Back to my hippie roots

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It’s been a few years since I thought about them. I was raised in the Woodstock era, with a lot of free love, peace and brothers in harmony. I always admired them a little, those free thinkers who lived in communes, eschewed things like clothes and allowed others to refer to them as “hippies” (even then I was sensitive about my anatomy).

I respected a lot of what they stood for without ever wanting to be one of them. Oh, I wore those shirts that were psychedelic in design and I wore lots of beads and bell-bottom pants, but the one thing I could never come to terms with was the use of drugs. And let me be clear when I say that I know not everyone who identified with the “brotherhood of man” group used drugs and certainly, plenty of folk from the rest of society did use drugs. But I always thought of peace-loving hippies and marijuana use as somehow connected, I just didn’t want to join the crowd.

I’m sure most people by now know that I have been struggling for the last year with a painful spine issue in my neck. I know people are aware of this because I have whined to everyone who would listen and a great many who probably would rather not have had to hear me. Because of this pain, I have tried everything from over the counter painkillers (which didn’t work), to topical applications (which also didn’t work) to essential oils (which had some effect) to massage (which is painful but helps in the long run).

Doctors have spent the year rubbing their heads and trying to find an effective medical solution, but two things they would like to avoid are opioids and surgery. I am fully on board with their concerns and have endured a year of feeling like a I have burning ball on the back of my neck and a feeling like an abscessed tooth in my shoulder and arm, because I, too, would like a less drastic solution.

Slowly, inexorably, I am drawing nearer to surgery, but as I go, I look more and more frantically for a different solution that will end the pain. Today, I had someone finally make a suggestion that I will admit, left me a little flabbergasted.

And that brings me back to my hippie roots. Because the solution he had was the possibility of medical cannabis, known among my 60s buddies as “weed”, “wacky tobaccy”, “maryjane” or just plain old marijuana. When I was young, I was proud that I avoided smoking the “good shit,” so it takes me a little aback that in my aging body and mind, I am considering this avenue–when it becomes available, obviously!

Of course, there are caveats on this. I wouldn’t be able to use it except at bedtime, because it wouldn’t be a good idea to show up for my job in the daytime and then get toasted on a high grade marijuana cigarette. Even so, the idea that I might be able to get a good night’s sleep is attractive enough for me to consider this rather bizarre solution.

Since I had this conversation, I have been busy envisioning myself in a pair of bell-bottomed pants, a fringed jacket brushing up against the flowers in my hair as I sat cross-legged on the floor and lit up a joint. Of course, in order to get me into bell-bottomed pants, cross-legged on the floor would take drugs far more powerful than marijuana. I don’t think the medications that would require are very good for me either! In addition, I am pretty sure I’m too old to learn to smoke, so there’s another problem.

Needless to say, I haven’t made any decisions on this issue and until it is cleared for use, I won’t have to decide. But in doing research on the issue, one of the warnings about it gave me pause: even if we have it in this state, it is not legal everywhere. So before I pack up my innovative pain solution and light out (no pun intended) for other locales, I’d better check on the local weed laws or I might make headlines for infamous reasons and I’m too old for that as well! Groovy man!

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