As many of you know I have been using cannabis for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) since diagnosis in 1987. Even though for decades I was breaking the law by using cannabis its health benefits were so important to my well being that I felt it was worth the risks.
When I was first diagnosed with MS there were no disease modifying drugs or a standard of care treatment for MS beyond addictive pain killers & narcotics. My mother was a prescription pill addict my whole life so I quickly said no to any drugs the doctors offered instead turning to essential oils & cannabis to help my initial symptoms of muscle spasms & limb jumping.
To this day I use cannabis even though many of my symptoms have left the building due to diet & lifestyle choices.
After my healing began as a faithful Warrior who follows The Wahls Protocol I was able to go off of over 24 medications for the treatment of MS. I thought at this time I should also stop using cannabis. It became clear after about 12 weeks that cannabis was helping me with more than the symptoms I originally thought.
Little did I know all that cannabis was managing outside of diet & lifestyle.
I have scary issues with my throat due to MS. Sever spasms or becoming rigid as we call it in MS. Literally it is like a 'Charlie Horse' that most often happens with your feet, but it is your throat. When I stopped using cannabis throat symptom returned as well as a low level of anxiety. Both of which I thought my diet & lifestyle choices had healed 100%. It was not until I stopped using cannabis that I learned how much of a role THC had in healing these two important symptoms.
Even though I am a Wahls Warrior who is a walking miracle I continue to use cannabis for the treatment & management of MS.
One of the most common questions I get regarding cannabis is where to begin. Many of my tribe reach out to ask how to get started. I wanted to give some insight into the process & some best practices using cannabis as medicine.
Most important to note is I am not advocating anyone step outside of the law regarding the use of cannabis. Although this was how I operated for many years exclusively until 2006 when I moved to CA where medicinal cannabis was legal. Today recreational use is also legal in CA & many states around the USA.
Strands: There are 3 varieties of cannabis & they are either strands called Sativa, Indica and/or a hybrid. Each one offers a different medicinal tool.
- A Sativa will help you stay active & alert offering an overall calming effect. I find Sativa helps to calm your mind while allowing you to function without feeling high.
- An Indica on the other hand offers an overall body effect often inducing sleep & a large sense of relaxation. An Indica strand is great for pain & sleep.
- Hybrids are a mixture of both Sativa & Indica typically having one higher in concentration than the other. Depending on which is dominant defines the type of effect. Hybrids are classified as either Sativa or Indica dominant.
It is important to remind ourselves that we are all different & our bodies are the ultimate source of information.
When offering medical cannabis in most states it is required that the community have options for usage beyond smoking. Below I will outline the different ways most states offer cannabis to the consumer.
Edibles: You can find cannabis in edibles of all kind from pop to brownies & even infused butters. I personally do not recommend using edibles without checking the ingredient list. Many are filled with sugars & things that do not support a conscious life. The standard dose is 10mg of THC per serving with many edibles offering more than one dose.
Edibles can take on average one hour to feel the effects. Many times edibles are hard to manage due to dosing not being exact producing an outcome that is powerful for some & not effective for others.
I strongly suggest when using edibles to put the day aside to see how your body reacts. I have learned that everyone is different & there is a learning curve that is quite individual. Only when consuming edibles have I had experiences that felt like I was tripping & produced a negative outcome. However there have also been times where the use of edibles have delivered exceptional results.
Due to the nature of unpredictability of edibles I advise to plan a day at home where you can ride the wave until you are able to have the correct dosing.
Tinctures: A sublingual form is also available which are called tinctures. This is another method for using cannabis that is easy & very effective. Although they are the least used form of cannabis they are still very powerful.
Tinctures are liquid forms of cannabis that include THC which can be administered by putting a few drops under your tongue. Tinctures are easily absorbed with many feeling the effects within 15 minutes of using. This treatment is quicker, easier to regulate & often more effective than edibles. I have personally found great success with tinctures even though I prefer to smoke bud.
Vaping: Cannabis is also available in Vape Oil. Vape oil is considered the healthier alternative to smoking. The THC & CBD oils are extracted & often added to coconut oil. Vape pens are needed to administer the oil by heating it up for smoking.
Vaporizing cannabis has been shown to not have the same negative effects on the lungs that traditional smoking does. However one has to pay attention to what is added to the cannabis oil for vaping. Some companies do add unhealthy chemicals that make this method not a good choice.
Cannabidiol or CBD oil: CBD oil can be derived from both cannabis & hemp. I am going to talk about cannabis derived CBD oil here. This oil is known to have lots of health benefits without any of the psychoactive effects of cannabis most often derived from low THC strands of marijuana. Many use CBD oil to help with pain, tremors, cancer and ADHD.
Hemp oil derived CBD oil can be purchased in every state in the USA & is much different than cannabis CBD oil. This type of CBD oil has shown great promise in helping dogs & autism. Hemp oil is much different than a cannabis CBD oil and should be noted as such. Hemp does not contain any THC making it a very different medicinal tool that is quite effective.
How to Get Started: Check the laws in your state/country to find out how to legally use and/or grow. In 2017 over 26 states have legalized cannabis for medical uses in the USA & 7 for recreational use. However it should be noted that marijuana is still against the law at the federal level and legality is a state decision only in the USA. Being informed regarding the laws and potential risks are highly recommended.
Medical license: For most states a doctor visit either in person or online is required to obtain a medical license. I have been able to get this from all kinds of partners in my wellness team. My 1st license back in 2006 came from my gynecologist and cost about $225. Today in California you can get a license for about $35 from brick and mortar & online establishments that have a doctor on staff for licensing only. It simply is not as hard to get as it was in 2006.
Licenses are good for one year. Once you are legal your information is put online for the dispensary to verify prior to purchase in states where medicinal only is legal. States with recreational use do not require a medical card, however if you have a medicinal need discounts are typically offered making a license advisable & cost effective.
Dispensary: This is where you go to get cannabis in all forms talked about. Most dispensaries have at least 10+ strands plus an assortment of edibles, oils and the tools needed to use cannabis. I highly recommend you talk with the staff (bud tenders) about the best route for you to take. Cannabis is very individual & each strand is different not only in name but in THC, CBD strength. Bud tenders are trained on strands just like a sommelier is on wine. They are very knowledgeable & should be treated just like any member of your healthcare team.
You can find dispensaries online via Weedmaps or simply google for storefronts. Some states like CA have delivery which makes life easier, but also increases the value of a trained bud tender to give you insight into what strands are working the best to support your needs. I value the role of those working in dispensaries & trust their insight & knowledge.
The use of cannabis is still controversial for many. I am sharing my 1st hand experience & knowledge based on the huge role it plays in my life with MS. There is no doubt in my mind that the medicinal benefits have been extreme in helping me tap my best life in the face of the devastation caused by MS even when I was dealing with the stress of breaking the law.
I simply cannot impress upon you enough how much cannabis has been the #1 most effective treatment for living with MS. Even in the face of the miracles that have happened with diet & lifestyle cannabis still holds a huge role in my ability to live my best life.
For anyone who believe that it fries brain cells & produces addiction I am here to call bullshit.
I have better cognitive than most & am not an addict with over 30 years of smoking weed. If you want to talk about brain cells dying and addiction we should look at big pharm & booze.
Not going to lie I am sure this blog post will raise some eyebrows.
For those who can be open to living life outside of cultural norms I hope this post helps guide your best life journey.
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