The Miracle of Cannabis CBD Oil
It has been 11 months since I stopped using hydrocodone and ibuprofen for pain relief for my psoriatic arthritis. Not only have I stopped using prescription pain medication since starting CBD oil, I’m excited to say I can now do the following:
For the past 20 years, I have added more things I could not do to the list. But since I started taking CBD oil medication, I can do all of these things and more!
My journey to diagnosis
I am 56 years old, and have been struggling with PsA since I was very young. The psoriasis started when I was about 7 on my elbows. I was prescribed a thick gooey stinky tar to put on the patches. I don’t think that did much of anything. Since then, I have struggled with many flares, four of which covered my entire body. The arthritis began showing in my spine in 2000, and I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. In 2004 I showed signs I had arthritis in my ankles and feet. However, I was misdiagnosed as having ganglion cysts. It was not until 2009 that I was properly diagnosed with PsA.
By that time my immobility and pain had increased. I was frustrated and depressed. I had lived my entire life as a dancer and athlete, and followed a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, and thought I could never be so disabled.
Since 2004, my feet have been continuously swollen, which forced me to abandon closed toe shoes and wear flip-flops. I was living in Oregon at the time, so that was not an easy thing to do. When it snowed, I would wear an old pair of large men’s boots. I stopped running and started biking to keep in shape. I took up swimming, yoga, and Pilates, and cut back on dancing. But, I would have to take 2 ibuprofen or a 1/2 a hydrocodone to do any exercise. I kept thinking, if I keep moving, exercising and eating right, this will go away. But of course, it never did.
The doctors wanted to put me on some heavy medication for psoriasis right after my youngest son was born in 1996. They said I would need to take two forms of birth control, and get liver and kidney tests, and that it would lower my immune system. Even though I had had my tubes tied they said I would still have to take another form of birth control. I felt the side effects were too risky at the time so I refused.
My last all body psoriasis flare was October of 2014 and triggered by a strep infection. This psoriasis flare was by far the most destructive and debilitating. This time the psoriasis was on my neck and face, so when I went out in public I wore a scarf around my head and face, (something like a burka) and dark glasses to hide the bright red blotches. When I took a shower the force of the water was so painful I could only take baths. It felt as if I was wearing a wool sweater in 90 degree weather and that red army ants were randomly biting me. I was taking multiple toxic prescription medications. I had topical steroids for the psoriasis, as well as two types of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, sleeping pills, ibuprofen, high blood pressure medication and hyrdocodone. I could not sleep more than a few hours at a time. This flare took two entire years to fade!
But as the psoriasis patches faded, my joints and tendons continued to deteriorate. In the fall of 2016, my skin was clear, but my pain and immobility took a radical turn for the worse. One day I got up, and could not put any weight on my left foot.The pain was deep in my heel and ankle and shot through my body to my head. At that point, I had to start using a cane every day. Then, the pain was in both feet, and that is when my son got me a walker!
I had also started to use an electric scooter in the grocery store. I began taking more hydrocodone and more ibuprofen. Up to this time, I was only taking hydrocodone once or twice a week. By November of 2016, I was taking 3 to 4 hydrocodone a day. But it did not work. I was also taking Sulfasalazine, which caused so much stomach pain I thought I would have to call 911 one night. I did not want to get out of bed, I did not want to eat. Everything hurt. I could not think. I could not sleep. I could not walk. I wanted to die.
That was the turning point to trying CBD oil. I admit, I had been reluctant about taking any medical cannabis, as I had been fearful of the side effects. I had not smoked any marijuana since I was 18 and I was anxious of being “high”, paranoid and not able to function. But at this point, I could not function. There were a few weeks there I honestly thought I was dying and I desperately was ready to try cannabis.
So, a friend gave me a CBD strain of cannabis to smoke. I really did not like smoking the cannabis, but did it anyway and happily I got a little relief. But it wasn’t quite enough and I did not enjoy smoking. My friend advised me to look into other forms of cannabis and to get my Medical Marijuana card . So in May of 2017, I got my card, and went to the local dispensary.
