Part six of a six part series where Adam Singer discusses his journey from a seizure sufferer to CBD advocate. In part six, our loquacious sojourner reaches the end of his pilgrimage
On June 22nd, 2016, I returned home from a few days in Detroit to find my bottle of Charlotte’s Web waiting for me.
Before discussing its effects, I must clarify the precise dosage that I took. This was a 1oz-bottle, with a concentration of 500mg CBD; the site I ordered from offers three 1oz-bottles, in concentrations of 200mg, 500mg, and 1500mg. On the bottle, it suggests “30-40 drops twice daily, or as directed by a healthcare provider.” It also says that one serving-size is ¼ teaspoon (1mL).
Not knowing how this would affect me, I decided to begin by taking just 5 drops.
In the photo above, you can see that 5 drops fills perhaps 1/3 of a ¼ teaspoon. From this (and what follows), I feel that 30 drops would be excessive. And certainly does not line up with the recommended serving-size. This isn’t a criticism of the product—which, as I will shortly detail, is excellent—but a clarification so that new users can gauge how much they will want to take.
Following the advice I was given, I poured my 1/12 teaspoon of CBD under my tongue, and left it there to dissolve/mix with saliva for 10-15 minutes. As I was doing this, my mom pulled up the latest Last Week Tonight segment (“Brexit”). This was a good idea, in terms of gauging the wait-time. Less so, cuz of the terrible temptation to laugh. I very nearly lost my mouthful of CBD to the badger.
But I stayed strong, and when enough time had passed, I swished it around like chocolate-mint-flavored Listerine, and swallowed.
I believe in doing things right. So I poured a tall glass of ice-water (to preemptively combat cottonmouth), threw on my LP of The Doors’ Waiting For The Sun, and….I waited.
Within five minutes of swallowing the tincture, I was feeling it. By the time “Not To Touch The Earth” began (with those jungle-drums rising out of the darkness, the surreal sense of urgency to escape, to run out of the darkness and into the…..oh yeah. OK.), I was definitely feeling it.
CBD doesn’t get you high, as you might think of being ‘high’. It is intensely mellow, and while you may feel sleepy or spacey (again: I took 5 drops. 30 drops, I think, might knock me out for the night.), you don’t have trouble moving or functioning in any physical way. When I took the dog out for what turned out to be a revelatory 40-minute stroll, I felt a slight tingly sensation—a heightened awareness of the sun on my skin.
The only effect that I know the Lamo had on me was the psychosomatic anxiety over its side-effects. I have experienced a number of the things it says that the pills may cause (e.g. exhaustion, anxiety, migraines, &c)—but since my skin didn’t rot off, I can’t be certain that lamotrigine has done anything to me besides winding me up with the fear of how it might hurt me.
During that walk, I was intensely aware of how beautiful everything around me was. I saw the shapes of leaves in ways I hadn’t noticed in years: the veins on them, suddenly recalling science-class in 6th grade, when we had to collect leaves from trees around the school and sketch them. (“Sometimes I feel absent from the present, swept into the past and future as if I were really there” – Melges, et al; “Temporal Disintegration and Depersonalization During Marihuana Intoxication”)
SiDEBAR: I came across Melges’ study on 9-22-16; I’m rereading this blog on 9-25-16, about an experience I had on 6-22-16, and can see my past self realizing something that was expressed more succinctly 46 years ago by Melges (et al, but he was frontman for the group)—and I’m sure by others still further back, that I haven’t found yet.
Now, I’m moving ahead: the night-shift at T_______. Business lunch on Wednesday. My 26th birthday is in five days, and (NOW@11:55am. 9-25-16) and I’m consciously projecting myself between that anticipation, and the deepset memory of my 25th. Both amazing, unforgettable adventures; one exists in memory, the other in potential.
Marihuana (which has fueled this sidebar—if that wasn’t already obvious) allows you to think in ways and at speeds that would get you pulled over. My main energy is on editing this blog, but there’s another one brewing as well. Plus the magazine-article & breakfast I’m gonna earn by finishing this Edit.
Time is flexible, and with marihuana, your approach to it takes on nuances you can’t SEE normally.
And nowwww. I’m sliding back to 6-22-16. There will be no further interruptions of the scheduled blog content.
I heard the calls of six different birds. Normally, I’m aware OF birds tweeting—but during this walk, I listened to each of them. I felt present in the moment, and blissfully aware of the tiniest textures around me.
Lamo makes me feel nothing. It is a chalky pill, which so far as I can determine or am concerned, is a pharmaceutical insurance-policy against the unlikely possibility (for ME. Not in all cases.) that I will have another seizure.
Given the rarity of my seizures, CBD is just as likely (if not, from other cases, demonstrably more so) to stop me having them. And also doesn’t list “may cause seizures” as a side-effect. And also doesn’t come with a warning that stopping taking it suddenly will cause, quote, “seizures that will not stop”.
It’s not just a matter of choosing between two possible cures. One of them (Lamo) comes with a truckload of side-effects which make the cure demonstrably worse than the ailment. The other gives me a sense of joy, well-being, and delicious calm.
It’s been a helluva journey: from that seizure (3/8/16) to 6-22-16.
I hope that these blogs have been both entertaining and instructive. Part of my goal, in writing this series, is to give anyone in a similar position an idea of what you should/can do, if you want to begin using CBD for medicinal purposes.
Thanks are due to Dr.’s R____ & J______, for their guidance and tacit admission to try CBD. To my various confidantes and sources along the way, who shall remain anonymous but far from forgotten. To my usual circle of first readers, whose feedback and guidance is always appreciated.
Great thanks to Bill, for his advice—and for the CBD itself. One last time: if you’re in the market for medical marijuana, drop me a line on Twitter and I will point you to his site.
Thanks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, for his stellar series of documentaries on cannabis. His segment on Charlotte Figi was instrumental in this journey. My thanks are not sufficient, but go out to the Figis and the Stanley Brothers (the producers of Charlotte’s Web). You have blazed an important trail in the growing acceptance of medical marijuana.
An especial thanks to my parents, for Blog #4. I want to clarify that, while they grew up in, as I put it, “a culture where they mixed drinks instead of rolling joints”—that phrase was meant to streamline the comparison between their generation and mine. When we watch Mad Men, they are revisiting their childhood, NOT their first desk-jobs. I love you both.
And, of course, to the folks at Tokyo Smoke, for hosting this feature on their site. I was thrilled when you accepted my proposal to write this series, and gave me a channel to share my experiences with an audience that I think will best benefit from what I’ve got to share about my journey……
From Seizures To CBD.
Adam Singer is a joker, smoker, [legal] toker, philosopher, and psychic harvester. On March 8th, 2016, he had a seizure which has been a catalyst for deep introspection and drastic change. You can find him on Twitter, @timeofposting. If you have had a similar experience, or are investigating medical CBD, he encourages you to tweet @ him.
AFTERWORD: While I am still happy with the course of my journey, and a strong supporter of making marijuana legal for medical (and recreational) purposes, I have written a seventh blog (To be posted week of Nov. 7) which discusses certain hazards inherent to what I have done and described. By all means explore alternatives—but consider your personal risks as well as the potential benefits.