Thursday, May 17, 2012

Here's to Your Health

Not feeling like a zombie: it's so glamourous, dahling.

And you know, feeling marvelous is only for the healthy or the wealthy -- preferably, both.
Gurgling laugh and the sound of champagne pouring.


We, the sick, and especially the sick-and-poor, spend a lot of time feeling like zombies. Not only do our bodies feel like living death, painful and exhausted, but our minds are numbed.  Some illness, like mine, cause cognitive problems, and any chronic pain interferes with clear thinking. And of course, dealing with the fallout of illness further saps our energy.

Available energy is the difference between living, and living death.

That's why I'm emitting a puff of vapour in the photo above. It's cannabis vapour, and it's helping reduce my pain. Pain reduction makes more of my energy available for doing things, for being a living person and not a zombie.

Now, five years ago when I became ill, I didn't think that I was going to try medicinal cannabis. I had of course heard of it for cancer and glaucoma and a handful of assorted conditions, but I knew it wasn't for me.

Why? Because I knew it made people groggy and stupid. In my personal experience, back in the day, it made me, personally, tense and hypersensitive, and a bit groggy.

Having an illness that makes me slow, low on energy and foggy-brained, I was sure that cannabis was exactly what I did not need, so when a doctor brought it up during a visit with my daughter, we nixed the notion. Even if it relieved some pain. I knew it would just make me worse off in other ways.

Well, I was wrong. A few months ago, I tried cannabis and felt less pain, more energy, and could even see better.

Cannabis has changed a lot since the days when it made me slow and stupid. Breeding from pedigreed stock and experimenting, growers have developed strains that provide different effects for different patients. You can learn a lot about the strains by searching cannabis strain guide.

If you search for example for cannabis cancer or cannabis AIDS, cannabis MS or cannabis chronic pain, you're probably going to come across the terms, CBDs and CBNs. I'm far from being an expert, so I won't try to tell you all about these, but they're a whole range of active compounds.

Most of my readers probably already know more about this than I do. But if you don't, then you can learn from articles that explain that various compounds in cannabis, psychoactive THC and anti-inflammatory CBDs and CBNs, have been found effective not only against pain but against inflammation and even reduce viral load in AIDS patients.

Since becoming a medical cannabis users I've met people who have found relief via cannabis from conditions ranging from epilepsy to depression, anxiety, chronic back pain and more. The cannabis is not making them lazy and stupid: it's making them able to be at least part-time contributing members of society.

It's rescuing them from zombie-dom. They're alive again and that's glamourous.

Why do I bring this up now? May is ME and Neuro Immune Disease Awareness Month and after three deaths in my family in three months, several other calamities and major life events, plus with an impending house move, I was feeling more Zombie than ever. So Zombie, in fact, that I had to cancel my Zombie Action event I had scheduled for May 12 in San Francisco.

Nevertheless, with rest and cannabis and acupuncture and a dash of antivirals, I'm able to go grocery shopping, prepare meals, wash most of the dishes most of the time, care for my kids, and write a little blog post.

Tonight especially, I wanted to write a post that offered some sort of hope.

Today the news came out that yet another member of the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis community has been lost to suicide. He was 31 years old. He stood in front of a train.

Imagine that. It's not at all glamourous.

You don't have to ask yourself what might have saved him: it's obvious. Relief: real care for his pain and exhaustion. That could have saved him. Having his life back. Maybe not via cannabis in his case (although maybe) but there are many other things I'm willing to bet his doctors didn't try, because they were experimental and not approved, because they were expensive and not covered by insurance, because they weren't legal where he lived, or all too common: because his doctors didn't know.

In other news today, yet another medicinal cannabis user, a friend of friends, has gone to prison for treating his pain. Judges can be as ignorant, as in need of education, as can doctors.

I'm fortunate to live in California, where I can legally grow, or obtain organic, high-quality cannabis in a variety of strains and forms from a licensed dispensary. It works so well, I have to remind myself to rest, and continue weekly acupuncture to keep my energy levels closer-to -even with my pain-free-ness.

Some people serve jail time for using the only medicine that helps them, and in some countries some are put to death, and yet people continue to risk its use because for them, it works. There are even studies showing cannabis prevents some diseases.

Again, I'm not saying I'm sure it will work for everyone. But why not make it available to everyone, and let everyone find out for themselves? After all, drink can kill, yet every adult is free to try alcohol and see what it does for or to them. Cannabis doesn't kill, there is no established lethal dose, yet we aren't free to use it. Why not end prohibition of cannabis?

And just like with studies on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, why not waste less money on psychosocial studies --- cannabis studies tend to have words like "disadvantaged youth," "at risk," and "predisposition" in them instead of "inflammation" and "remission" and "antiviral" --- and why not spend the money instead on biomedical research?

For May Awareness month I'd like to offer all neuro-immune disease sufferers the hope that you might find something out there that can help you, as I have with cannabis and acupuncture. It could be worthwhile doing a little more research, asking around, trying one more thing, waiting one more day to see what might turn up. The only thing deader than the living dead is the dead dead so please try to stay with us and find out what happens next.

