by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
I am autistic (Aspergers Syndrome) and have used cannabis to modulate the anxiety, intensity and aggression associated with my particular variant of AS for over 30 years. I first considered suicide at age 16 to escape the constant bullying in and out of school and the debilitating pain in my back that the doctors told me would probably mean a lifetime long addiction to opiates. The side effects of these medications were horrendous and left me in a constant daze. Being a straight-A student I chose instead to find a solution to my pain by trying every alternative therapy I could find.
I first tried cannabis at age 17. I quickly found that when I was medicated, people around me coped far better with my eccentricities. Like many ASDs I have a violent and explosive temper and am often described, especially by women, as a "Scary Guy." The cannabis increases my tolerance for interruption and also helps me be more extroverted and therefore social.
At 21 years of age I made a personal commitment to Christ and was faced with the moral dilemma of using Cannabis for pain/aggression relief vs. what the churches told me was the “moral” thing to do. I read the Bible (I have almost total recall on the written word) and began to debate the church leaders and theologians on what the Bible actually said on the issue. I was subsequently pushed out of many churches of many denominations over many years for my views and choices. My faith in God is intact, my not my church attendance.
I only occasionally drink alcohol to very moderate levels, consuming only an occasional glass of port after a good meal to aid digestion. I have not been intoxicated on any substance since my 21st birthday and do not use cannabis to a point of intoxication only that of pain relief and anxiety reduction. I do not enjoy intoxication.
I chose to retire from my career as a sound engineer at age 30 due to the ongoing pain in my back. I retrained myself in IT infrastructure design and security engineering. I worked in that field for 17 years until COMPULSORY random drug testing in the workplace ended my career!
I have made a conscious, informed decision to ignore the unjust, disproportionate, discriminatory, bigoted law that ignores the empirical scientific evidence on the efficacy of cannabis in a select group of patients, for whom no other medicine works. The law prohibits me from having the one substance that gives me relief and quality of life and prevents me from exploding in peoples faces. I am currently being persecuted under this draconian law but am fighting back against the bullies, but that is a story for another time.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.