When I mentioned last week that one of my physicians had recommended cannabis, especially the CBD part, to help me sleep through the night, we both laughed acknowledging that it still feels odd – even in a state where it is legal – to be discussing with a doctor how weed might improve my life.
Quite a few commenters on that post mentioned how they have been using versions of cannabis to treat a variety of ailments, especially pain, for a long time:
⚫ Reduce joint pain
⚫ Doubles sleep time
⚫ For pain
⚫ Aches and pains recede
⚫ Got me off opioids
⚫ Reduces lower back pain
⚫ Works for sleep
That was a week ago and you, dear readers, impressed me enough that I hied myself off to the closest cannabis dispensary, about five miles from my home.
One of the “bud tenders” behind the counter, who was obviously well informed and very helpful, listened carefully to my questions, then showed me a variety of edibles with CBD but also, at my request, others that combine both CBD and THC (I don't see any reason not to enjoy a nice, little high for awhile before sleep arrives).
My choice was a box of ten small chocolate candies each containing a hazelnut at the center that are half CBD, half THC. It was like the old-fashioned, illegal weed I smoked for most of my life in that what constitutes a dose is flexible from person to person. Some people need only one candy, the bud tender told me, others need two or, sometimes, three.
For me, he recommended trying two and then adjust up or down from there – which is what I did about an hour before I wanted to go to sleep.
Hallelujah – it is the first time I've slept more than two or three hours straight in a year or more – nearly seven hours this time. Since then I've used one candy and that works as well as the two on the first night.
So. Sleep problem solved. And unexpectedly, a second problem solved.
After the lab had analyzed the blood the nurse had drawn from me when I arrived for my weekly chemotherapy infusion last week, I was told that because the reading for one blood component was so low, I was at high risk for infection.
So, they said, I would have a week off – also from the oral chemo I take at home twice a day – and see if the reading improves enough next (this) week for the infusion.
Well, that's fairly alarming. During the surgery in June, some cancer cells were found in three lymph nodes in addition to the tumor that was removed from my pancreas. I doubt those cells or any others are disappearing on their own which is the reason for the chemotherapy.
When I asked if this – time off from chemo for awhile - is a common occurrence, the nurse did not sound encouraging, at least in my interpretation. “Sometimes,” she said. The treatment - that is, the kind of chemo drug - might be changed or reformulated.
Until now, my reports in these pages about the progression of my treatment have been upbeat because I've felt that way. Now that the effects of the surgery have healed, I have felt so healthy that sometimes I've half-assed wondered if maybe someone made a terrible mistake and I don't have pancreatic cancer.
Of course, that's stupid and I know it. It's just that I've been so pleasantly surprised to feel so normal.
But as I left the chemo clinic without having had my infusion, my mood was considerably darker. What if that blood test number doesn't increase enough for another treatment? What if there isn't a different treatment if I need that? What if they tell me there is nothing more to be done? And so on.
I hesitated before writing that paragraph. I seems so raw compared to how well everything else in this odyssey has worked out so far. These new thoughts cripple me particularly when I'm tired which is pretty much daily, especially from mid-afternoon onward.
This is the first news I've had about my condition that frightens me. Well, hold on. Let me restate that: stark, uncontrollable panic is a closer description to what I've been feeling and that is true even while understanding that I have no facts to back up my fear. Yet. But these thoughts above and worse go round and round in my head like ear worms especially when I'm tired.
Then, for an entirely different reason, I tried those little chocolate candies laced with cannabis and it's a bit of a miracle. They give me relief from the long, wide-awake hours when sleep had been impossible and in the morning, because I'm fully rested, I can beat back the frightful furies (until I wear out in the afternoon) that otherwise take over my brain with questions that are not answerable yet.
Serendipity is the only explanation - I tried something for one problem and it relieves a second one too. So thank you - those who commented about your experience with cannabis for medical and sleep problems. You encouraged me to do something I might have otherwise skipped past.
Also, a neighbor who has tried a variety of medical solutions for his back pain was impressed enough with your comments that he is going to try some cannabis to see if it will help him.
Meanwhile, in case any of you, dear readers, live somewhere with marijuana dispensaries but like me, have been hesitant to check them out – or you're just curious - here's a short video tour of the one I actually went to.
In maintaining this blog's position as an advertising-free zone on the internet, in no way do I mean this video as a promotion or endorsement for the shop which I chose for no reason than it is near home. The video turned up while I was looking for something else and it is a good representation of what appears to me to be a well-run store.