Medical Cannabis

Grandma Takes a Chance on Cannabis

By Crista Talbert

I am 50 years old and starting using cannabis last year. Cannabis was not some strange, mysterious substance to me. I didn’t think of it as “the devil’s lettuce” but I had never really thought about using it. My parents enjoyed their weed from as far back as I can remember (my mom was definitely a hippie) and I don’t think they would have been upset if I would have tried it as a teen. I was a prude and anything my parents did was anything but cool, so I made it through my high school years and much of my adulthood without really being tempted. That changed when I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

First came the diagnosis

If you are not familiar with fibromyalgia, it can feel very destructive to the body. It is caused by an overly aroused nervous system that throws your body into chaos. Dry mouth and eyes, skin that can be painful to the touch, itching from the inside that feels like bugs crawling under your skin, and nerve endings that are on fire. That can all be in one day. Throw in never ending fatigue and difficulty sleeping and it is a recipe for misery. I sure was for me. I had been prescribed a plethora of medications that never seemed to work. My doctors didn’t really take me seriously (“It’s all in your head”, “have you tried getting exercise?”, “try these mood stabilizers and meds with awful side effects”) and I was done being a guinea pig.

In Maryland, marijuana is legal for medical use only. It can be a process and time consuming to get your card to buy from dispensaries, but I was very excited to try anything that could help. My first visit to the dispensary, I was helped by a budtender, who is educated on the different strains and can assist with determining what will work best for what ails you. I was shocked at the variety of cannabis products available. For those who wish to smoke, there is flower that can be used several ways, tinctures that can be put under the tongue and absorbed, vape pens that heat an oil that can be smoked, and edibles.

A learning experience

I chose to try an edible because I wasn’t comfortable with smoking. My budtender informed me that hybrid gummies that contained CBD (cannabidiol) which without getting technical does not cause the “high” feeling that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) does. Both work with neurotransmitters in the brain and can cause feelings of well being. The gummy I had tasted like strawberry lemonade and after about 45 minutes I found that my itching had stopped and I was relaxed and maybe less anxious. I also tried capsules that are made with oil. Those have been so helpful with my pain days. I was able to walk around the zoo on my 50th birthday with the family and didn’t feel like dying. That is a major win for me.

Although my prescription allows for me to purchase enough to take every day, I use it only as needed. Some weeks, that may be only a day or two. I have been pleasantly surprised at my success with cannabis and would recommend that anyone having issues with fibromyalgia do some research and see if it might be right for them as well.

Cannabis products are not an evil gateway to hard drugs, but instead can be the gateway to having a life with less pain and more joy every day. For me it was a great choice and I am so much happier having more choices for my medication.

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