A New Experiment

Alright, so this might come as a shock to some of you. It has certainly been a surprise to me. You see, back in October of this year my doctor suggested I explore medical marijuana and that he would sign the paperwork for me to get my medical card.

I’ve had it since mid November, but only used it a couple times right after I got it. You see, it was hard for me to find a route of administration that allows me to control the dosage I am getting. It isn’t quite like picking up a prescription in a pharmacy. In a bottle of pills you have a standardized amount of a given substance in each tablet. It’s written on the bottle, and controlled strictly by the FDA. The medical marijuana community is moving that direction, with many of the products sold now laboratory tested and rated at how many milligrams of cannabis extract they contain.

But though that is the trend, there are still many methods of rating potency, and there are times where it is impossible to tell how strong a given item may be.

The simplest way to ingest marijuana is through smoking, of course. It is easy to manage your dosage. You can take one hit, or smoke one joint, or whatever, and know that in general you are getting the same amount of cannabis as you are expecting. And, the duration of action when inhaled through the lungs is much shorter than when ingested orally. That means if you smoke a bit too much, the effects will wear off in a couple hours, but if you eat too much, you’ve pretty much got to ride effect out for the next eight to twelve hours as it metabolizes and is released much more slowly into the bloodstream.

But I can’t smoke. My lungs just cannot handle it. So I have to figure out a way to ingest it that I can standardize so that I can know exactly what I need to eat/drink in order to get the effect I’m looking for.

I’m essentially doing an experiment here that will run for a week or two till I either figure out something that works for me or I can’t, in which case I’d drop the whole thing.

But as I’m also tapering myself off the clonazepam for the first time in quite a while, if I can find a way to use medical marijuana that is effective for me, it should be much easier to stop the anxiety drugs. Also, I’ve found that the only nausea medication that works for me is phenergan, and only in doses so high that they caused me to actually hallucinate for several days in the hospital. So since I do know that medical marijuana is quite helpful for nausea in the right form, it seemed like being able to use it to cover two bases at once for me medically, I decided I wanted to at least try it before I knocked it.

But its only been a couple days since I began this experiment, at this point having consumed almost exclusively edible/drinkable products, slang for which is the rather accurate “medibles” , and I have yet to find something that does what I want it to without a lot of other side effects.

This morning is going pretty well thought. I awoke with a headache that was caused by coughing because I had tried one inhalation from a vaporizer that contained a cannabis concentrate the night before and it had caused me to cough more than I expected. But the effects were the closest to what I’ve been aiming for. I think I’d just need the portable device that allows you to use this same concentrate substance with a very clean very portable pen vaporizer. It just draws oxygen through a heating element, extracting the active components of the concentrate into the hot air that you then inhale. One tiny, tiny puff on one of those would give me the effect I’m looking for without having it last for hours and hours. Because I’m expecting that I would only want to use this type of medicine occassionally, as a spot treatment. If I was having a really bad pain day, or was overly anxious, or had a day where I was incredibly nauseated or was having serious trouble sleeping, I might have cause to ingest a small amount of cannabis. It would certainly free me from the incredibly addictive benzodiazepine drugs like clonazepam and the psychoactive phenergan. I think it would replace any unnatural  sleep aids. Having one thing that would take care of that many things all at once, well I guess it is kind of attractive.

The problem is that I just can’t smoke like most people. My doctor even said “I would rather have you smoke two joints twice a day every day than take pain medication and anxiety medication because they are much worse for you.” But even if I wanted to, it is so hard for me to smoke, and causes terrible headaches and creates chest pain, it isn’t worth it. So if this vaporizer can create something clean enough for me to inhale and therefore control my dosage more accurately, that would be great. If not, and I can’t find a way to ingest it that works, I’m fully prepared to accept that it just isn’t for me. I bet that there are a lot of people who try it for things and have it not really work for them.

Anyway, its going to be a bit of an odd experience because I haven’t really had any cannabis in my system since college up until the last couple of days, and I’m adjusting to the idea of using it as medicine rather than as something you would do socially, or recreationally.

I’m honestly not sure how people will be responding to this post, but I’ve basically decided that if I can’t find a clean, effective, and relatively cheap route of administration that will allow me to standardize my dosage, then this experiment ain’t gonna work.

On the positive side, I slept well last night, and didn’t have to take my anxiety pill last night either. Not a bad result considering I just inhaled a tiny, tiny hit of concentrated cannabis oil and ate half a cookie later in the evening. My brain was still functional, I was hungry, not nauseated, I was a little quieter than normal because I didn’t feel the need to talk constantly to make my point. I felt calm and pretty relaxed. But clearly in the future I need to make sure whatever strain of concentrate that I use is the right type for the effect that I am looking for. Last night, the one I tried was just a bit overpowering for me at 7pm. If it had been like 11pm, it would have been perfect. But if it had been 11am, it wouldn’t have worked at all. So I’ll have to continue to experiment with this, but if in a couple weeks I haven’t figured out a good, balanced way to use marijuana as medicine, I’ll just have to bag it, the way I have with so many other well intentioned “natural” remedies.

Just like this whole concept of the Wellness Quest 2.0, and even the original Wellness Quest – none of us (me, family, friends) knew for certain what the outcome would be, but we knew changes would happen.

So this is one more change that could possibly become a part of the Wellness Quest 2.0. That remains to be seen, however, as so much of this process is day to day, hour to hour, gauging how I am doing physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And at the moment, I feel quite rested, no headache, no stomach ache or nausea…. about as good as can be expected. I am sure grateful for that!

Peace to you all,

-Nathan

PS – I’m certain some of you will have strong opinions about me attempting this experiment. I’ve resolved to be completely honest again with my blog here, so if you have any questions or comments or just plain criticism of my decision please go ahead and voice it!

 

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6 responses to “A New Experiment

  1. I think its a smart move. It’s people who discount such ideas off hand that need to question their investment in their wellbeing. But you are right about it being a tricky balance. My mum once told me about my uncle, in his late teens, getting a very bad cold. In caring for him my grandmother found his stash and made him herbal tea out of it. He violently vomited phlegm for hours and didn’t touch the stuff again for a very long time. We are all pretty sure innocent little Nanna knew exactly what she was doing and took the opportunity to teach him a lesson…but yes, for someone with your condition it will be a fine balance to not over do it and end up coughing and heaving too much for your body to handle.

    • Ha, that’s a funny story. I think you’re right though. Moderation is the key, just like it is for the correct medical usage of most substances.

  2. I honor your courage to try and find ways to improve your life! I have a friend who has several chronic illnesses and is now taking a cannibis candy. She has tried smoking it, eating it in baked goods, and is now experiencing better results with this method. Let me know if you want more information, and I’m happy to check with her. Sending lots of love….

    • Thanks Kate. It’s a touchy thing, with my history. I would be interested to know more about your friends experience with different routes of administration and what types of things have helped her in what ways for what symptoms. I’d be interested in speaking with you about this more at length. Look forward to talking with you soon. So great to see your comments here. Missing you!

      -N

  3. I believe it is used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis sometimes too.

  4. Pingback: Perhaps That Was Too Brash? | The Wellness Quest

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