The Devil's Lettuce: An Update
Out of curiosity, I just decided to google slang words for "marijuana" and "cannabis," and I have to say that I'm delighted with some of the terms that popped up (via urbanthesaurus.org): Devil's Lettuce, Voodoo Lounge, Spicy Broccoli, Muggles, Snoochy-Boochy, Gourmet Tobacco, Sticky-Icky-Icky, Chillin' with Yoda, Hippie Cabbage, Backyard Boogie, and the list goes on and on.
I'm unfamiliar with most of the slang listed on the website, but I might have to start referring to my medical cannabis as Spicy Broccoli or tell people that I have to go "chill with Yoda" when I need some pain relief.
Medical cannabis for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
Despite all of these goofy names and the joking around, I'm happy that I've finally found a sort of "sweet spot" when it comes to using medical cannabis to help with my RA. It's taken many months (and many dollars) of experimenting with different cannabis strains and dosages to sort out something that works well for me.
Previous experiences with medical cannabis
I've previously written about my "adventures" using medical cannabis, but I focused mainly on my frustrations with vaping it. Now, many months later, I've finally decided to just throw in the towel (throw in the vape?) and completely give up vaping. It doesn't work for me, I've come to realize.
First of all, I still don't even know if I'm doing it correctly. And if I am, when I try it, I can't tell if it's doing anything to help me. I feel nothing from it. Plus, my lungs don't seem to like breathing in the hot cannabis oil (cough, cough). So I'm done. NO MORE VAPING!
Medical cannabis oral capsules and tinctures
Instead of purchasing the tiny vaping cartridges from my local dispensary when it's time for a refill, I now buy oral capsules and tinctures (liquid that goes under your tongue). The different strains and strengths are color-coded: green, yellow, and red. Actually, there are some "black" and "indigo" products too, but I haven't had the time/energy/money to play around with any of those yet.
My cannabis sweet spot
So what is my cannabis sweet spot? As of now, I think my preferred color is GREEN. The green products have an equally balanced 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD (THC is the main psychoactive compound that gives a "high" feeling). For more information about these two compounds, here's a good article from Healthline to check out--"CBD vs. THC: What's the Difference?"
Finding a cannabis ratio that works for my needs
Trying a 4:1 ratio of THC to CBD
I've also tried the YELLOW capsules and tinctures several times, which has a 4:1 ratio of THC to CBD. This one I mostly take before bed because it makes me feel too weird/loopy to take during the day. I think I've also noticed some increased anxiety from taking the yellow products (depending on dosage), which is understandable since they have a higher concentration of THC in them. The CBD compound works to off-set and balance some of the more unpleasant side effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia.
Using a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD
The RED products are 100% THC and I've only tried them a couple times. A higher dose of GREEN is what works best right now. The only problem is this: the green products are really expensive and generally more expensive than the other colors. So far, I've only been able to afford buying small quantities of the green capsules; I can't afford the green tincture yet.
How does medical cannabis help my RA symptoms?
How do these magic green "Hippie Cabbage" capsules help me, anyway? Unlike opioid medication, medical cannabis does NOT put a noticeable dent in decreasing my overall pain. Opioids are still the drugs that work best and most effectively at relieving pain--for me, anyway.
Improved sleep quality
However, I have noticed a big difference in my quality and length of sleep since trying cannabis. I sleep deeper and longer and mostly uninterrupted now. This is a wonderful thing, of course, because my sleep is usually horrible. I've also noticed a decrease in anxiety in general. And, I have noticed a decrease in my pain, too, although nothing dramatic.
What are some drawbacks in using medical cannabis?
Right now I only have two main complaints about using medical cannabis: 1. the cost, and 2. THE MUNCHIES. Medical cannabis is not covered by health insurance and the out-of-pocket expense of buying it on a monthly basis adds up very fast. The company I use, Minnesota Medical Solutions, does have a loyalty program and special discounts, which helps somewhat.
Regarding the munchies: they are REAL! It might sound funny to say, or like it's something out of a movie or TV show, but my tightening jeans will tell you it's a legitimate thing. I think I've gained 5-6 pounds over the last few months, and I'm pretty sure the weight gain is munchie-related. This is another reason to maybe just take the cannabis before you go to bed, so you don't go nuts rifling through the fridge and stuffing your face with Cheetos every day. Not that I...um...do this.
Positive results of medical cannabis
Overall, I'm very happy that I've been having positive results lately from using medical cannabis. What would make me even happier, though, is if cannabis could finally be legalized in all 50 states. I firmly believe that legalizing marijuana, at the federal and state levels, could help chronic illness and chronic pain patients in so many ways. So pass me some Spicy Broccoli, please, because I need all the help and pain relief I can get.
Does your RA impact you financially?