Laura, 28

FibromyalgiaLaura began experiencing life-changing symptoms in 2009 that prompted her to drop out of a university co-op program.  Symptoms like back pain so severe it prevented her from relocating as she would no longer have access to her Osteopath or Massage Therapist.  Pain everywhere, inability to sleep, racing anxiety, brain fog and cognitive issues. The first doctor she saw didn’t offer much to help.  Laura, adamant about avoiding prescription pain medication, wanted to learn what the underlying cause of her pain and fatigue were. The word fibromyalgia was thrown around but nothing was done – no further tests, no follow up, no referral, nothing.

 

“If the doctor didn’t think my pain was significant, then I figured I was just weak or soft and needed to just toughen up.”

 

A misdiagnosis followed in 2013; Laura finally got an answer from a specialist in Spring 2016 – a specialist she had to contact independent of her family doctor. Her diagnosis was Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression and multiple chemical sensitivities.  

 

Laura had known about cannabis helping people with chronic pain issues for a long time but was too afraid to buy it on the black or grey market.

“I always assumed that medical cannabis would be less likely to contain contaminants or pesticides, I now know that isn’t the case.”  

Asking her doctor for a prescription caused her far too much anxiety to even approach the subject.

 

In July, after filing for CPP-D (disability) Laura’s sister dropped off a package of cannabis infused pineapple for her to try.  “I slept better than I had in AGES!”  

She rationed out the infused fruit until she visited her Nurse Practitioner in August.  

“I was such a wreck and so so anxious about asking, but she was great and was happy to refer me to a clinic.”

 

Since then Laura has been using THC oil and CBD oil as well as a 1:1 (ratio) oil throughout the day, daily.  She has researched the ratios on her own to ensure there would be no interactions with any of her current medications or supplements.

RSO

Finances have limited Laura’s ability to consume medicinal cannabis in other ways;  she would love to try edibles but has a lot of allergies and food sensitivities.  She’d like to try smoking it as well.

 

The combination of cannabis therapy and partaking in the Pain Management Program of the NSHA (Nova Scotia Health Authority) has helped decrease her pain over the last year.  She was also able to stop taking sleeping pills prescribed by her doctor.  

 

Laura has struggled with trying to stay employed. On the one hand, she didn’t want to leave work for fear of never being able to re-enter the workforce and the uncertainty of where she would get income. On the other hand – her Occupational Therapist told her she wouldn’t progress as long as she was struggling to work.  

 

She also didn’t want to give up her dream of starting her own metalworks and design business.

 

Ultimately, health came out on top of the priority list.

 

Laura’s quality of sleep improved, her nightmares decreased, and as long as she can take enough oils throughout the day – her cognitive skills improve.

 

“I am able to socialize now because of these oils!”,  Laura says.

 

CBDShe notes that although she is not an introvert, having to suffer with pain and anxiety all the time has made her avoid social situations.  “The oils have closed that gap of deciding between mental and physical health.”  She no longer has to decide whether a social activity is going to cause stress and more pain AND having a social life. Anyone with chronic pain knows that anything you do- you will ultimately pay for later.  Even though you desperately need social interaction, you just can’t always justify the pain.

 

“I didn’t know what 0 anxiety felt like, I was always at a 3.  Now I sometimes feel like myself, instead of feeling a thick and prickly barrier between who I know myself to be and how I interact with the world.”

 

Laura microdoses her cannabis so if she takes a little too much the worst she experiences is feeling a little more relaxed or ‘goofy’ and that isn’t a bad thing when you’re around friends.  

 

“Cannabis is so wonderful for so many things but it takes time to learn what your body needs.  I’m definitely still learning so I rely heavily on other supports until I really get the hang of it.”

 

I asked Laura how she feels about the impending legalization.  

 

“I’m concerned about it to be honest.  I’m so mind-numbingly baffled with the decision to partner with the NSLC for distribution.  It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.  I’d rather see them working with the existing dispensaries or opening up separate little shops or inside other businesses like you see with the post offices and pharmacies in grocery stores.”

 

Laura believes this approach feels like they’re trying to grab money from consumers no matter the confusion or risk. “Who’s going to conclude that cannabis and booze together is a bad idea when it’s bought from the same place?”  

 

Laura resides in Halifax and is scheduled to speak at the “Nova Scotians Rise Up” rally Tuesday, February 26.  She’ll be speaking about how insufficient and appalling our social support systems are as someone unable to work, chronically sick and financially challenged.
If you are using medical cannabis to treat/manage pain or illness, contact me through Comments or through the Contact tab.

