What Happened When I Tried Cannabis to Treat My Chronic Pain?

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Foreword: I am not a medical professional, and I am not promoting trying cannabis to treat your medical conditions on your own, without the guidance of your doctor. The following is just an account of what I experienced when I tried cannabis to treat my chronic pain, it is not meant as a study or a “how to” guide.

I, like many others in the UK, waited patiently for medical cannabis to become available on prescription. I have wanted to try full spectrum cannabis oil for a long time now, but I didn’t want to have to take the illegal route, not because it’s illegal, but because I didn’t feel I could “trust” the safety and potency of the source.

But after being let down so badly by the new legislation, I felt I had no option but to try cannabis oil on my own. If the NHS can’t or won’t help me, then I will help myself.

If you would like to find out more about the recent changes in legislation with regards to medical cannabis, and my personal thoughts on this, please read my article; Why I’m not celebrating the introduction of medical cannabis on prescription.

Why I decided to try cannabis.

There are two reasons why I decided to try THC/cannabis, illegally, for my chronic pain:

If cannabis-based medicines, including THC, do become available to me on the NHS in the future, I want to know:

  1. Can my body can tolerate it? I’m hypersensitive to everything, including cannabinoids, so how will my body react to THC?
  2. Will it be effective for treating my pain? How effective will a combination of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, be for my pain?

The process of gaining a medical cannabis licence, when or if the option ever becomes available to me, is likely to be difficult, stressful, time consuming and exhausting. I want to KNOW for certain that cannabis is an effective treatment for me before having to go through this process.

I’m optimist that, as I’ve responded well to CBD and CBG, and these cannabinoids have been somewhat effective for many of my symptoms, that adding THC will help further reduce my pain levels.

Please note, there are many different strains of cannabis which each contain varying levels of cannabinoids and terpenes. Just like CBD products, it is possible to tailor the strain or method of consuming cannabis, to meet your specific needs. 

Unfortunately, because full extract cannabis oil including THC is still illegal in the UK, I did not have the luxury of choosing the strain or method. If you would like to find out more about the main cannabinoids found in cannabis and their therapeutic properties, please click here.

For those of you that are new to my blog, I have ME/CFS, migraines and fibromyalgia, all of which cause me considerable pain. 

My dosing plan.

My plan was to add a THC oil to my current full spectrum CBD oil.

The first thing I needed to decide was, how much THC should I take?

As I’m hypersensitive to everything, I decided to start with just 3mg THC (1 drop of a 6% THC oil) once a day. But, most importantly, this will be taken alongside my usual CBD – 5mg, 3 times a day.

CBD not only offers its own health benefits but it can also counteract the negative side effects of THC. I know not everyone will see feeling “high” as a negative, but for me, I don’t want to feel “out of it” – I need to be able to function.

So, what happened?

The following is my account of what happened when I tried cannabis oil. I am keeping a diary of any side effects and my symptoms. I hope it helps others who want to try cannabis as a treatment option, by answering some questions and setting people’s minds at ease.

My cannabis diary

The following is taken from my “Cannabis Diary”. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with every diary entry – just a few highlights.

Day 1. (5th Nov 2018)
Dose: 1 drop – 3mg THC (3mg per day).
1 drop, 3 times a day – 5mg CBD (15mg per day)

THC side effects: Nausea. Very Thirsty. Very drowsy – slept most of the day. Although this is not surprising considering how hypersensitive I am, and, of course, fatigue is a big problem for me because I have severe ME/CFS.

My symptoms.
Before cannabis: Pain and anxiety levels both low to moderate. A bit achey.
After cannabis: Stiff neck and headache. No change in pain and anxiety levels.

Day 2
Dose: 1 drop – 3mg THC (3mg per day).
1 drop, 3 times a day – 5mg CBD (15mg per day)

THC side effects: Thirsty, drowsy, “fuzzy” head. Although I feel lethargic, I also feel a little agitated (on-edge). I don’t feel “high” but I can definitely tell I’ve taken THC. Increased appetite. Craving fizzy drinks and sweets.

My symptoms.
Before cannabis: Pain and anxiety levels both low to moderate.
After cannabis: I forgot to record how I felt but I don’t remember being in pain. This could be because I was too focused on the THC side effects, or it could be because the cannabis oil worked for my pain.

