I think it’s time someone wrote about marijuana and cerebral palsy. I have a mild case of cerebral palsy. My speech is slowed. My hands clench when I let them. I often have tightness in my legs. That’s just how life is for me. Could be better, could be worse. But I’ve found that cannabis helps. The words flow easier when I’m talking. My hands clench far less often. Most nights I can even get to sleep with no trouble instead of being up till 4 a.m. with leg tightness. My life is better because I discovered marijuana. The times when I’ve had to go without for extended periods of time are more than enough proof of that.
I’ve found that I function best when I consume throughout the day. This is me knowing my body, feeling the tightness come and go, understanding my speech patterns and being intimately familiar with all the ways words get lost and jumbled along the way. I can tell when I’m at maximum relief. Once I reach a certain level of consumption, my symptoms fade as far into the background as they can go. And that is exactly where I like to keep them.
This results in me consuming a large amount of cannabis. And no, I’m not just high all the time. In fact, I’m very rarely high. You can build up a tolerance to the psychoactive effects in marijuana while still getting the relief. So I’ve spent the better part of two decades building up a massive tolerance. If I’m having a bad day CP-wise I want to be able to consume as much as I need to regardless of what else I have to do that day. I cannot stress enough how important a high tolerance has been in allowing me to live my best life. I have a Volcano for flower, a Puffco Peak for concentrate and can manage my symptoms better than I ever thought possible.
Problem is, from the outside it just looks like I smoke a lot of pot. Do you know what the number one thing people say when I tell them I have cerebral palsy? “I had no idea.” Most people don’t even realize I’m using medicinally unless I tell them. And even once they know, most people seem to struggle with the reality of how high my tolerance is. Sometimes it seems that one of the harsh realities of my condition is that there will always be people who think less of me because of how I much marijuana I consume, regardless of why I consume it or how much of an effect it does or doesn’t have on me or my ability to function. That’s disappointing, but it’s a hell of a lot better than constant pain in my arms and legs and not being able to communicate as effectively as I normally do.
My advice to anyone with cerebral palsy who has found that cannabis helps:
First of all, try not to let others influence your level of consumption. You know your body. Go ahead and figure out what works best and do that, no matter what people think.
Invest in good equipment. For me, vaping is so much better than combustion. Good equipment is so much easier to work with and can make the process more enjoyable and time-efficient. Identify when, where, and how you want to be able to consume and set yourself up for success. It really will make a difference.
Learn about the different strains and how you react to them. Learn which ones help you focus, which are great for watching a funny movie, which help you fall asleep or stimulate your appetite. Look into the genetics of the ones you like so you can quickly identify others that may work well for you. Learn about all the different ways to consume cannabis — flower, concentrate, edibles, topicals, RSO, tinctures. Think of them like tools in your toolbox. The more of them you are familiar with, the more jobs you can get done. There’s so much information available and the more you know, the better you can choose what to use.
And last but certainly not least, build up that tolerance. Sure, sometimes I miss being able to get giggly high from weed, but I definitely don’t miss the distraction of constant pain in my forearms. I can wake up really feeling it, dab half a gram of oil or eat a gram of RSO and then go about my day feeling better with no change in my ability to function. That feels like a superpower considering how much it helps with my symptoms.
With how much cannabis has helped me live with cerebral palsy, I’m surprised I don’t see it mentioned more often. I hope this post helps more people with CP recognize how it could benefit them too.