Neurodivergence & Cannabis
By Kathy Barker,
After putting myself under the microscope, as it were, I wanted to know more about the effect THC had on the neurodivergent community. After all, I couldn’t be the only one that ‘every day’ tokers would go wide eyed towards after hearing how I reactto Delta 9 (THC). For me it’s like Alice In Wonderland. Hallucinations and all, as I conveyed in a prior piece ‘Validation Station.’
My reaction also couldn’t be the only one being experienced within said neurodivergent community. ‘Weed’ isn’t that cut and dry. It’s a consciousness, a teacher, and it will express itself differently for everyone based on what an individual needs to learn or receive at the time.
Incidentally, when I first began my journey with cannabis It didn’t relate to me like it does in the present day. It was more grounded. If you enjoy word banks, these could adequately describe how I used to feel when I partook: [ puffy, soft, muffled, buffered, disarmed ]
It was good for me in the sense that it softened the effects of my being an empath. It softened the world. I feel EVERYTHING.
Or at least that’s how it seems. Going to Walmart? Yeah, that’s a hard no. I digress.
My hunt for other perspectives began with a good friend of mine from high-school named Phillip M. He experiences the world through a lens of Autism, or as he likes to call it, an “Aspy’s” lens.
I started by asking him how Cannabis made him feel? More specifically, what was different about his state of mind/being when he smoked, verses when he didn’t?
“For me it’s a crucial night night med. I have a vape pen that’s like 3%. My mind never stops. I cannot help but analyze everything that I see. If I don’t have 3-5 puffs before bed, it takes me forever to wind down. And it’s not like it shuts my brain down like Leo from ‘That 70’s Show’. It’s more like it opens up the filing system and allows me to store the information much more efficiently. My body may be vegged out for those 30 minutes, but my brain is in hyperdrive. I guess it allows me greater control and focus in that. Also, when I do partake the night before, it’s almost like I wake up with a clean RAM and hard drive.
Like I’ve got more energy and more social battery. In autistic words, I have more spoons,” Phillip explained.
I asked him if he could explain what “more spoons” meant, and he stated : “The idea of spoons is basically an autistic person only has so many spoons in their drawer. Depending on the individual, certain tasks use spoons. I.E. Taking a shower may cost a spoon to someone with touch sensitivity. Going shopping may cost 3-5 spoons depending on the stress involved. Busy Traffic, a crowded store, they moved stuff around in the store, etc. When you’re out of spoons, you’re done. Even stuff that you would normally enjoy doing, you can’t do. You’re completely overstimulated at that point. Now ‘stimming’ you may have a chance to regain a spoon or two just to finish the day, but that is even more individualistic.”Oh! For those of you who don’t understand what ‘stimming’ (self stimulating behavior) is, its repetitive non typical movements or sounds. It’s something to help cope and manage burnout or overwhelm. Now, when it comes to preferences on strain, Phillip conveyed he enjoys Indica to be sure when it comes to his neurodiversity. Sativa was only used for more spiritual practices. As he awesomely put it: “It’s like windex for my monocle over my third eye. It’s a quick cheat if my mind is a little cloudy.”
For him, there wasn’t much of an unpleasant experience with any method of partaking so far as he could tell. He had “good friends that actually cared and made sure the dosing was right with edibles.” he went on to explain that they made sure he waited to feel the effects before trying more.
Now taking a slight detour from THC and bringing up CBD, Phillip commented that he loves that cannabinoid too! Dealing with many sports injuries, it takes his usual 3-5 pain level down to a 0.
It doesn’t have much change on his mental state other than the euphoria of not being in constant discomfort. Not a bad benefit, I’d say.
It’s beautiful to get an up close look at the nurturing qualities Mama Gaia can offer through something as simple as a plant called cannabis. It’s been so misunderstood by so many, and finally it’s being given the opportunity to show how much help it can offer to every kind of community.
Thank you Phillip! And thank all of you for believing!