Green Is Good, Or Why I’m a Medical Marijuana Patient

Four years ago I moved back to Colorado after being away for fifteen years. Not much had changed, I was still surrounded by natural beauty and great people. But there was one stark difference: a lot of people around me were using marijuana. In my unofficial, personal poll I found that most of them were using it for pain, insomnia, or anxiety and describing really good results. None would be considered the stereotypical “drug seeker,” and all of them held responsible jobs except for the ones that were disabled. This piqued my curiosity, especially since at the time a full nights sleep was a distant memory and my pain levels were consistently extremely high.

My roommate at the time was a medical marijuana patient and he told me that he would go to a dispensary, like a pharmacy for marijuana, and that in the dispensary he could purchase muscle rubs, marijuana flower, edibles (food cooked with marijuana,) tinctures, and teas among other things. I was intrigued so when another friend gave me some marijuana tincture I thought I’d give it a try. I wish I could tell you how it felt but I can’t remember – I was too busy getting a full night sleep for the first time in years! Marijuana, for me, has been the best sleep aid I’ve ever used, one that works consistently and without side effects. It doesn’t impact my pain quite as dramatically, but for my husband, a combat Marine Veteran who suffers from daily headaches and frequent migraines, the effect on his pain has been dramatic. After moving to Colorado and becoming a medical marijuana patient, he was able to get off all four of the opioids that the VA had prescribed for him for over 30 years, two of which were injectable. The difference in effect is most likely because our pain has different causes, and my mechanical joint damage creates a situation that my pain is harder to control. For my husband Todd, marijuana is less effective for his sleep, which again I think points to different causation.

Marijuana isn’t a cure – all, but it is so much more than the “gateway drug” our society has painted it as for way too long. I’m convinced by now that the real criminals aren’t the people trying to help themselves not to suffer by ingesting this plant, but instead the lawmakers who have kept this affordable, easy to grow organically, non-addictive, extremely effective plant medicine illegal. As consumers and citizens we need to know the truth so that we can give our lawmakers informed opinions about our wishes. I look forward to the day when marijuana is no longer highly politicized, because only then will the real discussions begin. The discussions about how to use this beautiful, helpful plant in the way it was designed- to decrease the suffering of so many. There are many good documentaries about this issue, and also some very well done research on medical cannabis happening in places like Israel. As I write this, both of our closest neighbors are taking steps to help improve access to marijuana. In Mexico, legislation is going through that will legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize marijuana possession, and in Canada, full legalization will likely be happening country-wide. Meanwhile, on the federal level, we are taking steps back at the very time patients are suffering from a crackdown on opioid use.

I’m so grateful to the state of Colorado, and for my friends who all took the time to educate me about marijuana and helped me to find the best way to use it. I’m disappointed in the continued misinformation that we are all subject to by our government, but also hopeful that the cat is already out of the bag- even major news outlets are beginning to report the truth, and every day I read new stories about potential helpful uses of this plant medicine. A medicine that has been used by humans for thousands of years and was discovered independently by cultures around the world. A medicine that only became illegal because of Harry J. Anslinger, an opportunistic head of the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Needing funding for his department because alcohol prohibition was crumbling, he put forth a later to be deemed unconstitutional Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. An openly racist man who played upon the growing resentment toward Mexican immigrants and people of color during the Great Depression in the 1920’s, Ansliger ran a very successful national anti-marijuana propaganda campaign with not so subtle racist undertones in order to get his tax act passed and keep his department very well funded. Among many sad and scary quotes from this man is this one: “Reefer makes darkies think they are as good as white men.”1

I hope that anyone reading this who lives in a state that allows marijuana will do their homework and decide for themselves whether or not to add marijuana to their health regime. I use only organically grown marijuana edibles and they work really well. There are times, like when I’m traveling, that I can’t have my marijuana and although I miss my good nights sleep, I don’t have any sort of “craving.” I’ve suffered absolutely no side effects except for the desired one, sleepiness. I personally think that marijuana is an adaptogenic herb, or a natural substance that normalizes body processes like ginseng. I think this is why it seems to work differently on different people and help with their particular weak areas, why it can help one person calm down in order to focus, while the person next to them falls asleep. I think there is a very important reason why we all have an endocannabinoid system which affects physiological processes in many areas including pain sensation, immune function, mood, and memory, among others and helps to maintain homeostasis in these systems; we have had a long history with using this plant for healing. Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout our entire body and are found in cell membranes; there is good evidence that there are more cannabinoid receptors than any other receptor system in the body.2 Instead of being fearful, we all need to be excited about the amazing possibilities of using this plant to heal our bodies on so many levels.

