September 29, 2018

Goodbye Pharmaceuticals, Hello Cannabis

 In my last chronic pain post we talked about trigger point injections and how after the procedure I took a long hard look at what I have been taking the past seven years. I was on daily pain killers, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatory medicine. These prescriptions allowed me to "push though" and finish my day. So I'd hit a wall and be in lots of pain, pop a pill, and carry on. There was no listening to my body's needs on this path. Only masking any symptoms and continuing on. My memory was slipping and my mood swings were all over the place. Even though I was on all of these medications, I was still in daily pain. Some days I would need more pills, some days less. The headaches would get so bad, some nights I had to add my prescription migraine medicine to that mix. Full disclose, in the past 7 years there has been more then one night that I laid in bed thinking "please let me wake up tomorrow, I don't want my kids find me like this!" Dark, I know, but that is what life on pills is like sometimes. And I was sick of it. I was sick of waking up feeling my entire body in pain and wondering how many other things were wrong with me that I didn't know about that the pills were masking. 

To be clear, I am not a doctor nor do I claim I know how to fix your chronic pain. I am simply starting a dialogue to start looking into what prescriptions we are taking on a daily basis. Do you know what the long-term side effects are for taking them? I was not aware at all! I simply took what my doctor told me to and went on that path for a very long time. And then it hit me, how can I improve my life, in the long run on these daily pills? The answer for me was I couldn't! So, I am sharing about my journey from chemical medicine to using the Cannabis plant.

So here is my story. In November 2017 after talking with my pain management doctor, I made the decision to apply for my medical license. Before I was allowed, I was drugged tested, I had a psychiatric evaluation done, and saw my pain management doctor every month, as well as a pain management therapist. (Fun fact: I never did any of this for pills! Kind of weird, right?) I jumped through all sorts of hoops from filling out all the state paperwork myself, I had my finger prints taken, had a passport photo taken, and finally sent all that in with my $250 check. Three business days later, I followed up with my doctor so they could send in the letter of recommendation for their part. This was the policy. I do it all myself and then have them send in a letter. I was worried I filled it out wrong, I was worried I was making the wrong choice, but I needed things to change and this seemed to be my path. Then the waiting game began. At the time I applied for my medical license, the estimated waiting was anywhere between 90-120 days. To be clear, I think now, almost a year later the steps might be different. Ask your doctor if you are interested in getting your license. 

During this time my doctor began to tapper me off of my pain meds. I was so scared to have these pills reduced and reduced (both in potency and dosage) before my medical license even came. "So I need to be in more pain for months until my license comes? This is your policy?" Yes, that is their policy. By early February my medical license came and that day was a great one. On my next visit to my pain management doctor, we did the final tapper on the pain meds, and just like that, I was off of them. Next up was the tapper off of my muscle relaxers (which I am only now at the tail end of doing), and the anti-inflammatory meds I was just able to stop taking.

So what is CBD anyway? "CannabidiolCBD—is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis is non-psychoactive or less psychoactive than THC-dominant strains makes it an appealing option for patients looking for relief from inflammationpainanxietypsychosisseizures, spasms, and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria." (source)

About having a Medical Marijuana license: There is now a light at the end of my tunnel. I don't wake up at a pain level 4 everyday, there have been days recently that I'm at more like a 2 and go to bed at a level 4! I am able to workout again, have dance parties at night time with my family (I use that have to sit with heat on my neck by 6pm) I'm moving well past 8pm daily and I'm not in a crazy amount of pain. My quality of life is so much better and that is priceless as far as I'm concerned. I can tell how much less inflammation I have on a daily basis because my base pain level is so much lower then it used it be. I also have less anxiety now which is an added bonus. To be clear though, I am seven months in. It took me over three months to even figure out what products worked for me. Gone are the days your doctor tells you "this pill works" and now you play the guessing game for a bit. It's tricky, but the staff at your dispensary should help (mine have helped out tons!) and there are lots of FB pages that can help too! 