Make sure you’re following Higher Living Wellness Centre on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

 

Images

Fibromyalgia  http://www.mdalert.com/article/pregabalin-is-safe-costeffective-and-clinically-effective-for-treatment-of-fibromyalgia

CBD oil  http://dutchnaturalhealing.com/en/CBD-Oil/CBD-Oil-10-ml-x-5-p60c60.html

1:1 THC CBD oil  https://www.wow-bud.com/https:/www.wow-bud.com/store/11-cbdthc-full-extract-cannabis-oil/

Advertisements

Robyn, 20

Cutting

Robyn was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at age 17.  She suffered horrific physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her parents.  Robyn was sexually assaulted beginning at age 13.  Later on, she was struck by a car.   It was a lot for a young woman to cope with.  She began a 5 year struggle with cutting and self harming as well as periodic seizures before finally finding a doctor that would listen to her.

Once getting the help, Robyn was started on a string of pharmaceuticals.  She took 8 25mg tablets of Zoloft a day for BPD  and OCD.  At one point doctors thought she might have Lupus (an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy tissues and results in chronic inflammation) so she was placed on a heavy dose of steroids.  They prescribed her a multitude of anti inflammatory drugs and Tylenol 3s.  Because of the harshness of these drugs, she was placed on stomach medications and migraine medications to combat the side effects of other pills.  At one point, Robyn, barely out of her teens, was on 25 pills a day.

She discovered in 2017 that smoking cannabis helped take the edge off of her symptoms and allowed her body to rest and sleep, easing some of the physical pain she had.  She discovered cannabis also helped stop her seizures and has allowed her to be seizure free for months.   After all the medications, Robyn was finding it difficult to eat, cannabis gave that back.  It allowed her to start cutting back on the prescription medications she was taking.  Once she started cutting back on the prescriptions she lost 125 lbs in a year.

“I still have my bad days but they are no where near picking up a blade or wanting to hurt myself.”  

Since beginning therapy she’s been diagnosed with PTSD,  Fibromyalgia and complex seizure disorder. She currently takes Cymbalta, an iron supplement for anemia and medical cannabis daily.

“The biggest thing I notice is the difference in my quality of sleep.  I haven’t had night terrors in a long time.”  Robyn tells me.

I asked her how it has helped her mental state.  “It helps to level me out.  I’m not crying in my bathroom every night.  I’m not self harming anymore and I actually want to get up more often in the mornings.”

For Robyn, cannabis has saved her life.  It’s given her a new lease and a new perspective on life.  It’s given her hope.

There are so many people out there struggling with mental disorders, traumas, PTSD and physical pain.  Robyn’s advice- “Research your disorders and learn what’s worked well for others.  It’s not just about smoking.  Topicals and edibles all play a role in healing so consider all the options.”

Cannabis Topicals
Cannabis Topicals

For Robyn, she uses the topicals and she prefers to smoke strains like Sour Diesel which is a fast acting sativa dominant strain that offers energizing and uplifting effects.  It’s a popular favorite for medical patients.  She also likes God’s Blue Diesel (a cross strain of God Bud, New York City Diesel and  Blueberry) and Kosher Kush which is a tasty indica dominant strain good for relaxation and pain.

Sour D
Sour Diesel

“I research the strains and dosages first.”  

Robyn currently uses a dispensary for her meds.  “I wanted to try ***** (LP)  but I’m so nervous to buy from the LPs with all the recalls.  It’s a little scary.  I know the stuff I get from the dispensary has all been lab tested so I feel more comfortable buying from them.”

Robyn usually smokes a couple of hours before work, when she gets home and before bed.  “If I wake up in the middle of the night now, I have an edible and go right back to sleep.  I rarely wake from pain anymore.”

 

When I asked Robyn about the impending Legalization, she said “Medical and Recreational need to be separate.”  She also feels that selling cannabis in liquor stores is only going to open up more options for young people to mix alcohol and cannabis and possibly hurt themselves or others.  “I feel like it could make the roads a little less safe.  People have to have a responsibility to not drive while impaired.”

Robyn currently works at a local dispensary.  She wanted to help other patients suffering from chronic pain and mental illness.  “We need to do the best we can for the patients.”  She has been seizure free for months and avidly promotes medical cannabis use.  “It helps a lot of people and we need to make sure it continues to help people.”