So, yes, green is good.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/14/marijuana-prohibition-racist_n_4590190.html
  2. http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system

Comments

View Comments (12)
  • kingkatekong
    2 years ago

    I wanted to add one thing to my last post. It frustrates me to no end that there are not more resources committed to unlocking the true potential of this wonderful plant. If we have proper research, legalization and physicians unafraid to discuss cannabis with patients, we can begin to disengage from the harmful relationship we have with opioids.

  • BrendanKavanagh
    6 months ago

    Hi Kingkatekong, we live in south England and my partner takes thc-cbd vaping oil before she sleeps, her RA (Pain) is completely gone, she hasn’t had a flare up since taking the oil, after the first night she noticed her pain going after 2 nights gone, she felt relief in 15-20mins from vaping. We know this is NO cure for RA but it is a cure for the Pain it used to bring. Hope this info helps you, I am now devoting lots of my time, to help the word get out there.

  • kingkatekong
    2 years ago

    I have the good fortune of living in CA where marijuana is legal both medicinally and recreationally. Unfortunately, it can be a tremendously difficult industry to navigate as these is no shortage of charlatans, opportunists, ill-informed, but well-intended purveyors and an mind-bending array of products that literally require hours upon hours of research to understand what is what. The clinical research, to date, is scant and sadly usually refers to cannabis as a good alternative for certain conditions after all other treatment has failed. This is a lie. Cannabis, for me, has been nothing short of a miracle. I wholeheartedly agree with kat-elton in that cannabis doesn’t help my the pain in my joints as much as it allows me to sleep in the presence of pain, it reduces any anxiety/depression I may be experiencing as a result of my disease, and it allows me to relax enough that I can do my OT exercises without excruciating pain. There are times when the only answer for my pain lies in narcotics, but thankfully, due to the legal and abundant supply of cannabis I have access to, narcotics are a last resort and I don’t worry about developing a dependency on them. Medical marijuana is truly a miracle “drug” for me.

  • Anke Schliessmann
    2 years ago

    Thank you for this post. I’m currently trying out CBD extract from cannabis which doesn’t contain THC which is the compound that makes you high. But CBD is very potent in reducing inflammation and by this it reduces pain. And a very positive effect is like DesertStormTrooper already mentioned, you get clear in your head, awake and the fog is gone. Good thing is, that CBD alone, which is available in various forms (oil, crystals, powder, etc.) is legal (maybe not in all countries, but I would guess in most of the countries) since it is produced from hemp which doesn’t contain more than 0,2%. Finde more information on http://www.endoca.com, where you find information (and a shop) from a common brand of legal hemp and CBD products. For sure THC has a healing effect as well, but I don’t want to get dizzy during the day.
    Currently I try out a CBD powder with 7% CBD which I take every morning after wake up and before going to sleep, just an amount of a pea sublingual. After I tapered prednisolon after winter I started this test and there was no need to take prednisolon until now, and I had only one day of taking Tramal.

    Unfortunately you need to pay this on your own (at least in Germany) and you get the Predni and Tramal with serious side effects paid by insurance. I think that is the wrong way for the future!

    Really good that we take this discussion up in this forum.

    Best regards
    Anke

  • kat-elton author
    2 years ago

    Hi Anke- I agree about the cost issue. In America most things determined “complementary” or “alternative care” are not covered by insurance so if I want to try homeopathic medicine or acupuncture for example I have to pay. Much of what I do for the RA I pay for, because I want to treat the disease with as many helpful things as possible to be as healthy as possible, which means sacrificing other things. But I’m just grateful to have discovered the benefits of marijuana and hopeful that in the future our governments will admit the benefits as well so more people can be helped. Until then it’s up to us to educate and support each other. Good luck on your health journey!

