A lot has happened in the year since I began to learn about cannabis in the hopes of finding relief for my chronic pain. I see more and more mainstream media platforms, like the Today Show, running stories about medical marijuana. I run into more mentions on social media of the medicinal properties of this amazing plant. I hear more people talking about it. I am excited and encouraged by this increased buzz around marijuana, because in my mind it is simple…
(and it helps a whole lot more than any of the prescription drugs that I have tried over the years, without any of the annoying and sometimes nasty side-effects.)
A few days ago Dr. Oz talked on Fox News about marijuana possibly being the “gate way drug” out of the opioid crisis. He then aired a segment on his own site, that included Montel Williams in his panel of guests. Williams has lived with MS for years and has become increasingly vocal in his support of MMJ and has recently started his own line of medical cannabis called Lenitiv Labs. (As a side note, I hope to try his line sometime, after all, he LIVES with what I have, he knows how much it can help. I would be curious to see what he is creating!:)
Like me, he knows. He knows the relief it can provide, he knows how much it can improve the quality of one’s life. When you actually live with the pain and then find something that truly does help with without fucking up the rest of your life (many opioids have numerous side effects and worst can lead to addiction and possible death) it is truly amazing. The fact that cannabis does not seem to have any negative side-effects on my mind or my body and seems to have a plethora of positive ones make it a winner in my book. It is helping in ways that I hadn’t expected and with things that I didn’t even know were “broken.” I still have all my MS symptoms. How my day goes from hour to hour is still super volatile…BUT I feel better.
Overall I feel healthier, more focused and more aware of my body than I have in years.
Physically I am much more active now that the pain is under control. I have dropped about 15 lbs, and have begun to feel old longings to get out and really exercise my body, to move and stretch. Over the years, with all of the various medications that my doctors have prescribed, I have suffered from severe constipation (which led to some wonderfully embarrassing moments.) My doctor suggested prescribing another drug to try and counteract the constipation brought on by all the medications I was taking. The idea of taking more drugs to try and help my body cope with the ones that I was already on seemed counterproductive. I tried every fiber supplement, probiotic, natural laxative and suppository out there and nothing provided relief. Some things would work for a short period of time, but I would always slip back into the world of “oh my god, I am literally full of shit.” Cannabis definitely has helped with this. I am not going to make the claim of being completely better in the crapper department, but it is a lot better than it has been in years.
Mentally, the pain had taken its toll. Now that I am experiencing relief from the chronic pain I am able to see just how low things had gotten for me. I have said over and over again, I was living each and every day just struggling to survive the day. I would wake up in the morning and immediately feel a sense of dread, knowing that I had another day of just trying to survive the pain ahead of me. Irrelevant of what I was going to do that day, the only thing that I ever thought about was the pain. I really didn’t have a lot of hope for the future, because the only thing I could imagine was that in the future the pain would still be there.
These days, I wake up, excited to start my day. Granted I am still not jumping out of bed, but I am eager to get my various different body parts up and moving and to do the things that are on my list for the day. Before I would lamely attempt to hack away at those lists, just trying to put out major fires and avoid major mistakes and complete the tasks that were required of me to keep my family clothed and fed. Now I am viewing it as a challenge and I set out to tackle it with the confidence of knowing that I can do it. I can remain mentally focused and the pain will stay at reasonable levels and I will be able to accomplish things, each and every day. I realize that when we are talking about tasks like balancing my checking accounts, checking on retirement accounts, making dr appointments, trying to find a publisher and other seemingly mundane “grown-upping” things this might not seem monumental, but it is. Because I have not been doing these things on a regular basis for quite a while now. It would all strike me as “too much” – I couldn’t do it with the pain and the mind fog/lack of focus thing and I left a lot of things neglected. I shirked responsibilities. I let myself down and let the MS have control.