 

If you are using cannabis to treat pain or illness, you can reach out in Comments or the Contact tab.

Make sure you are following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

For more stories like Robyn’s click here.

Sam

 

Images/Further Reading

Cutting  https://issuesiface.com/magazine/understanding-cutting

Sour Diesel  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sour_Diesel

Topical Cannabis  https://cannabistraininguniversity.com/using-topical-cannabis/

Roger, 52

Rick Simpson Oil
RSO

Five years ago, Roger had to leave his job as an inter provincial auto technician.  His hip was giving out and causing him a great deal of pain.  He had an unsuccessful hip surgery on one side and it impacted the other side from compensating for the weaker hip.  He had to wait 3 1/2 years for surgery.  Residing in New Brunswick, doctor wait lists and surgical wait times can be lengthy as is often the case in Eastern Canada.

July 2016, Roger had been involved in a dog attack resulting in severe right shoulder damage and nerve damage in his neck.  He is currently waiting on MRI results.

Prior to that, Roger had been involved in a motocross racing accident as a teenager that ended up crushing the bottom vertebrae in his lower spine.  Doctors told him that he could expect to be in a wheelchair by age 40.

“I’m a tough frenchman” Roger chuckles.

Roger managed his pain symptoms with a number of opiates and anxiety medications, “I can’t remember all the names, but they put me on SSRI’s…” he tells me he felt suicidal.  “I wanted to blow my brains out.  So for that reason, I turned to cannabis.”

“I can’t lie, since I’ve been young, I’ve preferred smoking cannabis over drinking but it wasn’t until 4 years ago that I started reading about the properties of cannabis and the pain management possibilities.”  Roger’s father had just passed away from cancer.  “Three months from diagnosis to death.”  Roger spent every day he could with him vowing to find an answer.  He discovered cannabis oils in regards to cancer treatment .  The results exceeded his expectations in regards to pain relief.  “I didn’t think ingesting oil would work as well as it did.  The first time I ran out, within 3 months my hip and back were both really bad.  However, within a few weeks of ingesting oil, I was able to do things again without a lot of hindrance.”  Sometimes not even noticing the relief he was getting until he was doing things he couldn’t do previously.

Roger now grows his own medicine.  He blends his own oils and makes cookies and infuses foods with it.  He prefers indica for the relaxed state of mind it gives him.  It also helps him sleep and relieves his anxiety, overall giving him a better quality of life.

Homegrown Medical Cannabis
Medical Cannabis

Now Roger focuses his talents and knowledge on developing a high THC high CBD strain to help people who need it.  It’s important to note, he doesn’t charge anyone.  “I’m not a rich man but I am a man of values and helping the sick is high on my list of priorities.”

“I’ve developed a strain that produces roughly 25% THC and 10% CBD.  It’s my go to strain for pain.”  Roger makes oil with this strain, which he calls Sheeba.  He says he has given it to 3 different people who were diagnosed with cancer.  “The best result was a brain tumor that shrunk by 75% within 3 months.  The doctor claimed the chemo pills were working, when in actuality, the patient never took them and only consumed the  cannabis oil.  He was given 3 months to live… 2 years ago.”

Homegrown Sheeba
Roger’s Sheeba

Roger does not use opiates or prescription anxiety medication anymore.

I asked Roger if he had any advice for people looking in to medical cannabis.  His answer, “Don’t look back.”

When asked about the impending Legalization, Roger said it’s a sticky situation.

“Its not going to be legalization so much as a monopoly run by a very organized cartel.  I agree with recreational use, but we cant combine medical and recreational, they are (altogether) different.”

He adds, (From a Facebook post)

“There are people that have had serious issues with pain management and a few other medical issues that have made them make the decision to either use opiates, or anxiety medication, what have you, (then they) try cannabis to control it.  I’m one of them.  After years of using pharmaceutical medications, I decided to try to help my body by going natural, and for me it works by ingesting the oil.  Then there are people trying to ride the medical train to just get high for recreation, don’t get me wrong, I get it, but it is wrong to flog the system.  To be fair about it why can’t people wait for the recreational to be legal?  It’s not like those people would do anything different anyway, so go get your weed and smoke it like you always have.  It makes me wonder about the dispensary doctors giving medical cards to anyone that has a $100, without medical documentation regarding their health problems.   All it takes is word of mouth to get one (prescription), if nothing else, I have had 3 doctors, not from a dispensary look at my medical conditions, looked at the years of opiates and other medications that haven’t worked and agreed, it is worth trying because of the long term issues I have and will have for the rest of my life, leaving me unable to walk for more than a couple of hours a day and limited use of my arms which is very trying at times.  For those of you who don’t know, I was supposed to be in a wheelchair by age 40, but I’ve battled adversity for a long time.  Being 52 now going on 53, things are getting very noticeable now compared to 10 years ago when I was very able.  Have I been around the “demon weed” most of my life?  Yep.. Did I use it for recreation?  Yep.  Did I enjoy it?  Yep.   But when I started ingesting cannabis oil for pain, I realized something I didn’t know, recreation and medical ARE two different things, and as of late I am seeing the differences between the two, so smoke your little smoke, drink your little drink, but leave my medicine alone.  Many say all use is medicinal, but I beg to differ.

