional medical help and advice, in person: I'm an experienced adult, not a medical professional, as you may find are other respondents.
As with all medical issues, the mind is an important factor in healing, and in some issues such as addiction, by far the most important factor. It frankly sounds as if your cousin has used cannabis to avoid dealing with her health for all these years: there are many other more effective and less damaging ways to deal with some of what she's encountered, and a great deal to be discovered had she - or if she still would - consider training her mind, with counselling, hypnotherapy, meditation, or any number of disciplines.
In addition to the support of the medical profession, there are many other resources with a proven history, even if medical science isn't comfortable with them, but ultimately, I really don't see any sign that your cousin has embraced life, or wishes to do so. Until she does, you can't fix or heal her: that has to come ultimately from her.
Thank you for your reply. So, What you are saying, is whatever, she is going through.....giving her any form of marijuana would not help her in the long term. ( i never smoked it myself...so trying to understand it and the withdrawal periods) !!
I too agree that that she is in good hands, but my concern is that.... do you think the doctors need to know the extent of her cannabis smoking to aide them, in making the right decisions. Although they know she smoked a small amount of cannabis prior to the operation, I dont think they know the extent of how much and how often she smoked it. ( looking at everyone's different stories, i now do think she had a big addiction, but the family didn't look at it like this, until we saw what effects the withdrawal has had on her, and continues to have on her... whilst she has been in hosp...6 weeks.
What she told the doctors prior the the transplant, was that she had smoked small amounts of cannabis throughout her life, and that she had stopped smoking 3 months prior to the operation, but this wasn't the case. Do you think the medical staff need to know this, because they seem concerned and complexed as to why she cant eat and continues to loose wait. They are looking to putting a food drip up, as they are so concerned, and keep onto her to eat (But she cant, feeling sick all the time, and throwing up what ever she does eat). I am guessing now that this is to do with cannabis withdrawal, rather than the transplant and/or the medication she is receiving following the transplant as the doctors have no medical reason as to why this continues to happen. Everyone else who has been in hospital with her having similar transplants, have come and gone home as planned 3/4 weeks following transplant...........
Any advice would help thank you
If you have never smoked marijuana, imagine a cross between the worst flu you ever had, when you can't think, can't wake up, can't be bothered to imagine why you'd want to wake up, but without the 'illness' - in its early stages, it feels a bit like that pleasant drowsy feeling on a warm, sunny, sunday morning when you don't need to get out of bed, but the difference is, that unlike that sunny morning, you're not waking up, gaining energy, vitality and excitement, you're actually deliberately shutting all of those down.
Why would anyone do that? Because if your mind is stressed out by life, then being in bed is about the nicest place you can be. And again, I know far too well of what I speak. The simple fact is that she's never been 'in' life, since she started, especially with it being daily and several joints a day - that is a horrific amount, if you value your brain cells. It's humorous in hollywood, but as a lifestyle choice for twenty years, she's lucky she can breathe: and right now that's in question.
That's roughly a bottle a day of wine, more perhaps, to generate the same amount of shutdown, again from my own personal comparative sense, in fact definitely more as it takes several days for even one joint to be so fully cleared from your body, and you begin to appreciate life and vitality again. At several joints a day, she's never had that chance, nor ever apparently wanted it.
It may have started as relief from pain, but really it's relief from life, and dare I say, that last is what was going through my mind in reading of her current stay. You sound sensible enough to appreciate that she's made life choices that you don't understand, and haven't made for yourself - to your considerable benefit. She also chose to hide from the doctor a condition that may indeed have impacted on their preferred treatment, or anticipated results.
You need to be a little bit careful - I don't know what the rules are regarding confidentiality, her rights, etc etc. before you dive in and declare her addiction (for that is what it is) to be far worse than the doctors were told. Frankly, they're not id**ts, they may not say so, but tell me one addict that doesn't minimise their condition.
It takes about three days for your body to 'clear', be it nicotine or marijuana, and her addiction is to both (if she's a typical pot smoker, vs weed / grass). The problem isn't the clearing, it's the emptiness and boredom. The ending to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Johnny Depp, highly recommended, if you want to understand a little perhaps of her mindset) is sad and poignant, and far too close to home: "the worst thing is, realising that no one is going to rescue you", or words to that effect.
Surprisingly, there is no law against being an addict: to anything. Perhaps just as well, for very few of us would escape. Politicians would be the first to be locked up, for their addiction to power, limelight, and taking our money. A drug addict needs to find something far more compelling to live for, and as far as I can tell, you describe someone for whom that has never been present in her adult life.
