My Rheumatoid Arthritis Journey with Medical Cannabis
In June 2020, I had my first appointment with a physician at the medical cannabis clinic. I went into the appointment extremely prepared and well-researched. However, I still found myself sitting there feeling completely overwhelmed.
I left my appointment with a doctor’s recommendation to the state-approved medical cannabis dispensary for 1:1 (THC (cannabis): CBD) ratio and a temporary medical cannabis card. After speaking with my physician, he felt it best that I take the medical cannabis through a liquid form or more commonly referred to as a tincture. Medical cannabis is also available in pill, vape, and food forms. Also, the ratios of marijuana (THC: CBD) can range from 1:1, 5:1, or 20:1.
State registry for a medical cannabis card
I registered online for my state medical cannabis card. The clinic had given me directions and it was fairly easy to register. I received my official card within a few weeks in the mail.
In the meantime, I took my temporary medical cannabis card and paperwork to a state-approved dispensary. I met with a representative and spoke with a pharmacist that was on site.
Health insurance coverage and costs
The cost of medical cannabis is not covered by private health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. Medical cannabis is considered an herb and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since the FDA does not approve the drug, the insurance companies are not allowed to cover any cost of the drug.
I, like most people, am on a pretty tight budget monthly. However, I decided to rearrange my budget for a few months to see if I found any pain relief from my chronic RA pain with medical cannabis.
Keeping a cannabis log
I started off by introducing medical cannabis very slowly, using only half a dropper of the liquid. It took a few weeks to get used to. I felt a little tired but nothing horrible.
I kept a cannabis log. I logged when I took the medication, the dosage, and how I felt. It was extremely helpful to keep a log. I never felt high and I was able to work and carry out my daily activities without a problem. Again, this was my experience with cannabis and yours could be very different.
Medical cannabis for my RA pain management
I have been taking the cannabis since June 2020 and it now has been 3 months of consistently using it. Within two weeks of taking the cannabis, my pain level significantly decreased.
I’ve lived with RA for 16+ years. Since my diagnosis, I have been in chronic pain and felt like I have had a severe version of the flu every day. Within two weeks of taking the medical cannabis, the daily severe flu-like symptoms disappeared. I only feel mild flu-like symptoms when it is time for my cannabis dose.
Medical cannabis is not for everyone
Medical cannabis for me has been life-changing. However, this drug is not for everyone. Like other medications, what works for me might not work for you. I am closely working with my entire medical team. My rheumatologist monitors me frequently. I also take the JAK inhibitor Rinvoq, eat really clean, see a chiropractor once a month, and do gentle exercises daily.
I really wanted to share my experience with medical cannabis. The cost will always be an issue with me. However, personally, I cannot put a price on being able to live without pain and flu-like symptoms on a daily basis.
As a side note, read my previously published articles on medical cannabis. It is entitled, “Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis”. It will hopefully help you to better understand medical cannabis, its components, and how it works in our bodies.
Have you shared tips on how to manage RA with anyone before?