Just before Christmas, I decided to buy myself an early holiday “present” and FINALLY headed to a local Marijuana shop to try and learn more about, and purchase something to try and help with the pain that I live with, thanks to Multiple Sclerosis. Through the numerous blogs and websites that I follow, along with information provided in the MS support groups I am in, I know that many MSers have had great success in managing their pain and spasticity through Cannabis or CBD Oil. It might seem crazy stupid that I had not yet given Marijuana (Cannabis) a try, especially since pot is legal here in Washington state AND my doctor has written me a prescription for MMJ for the past three years but this would be my first foray into trying it.
So why the HELL have I waited so long and not tried it? It’s hard for me to explain, but as my pain has gotten worse and worse, I have tried many different medications for the pain and spasticity (Baclofen, Tizanidine, Diazepam,Gabapentin, Methodone, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline.) Although each did provide SOME relief, nothing really brought the pain levels down significantly. Rational or not, I seem to have put Cannabis (Marijuana) on a back burner – something that COULD be there, as a last resort if all else failed. I have absolutely NOTHING against it (or using it) and don’t really know WHY I did this, but I did. In my mind IF I tried it and it didn’t work then I was in a shit ton of trouble, because what then? It would then seem to me that I had run out of options.
But the pain has gotten worse, my “good days” of lower levels of pain fewer and far between, so I decided to get my ass down to the store and see if they might have something to help me.
The first thing I have to report is: I found the most wonderful, knowledgable and kind woman to help me navigate my way in a store (Evergreen Market) that was filled with things I knew NOTHING about. With the advent of Marijuana being legalized and many (if not all) MMJ shops closing, I had worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anyone familiar with the products I would be looking for to battle the pain. I figured that recreational pot shops are just that – for recreation and I assumed that most of their clientele are there seeking to get a high. Meanwhile, I wanted something that would STOP the pain and NOT get me high. It seems my assumptions were not completely accurate. Plenty of people use Marijuana for many different medical reasons and many staff members are very knowledgable about the different strains and options.
In hindsight it may have been beneficial to do a bit more research before I went in. There are so many great resources out there now, providing information about all aspects of Cannabis and even ones like this post about Cannabis and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Treatment. Preparation to know what questions to ask might have been a good idea, but she did a great job walking me through different options and information and I left the shop with my bag in hand – hopeful and more than a bit nervous (again, the “what if this doesn’t work” mentality.)
HERE is what I decided to try and what I have learned so far:
Lotionz by Potionz
I first decided to give the straight oil a shot. To be fair, there were other options that had flavors and different ways to dispense it but I figured taste wouldn’t make a difference if it helped with the pain and sipping from a vial seemed doable. For the most part, I was right, I don’t really mind that it doesn’t taste great – nothing a mint or piece of gum can’t fix and sipping it isn’t a big deal. But it does make it difficult for me to know how much I am taking when I do take a sip. I know it is likely about 4-5 mg but certainly much less than the 40mg a whole vial contains. As for effectiveness; it DOES provide some relief – although not nearly as much as I had hoped for. Perhaps if I were to take the whole thing at once it would provide more pain relief but haven’t yet tried that. Baby steps.
Herbal Pastille’s Mr. Moxey’s Mints
Although I DO like the fact that I KNOW definitely how much THC (1mg)and CBD (5mg) is in each serving (1 mint) I have to admit that in this case- taste DOES matter. Unlike the oil that I just swallow and then can grab something to erase the taste, this is a mint (hence the name) and I honestly can not stand the flavor of these. I thought since I love ginger that it would be a good choice, but not so much. I do like the fact that they are in the little tin that I can just through in my bag to have on hand when out and about and the pain is bad. I am sure that if I actually liked the flavor (even a bit more than I do) that they would be all gone by now. But as it is, I kinda dread having that taste in my mouth for the 5-10 minutes it takes for it to dissolve. I am looking forward to seeing if there are other flavors to try!
Fairwinds Pure CBD & Vape Pen
(Pure Oil – CBD 10:1- CBD 4.0mg THC 2.6mg)
Again, there seemed to be some improvement to the pain, but not life altering by any means. As with the oil, I am not sure just how much I am getting and don’t really know how many puffs I am supposed to take. And can I take TOO much? It does seem to me that this is the quickest form of relief out of the three though, so it does help in a situation that I need quick relief.
All in all, none of them provided enough relief for me to be over the moon excited. But what I have come to understand is that it is a learning process and I have a lot to learn and plenty of options to try. I am NOT yet discouraged that the relief isn’t that significant because I am realizing that there are many different factors to take into account
- how much CBD do I need to feel relief
- how long will relief last?
- can I take TOO much CBD?
- do I need to find products with a bit more THC?
- if I do need the THC content to be higher, can I avoid feeling high and can I still drive?
- what is the best way to use it? (oil, vape, edibles, transdermal patch or topical ointments)
As I explained to my new MMJ BFF at the shop, I am hesitant about the THC. The very few times that I did use Marijuana in my earlier years I didn’t particularly like it or how it made me feel. But I have also begun to read that a combination of the two is often used for people with Multiple Sclerosis looking for relief from the pain and spasticity. According to Project CBD “THC and CBD are the power couple of cannabis compounds—they work best together. Scientific studies have established that CBD and THC interact synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic effects…extensive clinical research has demonstrated that CBD combined with THC is more beneficial for neuropathic pain than either compound as a single molecule.”
I am also super curious about Sativex®, GW Pharmaceuticals and trying topical lotions and/or oils to see if they might provide relief. I will have to do more research, and continue trying things as I am sure that it is different for each of us – as is everything with this “fantastical” disease.
I would LOVE to hear from you about your experiences with Cannabis and CBD oil and your MS or chronic pain! What works for you?
Let me know if you know of helpful resources I could check out. Given it’s growing popularity AND the fact that it seems to be helping so many people living with MS I am thinking of adding another section to my MS Resources Page for Cannabis/Marijuana.
**This is my personal blog and all opinions are my own. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on my blog. The content here is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to replace the advise of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **