Hypomania by John Corbett

I have used cannabis since I was 15, and almost daily since I was about 25. In 1999, at the age of 45, after a nervous breakdown, I was diagnosed as bipolar and an alcoholic. My psychiatrist refused to treat me until I stopped drinking.

After I came out of rehab, I was put on a number of medications, including Buspar, Epival (Valproic Acid), Stelazine and Prozac. For the first few months after rehab, I neither smoked cannabis nor drank, and while my depression disappeared, I was in a constant state of mania, despite the mood stabilizing effects of the Epival. I couldn't concentrate, didn't sleep and my weight increased.

One night, after a particularly manic bout at my typewriter and the prospect of another sleepless night, I decided to turn again to the "magic bullet" that had always helped calm me down and provide the peace of mind required for reflection in the past. Almost all my manic symptoms disappeared immediately, and my wife (who didn't know for months that I was smoking cannabis again) remarked on how calm and together I was. Because she hates the very idea of cannabis, because it is illegal and because she associates it with no-hopers and unmotivated people, I didn't tell her for almost a year. During that time, I was motivated to quit my job, found my own company and guide it to a very successful first year in business (since followed by equally successful second and third years). We are now independently wealthy for the first time, I work at home and love it, and my relationship with my wife, once fraught with rage and depression, has improved enormously (except for her opposition to my cannabis use).

My wife now understands (but doesn't like) the fact that cannabis has a beneficial effect on my mood that none of the standard treatments and drugs have. She has seen the evidence, first when I wasn't using after I got out of rehab, and was so uncontrollable, and then again, when we went to France for two weeks and I left my cannabis behind. My mania returned almost immediately, and I hardly slept the whole two weeks, frightening my wife and terrifying our travelling companions. My wife now understands cannabis stops this from happening.

I cannot tell you what an eye-opener and a relief discovering this website was, Now I no longer worry about the interactions between cannabis and the drugs I'm taking, and my sense of guilt at being a "pothead" has diminished considerably. I have asked my wife to read your website too, and, in time, I hope she will come to accept that cannabis is what allows me to function normally as a human being, despite the disease I suffer.