It has been nine months since I first stepped into a local dispensary, seeking relief from the chronic pain that had taken over my life. I know that I am extremely fortunate to live in a state where it is legal (medically and recreationally.) I know that it is fortunate that I have decided to embark upon this adventure just as cannabis is becoming more accepted. Even mainstream media is beginning to report on the growth of the industry and the benefits that can be derived from this plant. (Just this morning the Today show ran a segment on edibles.) I know that I am fortunate to have the full support of my family and friends, to not feel judged by them is huge. But most importantly I know that I am fortunate to have found something that is helping, something that I feel I have control over.
“Living with a chronic illness that constantly throws unpredictable bullshit at you, to have control over anything is an amazing feeling!”
So far my MMJ Adventures have led to relief; relief that is unparalleled to any that I found using various different prescription drugs. That is not to say I have found the perfect regimen, but even with the ups and down of trying different products, different strains and the occasional “technical issues” like a vape pen failing or a broken cartridge, my day to day life has improved immensely.
“I am actually living again,
rather than just trying to survive living.”
Although there are still plenty of stigmas surrounding the use of cannabis, the more people share their experience and tell their stories about how it has helped them find a better quality of life, the better others may begin to understand the legitimacy of this plant as a medicine.
Isn’t that what we aspire to achieve as we try and “grown-up” and look like we know what we are doing? A better life? Isn’t that what we all want?
If cannabis can provide a better life, if it can allow someone to start actually living again, enjoying life and all its wonders, then I don’t know how it can be denied. It helps, plain and simple. The fact that it does, without the crappy side effects (dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, lack of sex drive, weight gain) that came with the prescribed medications I’ve tried is just an added perk!
I have to admit, the reservation I had in sharing my MMJ Adventure is dwarfed by how I felt when I was on Methadone (one of the prescription drugs I tried during the first years of pain.) It is a schedule one narcotic, which meant that it is highly regulated by the FDA (especially given our countries opioid addiction epidemic.) Beyond being a pain in the ass to get – I could only get one month’s supply at a time, I had to physically go in and pick up the prescription from my doctor’s office every 30 days and often times my pharmacy didn’t even have the medicine on hand and I would either have to go without for a few days or drive around the city to other stores in order to get refills – it really didn’t help with the pain after the first six months. My body grew used to the drug, and I would have needed to increase my dosage in order to find continued relief. I didn’t want to take more. I was scared that I would become an addict, like so many people we hear about in the news these days. A prescribed medication led them to addiction, I didn’t want that to happen to me. I didn’t want to become an addict, I just wanted the pain to stop.
There is also the perception that methadone is used solely for recovering heroin addicts and I know for a fact that a few people in my life wondered if maybe my “disappearance” from many things was because I had become an addict. (Ironic that that is exactly what I was trying to avoid and was the reason that I stopped taking it.) I knew the truth. I knew that it was because the pain had taken over and I had slipped away because I couldn’t cope with anything beyond the bare minimum of existing. I knew I wasn’t an addict. I knew I wasn’t recovering from an addiction. I knew I was just trying to survive the pain, but others wondered and I hated that feeling.
No one likes to feel judged!
With cannabis, I am actually extremely proud to tell people that I am using it and that it is providing me with relief. I am excited to have something other than the disease to learn about and share with others. As I have chronicled my MMJ Adventures over the past months, I have shared about various strains and products that I have tried. One of the most common questions I get is which strain works for my pain. Here is how I answer that – it really depends.
“It is about finding what works for you and your body. What I have learned (for me) is that it is all about the strain. Above and beyond Sativa Vs. India, THC vs CBD levels, and how I choose to ingest the cannabis, it all has to do with the strain. The strain is what helps with the pain and not all cannabis provides relief. What strain I use matters – it is the difference between relief from the pain and feeling like crap!”
Which can be a bit daunting when you consider that there are 100s of strains out there already with more and more arriving on the scene. As legalization expands and more people get into the business of producing cannabis (both professionally and individually) new strains are popping up as they experiment with breeding the plants.
I found it extremely helpful to have a jumping off point – to find recommendations about strains from other MSers using cannabis for their pain. There are so many different choices and it can be beyond overwhelming, stressful and potentially expensive to try and just pick randomly. Finding a budtender that is educated on MMJ who is able to make suggestions based on my experiences with previous strains has also been a big help. Just as I have found strains that help, I have found ones that don’t touch the pain. It has been a process of trial and error – that still continues. I am always looking for new strains that will help, but I wanted to share a list of what has been helping me.