There where a lot of different CBD products to choose from. I started with a tincture, vape, capsules, and some chocolates. All of the products where high CBD with a small amount of THC. You can get CBD oil from both Hemp and from Cannabis/Marijuana plant. I live in California, so I can legally purchase Cannabis/Marijuana which contains both CBD & THC. Since I have not taken Hemp CBD oil, I can not comment on its efficiency.
Eventually, I ended up with the best results from a ‘Rick Simpson’ type of CBD oil. It is a concentrated thick sticky oil that comes in a syringe. I take it by squeezing out a dose the size of a grain of rice, 3 times a day. This CBD oil is a full extract cannabis oil and is a ‘High’ CBD oil with a CBD/THC ratio of 25:1. It is manufactured from California organically grown cannabis. The 3 gram syringe contains 2030 mg of CBD and 87 mg of THC. It is important to point out that THC has medicinal benefits that help with pain and inflammation. I have tried 3 different brands and I am happiest with one, but not inclined to mention brand names here. The cost of 3 grams is between $95 and $105, and lasts about 2 1/2 months.
When you eat the CBD/THC the effects last a lot longer then when you smoke. When you smoke cannabis, you will get an immediate response, however, it goes away in an hour or two. By eating it, you will get hours of relief, but it may take 2 to 3 hours to get feel the results. Sometimes, I will feel so good, that I forget to take a dose, and start to feel the pain. That is when I smoke a little, because I will get relief immediately, until the CBD oil takes affect. When you start taking THC, you might have a slight reaction, but by taking small amounts, you begin getting used to it, and not feel “high”. Also, the CBD helps in counteracting the “high” effect of THC.
To help me sleep at night, I take a small dose of 100% THC. I take this in the form of a very tasty chocolate bar and the dose is a bit smaller than a dime. The dosage I take is not enough to get me high, it just helps me get to sleep. I also make my own cannabis infused coconut oil, which I can spread on crackers or bread. I use this if I am out of the cannabis chocolate bar. I also use the canna-coconut oil as a topical on my joints and psoriasis patches as well. Even though the topical contains THC, you can not get “high” from applying it to your skin.
I have gone through so many positive changes in my disability since starting the CBD. The most amazing outcome is that the swelling in my ankles is gone! My feet were so swollen and inflamed for so very long, I can’t believe that it is gone! For years, I could not see my ankle bones. The skin was puffy, and sore, and if I touched it, it would leave an imprint. I could not wear socks, because it would leave a huge dent in my skin, and cause more swelling and pain. I could not wear closed toe shoes, because my feet could not fit in the shoe. For me, this is the most important change to my health I have had from taking cannabis. It not only alleviated the pain, but took away the inflammation, which was causing the pain to begin with!
Although I have had a tremendous amount of improvement to my health, I still have limitations. I continue to struggle with some immobility, as the disease caused some deformity to my left foot, so I still limp. I have disabled license plates for the car, which saves me a lot of energy for walking. I get tired if I stand too long and pain in my back if I walk too much. I avoid peak hours at the grocery store so and I refuse to multi-task. I can not ride a bike, or mow the lawn and I need at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night. I take one day at a time, and I try to focus on what I can do, instead of what I can’t do.
I have been playing catch up with all the unfinished projects and chores. I was able to finally put away the heap of clean clothes that piled up for the past two years and catch up on sewing and photography projects. Also, I am able to vacuum the living room, cook dinner and wash the dishes all in the same day!
I have hope that my health will continue to improve and I hope sharing my story will help others desperately in need of relief from pain, immobility and get back to living a full life. I am awe of the healing powers of cannabis, and grateful for all those pioneers who have been experimenting with medicinal marijuana. Fortunately, I live in California, where medical marijuana is legal and hope someday that it will be legal everywhere. Finally, I want to thank my friends, family, and medical marijuana consultants who encouraged me to give cannabis a try. Thank you, Luke, Anthony, Rick, David, Lincoln, Ricky, and Anna.
My quality of life has drastically improved and I refuse to waste all of this new found energy on unfinished chores. I’m ready to pick out a pretty clean blouse hanging neatly in the closet and go listen to my favorite local jazz band. Life is short. Laundry is forever.