About 14 years ago I was “officially” diagnosed with fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. This was after years of dead-end doctor appointments and being told that I’m “just a moody kid going through growing pains”. Well, first of all, at age 16 I was pretttttty sure I was done growing. No one knew why I was in constant, excruciating pain. And, no one really wanted to give me, or my parents, the diagnosis that their kid is a little f*cked up.
When I finally got my diagnosis I wasn’t as relieved as I thought I’d be. I was embarrassed. Mortified. Mental health was not widely talked about or accepted. I was diagnosed with a chronic pain syndrome that was normally found in people twice my age. I could go on A LOT about the issues with the mental health stigmas in our society, but that’s a whole other blog post. But, I will say this: If you, a family member or friend is struggling with their mental health, do not hide it. Do not brush it off. Do not be judgmental. Talk about it. Be a support.
Anywho, back to me. So, since my diagnosis I have tried a wide array of medications. Some multiple times with different doses. Just to name a few off the top of my head:
- Cymbalta (duloxetine)
All of that, and nothing worked. Some made me sick, some made me feel nothing. But nothing took away the pain, made me less anxious, or made me feel a little bit alive. I wasn’t sleeping for more than 45 minutes at a time (and still am not).
So, after a long struggle, I am happy to announce I am finally certified in Pennsylvania for Medical Marijuana.
Yes, some people don’t believe in it. No, you can’t get addicted to it.
I went to an informational workshop at Victus Health and Wellness Center in Phoenixville, PA led by Dr. Jeff Katra. He isn’t just a PCP, but actually specializes in cannibas and opiod medicine. So, he knows it all. It wasn’t just about medical marijuana. It was about the history of marijuana. It was about CBD. About how they work together. It was about how safe it is, and how different it is than other options. It was about the science behind it all. I feel so well informed going into this decision. So, I’m going to share a little bit of that knowledge here, but, I highly recommend Victus (or at least talking to a professional).
Isn’t a marijuana plant just a marijuana plant?
Nope! There are 2 different types of marijuana plants:
– Indica: more sedating
– Sativa – more stimulating
Okay, so there are 2 different plants. But, what else makes medical marijuana special?
I am SO glad you asked! So, medical marijuana is made up of THC and CBD. Which work well separately, but the real magic happens when they work together! (A little metaphor for life, eh?). Different combinations of THC and CBD can give different results. Want a little extra somethin’ somethin’? There is also something called terpenes which is an organic compound that adds different flavor and results to the combo.
Since it’s medical, does the marijuana stay in my system?
It’s medical, not magic. So, yes. It does stay/show in your system. So it will show during a drug test (for work, DUI/DWI, etc.) Again, there are different strands, so you can find ones with a higher CBD to use when you need to be a functioning member of society.
Are there side effects?
Yes. Again, all depending on how hard you hit the THC, but can make you anxious, bronchitis if you smoke it a lot, dry mouth, change in blood pressure, lethargic… and, the pizza place’s favorite… the munchies.
How addictive is it?
So, since it’s legal in PA I can do whatever I want?
You do you, but, it’s not recognized in all states or at a federal level, so don’t be an idiot.
Cool. So, you gonna throw it in a joint or a bong?
Ummmmm, no? But you can. There are plenty of options. Let me break it down a little for ya:
- Smoking flowers: you’ll feel it in 5-10 mins. (Don’t break up flowers with your hands because you’ll get the oils all over your hands, and not in your joint like you need. Use scissors.)
- Vaporizing flowers: (not like the usual vape, you put flowers in a thing and then inhale the smoke from that… I am not explaining it well, but this does) Rapid and efficient, you feel it in 5-10 minutes.
- Vaping cannabis oil: This was recommended for me. The most common form of vaping I’ve seen (but safe, not like this stuff on TV that people are getting from non-regulated places). Studies show it is probably safer than smoking it, but, nothing in life is guaranteed.
- Cannabis tincture: This was also recommended for me. Takes 15 to 30 minutes to hit your system.
- Edibles: Also something I’m into. You can put it in butter, gummies, brownies, cookies, etc.. Just be sure to mark them as such, especially if you have roommates or kids. (Dr. Jeff also gave me a recipe for cannabis butter, so…. he’s speaking my language on this one)
- Topicals I have tried THC lotion and I am telling you that shit works. Obviously it wears off, but, oh my. It works. Within minutes I felt my pain subsiding. WHAT?! I know. It’s never happened like that.
Awesome! But, how much do I take?
Due to vaping, smoking, cooking, etc. it’s hard to take a “dose”. It’s recommended to do trial and error and take small amounts until you feel it, and take it from there.
How do I know what strain to take?
There are A TON of strains. I’m not going to list the whole document I have, but, you can definitely research online and at your dispensary. The dispensary will be able to recommend for you based on your condition(s) and what you are looking to get from it.
- Fibromyalgia: Harlequin, Purps
- Neuropathy: (Also tied to fibromyalgia) Harlequin, Cannatonic, ACDC, Cookies
- Migraines: Gorilla Glue, Purple Haze, Blue Dream
- Anxiety: Blue Dream, Sour Diesel, Purple Haze, ACDC, Suzy Q, Bubba Kush
- Depression: Tangerine Dream, Bubba Kush, Zeta
- Insomnia: Grape Ape, Purps, Hindu, Bubba Kush
My insurance covers this, right? I have the good plan.
Unfortunately the consultation to get certified and the products are not covered by insurance. And, it’s not as cheap as the prescription pain killers. However, it is going to be well worth it.
All this has been great but how do I get it?
Excellent question. First, you register on the PA medical marijuana website. You register, then see the doctor for the consultation. If they certify you, they will log into the website and put in some info. Once that is in, you’ll get an e-mail, pay the state $50, and get your card in about a week. (I will be stalking my mailman.)
Hopefully you found this interesting or helpful. Message me if you have any questions, and if I can’t answer them I will certainly do my best to point you in the direction of someone more qualified than I am.
I am just so excited (and honestly nervous) to finally have relief. I’ve spent about half of my life feeling like this, and can’t even imagine the new life ahead of me. I imagine something like this:
Until next time, when I’m hopefully in less pain, less anxious, and well rested. (For real y’all. I can’t wait to SLEEP. I don’t even know what 2 hours of solid sleep feels like.)