Oh, and it was three in the morning, and I could not get to sleep, my body feels like it is burning in spots. Chronic pain and inflammation—and the physical and psychological toll they take on the human form—made it difficult to rise from the chair I took from someone named Harry, who’s already shuffled off this mortal coil.
I used to think that if I couldn’t be strong, I couldn’t live. Without a reserve of physical strength, I wouldn’t want to live, I earnestly believed.
My youthful exploits included stints on the edge of Amazonia in a bamboo hut, the wind-swept valleys of Mustang with naught but a sleeping bag and a knife, and the West End of London in a cold-water flat through a particularly wet winter. While an auto-immune disease changed that idealistic outlook, it took the clinical efficacy of medical cannabis to evolve my life situation into something that was once again tolerable … and even pleasant.
I have adjusted to things I once believed I would never tolerate. I don’t think I’d ever been sick before 2004. That year, in April, my middle finger suddenly grew to the size of a pickle. It was inflamed, rigid and very painful. My primary care physician at the time did not know what to think. Three years later, when I came down with a rare form of vasculitis, the truth became painfully clear.
For me, pain management has become an issue that is as important—nay, more so—than my underlying condition. That's because I know that if I'm in pain, my chances of healing are dramatically lessened; the stress that moderate chronic pain creates may even cause further flare ups and a decline in the health I hold so precious.
Getting a N.M. Department of Health Medical Marijuana card was not a problem. My primary care physician—long in the know about the amount of moderate chronic pain I experience—knew that such would be to my benefit.
The real issue, it turned out, was finding the proper combination of ingredients, consumption methods and dosages necessary to relieve my pain and inflammation on a regular and sustainable basis.
Since my condition includes inflammation of the lining of my lungs, I decided that smoking was not to my taste, or benefit. Instead, I began investigating edible medical cannabis.
I began my quest at Seven Clover, a dispensary in my Nob Hill neighborhood. It has a boutique flair to it and the attendants are thorough and friendly.
For my first encounter with medical cannabis, I chose a packet of watermelon flavored Karma Hard Candies (41.6mg THC, 1.74mg CBD per candy, $18). About one hour after consuming one of the candies (Don't try to chew these up, they stuck to my teeth;they may stick to yours too.) I began to feel some relief. The pain I felt was not so much gone as it was very muted. It became part of the background, I felt slightly euphoric and was able to spend the rest of the evening practicing the piano without distraction, although some lingering stiffness and inflammation remained.
When it came time for bed, I ate another candy; I slept through the night and awoke feeling rested and ready for work. Since this form of medicine comes in a handy, resealable foil packet, I determined that it would be a good idea to keep the container on my person, both to keep the pain at bay and to become aware of the idea that there was indeed an applicable solution to my quandary.
That afternoon, I stopped at Seven Clover to check out a more CBD-based medicine. It has been reported that cannabidiol (CBD) suppresses chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain, and I wanted to find out for myself. I chose the Bhang THC+CBD Ratio Nugget, a dark, rich chocolate featuring a hybrid called Cannatonic (12.5mg THC, 25mg CBD, $16) to further my knowledge and experience of those properties which I sought to regain help regain my health equilibrium.
In this case, the medicine began to have an effect after about 45 minutes. This time there was no mild euphoria and no displacement of pain. Instead the pain upon which much of my life is based was gone. I could tell from looking at and using the joints normally affected by inflammation that such had also receded.
Armed with this newfound, anecdotally acceptable knowledge, I trucked over to Seven Clover the next day and purchased more Bhang Cannatonic chocolates and two more packets of watermelon candy, keeping keenly aware of CBD's strong pain-fighting qualities.
I'm sitting in that same chair I told about earlier. This time, I'm at rest; the Hitchcock music I'm listening to (Olé Tarantula) is less frantic, less fraught with fate's fragility. And I'll sleep well tonight, comfortable in the knowledge that as my health condition continues to evolve, so will the medical options available to treat it in a reasonable and strength-sustaining way.