As more and more U.S. states pass laws legalizing the use of recreational and medical marijuana, people living with chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis are increasingly looking to cannabis as a potential solution in helping them manage their pain. And many others have used it to help with nausea, stress levels, muscle spasms, and other side effects of their condition or treatments.
We asked our readers: Have you ever tried medical marijuana to help manage your chronic condition? These are some of their stories.
“I have a family member who has PTSD from a violent sexual assault. She has tried several different pills to help her sleep at night and to keep her from having intense flashbacks in her dreams. So far, the only thing that has helped her sleep all night with no nightmares is medical cannabis. When she uses medical cannabis, she’s able to sleep the entire night and wake up rested with zero nightmares. She has severe anxiety because of the assault and as long as she uses the right strains she has no problems. She typically eats an edible because it’s easier to use that way, but she makes sure it’s in small doses. It’s all about knowing your medicine. It’s just like any doctor-prescribed drug. You should always research the product before using it to make sure it’s the right fit.”
— Bobbi P.
“Works for me! Certain strains actually give me energy to get up and get house cleaning done. Others are great for sleep. Either way, it does lessen the pain. Highly recommend it. (No pun intended.)”
— Becky G., living with rheumatoid arthritis
“I smoke an indica-dominant strain (plant or oil) if my mood is too elevated and I need extra help in bringing it down without a crash. This has been instrumental many times in stopping the onset of a manic episode. I more recently experimented with CBD (edible), and found that while I require a fairly high dose approximately every 18 hours, it is more effective, keeps me more stable than any medication I’ve tried … One important note: Quality matters a great deal. Low quality can even nullify positive effects and amplify already existing problems, in my experience. For anxiety and insomnia, smoking indica-dominant plant or oil solved both problems far better than any pharmaceutical I’ve tried.”
— Amber A., living with bipolar disorder
“I’ve had Crohn’s for 36 years and have used marijuana for 35 of them. I know it helps keep me in remission and with my day-to-day health issues related to my disease and surgeries.”
— Debbie, O., living with Crohn’s disease
“My partner has MS. My MS warrior used it daily. It does help. So much better than the pharmaceutical addicting chemicals some doctors wanted to put him on for pain and spasms.”
— Celena F.
“I am now researching CBD oils and CBD isolates as they are both edible — the latter can be mixed in a drink, used to make your own edibles, or eaten mixed with a little coconut oil. My pulmonologist is on board so long as it is not burned and inhaled. It hasn’t helped much with shortness of breath or related symptoms. However, it does alleviate the severity of some of the classic COPD anxiety issues, it helps with overall pain and relaxation, as well as insomnia and appetite. I don’t believe I would be able to manage my anxiety and depression without it — I did in fact try several times but I ended up being withdrawn, depressed, and anxious.”
— Sue B., living with COPD
“I have major depression and anxiety. It really helps keep the mood swings and anxiety under control. Also calms my brain so I can sleep.”
— Misty L., living with depression and anxiety
“If I am in pain but still need to accomplish daily tasks around the house, I have a high-CBD strain. I like that it allows me to move freely, without pain, and not be too clouded to finish my work. I don’t feel “high”. I just feel normal again. Then I found a great high-THC strain that is perfect for bedtime. It relaxes my body first, then the anxiety and depression that has always accompanied my RA disappears. Since I started using cannabis, I have slept better in the last couple of months than I have in the last 21 years with this disease. I don’t get nauseated like I do with codeine or get a headache coming off of OxyContin. It takes a bit of trial and error with different strains to find the perfect balance for what you need, but the resources are available.”
— Amber H., living with rheumatoid arthritis
“I use cannabis oil daily for bipolar II disorder to manage depressive episodes, restore appetite, and reduce hand tremors from Lithium treatment. It works wonderfully if you use the right strain and product. Sativa will give you an active heady high, whereas indica will give you a heavier, ‘body high.’”
— Kevin J., living with bipolar disorder
If you’re interested in potentially using medical marijuana, be sure to read about the potential benefits, risks, and side effects, along with exactly how it works in your body. Everyone is different and, like any medication, it may affect people differently.
Have you tried medical marijuana to help deal with the symptoms of a medical condition? Did it help you manage your condition? Share your experience with us on Facebook.