Chronic pain is two words that a lot of people are bandying about these days. Especially with the rise of opioid dependency.
For those that do not suffer from it, they cannot understand it. Believe me when I say that they do not and cannot understand how debilitating chronic pain can be. They like to use words like “lazy” or say things like “it can’t be that bad.” Sometimes, they like to say things like, “take an ibuprofen or an aspirin.”
When I was injured while in the Army back in 2000, I was young enough that I thought I would bounce back from it easily. Basically, I fractured both of my knee caps and tore all of the ligaments in both knees. Both of my kneecaps ended up having to be replaced. I was immediately medically discharged from the Army.
When I first came home after the surgery, I was taking a prescription opioid pain reliever called hydrocodone. My prescription was written for one pill, three times per day. At first, one pill three times a day was fine. It worked and helped the pain. However, opioid dependency usually ends with one pill not being enough. So you take two. Then three. At one point, I was taking seven at a time, up to 20 per day. I had to lie to my doctors and the pharmacists to get the pills I needed. I would say “I lost my prescription.” Back then, they weren’t tracking things through a computer.
Trying to sleep at night was impossible. The pain made it impossible. My prescription opioids weren’t helping and there were times when I couldn’t sleep at all for a day or two in a row before I would finally collapse from exhaustion and sleep for up to 18 hours.
I knew I was addicted. I knew that if it continued, I would probably end up dead or in jail. I had to find something other than prescription pain relievers to help manage my pain.
Enter daily marijuana. This was before the days when “medical marijuana” was legalized and a hashtag. It was barely even a concept. Sure, some researchers knew that the compounds in marijuana helped with things like chronic pain and epilepsy, but the war on drugs had effectively made any real testing nearly impossible.
Sure, I’d tried it as a teenager. Before I was injured. I got silly, giggled, and slept well that night. Perhaps I remembered that.
Smoking marijuana daily – as much as twice a day – once in the afternoon and once in the evening made me functional. At first, I was rolling my own joints until I switched to the healthier alternative of vaporizing the marijuana. I was using my Mighty vape until I could do without the pills. Gradually, my dependency on the pills lessened. I went years without taking any. I won’t say that I was 100% pain-free because it’s the CBD in marijuana that relieves pain. The THC gets you high. The more THC you have, the less CBD you get. Most plants are bred to be high THC, and therefore low CBD.
Today, I still have to take opioids. I’m older and that old song of “the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone and the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone” rings true. My old knee injury has led to issues with my hips. I take less than I am prescribed to take, and marijuana is a big reason for that.
Where I live, you can get up to 1,000mg of CBD oil over the counter before it becomes “prescription strength.” I put a few drops of 500mg CBD oil in with my e-juice and vaporize it all day. It helps. I can sleep at night, though I still have bouts of insomnia.
If it hadn’t been for marijuana, I might still be addicted to opiate pain relievers. I might not even be here. Opioid dependency and death from an overdose of opioids are on the rise. If not for CBD oil and marijuana, I might have been a statistic.