Day 3
Dose: 1 drop – 3mg THC (3mg per day).
1 drop, 3 times a day – 5mg CBD (15mg per day)

THC side effects: Really agitated after today’s dose – I feel “tired but wired”. I can’t settle as I’m really on-edge. Very thirsty and can’t stop eating. I think I may have to rethink my dosing.

My symptoms.
Before cannabis: Very achy today. Pain and anxiety levels moderate.
After cannabis: No change in pain levels but my anxiety has increased.

A change of plan..

3mg of THC may not be a lot for most people, but my body is hypersensitive to everything, so it’s no surprise that I’m also struggling with THC.

I’ve decided to try microdosing, instead.

Microdosing is basically taking a much lower dose, but more frequently throughout the day. This should hopefully mean I will still feel the benefits from the THC, but the unwanted side effects should be reduced. Although there isn’t any scientific evidence to prove microdosing is effective, many people swear by this method of administering cannabis.

New dosing plan.

I’ve diluted the 6% THC with olive oil – 1 part THC to 3 parts olive oil. This should give me 0.75mg THC per drop. I’m going to try 1 drop 4 times a day to start with, which will give a total of 3mg THC a day. But I’m also going to take 2.5mg of CBD per dose too – 10mg CBD a day.

Day 4.
Dose: 0.75mg of THC 4 times a day (3mg a day)
2.5mg of CBD 4 times a day (10mg per day)

THC side effects: No noticeable side effects with first microdose. Second dose brought increased appetite and thirst. So did the next 2 doses. But no noticeable drowsiness or nausea.

My symptoms:
Before cannabis: Pain levels low to moderate. Stiff and achy, Anxiety levels low.
After cannabis: No change although I do feel “calm”.

I’m not going to bore you with every diary entry. Instead I will give you a summary of my first week microdosing THC. It’s been a positive week.

My first week microdosing THC.

The only side effects which are persisting, even while microdosing, are increased appetite and thirst. I have a history of weight problems and eating disorders, so this has caused me some anxiety, but I’m sure I will adapt.

I have felt more alert, but not “high”. The microdosing seems to have eradicated the drowsiness and nausea.

So the big question is; do I feel any better? It’s hard to tell because my symptoms fluctuate so much from day-to-day, but I actually feel “ok”. I know “ok” may not be a very helpful description, but for someone living with multiple chronic illnesses, feeling “ok” is a rarity.

My pain levels are manageable, although I wake up each morning at about 3am in pain. I then take a dose of cannabis oil which lowers my pain levels enough to go back to sleep for

a couple of hours. My anxiety levels have fluctuated quite a lot, but that’s common for me. I don’t feel as exhausted as I often do, and I’m sleeping well (for me).

Dosing plan.

My plan was to wait a week and then increase my dose, but as my pain levels are manageable, I’m going to stick with this dose for another week.

In summary

I haven’t felt “high” at any point, although I’m aware the doses I’ve taken are very low. The side effects I’ve experienced so far have been manageable and not in any way scary. I’ve been feeling “ok”, and my pain and anxiety levels have mainly been low to moderate. But it’s too early to tell if this is due to the cannabis oil or whether it’s just been a good week for me.

As this post is already getting quite long, I’m going to leave it there for now. I will update you about my progress in my next instalment.

Have you tried cannabis to treat your medical conditions? Would you like to share your story?

For more personal stories, reviews, news, inspirational quotes and in-depth discussion, please head over to my Facebook page.

6 Replies to “What Happened When I Tried Cannabis to Treat My Chronic Pain?”

  1. I found your article experimenting with THC very interesting. I was holding my breath to see your results.
    To me you are a pioneer in this journey and your experiences will set the stage for others who like you suffer from chronic pain and fatigue .
    You are also extremely brave and I very much hope you make good progress with your experiment and one day get what you deserve from the NHS.

  2. I feel for you, as being hypersensitive affects myself too . But microdosing may be the answer. You’re very brave to share your diarie’s for us. I really hope it continues to help you without too many side effects. Thankyou xx

  3. What worries me the most about trying it for chronic pain isn’t that, I think it might help, but I have vertigo with my vestibular disorder and I worry a lot it would make me more spaced out and dizzier. I want to try it though but my doc is worried because I am on a lot of meds. We are making an effort to decrease them though

    1. Hi Nikki. Cannabis can affect the way your body metabolises certain medication, so you are right to be cautious if you are taking a lot of medication. Leaving a 2-4 hour gap between your medication and taking cannabis should eliminate this problem but it’s really best to consult your doctor, which is why it’s so important that more people have access to medical cannabis on the NHS.

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