Personal Experiences with Medical Cannabis
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Tens of thousands of Canadians use medical cannabis for a range of symptoms and conditions. Here are two success stories using it to treat chronic pain and depression.
Osteoarthritis caused years of persistent pain.
For more than 10 years Arlene, 68, suffered from chronic pain related to osteoarthritis and needed painkillers to cope. She was taking acetaminophen, codeine and aspirin. The pain medications were ineffective to adequately manage the pain, yet she had no hope of getting off them. The advice her osteosurgeon, GP and gerontologist gave was to increase the dosage.
Cannabis gave her hope and control.
Arlene learned that medical cannabis was a viable option when social acquaintances told her about their success with it. Her family doctor wouldn’t prescribe it, so she found a new doctor who shares her approach to healthcare.
She has pain relief and a better frame of mind.
Arlene says she’s not racked with pain the way she used to be. She rarely takes conventional painkillers anymore—only when medical cannabis is unavailable, like when travelling outside Canada. Full of positivity and energy, she says, “I’m way happier. I’m way less depressed. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until our son pointed out how tough it was to see me in so much pain all the time.”
Her sleep and overall health have improved.
Before she took medical cannabis, Arlene was using a prescription sleep aid every night to help her get to sleep—but she didn’t stay asleep. She no longer needs it because both the quality and quantity of her sleep has improved. Better still, her newfound pain relief has allowed her to get back to exercising and lose weight.
A standardized product is key.
A consistent cannabis oil is important since Arlene also has asthma and an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. “Because of the number of medical issues that I have and how all these chemicals work with or against each other, I can’t afford to take a risk. I have to have a standardized product.” She uses a cannabis oil with a calibrated syringe and puts a few drops in her mouth. It’s discreet enough to use in public places.
Her husband uses it now too.
Arlene introduced her husband, Darrel, to cannabis oil. He uses it with great results to treat chronic pain from osteoarthritis and neuropathy. As they celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, they’re appreciative of how cannabis has improved their lives. “I am so profoundly grateful that I would shout this from the rooftops. It’s just an amazing product for us.”
He endured severe side effects from antidepressants.
In 2011, when Kaz was 50 years old, he was prescribed an antidepressant for mild depression. He had severe side effects from it, including restless leg syndrome, grinding his teeth at night, trouble sleeping, horrible nightmares and difficulty concentrating at work. “It was making everything worse. It really messed me up big time.”
A specialist suggested cannabis.
Kaz switched to a doctor in Nanaimo who uses an integrative and functional approach. That’s when things really started changing for the better, he says. The doctor told him that antidepressants can disrupt the serotonin in the brain and suggested cannabis oil to try to level it out. So last year, Kaz started using cannabis oil and almost immediately it changed his life.
The ratio of THC to CBD matters.
Kaz doesn’t get high from his cannabis oil. He uses CanniMed® Oil 1:20, which contains 1.0 mg per ml of THC and 20 mg per ml of CBD. Since it contains virtually no THC, it has little to no psychoactive side effects like anxiety, paranoia or euphoria. The CBD acts as an antidepressant, working on similar receptors to medications that act on serotonin receptors.
He has better mental and physical health.
“It took out the highs and lows,” Kaz says. “Depression isn’t a problem anymore.” Medical cannabis also improved the other lingering medical problems he had from the antidepressants. He stopped grinding his teeth and has no more restless leg syndrome. And while Kaz used to get only 4 or 5 hours of sleep, he now gets 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep. “The first night I took the oil, I slept 9 hours straight and hardly even messed up the bed at all. I hadn’t slept like that in years.”
The Science Behind the Plant
The Endocannabinoid System
Medical cannabis harnesses the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system helps to achieve balance in the body and is involved in many functions, including pain sensation, inflammation, mood and appetite.
Our ECS naturally produces chemicals called cannabinoids, which pass messages between the brain and body parts through cannabinoid receptors. They act like a key opening a lock on our cells. When the cannabinoids deliver messages like pain or nausea to the receptors, the locks open and trigger a response—such as pain relief.
The Active Ingredients
The active ingredients in the cannabis plant are called phytocannabinoids. The two most researched are THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). They’re similar to the cannabinoids our bodies naturally produce.
Supplementing the System
Aging and certain medical conditions affect how the ECS works and can lead to symptoms like pain. Phytocannabinoids are analogous to having spare keys for your cannabinoid receptors, supplementing the cannabinoids normally produced by the body.
CARP members receive a $50 credit upon registration as a new CanniMed patient and 5% off Patient Direct Pricing or current best price offer, on medical cannabis products.
This advertorial was produced with the generous support of CanniMed. Learn more at CanniMed.ca