You will see that my list is heavily weighted towards the Indica plant. – I tend to be an Indica person, Sativa’s often make me paranoid. Although it is known as more of the mellow, “couch potato” plant, I don’t find it drags me, or my energy level down. The strains that actually help with the pain, and don’t leave me feeling high or fuzzy minded, seem to do just that…help with the pain without making me feel less motivated or active. That being said I have continued to try and find Sativa strains that don’t make me paranoid and that help with the pain. After all if it can help with the pain and give me energy, that would be awesome. I have learned that for me, what tends to work is a high THC % – but with some CBD (2-4%.) This is not always the case, but knowing this has helped me in finding a few of these strains.
(I have listed the actual company whose product I use, but have found that the same strain by another company tends to be fairly similar.)
(Indica) Optimum Extracts THC 69.05% CBD 3.02%
THIS was my very first success story. The first strain that helped with the pain without notably messing with my brain. I haven’t actually used this in quite a few months – haven’t been able to find it, and I have been busy trying other strains, but I definitely intend to hunt some down soon to see if it is all that I remember it to be!
Originally this was my favorite “Nighttime Strain” but due to one of the above mentioned “technical issues” I found myself on a camping trip without a day time strain, so I used Bubba and found that in small doses (few small puffs) it is great at helping with the pain without the time to sleep feeling.
This was my first venture away from a straight Indica and so far is the only hybrid that I have found that helps with the pain. Hybrids are created when two (or more) strains are combined, but I have found that finding out WHICH strains are used is not that easy (not usually included on the packaging) and yet as I have said, it’s all about the strains. So if I can find hybrids that indicate which strains, I might have more success in finding ones that help with the pain.
(Indica) Ionic THC 62.86% CBD 5.35%
This is a fairly new addition to my PAIN LIST but it’s been fairly consistent with helping with the pain and not messing with my brain.
(Sativa) Lit Raw CO2 Oil THC 60.1% CBD 7.1%
This is the only Sativa on the list at the moment. Love that it does not make me paranoid and does seem to bump up my energy/productivity level. It was definitely one of my favorite strains while we were vacationing this summer. Great for playing on the beach with the kids, fishing on the jetty and even riding a bike (something I haven’t been able to do for the past 3-4 summers!) Kids found it very appropriate that I was using “Great White Shark” while hanging out on Martha’s Vineyard and that allowed me to once again jump off the famous bridge from the movie JAWS!
(Indica) Crystal Clear THC 90.50% CBD 5.9%
This is another failrly new addition to the pack, although with the high levels of both, I was pretty sure it would work – and it does! This is a small disposable vape pen, super convient for more active days when I am out and about and don’t want to worry about picking out cartridges and vape pens. Just grab and go.
(Indica) Willie’s Reserve THC 87.78% CBD 0.14%
I bought this one when looking for a new “Nighttime Strain” but it is another one that is great at helping with the pain, without messing with my mind. A few small puffs and I am good to go!
(Indica) Harmony Farms THC 83.1%
This is the only strain that I have tried that doesn’t have any CBD – and yet it helps with the pain, significantly. I tend to use this one as a “Nighttime Strain” but I also really enjoy using it before working out – either going for a hike or even just doing yoga stretches. It relaxes my muscles, eliminating the constant “about to have a charley horse” feeling that I often have in my legs.
(Indica) Artizen THC 88.45% CBD 1.34%
An early addition to my Pain Strain list, this is one that I used only at nighttime but I am excited to try it as a day strain as well.
(Indica) Pearl Extracts THC 76% CBD 2.1%
Does a great job of killing the pain without any notiable changes to my mind.
(Indica) Avitas THC 76.8% CBD 2.18%
I have only ever used this as a “Nighttime Strain” but it does a great job of squelching the pain while relaxing me – ensuring a great night’s sleep.
Having spent a bunch of time perusing Leafly in preparing to write this post, I found a new strain that I am going to have to try. NOT because it is touted as helping with pain and not because someone recommended it. Based solely on its name, I need to find Fucking Incredible and give it a shot –
because my MMJ Adventure has been pretty fucking incredible!
IF YOU HAVE FOUND STRAINS THAT HELP YOU WITH YOUR PAIN – LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. I LOVE RECOMMENDATIONS AND LEARNING ABOUT WHAT IS WORKING FOR OTHER MMJ PATIENTS!!!
**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 advice of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **