This year I decided to take a class online called understanding dreaming through UMFK because I had a few questions that I needed to understand about what was going on with my dreams. I started out as a lucid dreamer at a young age until my a few years ago when I was very depressed and suicidal I was having very bad nightmares. Then the nightmares stopped and I not had many dreams since. By chance I read an article that explained a lot and I did my finial project on the subject. For my blog post today I am going to share some of my project with you as it is related to cannabis:
At a young age I became a lucid dreamer. It had never been my intention to become a phyconaut as someone who could explore the full expanse of the sub-conscious world. I would use it for my own pleasure to do things that were completely impossible in the waking world. It was not until I had become a young adult that I realized I could do more with my lucid dream than just have fun. I started planning out adventures for my Dungeons and Dragons groups with aspects of my dreams. I would later find a greater use for my dreams besides games and pure entertainment. I have always loved a good story. I fell in love with reading at an early age and had always admired great authors with the stories they could weave together. I realized I could use my dreams as a spring board into some really interesting stories. Therefore I started to use my dreams I had at night and could use them as a story all I would need to do is add in some extra details to smooth things out and I would have a great story. However when I started to have horrific nightmares as an adult I was not able to recognize them as nightmares or even dreams and had to go through excoriating pain, deaths, along with many suicide attempts all in my dreams. During this time I had no lucid dreams and then after six months of nightmares they stopped. After being relived of the nightmare I thought that the lucid dreams would come back. Since the nightmares stopped I have only been able to remember one dream and it was not a lucid dream. The question is why someone would go from have advanced lucid dreams to having uncontrollable nightmares to being denied dreaming altogether?
The reason for the nightmares is pretty simple. I have fibromyalgia and I have been living in chronic pain for many years. Along with the fibromyalgia I have had a meridian of different medical issues including prior to the time I started having nightmares I was having some kind of other strange medical issue. I started to black out in various different times and locations with the blackouts lasting between minutes up to an hour. Once I regained consciousness it was followed by amnesia of the preceding 1-12 hours prior to the black-out event. This forced me to drop out of a few classes. My depression got worst during this time dealing with so many medical issues all at once and I started having thoughts of suicide prior to the nightmares. Even though I never acted on these thoughts they consumed me all the time. It is very likely that because of this I started having the nightmares because my sub couscous was too preoccupied with my destructive thoughts that I could not access the lucidity or was not willing to. Though my studies online through UMFK online I have learned a great deal about dreams and lucid dreaming. I found that lucid dreams could be used for more than just my own personal entertainment or stories that I am writing. The lucid dream can be used to communicate with the sub-couscous to resolve issues someone could be having. This makes the importance of the lucid dreams that much more important. I feel very lucky that the nightmares stopped but I still wondered why I was not able to dream again because I liked the many uses of my dreams.
As someone who lives with chronic pain all the time I have been on many different medications. Most pharmsutical I have tried did not work very well or a short term effectiveness and with a long list of side effects. I was taking handfuls of pills three times a day. I became a medical cannabis patient to treat my chronic pain and it works so well that I have since been able to come off all my pharmsutical medications. Not only did my pain get managed better but it also helps manage my depression and anxiety as well. It is because this medication works so well for my medical issues that I started to want to learn more about cannabis. It is because of this want to learn more about the medication that has saved my life that I stumbled across why I stopped dreaming.
Cannabis has been used to treat many different medical issues for thousands of years. In the writings of Emperor Shen Neng of China in 2737 BCE he documented that cannabis was a powerful medication for several medical issues. As cannabis becomes less taboo and is getting studies more and more every year. Cannabis is being found can treat many medical issues including PTSD. Many people with PTSD also have nightmares. People with PTSD many times relive their previous traumas through nightmares that plague them every time they close their eyes. Cannabis is a very effective medication because mammals have a system of receptors inside their bodies this called the endocannabinoid system. This system has two separate kinds of CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are inside the brain and the CB2 receptors scattered throughout the rest of the body. The body uses endocannabinoids with the CB1 and CB2 receptors to help treat internally various issues. Sometimes the body cannot produces enough endocannabinoids to internally treat various issues the body has. Such as major injury or dieses. Cannabis is the only natural source of cannabinoids found in nature besides the endocannabinoids generated inside the body of a mammal. Specifically the cannabinoid delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as the most medically active followed by Cannabidiol (CBD) and several others.
The relevance that cannabis has on dreams and nightmares. Was shown in a study done in the 1970’s that shows one of the effects that delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has on the body when interacting with the endocannabinoid system receptors CB1 usually has the tendency to reduce the rapid eye movement phase of sleep in patients that use medications containing. Since the most vivid dream occur during the REM phase of sleep people that use cannabis can see a reduction in dream activity or even the complete loss of dream recall. However it is also noted that when a medical patient stops using cannabinoid based medications can see a dramatic influx of REM activity and very vivid dreams have been reported to go along with these. It is this particular effect that interests many veterans with PTSD who could get relief from chronic painful nightmares caused by PTSD with the use of cannabis based medications. With a current study being done within the last couple of years out of Israel that shows “Recent evidence suggests cannabinoids may enhance the ability to overcome traumatic memories. What’s more, cannabinoids are known to affect sleep in various ways, including a decrease in REM sleep — the sleep phase during which nightmares occur.”
It was strange to be the researcher and the subject at the same time. With this unique situation some basis can form. With this in mind I tried to keep my mind open when looking at every possibility. It is now apparent that the dream realm and lucid dreams might be out of reach as long as cannabis is the only medication that can successfully treat my medical conditions. With this in mind it makes learning Active Imagination that much more important. To be able to try to access the sub-conscious and interact with it. Whether that is to get answers to questions that might be nagging at one level or another. Or if it is to use active imagination to expand my adventures that I had while I was able to lucid dream and attempt to channel them into an active imagination session.
 “Cannabis Treats PTSD Symptoms In Pilot Study.” Leaf Science. June 19, 2014. Accessed April 28, 2015.
 Feinberg I, Jones R, Walker J, Cavness C, Floyd T. Effects of marijuana extract and tetrahydrocannabinol on electroencephalographic sleep patterns. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1976 Jun;19(6) 782-794. PubMed PMID: 178475.
 “Cannabis Treats PTSD Symptoms In Pilot Study.” Leaf Science. June 19, 2014. Accessed May 1, 2015.
“Spread Cannabis Knowledge!”