I can now add to my story.
Although it has served me well, I have not needed medical cannabis for a long while, and I am using essential oils in its stead.
I will start by saying that Cannabis is NOT inert and needs to be treated with respect. Everything one buys from the street will be TOXIC. It’s ALL impregnated with pesticides, and other toxic additives and will cause you great harm.
You can overuse it, and that will cause a kind of serotonin syndrome that is extremely frightening. I don’t believe it’s life threatening, but it can be terrifying, I have experienced it on three occasions.
That said, I do not believe moderate use is dangerous or addictive. I did find its pain relief habit-forming. Restraint was needed until I came to a workable dosage.
I also found I built a tolerance to it, and no longer felt the effects of being “stoned,” which is good as I needed to study and function. But in my experience maintaining a steady dose does not lessen the positive pain relief effect. A short break of one or two days will reset tolerance levels back to zero. Any medication that requires upping the dose to maintain its efficacy is a cause for concern. Being able to stop and start cannabis with ease is one of its advantages.
I went cold turkey after 12 years of daily use and kept detailed notes of my experiences as if conducting my own clinical trial. The withdrawals were minor compared to pharmaceuticals I had been previously prescribed and used for a matter of months.
Upon cessation, for 48 hours there was nothing notable at all. Then by day three I was a bit moody and had a couple of nights’ bad sleep, as my routine was disrupted. I did notice changes taking place in my mind and body for at least a month after ceasing. Memory improved, typing speed returned, my passive lucid dreams became very colorful and vivid for two weeks (one nightmare) and my appetite came back with a vengeance. That too normalized after a couple of weeks. So far I have not suffered pain rebound, long term sleep problems or anxiety, but I did use essential oils during the process.
I now have an essential oil routine that I use through the day, and another before bed as I experience the most discomfort at the end of the day. I am also using the oils for gum disease that has occurred due the result of dry mouth (which is caused by some medications, including cannabis).
I messed up badly on this one, I didn’t see this coming, and at 62 I value my teeth and thought I exercised great oral hygiene. We need to know more.
Would love to oil pull for my teeth, but I gag. Still just adding clove bud oil to the cleanser on my tooth brush, doing the odd swish with Manuka honey and several of colloidal silver or salt and oregano oil rinses a day. That alone in three days has reduced the halo ulcers in my receding gums around my teeth line, and the gum is noticeably healing.
Although my dentist tells me I have gum disease (and I believe him because my gums are receding) I have no signs of infection, no bad breath, no bleeding. My gums are pink and firm. I now understand how dry mouth causes plaque to build more aggressively, enhancing bacteria activity. Apparently when saliva flow is reduced the various organisms and structures within the biofilm undergo changes that often lead to inflammatory changes in the supporting tissues and bone.
I will be having my gums and teeth treated in two weeks. I am afraid, as it’s very intrusive. However, I am excited that my dentist sees the vast improvement in my gums in just two weeks with no antibiotics.
Using cannabis as a medicine has its challenges, some due to the fact that most doctors are not prepared to discuss it or are not informed. Even my neurologist admitted she had only read one paper involving one minor clinical trial! Apart from that her knowledge was poor to nil.
Lack of specialized support and the legal status of cannabis makes dosage hit and miss for a while, and quality/organic is almost impossible to get unless you grow your own. That has psychological disadvantages as it is just another stress. For me that was always very unpleasant but preferable to the unpredictable negative long term side effects of untested pharmaceuticals and street cannabis.
I researched and self-medicated daily for 12 years. My clinical diagnoses were: PTSD, clinical depression, chronic insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, painful lymphomas, chemical sensitivities, food allergies and sensitives to EMR…… the list goes on.
I also managed my own business and studied at university during that time. However, if I had a practitioner’s assistance, I could have avoided such things as cyclic vomiting (which is very cruel and by definition, reoccurring) chronic cough and gum disease. (All associated with the use of medical cannabis.)
Long-term use also causes loss of interest in all food, low motivation, chronic short term memory loss, and driving restrictions as it stays in your system for at least a month after you stop. It can reduce your social life and with some, ability to work.
I have found all these are reversible once one discontinues the treatment, however my research suggests that that is only applicable if you are older. The damage done to young smokers (under 20) seems irreversible.
Short-term memory loss caused by cannabis can be stressful. For me, though, it was a godsend and I used it as part of my treatment. It hijacked obsessive thought and let joy in. It allowed me to re-frame horror into logical chunks of data that I could analyze, devoid of emotion. It helped me understand my place in it all in a very safe way and illuminated the idea that all things are transient, and this too will pass. It freed me from guilt, and those positive feelings have remained after ceasing its use. I seem to have re-set the emotions surrounding my memories of these painful events, and they are no longer overwhelming or consuming.
I had been treated for PTSD, and have tried most treatment programs and medications over 30 years. None worked like cannabis, and I was 50 years old when I discovered its medical use. Pity it could not have been in a more clinical setting –perhaps it would have been 1 year instead of 12.
I used the loss of interest in food to manage my weight and introduce new foods for gut health, to choose an array of organic healthy nutritionally dense foods. and only eating until full. As I had no appetite or food preferences it made good food choices and quantity so easy.
Like any medication, I believe cannabis should be considered short-term and be teamed with a good organic diet and exercise. Its origin and quality is paramount and I feel it’s very important to have someone qualified to work with you during your healing process. Please keep in mind its effect is both physical and emotional, and at times touches on the spiritual.
There can also be negative effects such as a kind of serotonin syndrome (street name “Green Out”). Very nasty and not without danger.
Find someone you trust to share/listen during the process, if you choose cannabis for healing.