Cannabis extracts have been used as medicine for thousands of years, but in the 20th century, the plant has been demonized by prohibition and a failed war on drugs. The following survival stories are from real people who risked criminal prosecution and death to be able to say that switching from pills to pot saved their lives.
As a cannabis writer, I’m often asked to write about medical marijuana and the effects of cannabis concentrate in treating many different types of chronic diseases. I’ve covered nearly every condition in the book and found that cannabis truly is a medicine and it truly can save lives.
There is a major problem when it comes to using cannabis oils or medical marijuana as a drug therapy to treat chronic disease. The problem comes from the fact that cannabis isn’t approved for use clinically, as a drug therapy. That’s mainly due to the fact that it remains listed by the DEA as a Schedule 1 substance, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.
Some states in the US have approved the use of some types of cannabis therapies in the treatment of some conditions such as epilepsy, eating disorders, cancer pain, and Multiple Sclerosis. But there is another problem with this. Doctors aren’t actually allowed to treat their patients with things like CBD oil or other cannabis concentrates. They can only make recommendations, not prescriptions.
So while some patients may have access to safe cannabinoid therapies, they don’t have access to proper treatment and are left to treat themselves.
Many patients who want to heal or manage their condition using cannabis don’t have access to safe medicine though. Without access to safe cannabis treatments, these patients are left to make their own extracts in addition to trying to treat themselves.
Patients aren’t doctors and they didn’t study medicine. Patients aren’t chemists either, and although making extracts or concentrates isn’t too hard, making medicine to treat something like cancer or Parkinson’s disease isn’t easy. But none of that has stopped the people in this article from risking their freedom to cure their chronic diseases.
Now, you get to hear the first-hand experiences of real people who were diagnosed with a real chronic disease and used cannabis to heal themselves. Many of them faced immense challenges overcoming illness, toxic pharmaceuticals, and even criminal prosecution for self-treating with cannabinoid therapies. This is – “Cannabis Cured Me.”
After a Decade of Anxiety Meds, Switching to Weed Saved This Lead Singer’s Life
Damian Abraham, frontman and singer for a band called Fucked Up, reports his experience switching from a decade-long regiment of pain and anxiety pharmaceuticals to cannabis. He says marijuana saved him from an early death.
Damian had a brief encounter with narcotics as a young teen, but at 15 years old he declared himself straight-edge, which is kind of like committing to being sober. However, at the age of 20, Damian went through a tragedy that led doctors in diagnosing him with anxiety and depression. The doctors told him the only way to manage his new disease would be to begin taking long-term mood-stabilizing medications.
Over the course of the next ten years doctors prescribed Damian many different medications of varying dosages and combinations in an effort to balance anxiety relief and what Damien describes has horrific side effects.
The side effects from the medications such as weight gain, insomnia, hormone imbalance, loss of vocal muscle control, and loss of sexual desire were too much for the lead singer. He describes going on a European tour with his band without his meds,
“On one occasion after dropping my dosage before a particularly long European tour (a TERRIBLE idea) I found myself in a Danish hospital getting an emergency supply of Ativan to cope with the returning panic attacks.”
“Things all changed for me the next time we went to Europe in the summer of 2010”, says Damien. He had again gone on tour without his meds again hoping he could manage his anxiety symptoms alone.
“About a week or so into the tour, I could feel myself beginning to spiral, and following a hellacious post-show-sitting-in-the-hotel-shower meltdown in Koln, Germany, we hit Holland, and I decided to try and save myself from another European hospital visit and try pot.”
Damien says he had heard somewhere that cannabis could help with anxiety. Lucky for him he was in the Netherlands and backstage at a festival he tried smoking cannabis for the first time since he was 15 years old. The experience completely changed the direction of his life and led him to ditch the pills for the plant and even losing over 120 pounds.
“It seemed that, almost instantaneously, the anxiety subsided, and I relaxed. It was from that moment that I realized I had totally misjudged this plant and medical marijuana as a whole as some hippy bullshit. For the rest of that tour, I smoked weed and found that my anxiety stopped being an issue.”
