This is How I Mom
- Back & Neck Problems
- Chronic Nausea
- Chronic Pain
- Muscle Spasms
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Other (please specify below)
Acute eczema and severe PMS. Years of chronic pain and prescription narcotic dependency.
Additional info about this time in patient's life
If I could go back and give myself advice I'd say: You are right. Follow your instincts. Follow the science.
I was very nervous about the whole "weed thing". The social stigma, the legal risks. It was 2007. Six years after Health Canada implemented the MMAR program. I thought it odd how so much time had passed and yet there was still a need for dispensaries.... What were these criminals thinking?? It wasn't long before I found out the MMAR wasn't the solution it was made out to be. From the first time I set foot in a dispensary I was humbled by the compassion and bravery of the staff. Showing up to work every day know that at any moment your place of work could be raided by police or yourself arrested to or from work. These people who pour their heart and souls into helping the most vulnerable in our society.
Overall health and well-being before being introduced to medical cannabis:
Overall quality of life before being introduced to medical cannabis: 2
Path to cannabis
Just shortly after I turned 19 I smoked marijuana for the first time. My friends had suggested I try smoking weed many many many times during the years I would have been in high school. But I had an extremely sheltered and isolated childhood. My parents (my mother mostly, as my father was always working to support his wife and two children who all three had health issues) had been taking me to doctors and hospitals as long as I can remember. The best western healthcare available, as well as any complementary treatments my doctors suggested. I was not brought up in an environment that taught me marijuana was at all socially acceptable or medicine. 2009 I was referred to the BC Compassion Club in Vancouver by my pain specialist. Initially I only used dried whole plant, but after a few months I starting experimenting with edibles.
My introduction to cannabinoids was actually through topical hemp based creams when I was a child. I remember being around 10 or so going to The Body Shop in Lonsdale Quay. The feeling of smelling that hemp goodness, the feeling of peace from within it gave me. I would eventually realize that was my brain recognizing all that healing goodness. Now I have that same feeling amplified anytime I smell cannabis as well. I have struggled with eczema on my hands since I was quite young. It was one of the very few treatments that worked. Now I use Weeds brand CBD tincture and O'Cannabliss Infused Topical cream for my skin issues. The topical cream is also my go to for muscle pain and I'm told it makes great massage oil as well! O'Cannabliss lip balm is another thing I can't live without. It's the only lip product I actually use up, completely emptying the container.
When I was 19 finally tried smoking dried cannabis. My first experience with marijuana was awkward, harsh, painful, enlightening, and ultimately lifesaving. I have no idea what strain or type I had the first time. It was green, smelly, crumbly stuff and had been sitting in my friend's sock drawer for well over 6 months. All he could tell me about it was he bought it from a guy named "Dave". That first inhale it was like breathing acid. Even though I knew it was crappy product I recognized that it was a viable option for me. For the first time in memory I wasn't nauseous, the pain in my back was receding, my head stopped throbbing and I was actually hungry for REAL SOLID FOOD. What had initially started as research into "alternative" pain treatments became a quest to get off of prescription painkillers and improve my quality of life. Finally I had hope.
I had done a great deal of research and being young and full of hope I was hell bent on NOT smoking. I went and bought my first vaporizer. It was the sketchiest looking thing I'd ever seen. Components included what appeared to be a soldering iron, various pieces of aquarium tubing and a small jar. There was no on/off switch. No dials or temperature gauge. Just a cord you plug in the wall. How times have changed!
In 2009 when I was referred to the BC Compassion Club by my pain specialist I finally had edibles for the first time. Back then it was trial and error for dosing. To be honest it was mostly error. I gave up on edibles after a few months. It wasn't until I started going to Weeds in 2016 that I began using products that were consistent, reliable, easy to dose edibles. Weeds own brand of edibles saved me. I started with Ganja drops. Now I primarily use their tinctures and Twisted Extracts jellybombs. Discrete, reliable and easy to keep secure around a child. Just put it in a large empty prescription bottle.
Dabbing concentrates has totally changed my life. Dabs are how I managed to survive and develop healthy coping mechanisms. They reduce the physical symptoms of my PTSD so I can engage in the self-care practices I need to maintain my health. Cannabis helped me attend therapy and actively engage, rather than being numb with trauma or doped up all high on the prescription sedatives being frequently suggested by my healthcare professionals.
How Cannabis has had an impact on patient's day to day life
There is not one single aspect of my mental or physical health issues that I could name that cannabis has NOT had a positive impact on. I consider myself a scientist and believe that life is a collection of more or less self-correcting systems. Cannabis gives me that push in the right direction. In the time since I was first introduced to cannabis a lot has happened in my life. I fell into an unhealthy relationship, moved out, got married, had a child.... now going through divorce. The damage to my physical and mental health as a result of the events of the last 10 years is significant. The distinction between "mental illness" and "emotional distress" has been blurred at times. I'm sick of being treated like a crazy person because I have feelings and I don't lie about the effects they have on my mind and body.
Dispensaries are safe spaces. The first place I felt safe after I left my husband was my local dispensary.
I can wake up in the morning and begin moving, stretching and taking care of my body. I feel more present, more anchored. It doesn't do the emotional work for me, it just helps me along. I think of it as being like a painkiller used responsibly in physical rehab. Enough to take the edge off to do the work, but not so much one is numb.
Under Doctor's Supervision?
Prefer not to say
Additional info about discontinued medication
Topical steroids, codeine, tramadol, cyclobenzaprine, methylphenidate, methadone, butrans patches, ativan, imovane, oxycontin, oxycodone, dilaudid, imitrex.
Cannabis has changed the use of other controlled substances
Additional info about controlled substance use
I used to enjoy drinking however now that I'm taking antidepressants I choose not to as alcohol interacts badly with them. Honestly given the option I would still choose cannabis every time.
Other lifestyle changes adopted along with medical Cannabis
Additional info about lifestyle changes
Consistent access to reliable mental health support. Psycho educational support groups. Regular exercise. Small incremental, acheivable changes in my diet working towards a higher content of fresh foods.
Additional info about medical Cannabis experience
Dispensaries. Dispensaries! Dispensaries!!!! I feel dispensaries are a crucial part of the community health system. Everyday I am thankful for my dispensary Weeds Glass and Gifts North Vancouver and the people that run it. The support, products and safe dab consumption space they provide have enabled me to be a more active participant in my own wellbeing.
Overall health and well-being after being introduced to medical
Overall quality of life after being introduced to medical cannabis: 8