My experience treating myself with medical cannabis is that it was a feat of trial and error which was both expensive and time-consuming, but that’s probably the way it should be. People are not carbon copies of each other and there is no reason to believe that Big Pharma poisons will affect different people the same way although that is the lie we have been told. Similarly, people will respond differently to different cannabis strains, products and dosages and the only way to find something that you know will work for you is to try it. I was advised in the beginning to document my treatment progression to help me figure this out in an organized way but I was too sick and didn’t have the mental, physical or emotional reserves to document anything. The “budtenders” at the cannabis shops played a very minor supportive role by describing the most common uses and effects in alleviating different symptoms but probably their best advice was that “the nose knows.” With regard to whole flower cannabis (bud) you are supposed to inhale the scent of the different strains and the ones that smell the best to you are the ones you should try and obviously the ones that smell offensive to you are best avoided. Contrast that sage and benign advice with that of Big Pharma particularly in the case of Crohn’s and other autoimmune and chronic illnesses where we are advised and expected to take Big Pharma poisons that we know make us feel worse.
In my case, I had to travel out-of-state to treat legally with medical cannabis and I had a terrible flu when I got here so I started with fresh cannabis juice and CBD-oil infused edibles to start with so that I didn’t have to smoke. I also did not and still do not enjoy the psychoactive “high” of marijuana so I was hopeful these products would give me some relief without needing to try the THC products that would make me stoned. I may’ve just been too sick or my illness too serious but these products gave me absolutely no noticeable relief. I next tried taking a small amount of THC-infused edible at night which did not touch my pain at all but which helped me sleep. That was the first real relief I found and I continued searching for something that would knock out my full body joint and body pain, fevers and various deep gut pains and gastrointestinal symptoms of my disease. Eventually I found that I needed to smoke whole flower marijuana (bud) to get any pain relief at all and I tried dozens of strains. Indica or indica-dominant hybrid strains were my preference as sativa strains gave me the cerebral head-high I did not want. Smoking indica strains helped significantly with my body and joint pain and somewhat with my gut and GI pain and symptoms. Finally, I found that vaping concentrates penetrated even the deepest gut pain and symptoms and I had finally, finally found relief. I just “got over” my previous aversion to being more or less constantly stoned and hunkered down for the long haul of healing myself and ameliorating my disabling pain.
I kept using the non-psychoactive juice and CBD products as dietary supplements and focused on sampling different products and indica strains to treat specific symptoms like nausea and helping me process and digest food. I started using a transdermal compound topically on my abdomen and right flank which created a pleasant cooling sensation that partially extinguished the burning, bloating, pulling, itching and other sensations in my gut and over my liver area. I found that smoking during meals helped with my nausea, disinterest in food and “anorexic” type symptoms of a Crohn’s flare. I took a bite or two of food followed by a bong hit and kept at it until I didn’t want to eat anymore. I would purchase a small amount of several different strains at a time and try them out during meals or before bed.
Although I did not have a cancer diagnosis, I felt drawn to try the Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) protocol where I gradually worked my way up to consuming 1 gram (1000 mg) of cannabis oil a day or 60 grams in 90 days. This is an extremely high dose and I don’t think I ever made it to the full gram a day but I’m sure I ingested the full 60 grams of cannabis oil and then some by squirting a thin line of oil onto a cannabis-infused sucker and letting it dissolve over an hour or so. I did that daily for probably 9-12 months. The very last thing I did before bed to extinguish my relentless deep gut pain was to take 30-50mg indica edible (about 3-5x a standard recreational dose), take 3 or 4 hits from a joint, about 2 draws from a vape pen containing concentrated oil or resin, and I slept well and mostly could not feel my gut at all until I woke up in the morning. The pain relief was exquisite but cannabis pain relief is not a narcotic type numbness where you don’t feel it anymore at all, or where you are fooled into believing that you are no longer sick, or a superhero. It just feels much different and much less aggravatingly relentlessly painful than it was before and mentally you are in a better position to deal with any remaining sensations as well. It’s hard to describe but it was and is fantastic pain relief.
Even after sleeping very well, I always woke up sweaty, nauseated, in pain and severely bloated so I would take 25mg of a THC/CBD combination edible as soon as I woke up and go back to sleep or just rest in bed until it started working, usually 30-60 minutes. Then I would get up and do whatever tasks I needed to perform around the house and if I needed to drive anywhere I would wait until later in the day when the early morning dose had worn off. Sometimes when it wore off I was too sick to go anywhere so I would just hunker down and medicate again until I felt better and try to go out the next day and so on. Once I didn’t leave my apartment for several months and had Amazon deliver food and kitty litter so I didn’t have to worry about being too sick to go out or having to medicate just to be well enough to drive.