 

If you are using cannabis to manage or treat pain/illness and would like to be featured in our blog, please contact me through Comments or through the Contact Tab.

Please subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Sam

 

 

Images/ Further Reading

RSO oil image  http://www.kindconcentrates.com/our-products/rick-simpson-oil/

How cannabis oil is changing lives of cancer patients https://www.leafly.ca/news/health/a-drop-at-a-time-how-cannabis-oil-is-changing-lives-of-cancer-pat

Everything you need to know about Rick Simpson oil https://merryjane.com/culture/everything-you-need-to-know-about-rick-simpson-oil

How to make Rick Simpson Oil, Natural cure for cancer https://www.medicaljane.com/2013/01/26/rick-simpsons-hemp-oil-medicine-natural-cure-for-cancer-using-concentrated-cannabis-oil/#how-to-make-rick-simpson-oil

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) Learn about Rick Simpson and how to make RSO https://www.medicaljane.com/2013/01/26/rick-simpsons-hemp-oil-medicine-natural-cure-for-cancer-using-concentrated-cannabis-oil/#how-to-make-rick-simpson-oil

 

Jeremy, 35

Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety Depressive Disorder

Jeremy found himself sitting in a cold bleak room in a mental health unit for 14 hours.  The room in itself was depressing.  There were missing chips of paint on the walls, no baseboards and the only thing in the room being a rusty old stretcher.  His stay in the hospital ended up lasting 3 days.  “3 of the longest days of my life.”  He says.

“I always knew I was different but I really noticed changes by age 28.”  Jeremy tells me.  It was about three years ago when he first went to the doctor because his boss noticed something wasn’t right with him.  Jeremy, a chef by trade, would go from happy and upbeat to severely depressed and withdrawn a couple of days later.

He was prescribed Effexor but finding the right dosage when beginning anti depressants is an adjustment period.  He tried different dosages and was referred to a psychiatrist.  Although the medication was beginning to work, he was still experiencing bouts of severe anxiety socially and at work.  He began researching cannabis and its effects on depression and anxiety.  That’s when he spoke to his family doctor about medical cannabis.

“She was very supportive of it.” Jeremy adds.  For the last 4 months he has been using cannabis to combat the anxiety and depression.  Successfully.  He visited a local dispensary in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  They were able to recommend a few sativa dominant strains for him to try.  His current favorite is Sunkiss.  A creeping sativa blend with an orange aromatic that’s good for functional pain relief as well as stress reduction; good for mood enhancement, depression and PTSD.  He smokes cannabis currently but is very interested in trying oils.

Sunkiss Sativa
Sunkiss

“It levels me out.  I feel good and my head doesn’t feel like it’s going to spin off my shoulders.”  Jeremy reveals.  He feels much more positive than he did before.  He feels increasingly  confident in his cooking skills, and he tells me he can concentrate and focus more on creating his dishes.

I asked Jeremy what he thought of the impending Legalization.  “I think it’s great because we are pushed to take so many pills these days, if i can find a natural way, I’m going to choose it.”  Jeremy says he prefers going to a dispensary because it allows him to see the product, smell it and ask questions.  “We need a better education program in place to end the stigmas attached to marijuana.” He adds.

Jeremy also wants to remind people to not be afraid to ask for help from family and friends if you need it.  “As hard as it is to ask for help, I’m glad I did.”

If you or someone close to you is using cannabis to treat illness/injury or pain, I’d love to hear from you and share your story.

