Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Marihuana

Michael Knutson

Thank you for responding to my letter about how marihuana has been useful in the treatment of my ADD/ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]. I’m happy to participate in your efforts to share information with other individuals about how marihuana is useful as a medicine, so I am sending you this account to explain how marihuana has been beneficial to me.

I’ve experienced problems with ADD/ADHD as far back in childhood as I can remember. My disorder was first noticed in elementary school when I began to show continuous disruptive, boisterous, and hyperactive behavior. I remember having trouble sitting still and concentrating in class. My first visit to see a pediatrician about this abnormal and disruptive behavior was at the age of seven. Until then my behavior was an enigma to my teachers and parents.

My diagnosis by Dr. Pat McGuire at the Marshfield Clinic in Chippewa Falls was ADD/ADHD. Dr. McGuire prescribed Ritalin for the first time.

The Ritalin seemed to drastically change my personality into a whole different child, but for the worse. Even though I had trouble sitting still and concentrating in school, I was never really a serious threat to other children and adults. So was it necessary to prescribe for me a man-made, mind-altering substance that was going to give me the side effects like dizziness, paranoia, weight loss, insomnia, multiple personalities, etc.? Was it really acceptable to exchange my disruptive behavior and having trouble sitting in my chair for all of these ill side effects?

My doctors, physiologists, and pediatricians prescribed Ritalin, Lithium, Prozac, Zanax, Busbar, Proxil, Valium and Dexedrine. Their diagnoses were ADD/ADHD, manic-depression, and even anxiety disorder. These medications and diagnoses were given to me at the ages of seven through sixteen. But none of the medications helped me with my hyperactivity, lack of concentration, disruptive behavior, and depression. Any every different doctor I saw seemed to have a different diagnosis. Which one of them was right? Who knows, ha!! So finally, at the age of seventeen, I gave up on all the doctors and started to self-medicate myself with alcohol. I eventually became an alcoholic. It seemed to be the only thing at the time to help me escape from my problems and feel good. But the alcohol and my disorder did not mix very well. When I drank I ended up in trouble with the law quite regularly. I felt there was no hope for me, and I was even suicidal. I spent many lonely days fighting the battles within myself, but I was simply going nowhere. That is, until the day I was introduced to the wonderful natural herb that God’s green earth produced for me to use as a medicine (marihuana). What a prodigy! What a beautiful organic plant! After that day, I began to use marihuana consistently in acceptable doses to medicate myself. It has been the most therapeutically active drug for me. I’ve been accomplishing things I could never have done before like: keep a job, relax, have long conversations, feel good about myself, find inner peace, etc. I could go on and on about all the positive energy that marihuana gives me, as well as the absolute inner calm that I know is necessary to my well being. I only have one side effect, a dry mouth and throat sometimes. That ain’t nothing that a nice cold glass of water can’t take care of. I’m still not sure what my real diagnosis is. But I sure know what the cure is! That’s all that matters.

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