--- This is going to go into different territory ---
If I may, I'd suggest that in your highest interest, and in hers also, you might consider - well, what word would you be comfortable with - meditation? prayer? contemplation? intuition? - the person in the hospital is a shell, and right now a pretty poorly one. What is most important right now is not the physical, but the metaphysical: if she is to come out of this, what kind of life is she going to have, what is she going to live for, does she have a desire to live, or purpose, beyond avoiding pain?
You don't have to go and put on a robe, unless it's to sit in your back garden, and be at peace with yourself. Take a pad of paper, and a pencil - in case a thought pops into your head, maybe a glass of white wine - think of it as homeopathy, taking a little bit of peace (sic) and oblivion, to perhaps allow a connection with a mindset that is ultimately alien to your own, but not so alien that you cannot connect, cannot trust your sense of intuition.
Ask: ask whatever you like, not in the 'lottery' sense of the winning numbers, how can I cure her, what do I do - these are 'deterministic' questions, trying to fix a result which is no more effective than trying to 'fix' a butterfly race, if such ever existed! It is, I believe the saying has it, like trying to herd cats!
No, what you're really asking, if you want to try this, is to connect: to have a sense of understanding: a glimpse, not of what you know to be true - her addiction - but of what you don't know to be true, how she feels about her current predicament, how her consciousness really relates to life, how her spirit or soul, if you are comfortable with such terms, experiences her predicament.
The truth of the soul, from our perspective, if far simpler, and far more majestic and profound, than any hollywood story, tragedy, comedy or farce: most people have very little understanding of this aspect of consciousness, and that little understanding is usually woefully inaccurate.
Forget hollywood: this is an opportunity, an exercise which you can do at peace, in a deckchair, an armchair, somewhere perhaps where you can connect with nature, with life, and imagine how it feels or might feel to be disconnected from life: what would you live for, what would you hope for?
There are no right or wrong answers, only insight: if it helps you be at peace with her condition, offering compassionate, ethical advice, being there for her, then it has served its purpose. Bizarre as it may seem, the greatest gift you can give her right now is to be not lost in her life, but found and centred in your life, such an utterly calm and assured source of the rightness of life, the fullness of experience, that her curiosity allows her to glimpse that life can be of interest, a source of satisfaction, a source even of joy.
We none of us know when we will pass, and I have no reason to suggest any such risk in this instance, but you may remember long after this post that in a moment of peace, you advertise to the world that being here, being in a body, being alive, is a source of great pride, and great joy, as well as a challenge, and in so doing you give other people a reminder that life is indeed worth a little extra effort to make a go of it.
Will it be enough to recover her to your imagined and remembered 'youthful' sanity - at this stage, after so many years of smoking, that would be a lot to ask... but then again, as someone once said, ask and ye shall receive.
The biggest secret of the universe is not that there is a god, but that we are divinity, we are universal in spirit, even as we are unique in body: connect with your own divinity, your own peace, your own centre - every religion or philosophy (or psychology or writing) has its own word, but you know it: it's the moment of a glass of wine at sundown, the touch of wind in a field, that appreciation that life, existence, nature is beautiful and magnficent beyond any trials and tribulations of the day.
Be a beacon for her, and even if she did pass, and I have no reason to believe she will, then her last sight would be of a radiant soul, a living example of why it was worth coming to earth, just to experience that moment, just to see you be you. For all you know, that is her gift to you, and all she ever came here to do. True? Who knows. The world and universe are far more wondrous than we can possibly imagine, and all you can do now is connect with that wonder, find your centre, and be a beacon of life, for her.
You can do nothing wrong: you are as much an actor and observer in this drama as she is: grant yourself the peace of knowing that, whatever the outcome, you cared, you do care, and you will care, but you will care as a centred and immortal being, temporarily distracted by life, and courteous and respectful of her right to experience life as she sees fit, as she grants the same right to you.
jeremiaz is obviously without a clue about the uses and effects of cannabis, and like your grandmother, has lumped it in with other "illegal" drugs and so "just say no". In actuality, for Christ's sake man, your cousin was nearly killed by "medicine" and so the blame should fall on marijuana? Let the poor girl smoke, no studies exist that prove cannabis harmful to kidney recipients or even those on dialysis. My guess is she feels like she is dying and miserable not because of marijuana "withdrawals", but rather because all the shitheads won't let her do what she wants to do.
Addiction? You don't even have a clue what you are talking about. Marijuana helps with MANY medical issues. Such as cancer, and the bull you hear on the news is not what I am talking about. It's not just for chemo recovery. Cannabis cause programmed cell death in CANCER cells while not harming healthy cells. It also cures Dravet syndrome (epilepsy.) And too many other illnesses to list in a short reply. Do some research.