I would like to preface this article with my congratulations to Cosmopolitan Magazine for going outside the exhausted fashion or beauty editorial and bringing forth a truly relatable exposé on the troubles of an eating disorder. I related strongly with the author in that marijuana is a powerful tool towards alleviating stress and there is an abundance of research that proves it can help to treat a variety of mental and physical illnesses. The article goes into detail to explain that many who suffer from anorexia use marijuana as a way to ease anxiety and nausea while in recovery, as the ‘munchies’ allow for the user to consume food in order to return to a healthy weight. The author explains that marijuana allows those treating anorexia to form a new relationship with food and that many have found great success with this method of coping with their disease. And while I agree whole-heartedly that marijuana is a viable option to relieve anxiety, I strongly side with Gina Bongiorno, a therapist out of the University of California San Diego Eating Disorders Treatment program, who states ‘If someone has to rely on marijuana to reduce their anxiety and get through a meal, then they are never learning how to regulate their emotions and lose the opportunity to heal their primary issues’.
As someone who has dealt with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder for eight years, I know very well that there is no magic pill or in this case magic plant that can cure a mental illness. Sure medication, exercise, and even marijuana can aid in treating my anxiety yet these things don’t kill the demons in my head. Because when the pills run out, the workout is over, and the weed high wears off, I still have the weight of my depression pressing down on my chest. I still have the same insecurities, the same worries of not being good enough, and the heavy sadness that melts my mood like a candle just because. Marijuana and medication are ways to treat the physical aspects of mental illnesses, yet in order to fully improve upon your happiness; you need to focus on treating your thoughts and your feelings. Marijuana may bring on the munchies and help you to put on weight, but it doesn’t eliminate thoughts of hatred towards your own body. Suffering from anorexia is so much more than just the physical and it makes sense that it can’t be treated just by a physical treatment such as a pill or a high. It is vital to someone with a mental disorder to step back from everything else in the world and work on healing the walls of hate and anxiety that they have built up over years of having depression because the only way that we can get better is through self-love. And while that may sound cheesy as hell, I don’t simply mean just saying ‘I am beautiful’ to a mirror everyday. Learning to love yourself takes years of practice and like mental illnesses, there is no quick cure to self-acceptance. It takes time and patience to get to a place of internal peace but the journey towards self-acceptance and body positivity is perhaps the closest way to a cure.
Because while marijuana, medication, and therapy may like to simplify mental illness to a happy pill or a twelve-step program, there is no cure. Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are diseases that a person is born with and will likely deal with the rest of their life. But by fighting the demons within head on through the disentanglement of ones deepest emotions and thoughts, do we start to notice positive change towards a happier and healthier individual.