“Leap and the net will appear.” — Zen Saying
My body loved cannabis. The THC helped me sleep, but it was the CBD compounds that slowed down the pain. I began to scour the LPs to find the strain that had the highest CBD concentration.
It proved to be a much gentler pain management tool than the cocktail of pills I had been on before. Since I wasn’t dumping anything into my body that aggravated it, my stomach began to settle down for the first time in almost a year. With the newly assembled vape, I was poised for take off. My husband, bless his heart, stood out on the cold deck with me as I tried to figure out how much and how often I should be vaping to keep the pain at bay for as long as possible. He’d puff on his cigarette, or his pipe, and say “More. Take another hit.” And then he’d stop me from exhaling too quickly, despite the objections my throat was raising against the heated vapours. At first I hacked and sputtered, but even this Mennonite school Marm eventually learned how to inhale. I never guessed that someday I would appreciate my husband’s smoking skills, but then again, there was a lot about my life that I did not foresee. Yet here we were.
Relief from the vaped cannabis was immediate. It soothed the tormented nerves in my body, spreading out like a warm liquid, releasing the pain and tension. I kept the vape handy at night especially as sleep was elusive when my body was so aggravated. When I awoke, I’d roll over, inhale, and fall asleep quickly. It was an enormous improvement over the pills, which would take much longer to dull the sensations, assuming I could keep them down long enough.
Best of all was the clarity that CBD created. There were no adverse side effects. My mind was not fuzzy, and my mood improved simply because I was finding measured relief from the pain afflicting my body. But I wasn’t stoned, and after years of the daze created by opioids, this was a welcome fact.
As word got out, I began to encounter the stigma of cannabis, even though I was clearly using it for medical purposes. Carefully I introduced my friends and family to this new wrinkle in my health care plan. There would be a startled pause in conversation, which was then filled with things like “How many bags of chips do you go through every day?” or various munchie references. One person actually looked me up and down and said “Well guess you’re gonna get fat now.” And then the knowing wink like yeah, suuuuure you need it for pain management. Lucky you.
The only problem was that the relief lasted only a few minutes before the pain would begin creeping up, and I would have to vape again. Clearly, my days were going to be spent travelling between the couch and my deck. Not to mention the inconvenience of eventually vaping on the job. It wouldn’t work. I needed something stronger, something longer lasting.
It turned out that a relatively new product, called high CBD oil, was just the ticket. It had been available through dispensaries for a long time. But Licensed providers had only recently been granted the right to produce this elixir – after the federal government was sued and the Supreme Court of Canada ordered them to allow LPs to expand their range of products available to medical users.
My own LP did not yet offer this option. If I wanted to purchase any, I would have to book another appointment with the doctor, and ask for a change of LP, and then go through the registration process all over again with the new LP. Getting another appointment would take weeks, as would the switch to another LP. I wasn’t prepared to go to all that work without knowing for sure if the product was the right option.
I arranged a little field trip to do some first person research: the local dispensary was 10 minutes from my house. Time to acquaint myself with the place, and hope that I did not bump into any of my former students while I was there.
Before I arrived at the dispensary, however, my life would take an unwelcome turn, and challenge every hope that I had for a complete recovery from CIPN.