I am not a doctor. I am not a medical provider. None of my statements in this blog should be taken as anything other than my own conclusions and personal experiences.
Anyone who knows me knows how much of a rule follower I am. I’ve been been this way since I was quite going and then law school simply made it worse. Much worse. I’ve never liked feeling out of control and I’ve never liked the idea that a substance could make me either be out of control or forget what was going on — case on point, I got drunk once by accident while studying abroad and have never done that again.
Wow, how things have changed!
In previous years, I remember seeing the advocates at the courthouse asking everyone to sign the petitions in favor of medical marijuana. I remember seeing all of the ads and the individual pleas from patients and their families to vote for the legislation that made medical marijuana legal in Florida after years of efforts. I remember thinking that the issues had nothing to do with me and while I did vote in favor of the legislation each time it came up for a vote, I didn’t enter into any of the advocacy efforts.
I see now how wrong that was. Just because that issue had not affected me or someone I know directly (at that time), I didn’t help when it could have helped others. I have some regrets that I did not help support those initiatives then.
Because now I take medical marijuana daily.
It has taken me some time to figure out how to use it, how to dose myself, and how to navigate the complexities of all the different strains and options. This is an area where my lack of experimentation earlier in my life has meant that I am not as well versed now. I’m making up for that!
Before anyone thinks that I’m putting my children at risk, let me clarify that I only take CBD oil during the day to manage my pain and I take THC at night to help me sleep. CBD has no psychoactive effects, which means no “high”. This means I’m not impaired in any way during the day when I’m driving around and taking care of my children. This is important to me, that I’m able to be present and alert when caring for them.
So, a few things I’ve learned ….
- Everyone responds differently–just because a certain dose or strain works for me, doesn’t mean that will work for anyone else.
- There is a lot of bad information out there–so many websites and articles full of information that are not vetted or checked. Proceed at your own risk!
- Many medical professionals, especially oncologists, are skeptical of medical marijuana–my own medical oncologist was pretty negative about my choice to avoid narcotics for pain management, but the proof is, as they say, in the pudding. She’s now comfortable telling other patients that she’s seen it work.
- Many medical professionals have no idea how medical marijuana can interact with any other medication, including oncology pharmacists. Doctors, like many professionals, are risk adverse for good reason, and when they don’t know, they usually recommend against.
- Some medical professionals who are prescribing medical marijuana are doing so unscrupulously and are not actually helpful with regard to dosaging. This describes several doctors I saw before I found my current pain management doctor. My advice is to stay away from cannibis specific practices.
- The efficacy of medical marijuana can vary widely by source.
- The cost of medical marijuana can vary widely by source.
I’ve found an amazing community online who are experimenting carefully with using medical marijuana for the treatment of cancer and the side effects of both cancer and the treatment of cancer. Does medical marijuana actually kill cancer? I have no idea, but outside of a few specifics, it does not appear to be causing any harm. Taking medical marijuana to help manage my pain, my anxiety, my depression, my ptsd, my scanxiety, and helping me to sleep through the night has been one of the best things I’ve found with the fewest side effects and unintended consequences.
I’ve stayed up on the research, I’ve consulted with medical professionals who focus on the treatment of cancer with cannibis and I’ve found a pain management doctor who prescribes and follows my use carefully. Since my pain management doctor is also a palliative care doctor, she is particularly sensitive to quality of life issues, which is important to me. So many people don’t have the luxury of the same resources I’ve found and I’m always interested in finding ways to support others, to help others find the relief I’ve found from constant chronic pain without taking opioids.
While I’m not a doctor, here are a few additional details I’ve learned in my own research and experimentation …
- Many pharmacists and doctors say that Ibrance and CBD are contraindicated. In my research, I have discovered that this is likely because both Ibrance and CBD are processed along the same pathway in the liver. So, in my own words, if you take Ibrance and CBD oil at the same time, it overwhelms that pathway and also interferes with the efficacy of both since the processing in the liver is part of how both are activated to their highest and best use. The remedy? Take them at least two hours apart. This way, the pathway is cleared or clear enough that it does not cause an issue or interfere with the efficacy of either.
- The contraindication for CBD and tamoxifen is something much less simple and there does not seem to be any way to deal with it yet. I am always sad to learn that my premenopausal friends are not yet able to access this remedy while taking tamoxifen.
- THC is a phytoestrogen and/or increases the level of estradiol (the bad estrogen). I don’t know enough yet to understand why or how. I have discovered that most cannibis providers believe that staying until 50 mg daily of THC is best for estrogen sensitive cancer.
- The delivery method makes a difference. For me, the pills take way too long to affect my pain. I prefer the oil taken sublingually (under the tongue). The oil does take some time to take effect, so I have a vape pen handy if I’ve had a bad day or am expecting to be more active. I understand that Florida had just approved the ability of people to legally smoke marijuana directly (ie not vaping). I’m not a fan but that’s just my own personal comfort level. Edibles are still not legal in Florida, which makes no sense to me but I’m hopeful that will change at some point. I am frankly a big fan of gummies infused with whatever medication desired; however, I’m also aware this method of delivery can be an issue when curious children are around.
It’s been an interesting experience to delve into this alternative world that I frankly avoided up until now. I firmly believe that natural remedies can be helpful and effective when used responsibly and I am always careful to do my research and find qualified professionals to guide me.
Tell me, what are your experiences with medical marijuana? Do you know someone who takes it?