Over the last decade there have been many news stories, medical journals, and medical cannabis patients telling of the incredibly debilitating conditions that cannabidiol or CBD has been able to medicate. Epilepsy, Multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease…the list goes on. But there are other things that this amazing chemical compound has helped with. Sometimes it’s the simple relief of pain or nausea that can give someone a better life, and these improvements, though they seem small, can make a world of difference. I’d like to share some personal ways it’s helped me and my family to heal. Maybe they aren’t the most miraculous stories, but to me they are life-altering, life-saving experiences.
We should probably start by talking about how CBD works. Our bodies are equipped with an endocannabinoid system. When you use cannabis the different elements present like THC, terpenes, or CBD bond to different receptors and elicit different responses. Cannabis science has been advancing by leaps and bounds in recent years, but still only a few of the many elements present in cannabis are understood. Fortunately, CBD is one that’s been heavily researched, and is one of the most effective known healing elements of cannabis. CBD acts on a number of receptors in your body to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, stimulate cell production, and even act as an antidepressant. One main receptor of CBD, CB2 receptors, are located throughout the body in organs, under the skin, and even in the brain. So that’s a little of the science, on with the story.
When I was fourteen my father was in a horrible car accident. On one hand, he was lucky to have survived, on the other, he now had extreme injuries to his neck and back, brain damage, couldn’t work, and couldn’t care for himself. He suffered already with PTSD from the Vietnam War, and after his accident this was exaggerated. He had fits of anger, despair, and even was delusional at some points due to his brain damage. I cared for him, and got a job as soon as I could, but even with endless doctors appointments he could find no relief. That is, except from one thing: cannabis.
My father had always been a moderate cannabis user, though he was very discreet. When I became an adult at age 18 he was more open about it with me. He told me how it helped him to hurt less, to be happier, and how it curbed the awful anger and despair his physical and mental injuries had placed him in. He held a medical recommendation, and began to cultivate a small garden for medicinal use. He was happier than he had been in years.
I began experimenting with cannabis around the time my father told me he used it for medication. A depressed, often suicidal teenager, I was amazed that when I smoked cannabis I felt that rare and elusive emotion I craved: Joy. I also noticed that the chronic back issues I’ve had my entire life from Scoliosis as well as a few different injuries was alleviated. For the first time in my entire life I felt like I was at home in my body, not bursting to escape.
There was a downside to smoking regular cannabis for both me and my father however, being that we both preferred to be clear-headed, and didn’t want to feel stoned all the time. It was then I began to search for products that were high-CBD, or exclusively CBD. My world was opened up into a new range of things to choose from, and I tried as many as I could get my hands on while sharing it all with my father, and now my mother too as she had begun to suffer from arthritis.
The first thing I tried were vape cartridges. They worked so well for me that I bought one for each of my parents. My father called me the next day. He’s not an expressive man: he bears his burdens stoically. Yet on this phone call he cried. “Daughter,” he said to me holding back his tears, “I haven’t slept that well in years. It took my pain away.” I was elated and emotional thinking that this medicine, with no nasty side effects, that came from the earth and was produced by honest, local, people, had helped him so much. It solidified cannabis healing as one of my lifelong passions, and now almost ten years later I am just as passionate about it as I was in that moment.
These days my father still uses CBD to medicate. He now has dementia, and though there are good times and bad, his bad moments are more bearable with the help of the different products he uses. CBD vape oils, CBD capsules that are taken similarly to ibuprofen, low-dose edibles, and topicals infused with CBD and essential oils are the most effective for him. Everyday he uses something, and at 75 years old, with all his injuries and mental issues, he has been given the opportunity to continue to do the things he loves that were almost taken from him by pain and depression. He gardens, he cooks, he can travel with my mother in the car without extreme anxiety or discomfort. His final days without it would look so different.
In the midst of my father’s battle with dementia, CBD has been a literal life saver. It battles the beast of my depression and gives me the strength to face the trials in my life I know are ahead. The most effective method for me is to smoke high-CBD, high-terpene flowers, but I also use CBD capsules, topicals, and tinctures. My anxieties are calmed by it, my pain floats away, and I am able to cry without feeling the need to despair. Topicals have even helped to fade away the physical and emotional scars of my own self-harm. It gives me great comfort to know that because of this medicine my father suffers less, my family suffers less, and that so much unnecessary pain has been avoided and replaced with balance, comfort and hope.