Thanks so much for your very informative post 460inparadise!I remember reading of a fibromyalgia study that DID try medical cannabis versus the top three prescribed drugs and found that the cannabis was the most effective for most people.
The effects of THC wear off in 2-3 hours. The metabolites show up in tests for at least a month so those tests are not useful in actually determining whether a person is "under the influence." Tests of driving under the influence have shown that habitual users do not perform more poorly than non-users but casual users do not drive well under the influence. I personally never drive, or even leave home, after using.
I have intractable pain from ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and arthritis. I've tried the prescription cocaine drugs (anything with "co" in it -- oxycontin, oxycodeine, codeine, vicodin, etc., all are prescription cocaine with all the horrible side effects and potential to addict and to kill.) And the PerCOset I was prescribed after major surgery did not touch my other pain problems and made me feel like a different person, very negative, one I didn't even recognize after I quit taking it.
I live in Colorado where medical and recreational cannabis are legal, with a lot of rules and restrictions. I have been growing my own, to the extent possible, and using it for over 2 years now. When my plants are not ready (it takes about 3-4 months from seed to harvest) or my harvest doesn't yield enough, I go to a dispensary that is a two hour drive, because they use organic methods, unlike the dispensary that is only 7 miles from me. Growing my own is a lot of work but I've figured the expense of buying it and it costs me about half as much if I'm able to grow my own. And I then know that no toxic chemicals have been used on it and can use the strains that are most effective for me. My all-time favorite is called LA Woman; SAGE is second.
Cannabis is the only medicine that helps me with sleep. Unfortunately it wears off in 2-3 hours so when pain awakens me during the night I have to take another dose and wait 10-20 minutes for it to take affect.
I usually make a tincture using grain alcohol as the solvent. THC is not soluble in water. Lately I bought a bong and have been using it once a day, just to save on buying the grain alcohol which is not cheap and which I evaporate most of in the process of making the tincture. I grow several strains and use them at different times of the afternoon, evening and night, depending on their characteristics and what I need at that time. I also take a CBD capsule each morning to partly offset the effects of THC. I work online mornings and need to be alert. The CBD capsule also allows me to not care much about the CBD levels in the plants I grow although one variety has a 7:7 ratio of CBD and THC. One doctor who also uses it for pain told me that the varieties with blue or purple in their names or in their bud colors are the most effective for pain so I grow a variety with blue in it.
I use the whole plant, stems and leaves included, in making my tincture. I store it in brown glass bottles with an eyedropper and dose it by the dropperful.
The side effects are not prohibitive. I keep sugar-free cough drops nearby and pop one of those in my mouth after taking a dose so I have no "dry mouth" problem. The dizzyness is acceptable to me since I already have ataxia due to ME and cannabis doesn't make it any worse. It does give me the munchies but much of the time I simply wait for that to go away, or for the tincture to put me back to sleep. If I can't sleep because of the munchies, a tablespoon of peanut butter does the trick.
I don't mind if BigPharma wants to isolate some of the components of cannabis and try to sell pills, sprays, balms or other types of medication but I don't think that is the only way, nor the best way possible, of medicating with cannabis. I do believe the "entourage effect" or what I call the synergy of the whole plant is beneficial. As Dr. Mechoulam, father of cannabis research has stated, the artificial cannabis they have produced doesn't have the same direction of spin for some of the molecules so probably doesn't have the same affect on the cannabinoid receptors of the brain and gut.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (sp?) of California uses a liniment of cannabis to treat his severe arthritis so he can continue to surf. I make one of my own and my husband gives me a foot massage every other evening, using this liniment. Helps me sleep.
If you live where it's legal, I highly recommend medical cannabis for ME, pain, sleep issues and more. The Israeli and Spanish research shows it is effective against Alzheimer's, PTSD, asthma, brain damage due to concussion and many forms of cancer. A search on youtube for Dr. Mechoulam and/or Spanish researchers Drs. Guzman and Sanchez would give anyone a good look at what's being done with it outside the US where Prohibition still rules politically instead of scientifically. The NIH has a patent on CBD as antioxidant and neuroprotectant. (#6630507) They quietly sent hundreds of thousand of US dollars to Dr. Mechoulam in the 1960s for this research. It is now sold in Canada for epilepsy but still not available in the US.
By any measure the pros far out way the cons, for most people. In states where it is legal, the use of the prescription cocaine drugs has dropped dramatically along with deaths from overdoses from them. Cannabis is not a narcotic -- it doesn't depress respiration -- and no one has ever overdosed on it although the novice user can be overwhelmed by novel sensations if they use too much initially, especially if they are using edibles for the first time.
Madie, CBD is non-psychoactive, as you know, and can be bought online now. I get mine from Vitamin Discount Center/http://www.vitamindiscountcenter.com/
It costs me about $60/month -- I have a "subscription" whereby they automatically send me a new bottle each month, at a slight discount.
CBD is effective treatment for muscle spasms, inflammation and restless leg syndrome, in my experience and in some research. This lessens pain in several ways. Lessens, but doesn't knock it out, nor does it knock the user out.
Thanks so much for your very informative post 460inparadise!
I think its great you're able to grow at home and use your own stuff. I hope that is never taken away. Even if the entourage effect is determinative your post still indicates to me how much this plant is crying for more research. Let it be so...
I've tried CBD from 4 vendors, including Elixinol and Charlotte's Web [in case purity was the problem with the cheaper ones]. It makes me sick at 5 drops. Since I'm allergic to hemp seed (vomiting), I imagine that's the problem. I have less of a problem with cannabis drops, but haven't found a sweet spot where I get pain and sleep relief without major flu symptoms the next day. If you think your preparation might work for me, let me know what you use.
Last year I had a chance to test high CBD and also high CBN whole cannabis patches and lotion, and nothing happened at all. I think I'm down to testing individual strains with help from a dispensary, and smoking it [which doesn't appeal to me].