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How I use cannabis for chronic pain
I have been a medicinal cannabis patient since August of 2018. A whole two months before the recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Canada. I never even tried smoking the stuff until AFTER it was legalized. I went through a lot of prescription options before my family doctor would send me to a specialist. We wanted to avoid opioids completely, since there was a good chance I would need to increase my dose on a regular basis.
I grew up watching my mom use cannabis (mostly) medicinally. She’s been in several car accidents (none of them her fault) and has sooo many health issues. It has always been her number one treatment for pain.
For reference, my mom has fibromyalgia, Ankylosing Spondylitis and TMJ issues along with a shit ton of other things. In other words, she is always in pain. I have always known she treated her pain with cannabis and yet, I never considered it for my own pain. Didn’t even bother to experiment as a teen when she told me I could try some with her if I ever wanted too (only because she wanted me to have a safe place, not to push weed on me).
My husband told me more than once to just get high, I’d feel better. So when the day finally came that I agreed he might be right, I got a great big I told you so. In the nicest way possible any way.
Getting My Cannabis Prescription
In order to get my prescription for cannabis, my family doctor wanted to exhaust all other options before sending me to a specialist. We both wanted to avoid opioids, which left limited options. It took awhile, but my doctor ended up agreeing that cannabis might be the right direction to take. He wasn’t super comfortable with handling it himself (I’m his only patient with a prescription for cannabis) so it was off to a specialist for me.
Once I got my prescription and was registered with a distributor, I started out with just oils. I took CBD in the mornings for my nerve pain, which honestly was the first thing I had ever tried that WORKED! It brought my pain from a 7 or 8 (out of 10) down to a 3 or 4, depending on the day. I was skeptical when I tried it the first time, but it’s hard to ignore even the slightest decrease in pain. I started using a 1:1 of CBD and THC during the day if I needed a pick me up and straight THC at bedtime. That made me start sleeping 5 or 6 hours a night, sometimes more. That was a huge increase for me.
After a while, the THC oil started to lose its effectiveness. So, with legalization happening by that time, my husband packed me in the car and drove me to a dispensary right away. He may have been excited.
I tried smoking it, but honestly I hate the taste. Despise it even. But it worked. It worked well enough that I ended up ordering a few different kinds of dried flower from my distributor.
A word of advice: the medicinal stuff is waaaay better! It’s not all dry and crumbly like the recreational stuff and the quality control is much higher. At least, that’s what I’ve seen in Canada.
Figuring Out What Works for Chronic Pain
I started using specific strains during the day to keep me going and a different one at night to knock me out. I would take CBD oil in the morning and smoke a 1:1 or just CBD as I needed it to keep my nerve pain out of the way.
The main thing I noticed though, is that while the CBD seemed to actually bring down my nerve pain, THC did something different with my other pains. It was still there, but I no longer cared. It seemed to change my attitude towards my pain which made it easier to handle. With the right strain, I could actually get stuff done. It was amazing.
I tried a few different methods of smoking at first. Didn’t really care for a pipe, it seemed like too much work somehow. I used a one hitter for awhile, I liked that I could keep a gram or so in the container and it had a little ashtray in it. It was about the size of two lighters too so it was easy to carry around.
Once I knew I was committed to using cannabis for my chronic pain, I decided to upgrade. I invested in a vaporizor. I had to accept the flavour, but it’s a much smoother experience. My lungs appreciated the change.
I have a high tolerance for things like cannabis and alcohol (prescription medications too), so I rarely ever get to the point of feeling “high”. This made it possible for me to smoke or vape all day if I needed to, which is like, everyday really. Thankfully, I work from home so it wasn’t a problem.
Realizing How Much Cannabis Actually Helped
Shortly after getting my vaporizor, I got pregnant. While it was planned, it kinda sucked that I had to give up the cannabis for my chronic pain. Four doctors agreed that a small amount of just CBD, if I needed it, was ok. I rarely bothered. I wasn’t super comfortable with the idea but sometimes my nerve pain was just too much. Otherwise, being off all of my medications and not able to use cannabis meant being in a lot of pain. Pregnancy sucked.
Once I had my daughter though, I was right back to it. After three trimesters, I certainly realized how much cannabis had actually been helping me manage my pain. I know how I function while using cannabis so my husband and I aren’t concerned with me being intoxicated and unable to care for a baby. It’s all a matter of knowing your limits.
I’m currently in the process of making cannabis cookies at home. I tend to forget about using my vapourizor now that I have a daughter to distract me so I need something that will last me for several hours. Plus, who wouldn’t like to eat cookies for chronic pain?
A Word of Caution
I have met a few other people that are medicinal cannabis users. They all love it. Most of them use cannabis for chronic pain as well.
One of the people I know got their prescription purely for anxiety, nothing pain related. Now I am no stranger to general anxiety. I have always had some significant social anxiety too, kinda made presentations in school extremely difficult for me. But that’s another story.
My point is, cannabis has never worked for my anxiety. It hasn’t made a dent in my PTSD either. Because of this, I have a really hard time not calling bullshit on someone who says they use cannabis for anxiety. Or worse, just CBD for anxiety.
HOWEVER, I always remind myself that everyone is different.
Just because cannabis doesn’t touch anxiety and PTSD for me doesn’t mean it can’t help someone else. That also means that just because I am rambling about how much cannabis actually has helped me and changed my attitude towards chronic pain, it doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. So please, keep this in mind if you are considering cannabis as an option for your pain.
And ALWAYS (I really mean ALWAYS) talk to your doctor before even thinking about self medicating. I’m not a doctor, or any other kind of health professional really. This is all just my opinion and experience.
If you need a refresher or more information on medicinal cannabis, check out my brief overview.
If you are in Canada and are looking for a clinic, I highly recommend Canadian Cannabis Clinics. They are nationwide and offer virtual appointments so you don’t have to worry about location.
Are you a medicinal cannabis user? Has it worked for you? Are you thinking about talking to your doctor to see if it’s a viable option? Please let me know, leave a comment or drop me a line privately. I love hearing different experiences with medicinal cannabis for chronic pain.
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