Marijuana Edibles and Stroke: A Diary

Photo by Tamas Pap on Unsplash

WARNING: I am not a medical professional, nor am I an expert on marijuana or stroke. However, it might be helpful for some people to read about my dad’s experience as a stroke victim trying marijuana edibles. Consult medical professionals before taking marijuana or marijuna-derived products.

Marijuana edibles were an effective and affordable option for relieving many of my dad’s post-stroke psychological issues. He used edibles instead of inhaled marijuana because he had quit smoking after his stroke. Before his stroke, my conservative father had only taken marijuana twice in his life. Marijuana is recreationally legal in Massachusetts (my dad’s state of residence), so I purchased all of his marijuana at New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton. NETA was very professional and easy to navigate, with knowledgeable and friendly staff.

My dad always ate pieces of a “1:1” chocolate bar. The “1:1” meant that the cannabis concentrate in the bar had similar portions of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC and CBD are chemicals found in marijuana which are reputed to have therapeutic effects. The bar was divided into 20 pieces, each piece usually having 4.25–5 milligrams (mg) of cannabis concentrate, the amount varying with each bar. After various experiments (described below), my dad’s best results came from starting with 3 pieces, having a booster of 2 pieces an hour later, then another 2-piece booster after every additional 3 hours.

My dad took marijuana edibles to help relieve several post-stroke conditions. He began eating them about eight years after his stroke, at the age of 79. The stroke had affected the right side of his brain, causing extensive vascular dementia (brain damage) and hemiparesis (paralysis) on the left side of his body. He had become wheelchair-bound, mostly unable to care for himself, and required 24-hour monitoring. He had also lost much of his ability to perform basic mental reasoning or converse in an adult manner.

In addition, my dad had developed the following health issues after his stroke:

  1. Extreme chronic pain on his paralyzed left side
  2. Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  3. Anger and physical agitation lasting hours, days, or even weeks
  4. Severe depression
  5. Significant memory loss, both long-term and short-term
  6. Severe anxiety

As a side note, my dad started a 5 mg daily dose of oxycodone after he had begun regularly taking marijuana edibles. There didn’t seem to be any negative reactions from mixing the marijuana and oxycodone.

1 piece. My dad said there were no effects.

3 pieces. Very good results. He said there were no effects in the first hour. However, after 60 minutes, I noticed he seemed more smiley. He asked me: “What was in that pill you gave me?” and “I think I’m starting to feel something.” Talkative and smiley for next 1.5 hours. We were at a brewery and he proactively wanted to watch a musician playing, which was rare for him after his stroke. He ate ice cream and chicken wings. After 1.5 hours, he seemed to come down. Didn’t shift around much.

3 pieces. Good results, but less than previous day. My dad claimed that he never felt high, but he was more talkative than usual and a little more smiley. He didn’t shift around much.

3 pieces. Before ingestion, my dad had delayed responses, low voice, and slow movements — maybe caused by his regular prescription medications. He said that the marijuana had no effect, but laughed a lot more than usual. Also very interested in the fish ladder we were visiting and the exhibits surrounding it.

4 pieces. Mostly normal dad behavior before ingestion. 40 minutes after ingestion, he became much more talkative and laughing. My aunt told a story about a high school friend that my dad didn’t know and he suddenly smiled and asked: “Was her name Iffy?!” No fidgeting of lower body during lunch. Barely ate. Began fidgeting and demanding to be lifted while driving back 2.5 hours after ingestion. Eventually reverted to his normal behavior — extreme agitation, both physical and emotional. My wife suggested 3 pieces to start next time, then followed by a booster.

3 pieces to start, followed by 1-piece booster after 70 minutes. Good results. His feeling of being stoned lasted for over three hours. Not very talkative or smiley, but continually said that he felt good or that he felt high when asked. Very little fidgeting or scooting. Barely ate lunch again.

3 pieces. No booster because he had also started a 5 mg daily dose of oxycodone. There did not seem to be adverse reactions from mixing the marijuana and oxycodone. Good mood after an hour. Moderate shifting of body. No fidgeting. More smiling. Reported feeling stoned.

3 pieces, followed by 1-piece booster after an hour. Before the marijuana, he was very groggy when I picked him up from his nursing home, maybe due to the oxycodone. Not talkative during lunch, but smiley. No fidgeting. Moderate scooting. Said yes when asked if he was high. Reported feeling “okay” or “good” when asked how he felt. Became more talkative and responsive after lunch, though this might have been because the oxycodone was wearing off. More willing than usual to let me clean his face.

3 pieces, followed by 2-piece booster after an hour. Good results. Smiley and talkative during lunch. Minimal asking to be lifted. Almost no fidgeting or scooting. Reported feeling “okay” or “good” when asked how he felt.

3 pieces, followed by a 3-piece booster (instead of 2 pieces) after an hour. This was too much (although 2.5 margaritas added to this effect). My dad was so high and drunk that he could barely talk. His movements were very sludgy and he was mostly non-functional. Later that evening, he slid out of his wheelchair.

Standard dose of 3 pieces, followed by a 2-piece booster after an hour, then another 2-piece booster after an additional 3 hours. I only bring up this day to give an example of some conversations between me and my conservative, elderly, and now-very-stoned dad (who had only tried marijuana twice before his stroke). This conversation happened after a movie:

Me: “That character had to pretend he had no balls.”

Dad: “How many did they give him?”

Me: “Well, most guys get two. How many do you have?”

Dad: “I have three.”

Me: “Three?! When did you get the third one?”

Dad: “I don’t remember.”

Me: “Can you grow another one?”

Dad: “I’m trying right now!”

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store