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  • Click to view terchie4lyfe's profile
    Posted December 26, 2013 by
    St Joseph, Missouri
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Does marijuana help you?

    Breaking Down Stereotypes


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     terchie4lyfe smokes marijuana recreationally, and sometimes uses it to treat his anxiety and other mental conditions. He says pot relaxes him, and his close family and friends know that he smokes and fully support him. As a regular smoker, he doesn't believe he fits the stereotypical profile of a pot smoker. 'I work hard. Take care of my family. Live what most would be called a normal life. I just smoke pot to help me function through all of that without having an irrational reaction to any stressful events,' he said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    My story is a bit more dramatic then most. My youngest memory is watching my ex step-father slamming my mother into a wall and shoving a butcher knife into the wall of our apartment in Sedona, Arizona above her head.

    All over drugs. I spent most of the time until I was six in a household where drug use was rampant. Never around me. But always there. At that age my mom sent me to Omaha to live with family so she could get clean and i would be safe while she ended the abusive, toxic relationship she was in.

    Fast forward to sixth grade. I was back home, after a year and a half of living in Omaha i had come home and was living in Peoria, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix. had for years since my return, going to school, starting to come out of childhood and into my teen years. I sat proudly in my D.A.R.E class proudly swearing not to use any illegal drugs, having experienced first hand the effects of rampant drug use.

    One of the things taught in that class was the view that Marijuana or "weed" was a gateway drug and to avoid it or any other illegal narcotic at all cost.

    High school brought about new experiences including the renewed pressure for alcohol and drug use. Spending high school in a small town made these opportunities more accessible and less risky as we had more space to hide in the country.

    While admittedly I tried alcohol carefully, having lost the closest thing i had to a Dad at a young age due to a drunk driver, I resiliently resisted the opportunity to try weed.

    It angered me. i was misinformed about the effects; the real experience was still hidden due to my closed mind and lack of information.

    Having been raised by my mother, who was a recovering addict (and as any addict will say, always will be) i was afraid to ask her about the reality and why everyone had made it seem not as bad as it was portrayed publicly.

    Fear kept my mind negative and my judgement on the plant misguided.

    Fast forward to 19 year old me. I woke up in bed with severe chest pains and numbness and tingling in my left arm. I couldn't breathe. My live in girlfriend and I both having basic medical knowledge knew to call 911. The EKG showed no abnormalities but my blood pressure was 210/180 so something was clearly wrong.

    Having heart and stroke issues running on my moms family i knew I had to dive deeper. Multiple and expensive tests came up inconclusive as to what the issue was.

    Having grown up with ADHD/Bi-Polar, it was later figured out i was having anxiety attacks. Based on my own experience, I knew the dangers of what my body was doing when these attacks would come.

    Sometimes they were stress induced, other times a side effect of my bi-polar meds, and others were just random.

    After some prodding by a family member who was already a "pothead" finally broke me one night during an anxiety attack to try and smoke; I caved and decided to see if it helped. Knowing it was family i trusted them and took a hit.

    My first experience was a lot of coughing and it felt like a fireball in my chest. But it did take the edge off; so about an hour later, i took another hit.

    Knowing what to expect this time, it was much better and i spent the next forty-five minutes stationary, not moving a muscle. Having adult ADHD and Bi-Polar along side it, this was an impossibility at the time.

    My mind slowed down. My processing improved and i was able to relax. My blood pressure dropped dramatically. I could feel a huge difference. It was life changing.

    Since that day, I do smoke. Regularly. My anger is easier to control, my adhd isnt quite as bad and i don't have the peaks and valleys due to my mental disability. Im a better parent. A better husband. A stronger man.

    Every day i face fatherhood without a dad to guide me. Every day I work to make sure my son does not grow up with the same trials and pain that I face as a child.

    While I respect the law, i feel that having Marijuana illegal while alcohol and tobacco products, that are more harmful to our bodies, are placed on shelf after shelf day after day. It's moronic. I feel this is like playing chicken with a semi truck while riding a bicycle. It can't end well.

    The Billions our government spends on prosecuting non violent marijuana offenders could go towards our deficit. Or keeping arts programs in schools. The jail cells these "offenders" occupy could be opened up and filled with people like the drunk driver who killed my dad who thanks to our wonderful legal process never saw a day in jail.

    The taxes earned from legalizing the plant could help move this country forward and put a dent into the budget that the politicians argue so much about. Or, GASP improving the funding to fight the dangerous drugs out there that are created and sold every day, just as easy as Marijuana.

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