Damien says after switching to cannabis he was able to finally sleep well, his libido returned, and he was able to get over his lifelong obsession with soda pop. Damien was drinking three to six liters of soda while on pills and weighed over 300 pounds.
Damien’s doctors prescribed him medications that are known increased risk of organ failure, addiction, and early death. And while they managed his anxiety, they were detrimental to other aspects of his physical and mental health.
According to Damien, switching from pills to pot saved his life. Anxiety is often misjudged and not well understood as a chronic illness or disease. For this front man who had denounced drugs most of his life, marijuana may have saved him from an early death due to complications of legal, prescription medications.
37-year old Father of Two Switches From Opiates To Cannabis
David, a father of two young boys, was on his way to work in a company vehicle when another vehicle struck him from behind. Even though the accident occurred at about 20 miles per hour, David suffered neck and spinal cord injuries.
Upon his first hospital visit, he was given the opiate painkiller known as Percocet. Three days later he returned for follow up with his physician where he was prescribed Flexural and Vicodin. David says he took the medication as prescribed, but just one Flexural put him to sleep for eighteen hours.
He ditched the Flexural but continued to take Percocet and Vicodin for the pain and inflammation caused by his injuries. David soon learned the stark reality that has led to North America’s worse drug problem ever, The Opioid Epidemic.
“Within a short period of time, I needed to take double and then quadruple the pills to take care of the pain, when only one or two pills eased it in the beginning. When I noticed that this was happening, I wanted to find out why. I used the Internet and I looked into opiate drugs and what they do, and what I found out was amazing to me. Due to the powerful opiates in the drugs, the opiate receptors in the brain start to shut down. Once I realized the end result of pill addiction, it scared me because the end result is an early death.”
David’s investigation into the dangerously toxic and addictive effects of opioid-based painkillers led him down a rabbit hole of research into the harmful effects of prescription drugs. But it was until his cousin suggested that he try using cannabis to treat his pain that David was able to shake off the opioids.
“The next few days were some of the hardest days I had to deal with throughout this thing – I began to detox my body – no more pills.”
“After a few days, my cousin came to the house with a cannabis joint. I took three hits off it, and within less than a minute, I was absolutely amazed! I was able to move my back and my neck comfortably. From that day forward, I have used cannabis as my main source of pain relief.”
David isn’t the only person to experience toxic addiction prescribed legally by doctors. Many doctors are even being criminally prosecuted for knowingly overprescribing and intentionally contributing to the public health crisis that is the opioid epidemic.
While opiates and opioid-based medicines may have a place in modern medicine, they are extremely dangerous due to their lack of efficacy and safety in humans and potential for addiction, abuse, and overdose.
David avoided becoming another statistic of the painkiller epidemic by switching the pills for marijuana. If his cousin had never shared that joint with him though he may not have ever been able to escape from opioid addiction.
Cannabis Concentrates As A Safe Alternative To Dangerous Medications
Damien and David’s stories of switching from traditional pharmaceuticals to cannabis are just a drop in the sea of testimony from patients self-treating their chronic illnesses with the herb.
The two personal stories tell the all-too-familiar tale. Normal pain and anxiety pills not only underserve patients, but they actually keep them in a cycle of sickness and addiction, managing some symptoms at the expense of overall wellness and possible overdose, addiction, and death.
Now, this isn’t to say that some pills do help some patients to some extent because they do. But considering the data coming in about opioid-related overdose caused by prescription medications, wouldn’t you say it’s time for the policy makers and the scientific community to seriously consider revising their stance on cannabis and cannabis concentrates.
According to the latest data compiled by the CDC, regardless of greater public awareness, enhanced provider awareness of prescribing behavior, and other community-level measures, the opioid epidemic isn’t subsiding. In fact, it’s getting worse.
