I painted a self-portrait a few years ago. In the end, it looked nothing like the “me” others might recognize, but it was very instructional relative to some of the paths I’ve been down in this lifetime, especially those that have left physical injury and pain.
The final product of my Cray-Pas doodling is a group of interconnected flash points that correspond to my physical frame: right foot (broken in half during a college incident involving campus police and a roof), left knee (surgery as a result of playing basketball with high school kids while in my 30s), right hip (work injury from falling into a box truck whose step had been damaged but not repaired), left shoulder (surgery because of football injuries), then there’s my neck and head (football, car crashes). Suffice it to say, some mornings things hurt.
Mostly, I just deal with it, but there are those times when that option is braver than it is intelligent. There are things that can help, especially when things reach the acute stage, but many come with issues of their own in the form of side effects. Over-the-counter pain relievers have been shown to be damaging to the liver if used over a long term or if in too-high doses. Opiod pain relievers are tools I have used after surgery, but that limited exposure to their effects coupled with the horrible negative consequences I’ve witnessed in a handful of friends and relatives (without getting into the decade-long nationwide epidemic surrounding these darlings of the pharmaceutical industry) have convinced me that using them consistently is a road I’m not interested in traveling.
Enter cannabis as a pain relief option. The reasons that make marijuana effective for pain relief are myriad; the ways to administer the medicines vary widely and include non-psychoactive options; and certain strains excel at producing excellent analgesic results.
Cannabis has been shown through clinical trials to significantly reduce chronic suffering attributable to neuropathic, or nerve-related injury, a condition that often accompanies diabetes, HIV, cancer and MS. In these cases, it is also a very good medicine to reduce accompanying sleeplessness and anxiety that often plagues sufferers.
As is almost always the case with cannabis-related medicines, whole plant consumption outperforms the laboratory extracted isolated compounds. Part of the reason for this is that terpenes found in the plants have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of their own.
Indicas are often great for a wide range of medical issues and pain relief is no exception. Strains in the kush family are prime examples as are derivatives of White Widow.
CBD dominant strains like Harlequin and Charlotte’s Web and CBD/THC hybrids like ACDC treat pain very effectively.
I have found cannabis to be a good way to help relieve the chronic discomfort I experience as a result of both specific incidents and years of wear and tear on my body, and I encourage you to do some research if you could also stand to feel some relief.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Email him at [email protected]