The High Potential of Cannabis in Treatment

Let me ask you a question here, in a safe, judgment-free zone.

What are your thoughts on cannabis?

Most states have legalized medical cannabis.

Cannabis can be quite the buzzy topic among blood cancer patients (pun only partially intended). Did you know that according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three states – Idaho, Nebraska, and Kansas – have no legalized cannabis programs? That’s good news for cancer patients, and for some, even great news.

Helping me sleep

My experiences with cannabis products began a year or two before my 2019 diagnosis of multiple myeloma. After falling asleep at night, I would inevitably awake after sixty to ninety minutes, usually warm, and after pushing aside the blankets, I would often struggle to get back to sleep. My head would start spinning around what I wanted to accomplish the next day, and I would have real trouble getting back to sleep.

Little did I know that night sweats are a frequent symptom of multiple myeloma. But, that’s a story for another time.

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A California resident, I wondered if cannabis might help me as a sleep aid, so I went through the rather joke of a process to acquire a medical cannabis card, which would allow me to legally buy cannabis at any state-licensed dispensary. I called a doctor’s office somewhere in the state, where I spoke to a physician’s assistant. I told him I had trouble getting back to sleep, and guess what? Yes, he thought I’d be “a great candidate for medical cannabis.”
I sent off $35 and I received my card good for one year. No prescription, of course. As the patient, I was to select the product, the amount of the dosage, and the frequency of administration.

Cannabis legislation is more about taxation than medicine

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Medical cannabis is not about medicine. It’s about excise taxes and state revenue. Citizens might want/need it as an herbal medicine, but it’s not doctor-driven. As a matter of not-so-debatable fact, it’s far more retail-driven as consumers, i.e., patients, rely on retailers to explain the various cannabis products from flowers for smoking to edibles for eating (and a myriad of options in between).

For the uninitiated, here’s a crash course on cannabis. There are two basic components, THC and CBD. THC is the compound responsible for psychoactive effects that give one the “high” feeling.1 CBD is the compound many believe helps with pain, anxiety, inflammation, and other ailments.2

Trial and error dosing

As I was looking for a sleep aid, I started with indica, in a 3 mg THC dose that came as a dissolvable mint. And, I noticed … absolutely nothing.

From that innocuous start, I began a progression of test-and-learn trials and commenced to upping my dose, starting at 5 mg of THC and increasing by 5 mg until I got to 20 mg. It was at 20 mg where I realized I had gone too far for that of which I was looking.

At 20 mg, when I woke up, I felt the effects of THC, although I didn’t know if I was conscious or dreaming. Really. So, being the good scientist, or at least a writer trying to be a good scientist, I repeated the test a week later. When my original findings were repeated, it confirmed for me that 20 mg of THC was more than I needed.

Through trial and error, I discovered 10 mg was perfect for me. Sure, I’d wake up after sixty to ninety minutes, but I’d roll over, close my eyes, and fall right back to sleep.

Helped with my treatment side effects

So, cannabis worked for me as a sleep aid, and I found it helpful even when my induction therapy as a cancer patient caused varying degrees of insomnia. It was a win for me, the patient, but it’s only part of this particular cannabis story.

For me, a positive treatment addition

Now, I’m not a doctor, and I can’t get into the reports on effects of THC on the developing brains of children. But, as a cancer patient at 59 years of age, I think I have pretty much developed as much as I’m going to. And, from where I sit, the adverse side effects of THC and CBD are minimal.

I have to think cannabis is better than drinking alcohol or taking a narcotic to try to get to sleep. Plus, there’s a potential for it to produce a synergistic effect with my cancer-fighting meds. I suppose if I overuse cannabis, I might develop a late-night Taco Bell and/or Nacho Cheese Doritos habit, but if it helps me fight cancer, those are risks I’m willing to take.

So, let me ask you once again, what are your thoughts on cannabis?

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

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