As we continue on this path together of self-improvement, it is important to be completely honest with ourselves. There are countless people who are receiving benefits from cannabis use on a daily basis. We as medicinal users can feel the space it provides between us and the conditions in which it helps. Chronic pain, blood pressure control, mental health, and even as an exit drug from addiction are a few of the areas in my life that cannabis has positively impacted. This month I want to talk about addiction, inhibiting use, and making the most out of our use.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is what is used for diagnosing mental health related challenges. The DSM-5 has eleven criteria related to substance use disorders. Severity is rated based on how many of the criteria the person meets. The criteria does not apply to just chemicals and can be applied to any consumption that meets the criteria, like gambling, eating, alcohol or even cannabis. This criteria addresses things like needing more of the substance, consumption causing problems socially, or is contributing to or the cause of a physical or psychological problem. Ultimately, is your relationship to your “substance” of choice taking priority and taking you away from life.
If the desire to obtain or consume anything is causing problems in other areas of your life, we should be taking a closer look at our relationship to that “substance”. Is my consumption causing me to miss out on life experiences? Am I having a difficult time with relationships, either romantically or socially? Am I spending money on the proper priorities? If we aren’t being held back by our consumption and it is giving us relief, how can we maximize our benefit?
As you light up the next time, ask what you are treating. Maybe you consume recreationally, however I think most consumers of cannabis find some benefit from its use. If we are getting benefits in our life from cannabis, how can we make the most of it? For example, physical pain can be caused by physical trauma, an inflammatory response, or psychological trauma. If you have chronic pain that is controlled with cannabis use, use that time to benefit your body. If you smoke to help with stress, try incorporating meditation or breathing techniques.
Whatever you choose to consume is your choice. Weigh the positives against the negatives of your use. Is your use a crutch or a bridge? If your use benefits your life, then maximize that benefit. Use it as a way to step into the pain, and grow. Whether that’s with reducing things that aggravate your inflammatory condition, or maybe to better understand your experience. This month, get in touch with your relationship to how you consume. Make the best out of the space that cannabis provides from your condition, and make positive changes in your life!