Samantha, 43

Higher Living Wellness Centre Inc.  Patient StoriesMost people call me Sam, in fact I prefer that.  Only teachers and parents ever called me Samantha.  I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.  I’m a 43 year old woman with Arthritis all through my spine, hands, feet and hips.  I have Fibromyalgia.  I have Degenerative Disc Disease in 3 spots in my neck and spine, making it painful to sit or stand for any length of time.  I have Endometriosis which has caused me a few emergency trips to the hospital, surgery and the joys of being barren.  I’ve had depression for the entirety of my adult life, being medicated since the age of 18 for that as well as Anxiety Disorder.  I have insomnia.  I am constantly in pain it’s just a matter of behind able to hide it some days.  Some days I can’t hide it.  Most recently, in 2015 I was diagnosed with PTSD.  I haven’t been able to work in 6 years.  I have had a prescription for medical marijuana for 3 years now.

 

Chronic pain and immune system issues became ultra pronounced in 2011.  I was put off work indefinitely.  I can’t handle fragrances, and my last office job left me on all fours in front of a toilet more often than being at my desk actually working.  I have seen a number of specialists over the years, including The Environmental Clinic in Fall River, NS.  Struggling with Chronic illness and pain since I was young, I have tried just about everything for relief.  High doses of antidepressants, increasing doses of anxiety meds; I took Amitriptyline, Elavil, Clonazepam.  I had to take prescription sleeping meds like Trazodone then later Zopiclone.  I took prescription anti-inflammatories for the better part of 20 years until my stomach couldn’t handle it anymore and they stopped working.  I’ve been on Prozac, Effexor, Paxil (which led to a hospitalized suicide attempt in 2001), Celexa, and now Cymbalta.  I’ve taken opiates but they make me really sick.  I don’t enjoy that sinking nauseous feeling I get from opiates.  I’ve tried drugs that were opiate –like and still experienced the same side effects.  Years of prescription drugs have very much affected my liver, to the point where I’m extremely sensitive to medication, even Tylenol.

 

In my late 20’s, during a particularly bad period, the pain was so bad, it left me curled in a ball crying, a friend introduced me to cannabis as pain control.  I smoked a small joint and noticed relief almost immediately.  This was a game changer for me.  From there on out, I made sure to keep a little in the house for when that time of the month came.

 

Anyone with Fibromyalgia knows there are a plethora of symptoms ranging from pain and fatigue, to nausea and digestive problems.  Sure, I could take a pill for pain, a pill for inflammation, a couple of pills for nausea and a benzo for anxiety and then another pill to help me sleep OR, I can have one joint of straight indica and get relief from all those symptoms in one shot.  

 

Over the last 2 years, I have discovered the power of oils.  Personally, I find that ingesting a dose of oil goes way further than smoking a joint does.  The oil works and stays in your system longer making it not only convenient, because you don’t always want to light a joint, it’s discreet, smell free, and long lasting.  They come in a variety of strengths and seem to range anywhere from $35 upwards to $80/g (for honey oil).  

 

Concentrates

 

I like concentrates.  They are ultra strong and give you immediate relief, where oils typically take about 40-60 mins to start working.  The only problem I have with things like shatter, is that it hurts my lungs.  I find it harsh and it often makes me cough, sputter and tear up.  That being said, I tried it with a “Nectar Collector”  and it was a completely different experience.  The Nectar Collector made for a much smoother smoke.  I highly recommend it because you can use that device with any concentrate.  My favorite of the concentrates would probably be Rosin.

 

The 3 Rs: Resin, Live Resin, Rosin

 

Resin
Resin

These are all highly potent and it’s easy to get them confused.  Resin is basically the sap from the plant.  The gooey trichomes where all the medicine lives.  The black crud that we scrape from our pipes and bongs.  High in THC.

Rosin
Rosin

Rosin (what I like) is where the dried and cured flower is pressed under a combination of pressure and heat to release the THC rich resin.  Out of the concentrates, I prefer Rosin personally, because it doesn’t contain any extra extraction chemical like say butane, that’s frequently used in shatter.  It tastes pure, works well and is long lasting.  You can even make this at home with a simple hair straightener if you’re so inclined. 

Live Resin
Live Resin

Live Resin is a fairly new process that involves cryogenically freezing freshly harvested plants at temperatures below -292 degrees using the entire plant; flowers, leaves stems and stalk.  The reason why people are gearing towards this newer process is that it preserves the terpenes (flavour maker, good stuff) and the medical efficacy of the plant.  Other processes like shatter, causes terpene loss because of the heat involved.  Because of the cryogenic freezing portion of this process, Live Resin tends to cost more but it really is fantastic.

 

Edibles

 

I love edibles.  Chocolate bars, caramels and gummies are at the top of my list.  They range in price from about $12/15 per item.  I find I can often get 2 or 3 doses out of a chocolate bar and because you’re ingesting cannabis rather than smoking it, the effects are long lasting.  It’s also odourless and discreet.

 

My ‘Go To’ Strains

 

I stick mainly with pure indica or indica dominant products.  It provides good pain relief and a deeper sleep.  Not to say sativa doesn’t have its place, as a CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) sufferer, nothing perks me up more than my favorite sativa strain- Green Crack. Sativa tends to give you more of a head high than body, but it certainly gives you energy and I also find it great for creativity.  If I’m exhausted and dragging my butt, Green Crack gives me energy and shortly after smoking it I can be found thoroughly cleaning my apartment or walking my dog.  Some of my favorite indica strains include: Black Tuna, Romulan, Rockstar, White Rhino, Purple Kush, ACDC and Harlequin.  (For more good strains for pain- click here

LP VS. Dispensary

 

Initially, I loved my first LP.  I was with Broken Coast in BC.  The product was great and it shipped fast.  The only problem was that it technically cost more because of taxes and shipping.  I also couldn’t purchase less than 10 grams which meant I had to set aside at least $130 any time I wanted to order.  Most disabled people I know, don’t have those kinds of resources and I rarely did/do either.  I’ve tried 2 other LPs and it was/is the same.  No compassion pricing, limited strains, no edibles or concentrates and they are frequently out of strains you rely on.  Oh, and I couldn’t talk to anyone.  Ever.  You have to email them and wait for them to respond.  Needless to say, I’m fond of 2 dispensaries in the Maritimes.  Only 2.  One of which is of course Higher Living Wellness as they are geared towards patients and medical use. The other is where I live in Saint John, NB just because it’s close and they have good product but their service is no where near where Higher Living Wellness Centre is.

 

Cannabis has saved my life- literally.  Before, facing a life full of nothing but pain and sickness doesn’t give you much to want to live for.  At times, depression has debilitated me.  Now, as long as I have cannabis, I can somewhat function like a normal person.  I can do my household chores, go for walks, enjoy the company of friends, complete with laughter, and get a decent night of sleep after.  I prefer medicating naturally and am happy to report I am now only on one prescription medication.  

 

If Cannabis has saved your life, reach out to me through Contact, Comments or Twitter @LezGeek.

 

Sam

 

Images

The Three Rs, Resin, Rosin and Live Resin  https://merryjane.com/culture/resin-live-resin-rosin-whats-the-difference

Higher Living Wellness Centre Inc.  Presents graphic- my own, Canva

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