From tinctures, to flower, cannabis provides post-op relief. Photo by: IRA_EVVA
When traditional medicine isn’t helping, people sometimes find that cannabis can act as an effective natural remedy. For ailments such as pain, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, tingling/numbness (from nerve damage), mood problems, sleep problems, muscle spasms, tremors, seizures, and glaucoma, some people rely on the medicinal uses of cannabis.
I am someone who enjoys using cannabis at the end of the day to de-stress. But I have also used cannabis as medicine to quickly and easily treat a variety of health issues I’ve had. There are different ways that I use medical cannabis that each call for different strains, methods of consumption, and dosages.
For Nerve Pain
When I was 15 years old, I suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury that should have left me paralyzed from the neck down. I had a jump facet of my C5/C6 vertebrae, just one vertebra below the C4, which controls breathing. Thanks to an amazing surgeon, I miraculously made a near full recovery. Within a year of my injury, I had pretty much perfect motor function, but I still suffered from mild to moderate nerve pain.
It never held me back from normal activities. But from time to time, I felt uncomfortable pain in my left arm and hand. I was prescribed Lyrica for some time, but I stopped taking it after I decided it wasn’t working well enough. Eventually, I found that smoking cannabis was a great way to relieve my nerve pain. I generally prefer strains such as Jack Herer, Strawberry Cough, or Sour Diesel. I can take a couple of puffs to relieve my discomfort without being sedated or sleepy.
When I used Lyrica, I had to take multiple doses a day and slowly up the dosage over time. Smoking cannabis, on the other hand, instantly rids my pain and allows for effective and convenient treatment. In fact, research in Current Pain and Headache Reports shows that medical cannabis can treat neuropathic pain just as effectively as other neuropathic agents.
Cannabis also helped me manage nerve pain from a herniated disc. My disc had slipped during COVID shutdowns, and I was in the worst pain of my life. I was unable to sleep or work even when using prescribed medication such as steroids. Cannabis was the only medication that allowed me to live my life without extreme discomfort until I eventually had surgery.
Often heavy duty painkillers are used after surgery. While they can be very effective for many people, I personally avoid them unless absolutely necessary. I don’t like the way they make me feel and I fear myself becoming addicted if that were to ever change. Instead, I rely on analgesics like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen, and cannabis.
I recently had a knee operation where they repaired my medial and lateral meniscus and grafted bone into my knee for my next surgery. When I used cannabis in my recovery, I could feel the pain melt away from my leg after each hit. On a scale of one-to-10, my pain was taken from a seven all the way down to a zero within minutes. I was shocked how well cannabis worked for my pain and inflammation.
Post surgery, I look for methods of consumption such as concentrates or edibles which allow for powerful, long-lasting relief.
Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Meredith Warner, agrees that cannabis provides relief. Warner believes that cannabis is “an awesome alternative for people with chronic pain. Particularly if you don’t want opioids, which in my opinion, cost more, cause more damage, and have negative side effects,” she explains in a video on her website.
Aside from managing pain, cannabis has also improved my mood and helped me find creative outlets during recovery. In fact, many experience depression after surgery, as Healthline explains.
While depression can occur after any surgery — especially for patients with chronic pain — research shows that approximately 10% of those who’ve had knee surgery experience it, Healthline further reports.
Depression after surgery is surely something I try to avoid. While I don’t rely on cannabis to keep me happy, it has surely helped me find new things to do when it feels like my life is on pause.
As a Stimulant
It may come as a shock, but I have found that certain cannabis types, like Super Lemon Haze or Mango Smile, have allowed me to have a high similar to the buzz from a cup of coffee. I achieve this effect with higher THC strains that can leave a user with a speedy head high without the couch lock sedative effects on the body.
According to Fluent, a cannabis company, cannabis could help improve mental focus and clarity. Boosts in dopamine can increase creativity, motivation, and productivity. For simple and monotonous tasks, cannabis has potential benefits. But that said, there is also evidence that suggests cannabis is unlikely to improve focus.
While I wouldn’t use cannabis to sit down and focus on my work, I have definitely found it helpful in motivating me to do smaller tasks like cleaning or organizing a space. It also inspires me to tackle creative projects like coming up with new recipes or making some music.
Getting Candid About Cannabis Medicine
Cannabis is newly legal in states throughout the U.S. and is now becoming less taboo. I used to worry about how others would view my use of cannabis; but now I am proud to tell others how I can self medicate for a variety of different ailments. Recently, I started growing my own cannabis and really enjoy the ability to self supply my own medicine.
Being open about my personal use has allowed me to connect with others in a new way. I’ve had discussions with my grandma about my use of cannabis for nerve pain, which is something she has also struggled with. She has taken a recent interest in tinctures and edibles to treat her nerve pain, especially since she has struggled in the past with overuse of prescribed painkillers.
I also had the chance to talk to a family member who believes that cannabis helped them live through lung cancer, despite doctor’s expectations and a tumor the size of a baseball. Even after four years, the cancer has not spread and they believe that, combined with traditional forms of cancer treatment, it’s the reason why they’re still alive today.
The journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that users reported significantly better qualities of life, greater health satisfaction, improved sleep, less pain, lower anxiety, and lower depression when compared to non-users. Cannabis research continues to show its promises as a reliable natural remedy. For many people, myself included, cannabis is a cure when all else fails.