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    2 years ago

    I would certainly use it if it were available. No worries, however, Indiana will be the 78th state in the union to legalize it.

    OK maybe the 89th state, things take time.

  • kat-elton author
    2 years ago

    Funny Guy! I sure hope not….. 🙂

  • 2 years ago

    Excellent post! It always warms my heart when I read or hear about someone who is ill who finally tries cannabis and finds that it helps them!! Good for you and your husband! I fought in the first Gulf War, so I know where he’s coming from as well.

    I have been using Full Extract cannabis oil (like Rick Simpson oil) for about 13 months now. No, I’m not cured, although some days I feel like I’m literally right on the edge of knocking RA/RD completely out of my body. Cannabis has made a huge difference in my disease load, without question.

    There are several different methods of ingesting cannabis. So, you don’t have to smoke it (I don’t). You can vape it, you can eat edibles, you can take the RSO oil. Historically, my main method of ingestion has been the cannabis oil. With that, you just put a rice grain sized amount on a spoon and eat it, with the effects kicking in between 1 and 2 hours and lasting for 6-10 hours (which simply equates to really sound sleep).

    Now, for the first time, I’m trying cannabis infused coconut oil. Coconut oil has endless benefits for health but, because of it’s good fats, it helps the cannabis do it’s job better. I’m interested to see how it works for me. I’ll re-post in a couple of weeks and let you know. 🙂

    Once again, thanks Kat, for sharing your success with cannabis. The more people that speak out about their successes with cannabis, the more people will try it and hopefully begin to find the gentle healing that cannabis has to offer!!

    I have some information here: https://healing-naturally.org/2017/04/13/cannabis-oil-for-rheumatoid-arthritis/ about cannabis oil and cannabis in general for those that want to learn more.

  • kat-elton author
    2 years ago

    Desert Storm Trooper, Thanks! Sounds like you are a good resource, learning about what you do to help yourself inspires me to continue to do my own research and find other ideas/options to improve my health. Many people in this town make their own edibles using coconut oil with great success. If cost wasn’t a factor, I would love to try juicing marijuana- I’ve read promising things about this mode of ingestion. All the best on your journey! 🙂

  • Tich
    2 years ago

    Thanks Kat. Do you have a resource for types of pain MM is effective in treating?

  • kat-elton author
    2 years ago

    Hi Tich!
    Here is one article in Pain Pathways magazine
    :https://www.painpathways.org/mark-ware-md/.
    Not too specific but it gives you a general idea about what MD’s are thinking.
    Here is one more:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/medical-marijuana-effective-treatment-chronic-pain-2017-1
    From what I’ve learned it is the CBD, one of over one hundred cannabinoids, that is most effective for pain specifically, and CBD oils generally don’t give you the “high” feeling that THC does which can make it more palatable for some people.
    Pain is such a complex beast that I don’t think they have a handle yet on why certain pain is helped more than others but because of the huge number of varieties of this plant (as DesertStormTrooper pointed out) it is helpful to try different strains to see what works best for you.
    Hope this helps!
    Kat 🙂

  • 2 years ago

    Hi Tich,

    What I find is this: Different strains of cannabis can be effective for pain anywhere in your body. However, cannabis doesn’t just mask symptoms as it is anti inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-cancer. What I find is that cannabis oil begins to heal your body and the pain begins, day by day, to subside. Vaping or smoking is less concentrated, and therefore it is not as effective at healing your body. But, at the same time, vaping takes away my fatigue in less than 10 minutes. So, it is really helpful in any form.

    Additionally, a lot of people think that all cannabis is the same. Not true at all. Some make you sleep (Indica), some keep you awake and energized (Sativa), some are better than others for pain and inflammation (High CBD Strains).

    Here is some more info from my blog page:
    https://healing-naturally.org/2017/04/13/cannabis-oil-for-rheumatoid-arthritis/

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