I just wanted to write a quick post about marijuana and how profoundly it has changed my world. Seriously.
I started experimenting with it more this summer while I was in Colorado and quickly realized what a game changer it was.
First off, I’ve never really gotten into smoking pot, probably because I’ve never experienced the “high” that so many people enjoy about it. To me, pot just smelled bad and made me cough. I smoked a little in college, and off and on in the years after, but never really understood the appeal.
However, several years ago, during my last nasty flare up of ulcerative colitis (UC), I realized its medicinal potential. I was in unbearable pain for weeks. My doctors had prescribed a mixture of Oxycodone, Tylenol with codeine, Xanax, and some sort of muscle relaxer to help me manage. The cocktail worked… I wasn’t in pain. But I was also basically comatose.
And then a friend of mine brought over some pot to see if that would help. Almost immediately, the pain (and anxiety over the pain and being sick) just…dissolved. I started smoking just to help with the pain, not realizing that the marijuana was also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that was actually helping my body heal. I came out of that flare.
When the UC flared back up a couple years later, I got my hands on some pot again. And again, the effects were remarkable.
I was diagnosed with UC when I was 14 and am now 36. For 22 years, this disease has had a presence, in some form, in my life. Short of surgery and biologics, I have tried every kind of treatment available through traditional medicine. From massive doses of steroids that made me a suicidal, bloated wreck, to immuno suppressants given to AIDS patients, believe me when I say I’ve tried it all.
Over the last five years, I’ve not been in a major flare, but I also haven’t had normal, healthy function. I’ve struggled a lot with ongoing pain and bloating, and I’ve had several mini-flares of a week or two. I started to just believe that this was my reality, that colitis was always going to be something I’d have to deal with. Bummer, sure… but I also recognized it could have been much worse.
This summer, I decided to go to a dispensary in Colorado and try some different combinations of THC and CBD to see if maybe there was something I could use regularly to keep my symptoms at bay. I ended up buying a couple different formulas of stuff, in terms of the ratio of THC to CBD. For those of you who aren’t pot connoisseurs, THC is the active compound in marijuana that gets you “high.” CBD does not, but it is the compound that seems to have the amazing anti-inflammatory qualities. I tried smoking in pipes, vaping, patches, and a variety of edibles. I tried THC to CBD ratios ranging from 3:1 to 1:10.
I came to two conclusions. First – I don’t get high from marijuana. Which is interesting.
Second, it seemed to be the CBD that helped the most.
Within a couple days of using edibles with about 10 milligrams of CBD, I had zero symptoms.
It had been years since I had a day that was totally symptom free. I used the edibles nightly until about a month ago when I ran out. Then I decided to cease using CBD to see if the symptoms came back.
Sure enough, they did. And with a vengeance.
Yesterday, I spent half the day on my couch in a fetal position from the pain and cramps. I also got out my vape pen and did a couple hits (which has oil in a 1:10 THC to CBD ratio). In addition, I took 5 milligrams of pure CBD oil sublingually.
This morning, I woke up nearly symptom free. Today, I used a total of 10 milligrams of CBD oil sublingually (and have not vaped at all), and I am now completely symptom free.
Let me try to explain how life-changing this has been for me. In the past, if I had an onset of a flare as severe as I did yesterday (I’ll spare you the details, but it was gnarly), I would have been looking at anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple of months to come out of the flare. With CBD oil, I exited the flare in about 18 hours.
Needless to say, I have become a loud proponent of medical marijuana, but I am finding (at least for me), that the real benefit seems to lie in the CBD. I’ve done a lot of research on the mechanisms through which CBD seems to improve chronic autoimmune conditions like UC (again, I’ll spare you). But the science, and the ongoing studies on the benefits of CBD really speak for themselves.
I say all this to urge anyone struggling with autoimmunity to consider CBD oil (or marijuana, if you’re in a state where it’s legal… or… if you’re just a renegade). It has completely changed my world.