I have begun to clean up the mess and get organized once again. My kids think it’s pretty ironic that it takes mom smoking pot to get her organized and clear headed again. I point out that it is just more evidence that it is actually legitimately medicine. They point out that it’s actually legitimately proof that I am stoned. We go around and around with this particular joke – not sure I’m going to win
Cannabis gives me hope. Hope for the future, hope that things can get better; that something will help with all the stupid shit MS doles out on a daily basis. Hope that things will be ok. Because there are so many unknowns with this disease that it is hard to really ever believe it’s going to be ok. Having something that fills me with optimism again, has been huge. I find my mind filled with ambitions and aspirations, and I am taking steps to try and achieve the things that I have been dreaming about for years. I am moving forward in my life, rather than just treading water and desperately trying to stay afloat.
I share all of these things because I know that there are others out there, that have thought about it. I know that there are many that wonder if there is any truth to the claims people are making about cannabis. I remember thinking maybe it was just “a thing that people say,” – they like getting stoned and figure that if they said it helps with the pain than they can get stoned all the time and use the “pain” as their excuse. I’ll be honest, this thought DID cross my mind. I did think it; that maybe it wasn’t really pain relief but rather just an excuse to get high that was driving people to push for medical marijuana.
BUT I was completely wrong. I am living breathing proof that it helps. It has helped me with the pain. It has helped me begin to actually live again, rather than just trying to survive life and the pain that was there every minute of every day. For those that wonder if I am experiencing and saying all of this because I am now walking around high or stoned all the time, I’m not. I feel more “normal” and more like the old me I remember being. I am functioning at much higher levels than I have in years. I am beginning to get on top of things like bills and doctor appointments, I am writing more and organizing my thoughts for what it is that I want to do in the future. I am PAYING ATTENTION to what is going on around me and PARTICIPATING in my life, rather than just hoping that I don’t screw anything up too severely by doing just the bare minimum to get by.
Even though I KNOW it works, and even though there are more and more people talking about how it can help, the most common response you get from anyone in the medical field is that there isn’t enough research to know if cannabis (medical marijuana) can help; to know whether it truly has medicinal properties. Let me just say – I would gladly participate in research! I will gladly share this story and the results I have experienced with anyone that wants to record it. I want to tell people about this – I want to tell as many people as I can. Because it is too good and too valuable to not share it. As Dr. Oz says, “it is a vicious cycle…can’t get money to do the research – so guess what – There is no research to support it. Yet the National Academy of Sciences believes that it works for pain…”
I have been “researching” for the past year. I have been performing my own “studies.” First experimenting to determine whether CBD or THC could help with my chronic pain, and then learning about and finding strains that help with the pain. Because it has been working, and because I have been in control of the whole process I have continued to learn as much as I can about the plant and how it helps. I have been inspired to try and share my story to encourage others to begin to ask questions about medical marijuana. I have begun to seek out ways to try and help move legalization of medical marijuana forward and one clear missing link is the research or lack of it.
Dr. Oz ends his show with sharing the link to change.org and a petition to fund more research for Medical Marijuana as a solution to the Opioid Crisis. According to the site, they need 14,393 more people to reach their goal….I have over 11K followers – so hopefully that number will go down a bit after I post this. I don’t usually ask for anyone to take action. I usually don’t get involved in petitions and campaigns. I don’t know that I have ever advocated for anything. But this is just too damn important to NOT try and raise awareness.
It helps. It works better than anything my doctor prescribed and I feel better. I strongly believe that it should be an option for everyone. I am not saying that all prescription drugs are bad. I am not endorsing that everyone should come off all of their medications and just smoke pot. I am simply saying is people should have access. They should be able to make a decision based on their own body and what works for them, rather than that decision being taken away because of some political bullshit that is driven by profits. By signing this petition, you are supporting the request that the NIH (National Institutes of Health) increase funding and do more research on the effects of marijuana in fighting pain. Studies, data collection, and research are all needed in order to strengthen the argument and prove that marijuana is a legitimate medicine that all people should have access to.
**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 **