I have intimately witnessed first hand how extremely beneficial medical cannabis products can be. Our journey began in 2012 when my father was diagnosed with stage 4 malignant melanoma. The cancer had spread to his entire body, including his brain, by the time it was detected. He wasn’t experiencing pain but the chemo was harsh and his appetite was effected. When he started having seizures the doctor gave him anti-seizure medication that he couldn’t tolerate. What to do?
My son (21 at the time) and I sat around the dining room table with my parents (in their 80’s) and discussed all the ways that cannabis products could be taken. It was actually my son who knew so much since my own use and knowledge dated back to another era when no one could have imagined what we know about cannabis today. Smoke, vape, edibles, tinctures… and which strain or ratio of CBD to THC… I was in new territory.
My father chose tinctures administered by dropper to be mixed with his food. His appetite improved, as did his mood, but most importantly of all, he never had another seizure even though he still had brain tumors. He peacefully transitioned in March 2013.
Fast forward to 2016. My mother is having chronic pain from a degenerative condition that will not improve. The doctors gave her prescription drugs for her pain and neuropathy that left her feeling wiped out, tired and spacey. She didn’t like that at all, and longed for a better quality of life. We spoke to her many doctors about cannabis but none of them would engage or prescribe. They offered her nerve block procedures, major surgery, and narcotics, while they told us “we don’t do pain management” when we asked about cannabis. We were left to our own devices. Since we had tincture left over from dad, mom decided to give it a try and it worked! She experienced pain relief but did not enjoy the psychotropic feeling the THC content gave her.
We finally spoke to an intelligent and compassionate nurse practitioner who was willing to discuss cannabis with us. She recommended a local medical marijuana doctor who did a thorough intake about mom’s condition, her other medications, a brief examination, and a lengthy conversation about how cannabis could help her. We left his office with recommendations for products and a local dispensary that delivers, since we live in Marin and there were none to visit here. Her initial potions of choice were an 18:1 CBD to THC sub-lingual spray and a soothing CBD cream. The relief she experienced was remarkable and she was able to stop taking the prescription drugs that left her feeling so poorly. She was functioning again! We were thrilled!
She now uses a variety of cannabis products to manage her chronic pain. The sub-lingual spray and cream are still her favorites. She has added into the mix occasional edibles, vape pen, and roll on products. She still prefers the least amount of THC in the formula as her mind is sharp and we all enjoy her wicked sense of humor. We are always on the lookout for what’s next on the horizon that will continue to help her live a good life with managed pain relief.
It is now my pleasure and passion to educate people, especially seniors, about the benefits of medical cannabis products. In this constantly growing field, there is so much to learn and I’m constantly blown away by the intelligence and ingenuity I encounter at cannabis forward events. But there is much to be done in the way of eradicating stigma. Many believe marijuana to be a dangerous drug but will gladly take their opioids and other prescription drugs daily without question as to their greater risks and side effects. Also, the price of prescription drugs covered by insurance is far cheaper to the patient than many cannabis products. This can be prohibitive for those in need.
I would like to see better packaging and labeling, especially for seniors. Understanding the ingredients and dosage are key to making people feel more comfortable about use. Professionally speaking, I would love to make a difference in this niche market.
– Michelle Vidro