My Relationship with Medical Cannabis

My purpose in writing this is to share my experience and relationship with cannabis as an MS suffer. I am “coming out of the closet”.

I am 59, a mother, wife and a respected business woman. I do not indulge in illegal drugs. I am not a thrill seeker and don’t live on the edge. Living with MS has been the closest I have ever come to living on the edge.

So how did I ever come in contact with cannabis? In 2004, MS reared it’s most ugly head and it forced me to look for alternative pain relief solutions. I had been prescribed a number of different traditional drugs for the painful spasms of MS but these drugs were not effective and produced some uncomfortable side effects. Around this time, Canada’s laws changed and cannabis became legal for medical purposes. My husband went through the lengthy licensing process for me and found a doctor that would recommend me for a medical Cannabis license that would allow me to use and to grow Cannabis for personal medical use.

When I started using cannabis, I was really surprised by how quickly the drug relieved my pain. Nothing that I had been taking (Baclofen, Trazadone, Amantadine, Percocet , OxyContin, Tylenol 3) was as effective as cannabis. These drugs had been creating side effects such as stomach problems, kidney problems, dizziness, lack of coordination, disorientation, depression. The drug doses kept being increased in order to keep up with the the severity of the spasms and pain. Cannabis on the other hand relieved the spasms immediately and I could sleep through the night. There were none of the morning side effects that I had experienced with other drugs.

I only use cannabis when I really need it and only when I am at home. For example, when I find it hard to get dressed in the morning because of the stiffness in my body or when my legs feel heavy like cement, cannabis is what makes it possible to walk with more ease and less pain. I also use it in the evening before bed so that I can sleep through the night or when I wake up in the middle of the night with painful spasms.

A few months ago, I had excruciating pain around my torso and specifically around my left side. It was so bad that I ended up in the emergency room because I could not walk and could barely move my body. I had all sorts of tests to determine if I had liver or kidney problems. No liver, kidney or any other internal problems were found. The pain and spasms were a result of MS. I was given Percocet to relieve the pain. I tried this drug but I couldn’t function. The spasms and pains continued in spite of the Percocet. What I did do was reach for the cannabis. I smoked cannabis on and off for 2 days. The pain and spasms subsided to the point that I could walk go back to work. Nothing else that I had tried relieved this kind of pain.

Cannabis is not a cure for MS. It is not effective for all MS symptoms but it does do a better job of relieving the neuropathic pain of MS than other pain medications that I have used. I have not become addicted and it hasn’t affected my lungs, kidneys or liver. Not everyone can tolerate smoking cannabis. However, there are other ways that cannabis can be used that don’t have any psychotropic effects.

There is a lot of information on the internet about the pros and cons of the medical use of cannabis. Much of the information supports the benefits of using it for medical purposes. However, there is a lot of fear mongering from medical and government sources that associate it with criminal activities. Consequently, medical cannabis is still not a completely accessible and accepted option for chronic neuropathic pain relief. I can get on my soap box about how the fear comes from a loss of dollars for the drug companies, the criminal enforcement system and the fear about it being a gateway drug but I won’t. I will leave that for the advocate groups and the politicians to sort out. I am optimistic that the laws will change in more US states and become more relaxed in Canada. I am also hopefully optimistic that the medical professionals will become comfortable in prescribing cannabis to those who need it medically.

Who else out there in the MS world has had experience with cannabis? Is anyone willing to share their experience, thoughts and opinions about the medical use of cannabis for MS?

Here are some articles and sites that may be of interest and will help you form your own opinions about using cannabis for medical purposes:

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (12)
  • Curious1
    5 years ago

    I am a user myself. It used to be daily in the evenings but now I use it only a few times a week as needed. It is the only drug that really relaxes me & my stiff muscles without adverse side effects. The U.S. state I live in is making it legal for medical reasons in January, I will likely attempt to get a permit to buy it, but if not, I have other ways if needed.

  • Neva
    5 years ago

    I also use medical marijuana. It has been the only thing that has helped to get rid of my neuropathic pain. I usually only use it at night before bed. I also use Lyrica, but it only takes the edge off, while the marijuana makes it go away. I don’t smoke it. I use a vaporizer. It is much easier on the body this way!

  • Mike
    5 years ago

    I think it is all about “quality of life”. By using cannabis, I think, promotes it. After being diagnosed in 2007,life after the diagnosis is a lot easier to live. Cannabis helps with the day to day struggles that are apart of living with this exhausting and frustrating disease.

  • KixPeace
    5 years ago

    I am 31 and was dx with rrms 2yrs ago I have had the numbness and burning tingling pain in my feet and spasms in my legs for just as long, I used cannibis recreationaly when I was younger then stopped for many years I watched my mom suffer with a number of diseases my whole life and she was prescribed to a bag full of medications but always used cannibis medicinally which helped her more bc she was able to function properly, so when I started having problems she suggested it and I did best decision ever. I tried copoxane for 1yr &nuerotin, lyrica, voltran, elevil side effects were horrible so I stopped all now I use cannibis medicinally and occasionally xanax. 5mg and lorecet for bad days my quality of life has definitely benefited from cannibis and its natural plant

  • Saskia
    5 years ago

    I have been using for a long time, and WISH I could get a medical marijuana licence (here in Canada), but my doctors are refusing to ‘prescribe’ because they feel they don’t have the expertise. I have had rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and MS for at least 20 years to 35 years…. and I am definitely the type of patient that this is for!! I get no relief from narcotics which make me feel badly. Marijuana relieves pain, stress, cog-fog, spasms in just 5 minutes, so it will be my drug of choice.

  • Shannon Nicole
    5 years ago

    It is scientifically proven that medical marijuana can and does help MS. With spasms, muscle pain and/or weakness, the “depression” or what I like to call funk. It helps with mood, and pretty much overall function. I frankly wish it was legal in my state, but it’s not so I am forced to be prescribed and take xanax for my anxiety and overall mood instead of cannabis. The swelling of the brain due to MS attacks cause depression and just seem to make you feel bad overall. The everyday bodily problems are just down right aggravating.

  • Audrey VanWalbeck
    5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing , I too use medical cannibas I believe it does help with the muscles stiffness and the stress (that you can’t shut off) . As calm as I try to be, everyday life is out there…just saying

  • Carrieb
    5 years ago

    Plan to bring it up with my neurologist!

  • Donna
    5 years ago

    I have heard and read that cannabis is a good resource for MS and other illnesses,there are no side effects or is it addictive like other drugs. Hope soon they make it legal in my state. There have been two new states that have approved it already

  • Christine
    5 years ago

    Hello I have tryed cannibas, it does help but it may not be for everyone I understand that. However with that being said I do not think it is any worse than some of the stuff they are trying to give us now!!! I also have a blood and bleeding disorder therefore I cant take it all the time due ti the fact that it has a lot of vitamin K in the plant it self. I even have had the pills made for me like the Special that Dr Sonja Gupta and CNN did here on that Charolette!! It is working wonders in her !! Check it out! Just wanted to add my 2 cents if I may!!!

  • June White
    5 years ago

    I say if it works for you and and it’s available then by all means try it. It is not legal in our state yet, but possibly it will be some day.
    Good luck!
    June

  • Lexine Darden
    5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your experience and the information and links. I have not used cannibas,but have thought about it….and when you mentioned “cement legs”, well, I wish to learn more. I will read your links. Thanks again.

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