Eventually I found that cannabis transdermal patches kept me at a nice level for 24 to 48 hours and this product was truly game-changing for me as I was still comfortably medicated when I woke up in the morning — this was key. I also did not have to worry about getting “too low” or then getting “too high” and always thinking about medicating and medicating etc. Some people use a half a patch and leave it on for 48 hours but I found I need 2 patches and to change them every 24 hours if I am really sick or every 48 hours if I’m feeling a little better. This is the product that has most improved my quality of life as it is both low-maintenance and effective. Compared to other delivery methods the patches are a relatively low dose and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream without having to go through the gut perhaps making them ideal for people with diseases of malabsorption like Crohn’s. I do not get any noticeable “high” from the patches and use one 1:1 ratio THC/CBD patch and one fully CBD patch at the same time.
I also made my own cannabis suppositories with cocoa butter, coconut oil and cannabis oil. Once the patches stopped my frequency, bowel spasms and diarrhea I was able to use this delivery method and it seemed to work quite well for pain relief and feelings of malaise without giving me the head-high I didn’t want. I made each suppository with about 30mg total THC and used one or two per day for a couple of months. I found that this was also a good way to use up various concentrates that I had tried that I didn’t care for such as where I bought several doses of a concentrate in bulk that gave me unpleasant sativa type effects that I didn’t want and wasn’t expecting. I just melted the concentrates into the cocoa butter and coconut oil and kept track of the total mg of THC I was putting into the blend to make sure the end product was the dose I wanted.
I also started a 100% organic and fermented organic diet along with top-quality organic or non-GMO supplements. After about a year on the cannabis and then switching to this diet for 6 months I started to feel as if I was really healing somewhat and not just masking the pain. I didn’t need to smoke during meals anymore and I was moderately interested in food again. I tried to eat raw fermented organic foods at least 3 or 4 times a day so I found that kombucha tea in the morning, miso soup in the afternoon and some kind of raw sauerkraut, pickle (or their juice) throughout the day worked well. I noticed a marked improvement at one point after I had added a fruit and vegetable juice based supplement to my regimen. I have no idea if it was actually doing anything but I was feeling progressively better. I was also taking a multivitamin and various probiotic supplements and purchased an infrared heating mat which was supposed to be useful for pain and other things. I laid on the mat for several hours a day usually in the evening and if nothing else it was relaxing and helped my body and joint pain. And although pure CBD products did nothing to relieve my pain in the beginning, once I started feeling better I found that CBD-infused edibles and tinctures do take the edge off and I use them occasionally if I am becoming overwhelmed with pain and do not want to be high just then. I can also manage most of my current pain and symptoms with edibles and patches and now rarely need to either smoke or vape.
Currently I have been unable to continue paying for supplements or fermented food and have been eating GMO food occasionally as well. My symptoms are starting to come back and I am again struggling with loss of appetite, heartburn, bloating, joint pain and digestive symptoms but thankfully I am still able to get pain relief from cannabis. In the beginning, if Western medicine and Big Pharma had offered me simple pain relief with no healing at all I would have settled for that but Big Pharma has nothing in its arsenal that can touch the deep gut and other pain of Crohn’s disease and which isn’t contraindicated for causing even more GI symptoms. Now that I have experienced true healing and symptom relief rather than just pain relief obviously I would like to have both and the organic and fermented diet combined with supplements and cannabis seem to work best when used together. As my finances have been depleted and my health is once again declining, I do not know what the future will hold for my illness, my treatment or my life.
Of course, I have also found significant pain relief from my 2 adopted cats who always sit with me when I am in severe pain and their presence has been immensely comforting. Living in a beautiful, peaceful rural area has probably helped too, along with having left a bad relationship and an uncomfortable living situation in my prior life, before I moved out of state to legally treat with medical cannabis.
From the beginning of my cannabis journey I have been repelled at the level of consumerism I now practice in order to control my symptoms and get relief from this disease and this post is encouraging consumerist remedies which I do not enjoy. But for anyone who wants this information, I would like to make it available. Perhaps it will save someone some time, money or energy at the beginning of their own journey and they will get relief as quickly as possible which for those suffering the hideous physical effects of autoimmune disease may be the best we can hope for. What I know for certain is that Western medicine has nothing to offer to help me heal or even mask the pain, progression or crippling symptoms of Crohn’s but they will still force me to take their ineffective poisons anyway if I eventually have to go to them for help. I will resist that outcome with every ounce of my remaining strength and am determined not to let Western medicine again sink its abusive, incompetent claws into me and this terrible disease even they know they can’t treat.