This is a cannabis success story. It’s a story of how one man overcame his dependency on heroin and helps individuals and families that are struggling with addiction.
His solution is cannabis.
His name is Caleb and this is his inspirational story…
Please tell my readers about yourself. Give them a background of where you’re from and your relationship with cannabis.
I grew up in a hard-working blue-collar family with both parents home. I couldn’t have asked for better parents or a better brother. I’m a classically trained chef by trade, but I buy and sell building materials for a living. I love all things DIY. I love spending time researching anything of interest. I tend to dive right in, no reservations. I tweet in my down time trying to educate people about the Opioid Crisis, and how cannabis can help save the lives of those addicted. I’m in a loving, committed relationship for over 3 ½ years. I have the smartest dog in the world despite what anyone else thinks. I’m a huge foodie, and I love all things cannabis!
Cannabis has been a part of my life since an early age. I primarily use cannabis to relieve pain these days. It’s just a bonus that I get to experience all the other added bonuses! cannabis keeps me from using painkillers for my back pain. I would be back in a gutter shooting heroin if I did not find my own access to cannabis. Cannabis gave me my life back. It allows me to be painless and functional. It allows me to be present.
We’ve been talking for the past few days and you get messages almost daily form family members eliciting help. My question is, what advice do you typically give these often grieving family members?
At first, I listen. When a family is devastated by drug addiction, they want to vent to someone they hope can help. It’s usually concerned family members pouring their hearts out to me. I feel and understand their pain. They want to get it all out there to someone they feel can understand them. The first bit of advice I give is to make sure their loved one understands how much they are loved. This is different for everyone in what they consider love. I tell them whatever they do, do not give up the love or the hope. This is something they can actively do, all the time. Loved ones always tend to need to be fighting to save the afflicted, and at times can be overbearing. We feel worthless addicted. Having that feeling of being loved and worth it makes it easier to want to do better. I tell them to let their loved ones know that they will be comfortable with cannabis use instead of narcotics. We want to make the transition as comfortable as possible. Next, I ask the hard question. How willing is the loved one to quit using opiates/opioids? Unfortunately, if the person using narcotics isn’t willing to quit there’s not much more help to be offered other than educating them in what I do, and why I do it and how it works.
What’s the most tragic story you’ve witnessed from your Twitter account?
No one story is more tragic than the other. This crisis does not discriminate. Anybody could get it when it comes to opiates/opioids. Nobody is exempt. Almost every story is similar in its own regards. They are all tragic. I am empathetic to everyone’s pain and sadness equally. Is it because I lived through it on many different levels? I have gone through multiple bottoms. Each one gets deeper. I can relate to every story. There isn’t too much in this world I haven’t seen. I’d say the most tragic thing is watching the self-destruction on any level. The real tragedy is when someone dies addicted. Their life on earth was hell before they passed 90% of the time.
Anyone that might be reading this that’s addicted to painkillers or any drug. What advice do you give that person for dealing with their addiction? How do you feel cannabis can help them?
Everyone’s reason for being addicted is different. Some are afflicted with serious chronic pain. Some are self-medicating for mental or emotional reasons. I try to identify the root of their addiction. A vague statement would be to start loving themselves. Tell yourself you are worth it. Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile. Tell yourself, “I love you”. Clean yourself up. When you look good, you feel good. Start eating proper nutrition. Do something active to retrain their reward center. Spend time in nature and around animals. Volunteer. Do something of purpose. Do things that make them feel good other than narcotics.
Cannabis can help people reduce the number of prescription pills they take. Eventually, they realize how much it helps that they give up their prescriptions. People who are addicted fear the withdrawal symptoms. They now have a more comfortable way of going through it. They may also fear life in general once clean. Cannabis will help them ease back into society. Cannabis can help a chronic pain patient reduce the number of narcotics they take at their own rate comfortably. Cannabis can help relieve the fear, physical discomfort, anxiety, depression, GI irritability, and sleep deprivation. It can increase energy levels, increase appetite, and offer mental awareness.
How can people help themselves when dealing with their addiction?
We have to be mindful of the damage done. We must take steps to correct those damages as best we can, in order to keep moving forward. We wreaked havoc on our bodies. This is where physical fitness and proper nutrition is needed heavily. Our bodies are our machines. Like a car, if it is not regularly maintained, it will give out. Exercise helps repair all those neurotransmitters we destroyed. We release endorphins that create a natural high. The same endorphins are destroyed by the massive flood sent to the brain each time we used opiates. We must regulate them again. Ever hear of a ‘runner’s high’? It hits the same receptors as cannabinoids. The euphoric feeling is not that far apart. With dedication and perseverance, we can reintroduce natural levels of endorphins into our systems. We are capable of regulating our own brain chemistry. Exercise also helps relieve anxiety and reduce stress. It only makes sense to use every avenue possible when trying to save ourselves. I feel like my odds are better with exercise in conjunction with cannabis. Adding proper nutrition makes it a triple threat against relapsing. With a little extra work, we can keep that good feeling lasting way longer than any drug could! Stay away from people they used narcotics with. Stay away from toxic relationships. Stay away from places and things that remind them of using drugs. I tell them to surround themselves with positivity. We are trying to get better, and we know what’s wrong. I tell them to try doing the opposite of what they are used to doing. Sometimes getting comfortable requires us to first do things that make us feel uncomfortable. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
How do you feel about Attorney General Jeff Sessions?