So what are the cons? Judgment from EVERYONE! I get it, there is definitely a stigma. All I can say to everyone who has an opinion on my choice of treatment is to educate yourself. I was killing myself taking over 2000 pills each year. Again, before you judge, count yours! (Do you take daily heartburn medicine? That's 365 pills right there!) Now, I am happier, feel better (most days), and have no side effects from taking it....well maybe increased appetite, but the pills had me so thin, I welcome the new weight! Cannabis is not perfect medicine, but neither were the pharmaceuticals I was taking. It has helped me feel the best I have in over a decade! I feel judged because I have kids and openly use and talk about CBD & medical marijuana. I am not a "stoner". I don't take my medicine in front of my kids nor to I choose to smoke as my preferred treatment. My medicine is in a locked box out of their reach and site. Are your pharmaceuticals locked up safely away from your kids? There is so much power in this plant and I am so glad I made this choice, it gave me my life back.

Another con, price! What use to cost me $8 per prescription now costs me on average $300 per month. Insurance does not cover this type of treatment. Don't even get me started on this!

Unfortunately, with the regulations currently in place, not everyone has a medical condition that would qualify them for a medical license. That said, I feel so strongly that everyone could benefit from using the cannabis plant in some capacity. Which is why I have begun not only shopping and trying over the counter CBD products, but partnering with different companies in the coming months to share some great CBD product with you guys!

The best way I can explain the difference I have experienced between what CBD products I can get at my dispensary vs. what CBD products you can find online is the strength and presence of THC. In life, some injury/occasions call for an Advil and some call for a Hydrocodone. In my experience CBD alone is more like Advil with an additional calming effect while CBD products with THC (even very low amount) is more like a pain killer and muscle relaxer. Again, this is coming from a girl who lives in daily pain and has a high tolerance. I can't wait to hear how you feel when you try some of the great CBD (non-THC) products that I have found! (More on the blog next week)
 It's obviously more complicated and scientific then this, if you are curious here are some great articles on the topic: THC vs. CBD & Beyond, How Is Hemp CBD Oil Different From Marijuana CBD Oil?, & The Difference Between THC and CBD.

How I really feel about pain killers and muscle relaxers: These pills can be amazing in aiding your recovery from a number or injuries. However these were created for short term use! If you have been on any opioid or a member or the benzo family long term, do not stop cold turkey! Especially if you are on a member of the benzo family, please, please be careful coming off. Please tell your medical professional that you would like a long-term tapper to aid you in getting off. The side effects you experience when going off of them is terrible, and can lasts for months/years, but it is possible to get off of them and feel better!

No bull, just facts: -Each year 2,200 people die from alcohol overdose. 
-From 1999-2016, more then 200,000 people died in the United Stated from overdoses related to prescriptions opiates. (Stats from the CDC)
 -No one has ever overdosed on marijuana!

At the end of the day, we only get one life and although I have to live with chronic pain, I am choosing to try the non pharmaceutical approach. I was living in a hamster wheel of pills, pain, repeat and wanted better for me and my family. Cannabis has given me that in less then one years time! I have also made a choice to share my story with you. I did not have to do that, but I truly believe that if you add CBD to your life, it can not only help with so many medical conditions, but also aid in relaxation and lowing your stress/anxiety level (amongst other things). Spread love, try not to judge what you may not understand, educate yourself, and be kind. Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today, I hope you make it a great day! xoxo


Emma Jasmine said...

Wow !! this amazing hello hi post for cannabis and that is good your saying bye to private medicines. I am also user of cannabidiol products, cause it keep me stay healthy and active. I always told to my testimony to my relatives and friends.

Gina Howard said...

Cannabis have benn popular nowdays because of it's advanyages. It may reduce chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and much more. Most omportantly it is not phsychoactive like THC. This will help the readers who consumes CBD Oil. Thanks for this article!!


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