According to the CDC’s latest figures –
- 42,249 deaths due to accidental opioid use in 2016
- Opioids responsible for 66% of all deaths from drug overdose in 2016
- Opioid overdose death rate increased by nearly 28% from 2015-2016
- For blacks, fatal opioid-related overdoses increased by 56.1% from 2015-2016
- Asian and Pacific islanders, fatal opioid-related overdoses increased by 36.4% from 2015-2016
- Latinos, fatal opioid-related overdoses increased by 32.6% from 2015-2016
- Non-Hispanic whites, fatal opioid-related overdoses increased by 25.9% between 2015-2016
- Native Americans, fatal opioid-related overdoses increased by 14.9% between 2015-2016
- 6% increase in U.S. deaths due to prescription opioids, which translates to more than 15,000 deaths in 2015, rising to more than 17,000 deaths by 2016
- Fatal overdose due to synthetic opioids doubled
- Heroin, cocaine, and psycho-stimulant overdose deaths increased 20%, 50%, and 33% respectively
Research into the effects of cannabis, extracts, and concentrates derived from cannabis indicate that marijuana could not only replace addictive opioids but that it could also help reduce opioid dependence. That means cannabis could help us get out of this painful epidemic.
In fact, in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, opioid prescriptions and overdoses are declining. Furthermore, studies show that cannabis provides therapeutic relief where opioids have failed. This is especially true for patients with chronic neuropathic conditions that cause chronic pain or inflammation, in which there may be damage to the central nervous system.
Both CBD and THC, the main cannabinoids extracted from cannabis, have been studied in the treatment of many chronic diseases including –
- Crohn’s Disease & Colitis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Heart disease
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Anxiety & Depression Disorders
- Sleeping Disorders
- Eating disorders
Each person has a uniquely expressed endocannabinoid system depending on multiple genetic and environmental factors and will respond differently to cannabis concentrates and extracts according to dosage, potency, and other variables.
The effectiveness of cannabinoid therapies in treating chronic diseases also depends greatly on the method of administration. Early research data and anecdotal evidence suggest that different conditions and symptoms respond better to certain methods of administering concentrates than others.
Is Dabbing CBD Wax A Safe Alternative?
In its raw form, cannabis flower is typically inhaled by smoking or vaporizing. Inhalation is the fastest acting method of administering cannabinoids, but some symptoms may respond better with other methods such as –
- Ingestion – Edibles, Oils, Infusions, Tinctures
- Sublingually – Drops under the tongue; oils, tinctures
- Transdermal – Topically applied to the skin; roll-ons, balms, salves, gel
Each method has it’s own benefits, for example using a CBD topical may work better for arthritis stiffness than eating a THC-rich brownie. But some chronic conditions require concentrated dosages of CBD, THC, or a combination that are difficult to administer in the typical methods.
Now many experts suggest that dabbing could be the key to administering high dosages of cannabinoids to treat severe symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation. Dabbing uses cannabis extracts called concentrates such as,
- Wax & Shatter
- Propane & Butane Hash Oil
- CO2 Oil
- Live Resin
- Bubble Hash
- Full Melt Hash
Dabbing uses a heated nail to instantaneously vaporize cannabis concentrates like CBD Wax and produces little to no smoke. A specialized water pipe for dabbing called a Dab Rig is used to filter, diffuse, and cool the vapor, which enhances the therapeutic benefit of cannabis concentrates.
Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC have varying benefits. CBD is a non-toxic substance with an excellent safety and tolerability profile in humans. And while THC has amazing therapeutic potential, it’s also associated with potential risks that should be considered when dabbing. In long-term, high chronic dosages of THC have been associated with potential risks such as
- Increased risk to mental health
- Low weight
- Sleep issues
- Impaired memory and cognition
- Anxiety & depression
Research indicates that CBD is neuroprotective and may protect from the deleterious effects of THC. Since THC’s psychotropic effects have always hindered the clinical application of cannabis, this discovery has increased the safety and potential to develop new cannabinoid therapies.
First, consult with a physician if considering dabbing concentrates to treat a chronic condition or illness. You can learn more about the benefits and risks of dabbing concentrates on our D.A.B. health articles linked here.
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