I feel like he is a shallow human being. Anybody who goes up against a child trying to prevent them from receiving proper treatment should be locked away for child abuse. This isn’t a war on cannabis with him. He is a puppet for powers higher than him. Until Big Pharma can create a medicine with cannabis that is more profitable than other prescription drugs, then we will see change. Keeping people sick with cancer/addiction/PTSD/epilepsy/etc., is big money with the revolving door they created. Patients go to a doctor for an ailment. The next stop is the pharmacy to pick-up a prescription. Once addicted, they may go to rehab, jail, or some government-funded program if they don’t die first. Some people leave rehab addicted to a maintenance drug like Suboxone or Methadone, or they leave with 5 new mood stabilizers and sleep medications. The goal is to keep us sick or MAKE us FEEL like we are sick and need all these drugs. Whatever it may be they are all still being paid. Lucrative little scheme they have, huh?
Do you believe marijuana is a gateway drug?
Not at all. They want us to believe that. They know how safe the cannabis plant is. That’s why they push alcohol, tobacco, and prescription pills. They’re the real gateway drugs. At the end of the day, they are all profitable because our bodies become physically dependent on them. I have NEVER been physically dependent on cannabis. I have with all the previous mentioned substances, though.
Do you believe marijuana saves lives? If so, how? (Please speak about your personal experience, assuming you feel comfortable doing so)
This time around getting clean for me wasn’t easy. I was determined despite all the hurdles I had to jump over. The real hurdle came after the first year. I was in a car accident and reinjured my back. I had previously injured it playing football as a kid. I couldn’t move for a few days. I also didn’t have any insurance. Fast forward 9 months later, I reinjured my back again while squatting at the gym. I was standing after doing a rep with the weight on my shoulders and I felt my back give out. It was like a warm liquid running down the inside of my back. The pain was excruciating. I couldn’t even put socks on. I contemplated using opiates. I didn’t have to go further than next door. I knew the life it would bring. I barely made it out alive the last time had it not been for my one dog and my father. I didn’t want to put any of my loved ones through that again. Even with all the stigma of using cannabis since I had a history of addiction, I made the conscious decision by myself when the pain became too much. Had I waited much longer I probably wouldn’t have been here to do this interview. I got honest and real with myself.
How has cannabis change and or save your life?
My overall quality of life since has been tenfold. Without a doubt, cannabis saved me. It not only saved me, but it saved my family as well. I used to be prescribed Suboxone, Klonopin, Effexor, Buspar, Seroquel, and Ambien. Who in their right minds prescribes someone this many medications? I was a zombie. I went through years of life on autopilot. I haven’t touched an aspirin since using cannabis. I don’t wake up dreading a day full of pain. My overall attitude and moral are night and day. Cannabis made me more aware. I started eating even better than I was previously. I was more conscious of what kind of fitness supplements I was consuming. I believe it has improved my brain function. I can’t find anything negative to say other than it being illegal in my state, and it’s decriminalized up to one ounce in my city.
Your detractors would say your claims of healing people with cannabis are unverified. What do you say to those detractors?
I am all the verification I need. They pray on my downfall. They think what I am doing is wrong and that I am not ‘clean’. I don’t knock what they do. I tell them there are a million ways to skin a cat. I tell them I’ve tried their way and that I almost died. I have put together the most time being narcotic free since using cannabis. If it’s not broke, I don’t fix it. I believe my way leads to a better quality of life. I invite them to try it.
Do you believe marijuana can destroy lives?
Cannabis does not destroy lives. The Government can sure twist it that way, though. Our laws destroy lives. Our healthcare system destroys lives. Racism destroys lives. Making cannabis illegal makes it easier for them to make money. It gives them an excuse and a reason.
Some would say theirs’s a negative stigma with cannabis. How do you feel the companies, the dispensary’s selling cannabis handling/selling cannabis help educate the consumer public about the health benefits?
I live in Pennsylvania. We are making progress with medical cannabis. With that being said, I have yet to step foot in a dispensary. Unfortunately, without experience, I can’t really contribute much to this.
Why are you so passionate about cannabis legalization?
