THE BLOG
06/13/2014 03:55 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2014

Mother Jumps From Nagging to Bragging About Marijuana

Eight years ago, somewhere between scheduling play dates for my youngest and running our household I caught my 16-year old son smoking weed with a few friends. Upon discovering this scene, I became irate. What was he thinking? Hadn't we talked about choosing not to use drugs? Was I being naive thinking my child would never... Whatever the case may be when it comes to teens and drugs, every mother fears for their child.

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And my fears were further amplified since addiction ran in our family. Part of me felt my son was just being a typical teenager, experimenting. But the other part of me, my intuitive side, knew he was using this particular drug to escape his reality. You see both his father and step-father battled drug addiction and I feared the trickle-down effect.

My primal urge was to protect my child, thus I just couldn't stand by and not punish my child for his choices. This began my campaign to complain and harp on how marijuana is a "gateway" drug, that is, a drug that increases the likelihood of using hard core drugs such as cocaine. Honestly, I believed the key to deterring marijuana use was to nag, nag, and nag some more.

The last thing I wanted for my children was a future in and out of jobs, or worse yet a life filled with addiction. But I had seemed to have forgotten about that teenage girl I once knew who also tried pot -- me! Had I looked at myself, I would have realized that pot use doesn't automatically lead to abuse. Marijuana had not become a gateway drug for me.

Now, let's fast forward to just a few months prior to my son turning 21-years-old. To a time when I am being handed a prescription for both Dronabinol and Nabilon (drugs derived from marijuana). These drugs were being ordered to help me with the chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. I had been diagnosed with stage III colon cancer and my weight had plummeted to 108 pounds -- too low for my five-foot-ten-inch body. Admitted finally to a local hospital, I was force-fed through an IV at a cost of a grand per day to my health insurance carrier. After two three-week stays in the cancer ward, I was released, only to start losing weight again.

Fortunately, a member of my oncology team knew exactly what to do about my drastic weight loss. I was urged to get my hands on the real deal -- marijuana, a.s.a.p. And if I couldn't find help, it was implied help would be provided. Hell yes, I was conflicted about using cannabis. At that time, Marijuana hadn't even been approved for medical use in the sunshine state.

Think about it, it's not like I didn't spend years yelling about how pot was bad and bad for you. Judge me if you will, and you will. All I can say is that my body was starving itself, because the cancer cells needed more food, more energy. Not only was I rail thin, but I was weak, constantly sick, and no good to anyone, let alone my children. Physically, my body had hit rock bottom; it was as if I was at the threshold of death, maybe because I was at that point.

Still, somewhere deep inside of me I knew my mission in life wasn't yet complete. This was the point; I began writing my memoir -- RAW: One Woman's Journey Through Love, Loss, and Cancer. I knew I was at a crossroads. I needed to make a change or do something different. My survival depended on it. But taking an uncharted path meant I needed to peel away layers of negative thinking, even with regard to using marijuana.

A call was made and I was able to secure some weed. Privately, I took a few hits, and to my surprise, I actually began to feel better -- less nauseated. Finally, I began to feel an improved sense of well-being, and I was less anxious overall. In my experience, pot made me feel better, much better!

But that's not to say I didn't feel like one hell of a hypocrite after years of vilifying cannabis. Really and truly, it was difficult to reconcile my past and present beliefs on weed, especially when it came to parenting. Of course, I hid my pot use from my other two children. But I'm not afraid to admit it -- using pot saved my life! How could I not brag about the beneficial effects of weed? Marijuana improved the quality of my life during my fight against cancer.

Fiona Finn is the author of RAW: One Woman's Journey Through Love, Loss, and Cancer.