Even if readers know why I use this plant medically, sometimes even I need a refresher. When I am out of my medicine, these reasons become crystal clear.
Physicians & Pharmacists: Diagnosis & Treatment
The first diagnosis that is listed on my medical records pertaining to the use of cannabis is intractable pain caused by damaged nerves during my last pelvic reconstructive surgery (the initial injuries happened when I was an infant then complicated with motherhood & several unsuccessful surgeries).
From 2002-2009, I was prescribed Fenantyl via a Duragesic patch. Fenatnyl is an opioid pain medication that is about 75-100% stronger than morphine.
My physicians repeatedly informed me that due to my pain levels, I would never be able to live off of a morphine-strength pain medication. I am allergic to morphine. Fentanyl with vicodin and percocet was how I survived for 7 years.
During my time on opioid pain medications, I soon learned that any exertion brought nausea, as well as irritation of the initial pain. The side effects of opioids caused me to loose my teeth, and my life. I spent most of my days in a dark bedroom watching DVDs, curled up in a fetal position.
In 2008, when my daughter graduated from high school, I was barely functioning on 19 pills a day. All prescribed by the same physician. Most were for side-effects of other medications. During the time I was on these medications I developed other physical issues. Some where profound, like the hiatal hernia I developed during a violent vomiting episode. This has left me with chronic nausea.
The other diagnosis that I use medical cannabis for also stems from the abuse I sustained as a small child by my father, then step-father. PTSD and depression with anxiety are some of the major reasons that cannabis is my medication of choice.
I have a family history that is frightening for depression. My father and grandfather both committed suicide. My aunt and I both have had several unsuccessful attempts at the same action. Major Depressive Disorder is so much more than “the blues.”
An ironic experience I have had is one of friends getting tired of my acting out during a major depressive episode and tell me to “go take a Prozac.” The reason I find this ironic is that during the time I was being treated by physicians for my depression through pharmaceuticals (1982-2009), I exhausted every formulary; up to, and including ALL SSRIs (of which class Prozac is in). The only medication for depression that I have not been suicidal on, is Cannabis.
For my anxiety issues, I have been prescribed at least five different medications. Some two at a time. Couch-lock has nothing on the zombifying experience of prescription anxiety medications. At least I didn’t drool much. But I was not “with-it” enough on them to live.
When a friend suggested that instead of using vicodin or percocet for my “break-through pain” that I use cannabis (or as she so eloquently put it “smoke a bowl!”), I was leery. When I suspected that it would just get me intoxicated and waste more of my life, she pointed out that my life currently consisted of being in bed 24/7, how much more could I loose? I acquiesced and tried it.
During the years I used cannabis as a supplement to my prescription medications, I began to live again.
I found that if I smoked about 2-3 hits off of a pipe or joint, I had the energy to push past the pain. Then the pain began getting less.
The End of Prescriptions – An Alternative Presented
When I was discharged without notice from the physician prescribing the pain medications in August 2009, it was cannabis that relieved some of the symptoms of withdrawal from the Fentanyl and Percocet. It was the only reason I was able to get through the hell of withdrawals without becoming suicidal.
Months after I was off of all prescription medications, still exhibiting several symptoms of withdrawals as well as my primary issues of anxiety and depression as well as nausea and anorexia; I tried my first edible cannabis products. I was absolutely amazed at the results.
The more cannabis products that I consumed, the better I felt. I began to feel HEALTHY!
I began to be able to do so much more. I began to regain my life.
Last year, cannabis ended up leading me to become a Latter-Day Saint. I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when God answered my prayers with this plant. But that’s another story for another time (feel free to follow my spiritual journey at SlightelyMormon.org).
In the fall of 2013, at a sister-friend’s urging; I tried an experiment. I began taking a full-plant extract oil (FEO) on a daily basis. There are many names for this type of oil and many ways to process it. Some of the most common names are Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) or Phoenix Tears. My husband calls his version, without the decarboxylation step (I will post about his oil soon), “Jesus Oil.”
No matter the name it goes by, it is an extract of the oils of the cannabis plant. I prefer the “full-plant” with the cannabinoids that are only found in the leaves and other non-bud parts of the plant included.
Here is a link to the best explanation I have found for the processing of small batches of this type of oil, by a dear friend, Breezy Keifair: How to Make Cannabis Oil Without Alerting the Neighbors.
As the rice-grain sized bit of oil began to be absorbed into my system, I didn’t become intoxicated nor did I feel any euphoria. In fact, as the days progressed to weeks into this experiment of daily oil, I found I was feeling less euphoria from cannabis, but more happiness over-all. My body began to feel “able”. My mind was clear. I could think, and I had energy. I didn’t hurt and my legs worked. My brain looked towards the Gospel and furthering my fores into genealogy. I could think and feel clearly.
Thirty days into using cannabis oil daily, I felt like a new woman.
As I have experimented with the use of cannabis for my health, it has been with the guidance of my health care providers and my “cannafamily” – an intentional family of friends.
As I have learned about the cannabis plant, I have attempted to share this knowledge with others.
For seven years, prescription medications took my life away from me. Several years ago, while I was in a puddle of vomit and tears, I prayed to my Heavenly Father to save me. It is He who held the branch of the cannabis plant to me. It is He that saved me, through a plant.
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