Sam

 

Images

Depression Anxiety  https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/03/four-reasons-why-anxiety-and-depression-can-occur-together/

Sunkiss bud  https://swamis420.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/sunkiss-sativa-strain-review/

Tina, 48

CPRS

Tina was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS).  Pain resulting from 7 car accidents since 1999.  She has permanent nerve damage and limited use of her right arm.  A former employer from one of the National banks, Tina suffers from several sources of pain.  Fibromyalgia, Spinal Stenosis, bursitis in her shoulder,  sciatic nerve pain, herniated discs, and bone spurs.

Some of the medications she was prescribed resulted in permanent kidney damage.  She’s had a couple of surgeries for kidney stones.  After the last surgery in 2012, she sought out alternative medications when she had little to no appetite after being diagnosed with cataracts caused from steroid medication, and from high doses of Morphine in addition to drugs like Percocets, anti inflammatories, Lyrica, Gabapentin, muscle relaxers and even Oxycontin for a while.  She was up to 28 pills a day.

All I did was wake up to take medication then fall right back asleep.”  Tina tells me all she did was sleep.  It affected her relationships, especially with her children.  “My daughter called me a pill junkie when I was simply taking what the doctor prescribed, as it was prescribed.  I didn’t abuse my medications.”

She went cold turkey off of everything.  This is dangerous to do and I strongly urge you to see your doctor before making any drastic changes to your medications.  There can be deadly side effects, like seizures and even death.  Tina was supposed to be hospitalized and monitored closely as she withdrew from all the pharmaceuticals.  She chose to stay at home having someone with her monitor her withdrawl.

She has since begun growing her own medicine.  She uses the whole plant making everything from canna oil, to topical creams and bath bombs infused with cannabis.  She consumes her cannabis capsules throughout the day and then supplements with edibles, shatter and smoking some of her favorite strains.  She sticks to Sativa strains during the day and Indica for the evening.  Her favorites are strains like Holy Grail, Kalashnikova, Lemon OG, Ghost OG and Hawaiian Hash Plant.  “I strive to ingest about 1800 mg a day.”  Tina tells me that she begins her day with capsules, has an edible or 2 at lunchtime, a couple more capsules and has a joint before bed.  She takes her oil caps every 5-6 hours.  She ensures almost everything she eats contains cannabis, even in beverages, like hot chocolate.  If she needs to, she’ll supplement with some shatter but she admits, shatter lasts her a long time.  She has even experimented with micro-dosing psilocybin, the key component of “magic” mushrooms which has proven to have marvelous effects on pain and well-being.  She’s lost over 140 lbs since going off of all the prescription medications.

Made with cannabis 

Tina is severely physically disabled now.  She uses aids to walk and dress.  She received a wheelchair this past June with funding due to severe nerve issues in her right leg.  However, much of her medical costs are out of pocket for Tina as her employer cancelled her disability back in 2009.  She has had a lawyer for the last seven years to overturn the decision and is currently awaiting her next court date in July 2018.  She also suffered a major house fire destroying all her medicine and her home.  She has since encountered problems with renewing her medical license due to a lack of a permanent address.  She perseveres.

Tina insists cannabis has improved her life drastically.  She’s not as tired and it helps manage her pain levels and improve her mood.  Even her relationships with friends and family, in particular, her children, have improved.  “I can walk and do things and have a routine.  I can carry on conversations.  I have more of a normal life now.”

On the impending Legalization Tina has concerns.  “They haven’t even got the medical side of it right yet.”  She is also unsupportive of cannabis being sold only at retail locations under the strict Liquor store model.  “Cannabis should be seen as medicine and treated as such.”  Like many pain patients, Tina resents being clumped in with the recreational users and terms like pothead because so many of us are simply trying to manage physical pain.
Are you using cannabis to treat/manage illness/pain?  Contact me through Comments or the Contact tab.  I’d love to share your story.


Ensure you never miss an article- subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Facebook.  Find us on Twitter and Instagram @902HigherLiving 

 

~Sam

 

Images

 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome  http://www.medicalexhibits.com

Cannabis Oil Capsules (including guide)  https://herb.co/2016/02/01/step-step-guide-making-cannabis-pills/

Cannabis infused bath bombs  https://www.leafly.com/news/pop-culture/high-diy-cannabis-bath-bombs

Cannabis infused lotions and salves  https://www.leafly.com/news/pop-culture/high-diy-cannabis-bath-bombs

Cannabis edibles  https://www.massroots.com/learn/how-to-prepare-for-a-cannabis-infused-meal/

Cannabis hot chocolate (including recipe)  https://www.copymethat.com/r/Ro2Pt3R/how-to-make-cannabis-infused-hot-chocola/