In Part 1 of this blog, I explained the different strains of marijuana and their effects on the user. Even with negative side effects I suffered from pot usage, my resounding answer is yes. As long as the user knows his own body and has done some basic research on the effects, I would certainly recommend moderate pot use to anyone over the age of 25.
Why 25? Current research suggests that the human brain doesn’t reach maturity till the age of 25 or 30. In a study conducted at the National Academy of Sciences, it was determined that heavy pot users(those who used it 3 times a day or more) had increased connectivity in the orbitofrontal cortex- a section associated with decision making and response to rewards. The users also had smaller amounts of grey matter.
The study suggests that marijuana may alter the young brain in a detrimental way. The increased connectivity seen in users appeared to drop off after 5 years, indicating that the brain may not have been able to make up for negative effects of the drug.
As a writer, I know the importance of cognitive function and especially how it relates to critical thinking (I write a fantasy epic after all). I actually took a 10 year break from marijuana and I believe it actually benefited me greatly. Instead of my brain reaching maturity at the age of 25-30, my brain function actually peaked just a few years ago at the age of 40. My particular case might be unusual. I don’t know many other people who became smarter at the age of 40. Believe it or not, My IQ was actually 25 points higher at the age of 40 than it was when I was 25. Go figure.
When I was younger, I never had a proclivity to write and a penchant for critical thinking like I do now. It comes in handy for creating jaw-dropping plot twists and intricate plot lines fans of 300 and Game of Thrones will love.
As I mentioned earlier, my torrid affair with the euphoric herb was a tempestuous one. In 1998, I made my first 911 call because of a panic attack I suffered while smoking pot. Though I didn’t know it at the time, the strain was more than likely a sativa, which would explain my hyper-sexuality, sense of euphoria and paranoia. I wasn’t educated about pot and didn’t even know about the different strains back then.
When the paramedics arrived, they of course asked me if the pot had been laced with anything. I replied that I wasn’t sure. Not five minutes after they arrived, my heart began to slow down considerably and felt like the biggest dipshit the world has ever seen! If I had only waited ten minutes before calling them, I would have been fine.
I had several other panic attacks over the years caused by pot use and by 2000, I stopped regular pot use for about 12 years. There were only a few instances when I smoked pot. When someone offered it, I usually always smoked, but I never bought it. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am not predisposed to any type of drug addiction, despite the fact that my college career was marked by frequent drug experimentation. With the exceptions of cocaine, alcohol and marijuana, I never used the drugs more than once(though I did snort and shoot heroine because I knew it would be a different kind of high).If I were predisposed to drug addiction, no doubt my life would have turned out quite differently.
By 2005, I began to suffer from frequent heart palpitations and severe panic attacks once again, but this time they were not induced by pot use. I had been experimenting with steroids in moderate doses for a few years and this seemed to only exacerbate the condition, especially with a high calorie diet; so I naturally eliminated them and cleaned up my diet.
This seemed to mitigate my condition somewhat, but I still suffered from the heart palpitations. I would wake in the night with a racing heart rate. I finally went to the doctor and they were unable to pinpoint any diagnose. My heart was strong they said, so they sent me to a specialist- a cardiologist. After extensive testing and wearing a heart monitor for a couple of days, I received my diagnosis-MVP.
MVP is an acronym for mitral valve prolapse. MVP is considered a minor heart defect where the heart valve leaflet is especially spongy and sticks to the roof of the atrium, disrupting the extensive nerve network there. This sometimes results in increased respiration and mixed signals from the brain, increasing the heart rate, sometimes alarmingly. One with this condition may feel as if they are having a heart attack. Why else would your heart rate shoot through the roof? When one panics, they often fear the worst.
Of course, any doctor will tell you that a rapid heart rate in and of itself is not cause for alarm and is certainly not life threatening (unless it goes over 100 for an extended period of time). It depends on the other symptoms you are suffering from.
People with MVP are not in danger of going into cardiac arrest or dropping dead of a heart attack any more than anyone else. Most of the time, their hearts are strong and the condition will naturally realign itself, which it did with me.
Any stimulants like caffeine, ephedrine or cocaine can definitely exacerbate the condition. Though I know I shouldn’t, I do use caffeine. My days of drug experimentation though are long gone. I just can’t take the risk. The popular marijuana strain sativa, has been known to raise blood pressure and heart rate briefly, which would explain why I had such a severe reaction to it. My latent mvp exacerbated the effects of the drug.
In Part 3 of this blog theme, I will discuss my experience with edibles, why I never ingest them, their pitfalls and the best daily regimen for writers. If you’re a serious writer and you have never tried marijuana, I would recommend you experiment with it. If you’re suffering from erectile dysfunction and you’re looking for an alternative to the popular ED meds out there like Viagra, I can recommend some fantastic sativa strains to get you back on track! In no time at all, you’ll be able to brainstorm that great novel and please your woman or man (or goat, sheep, etc.-I don’t judge).
Rory D Nelson is a fantasy author. The first installment of his fantasy epic, “The Brotherhood of Merlin” is now available on Amazon. Buy Book. You can learn more about the fascinating author at rorydnelson.com. You can sign up for his blog, “The Brotherhood Blog” here. Brotherhood Blog. With your free subscription, you will receive 3 amazing backstories of the young Merlin, who endured a hellish existence in an Ork prison camp as a boy.