Santa Barbara, Calif. — I’M 74 years old, and I have smoked marijuana almost every day since dinosaurs roamed the earth in the early ’70s. When my awareness is heightened, I’m on my game — the best I can be at thinking creatively, making decisions, focusing on my work, seeing the big picture … and caregiving.

For 20 years my wife, Anne, has struggled gallantly against the physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual depredations of Parkinson’s disease. For the first 15, I took care of her myself. Now I have lots of help. Either way, enjoying a hit or two on the pipe every couple of hours has granted me tens of thousands of sweet clemencies that keep me from burning out as a caregiver.

Pot is my refresh button. It restores my innocence, makes the familiar look fascinating. Not all of the time, no. But enough of the time. I’m a sunnier companion when I’m high. I have more to say even when Anne can’t muster a reply.

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How Getting High Made Me a Better Caregiver

How Getting High Made Me a Better Caregiver