As the move to end prohibition grows to include more and more patients, doctors and even law enforcement people, I want to lend my voice to the cause. I can't tell you much about the science behind it yet but I can tell you that cannabis is helping me tremendously, that I've gone from being certain it wouldn't help to knowing it does, and that there's no harm in letting people try. Please support compassionate laws.

That's all. This is dedicated to Win, Steam and AJ, MM and Phil and Stuart. 


  1. This is a really interesting article. I'm glad something has brought some relief. I've always been curious about medicinal cannabis but there are other things I'd try first. But good to know it's helping someone!

    1. I did try other things first, and it turns out that some of them made me more ill, but at least I can say I've tried them. Cannabis may not be for everyone, maybe, but it certainly is helping many people.

  2. Anonymous29 May, 2012

    I had the same issue with cannabis before. But I had a friend go from taking 5 daily meds and 3 "as needed" meds, to just taking 2 "as needed meds" and vaporizing cannabis. He's also happier and healthier.

    I have been amazed at what it can do though now that I have been convinced to get myself the 215. Even for depression and anxiety, which was weird cause I thought it made me anxious. It's called being educated and knowing your body. I am still nervous to let the whole world know about my legal use and self-empowerment. I am now part of probably the best (socialist) cannabis collective in Northern California, though. I'd be happy to share that info if you'd like. Cause you know my daughter and I from OP.

    1. Thanks, Anonymous. I would very much love to know more, and becoming a contributing member of a socialist cannabis collective could be a dream come true. Please do share that info! I'm the only person of my name on Facebook, so please find me there, if we aren't already friends there, and shoot me a pm.

  3. Anonymous06 July, 2012


    Have you tried juicing raw cannabis leaves or know anyone trying it for CFS, Fibro or Chronic Lyme?

    If you haven't heard of it, the main doctor proponent is in Humbolt County area. Here are some links for more info. I'd love to find out more personal cases of the juicing approach to see if remission would be possible as it was for Lupus.

    1. Sorry I failed to see this comment, all this time! Yes, I have tried juicing and it seems to work super well for me and my daughter. I have to wait for seasonal availability of juice-able plants from my farmer, because I am not equipped to grow my own, but I am in hopes fresh plants will become more available.

      Another thing I would like to try is "Phoenix Tears," aka "Rick Simpson Oil." I know someone with MS who after a couple of months of intense use of the oil has been able to walk without sticks for at least a couple of years, even without continued use of the oil.

  4. Great information regarding your experience with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis! I have been suffering from the same illness for the past three years and have just been officially diagnosed by a doctor. I have started exploring the possibilities of pain relief using cannabis. I have been using a tincture with high CBD and it has been working very well. I would like to try Vaporizing and was curious if you could share which strain has been effective for your condition. I know we are all different but it would help me to have some direction. I have been using the Harlequin tincture so far. High in CBD great for pain relief. I was also curious which vaporizer you have been using. There are so many to choose from it makes my head spin. This has been my first experience of any relief since the onset of symptoms. Thank you for taking the time to document your experiences. You have probably helped more people than you can imagine. I am living in northern California and truly feel fortunate that we have access to the quality of medicine that is available.

    1. Hi August - sorry I've been so slow to respond to comments. Maybe I'd better set the blog up to ask me to approve each comment just so I don't miss noticing one!

      Anyhow, to answer your questions: I find any high-CBD strain helpful - noticeably more so than those not high in CBDs. Harlequin has been a favourite for me too but I pretty much take whatever high-CBD I can get.

      For tincture I use an e-cig, simply filling it with the vegetable-glycerin-based tincture I make, instead of nicotine stuff. The brand I bought is from Totally Wicked, and I've been happy with it, but I've since learned there are lots of little portable vapourisers you can get that are designed for cannabis liquids or oils, so you might want to check out a local smoke shop. (In Northern California, I have great experience as a customer with The Mighty Quinn, and they offer a discount to card-carrying patients.)

      For bud I used to use a Topoo which worked fine but was a bit ungainly - I tended to lose control of the whip and drop it and then the glass bowl would break - plus after a year or so of use the thermostat went buggy so the advantage of being able to set the heat was lost. So then I went to a little hand-held Magic Launch Box, and that has been much more convenient. No breakage, and the temperature seems very good for my needs.

      If you can get Phoenix Tears or some similar very concentrated oil, that's also a great way to take your medicine. I just went through two days of severe flare, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't bear the glare of a computer screen even turned down low or the window even with blinds shut, wracked with pain all over, vomiting, etc, etc, and finally took a tiny drop of that oil and experienced a complete turn-around.

      I'm fortunate to be a member of a cannabis coop so I contribute the coconut oil I make, and the farmer makes sure I get the medicine I need, and I am able to try many strains in many forms to see what works best for me. (You can try lots of different things from a dispensary too, perhaps more varieties, but without the benefit of the cooperative exchange which works so well for me.)