If cannabis does not become mainstream we will continue to experience all the negativity our Government created. I want to be able to consume cannabis without the fear of legal repercussions. I want people to be able to experience the benefits who wouldn’t partake had it not been socially acceptable. I believe people with chronic pain and illnesses deserve at the very least the option to replace cannabis with whatever they can. It has so many more health benefits than it does side effects. It’s the exact opposite of the medicine we are fed. We deserve better than what we have now. These reasons fuel my fire.
Do you feel legalization is a moral issue?
It absolutely is a moral issue. We wouldn’t take insulin away from a diabetic, so why would we take cannabis away from a child with epilepsy or cancer? I’d like to keep on rockin’ in the free world, but it doesn’t seem so free. Keeping people sick for personal financial gains is the definition of immoral. Where in the world would this be considered proper conduct?
What are withdrawal symptoms of opiates/opioids/heroin?
It starts with fear and anxiety. Imagine going up in a plane, and it crashes with no warning. Sweating now begins. Shortly after, all hell breaks loose in the stomach. It feels as if someone is stabbing the stomach with a dull, rusty blade and twisting it. That’s a good warning to run to the toilet. Which end is it coming out of? All of them! Next, flu-like symptoms start settling in. Clammy, lethargic, aching bones, a thick fog has now formed over the brain. Everything is dream-like. Remember, nightmares are dreams, too. The victim is now in a living, walking nightmare. The bone aches get worst. Legs become restless. Insomnia sets in. The human mind starts playing tricks. It tells you to use because you have A, B, and C to complete. That your wife will leave you if you take X amount of days to help yourself get better. The mind tricks us into thinking that we will lose our jobs, our families, our lives. Truth is, none of that matters if we die. We must remain stronger than the head games. Time slows down, unbearable. Each minute feels like 3 hours. All the mind can think of is that next pill, next sip, next bag. With one of those, all these symptoms will vanish and said person will experience temporary relief. Then, there’s PAWS or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. These withdrawal effects can still be experienced for up to 2 years after quitting. They can come out of nowhere and hit us like a brick wall. Most of life will feel uncomfortable for up to a year and a half. The good news is the biggest storm is over after detox.
Their’s currently an opioid crisis throughout the United States and many marijuana advocates say cannabis can replace opioids as a viable alternative. Do you agree with this sentiment?
100%. Not only can it replace opioids/opiates, it can replace a multitude of pharmaceuticals.
Your primary advocacy channel is Twitter. Do you plan on expanding your footprint to Instagram and Facebook? Also, can you give any tips to anyone that wants to expand their social media presence using Twitter?
I really like Twitter. Everything about it makes it my platform of preference. My life is pretty full at the moment. Expanding is definitely on the list of things to do. I never expected to have accumulated the following that I have. I started doing this during my downtime at work. I thought it would be fun to comment on funny weed memes. Then I started seeing all the people who were struggling. I figured I would start sharing my story and maybe it would help somebody. I kept it real, that would be my best suggestion.
Who are some people on Twitter you look like to inspirations/advice when wanting to know more about cannabis advocacy?
I jumped on Twitter after taking a 5-year sabbatical to have fun and advocate in my downtime. Everything I do is trial and error. I only want to have fun, tell my truth, and try to help someone.
Do you feel cannabis can potentially lower healthcare costs?
Cannabis has potential to lower health costs because it does help keep us healthy. That would mean fewer visits to the doctor or hospital. Our healthcare system is a flawed revolving door. Let’s use cancer and addiction as an example. Patients come in for treatment and leave untreated, 9 times out of 10 they return for more treatment. That is the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, only to have the same outcome. If they lead a patient on to have them feeling like they are making progress, they will return. They may even eventually treat the patient successfully. The problem being some patients run out of time. They go through this revolving door of hospital intakes, charged insurances, money out of pocket until they are cured. It is their business to keep us sick in order to profit.
Do you support the home grow options for cannabis users?
ABSOLUTELY! We have the option to cultivate cannabis from seed to bud in a controlled setting?! It doesn’t get much better than that. Another great benefit is fatter pockets. Cannabis is expensive, especially for the very sick who need to use more. We should all be growing our own cannabis for safety and financial reasons. I think it is so cool that I can try growing any strain I please. I could grow a strain from another part of the world that I may not have been able to experience otherwise. There is also something very relaxing and therapeutic in growing your own start to finish. It is a great feeling when it is all said and done.
Do you see cannabis playing a larger role in the lives of Americans as the years go on? or do you feel government bureaucracy is going to stifle the market?
With all the progress we have made so far, it seems like regressing back isn’t an option. It is 2018 for fuck’s sake. I want to scream at everyone I see “ITS ONLY WEED!” It is a matter of time before somebody from Big Pharma creates an incredible medicine using the cannabis plant that can replace the cash flow that opiates/opioids produce.
You can find Caleb on Twitter