How many oils is one girl going to have to have in her health repertoire?! First there were Omegas. Then, MCT and XCT. Now – there is a new oil in town – and you may be making a trip to your local dispensary to pick it up.
CBD or cannabidiol is one of more than a hundred compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of substances called cannabinoids. And it’s being touted as the new ‘miracle drug’. Yes, you heard me – weed. Except it’s not actually weed. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which produces the mind-altering effects that you typically get from weed, CBD is the major non-psychoactive component of cannabis that affects your central nervous system.
I’m not usually a girl that falls for the ‘hype’. I don’t take Blue Majik. I don’t do Bulletproof coffee. I don’t do health crazes. I believe in keeping things real, simple and sustainable. Eat your veggies. Drink your water. Enjoy your chocolate. Move your body. Sleep a lot. Repeat. But after using CBD for two months to help with my rheumatoid arthritis – I’m now a believer!
ARTHRITIS AT 36
Eight weeks after having my daughter, I developed an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis. I’m 36. Arthritis wasn’t something that was supposed to happen to me. But here I was, a new mom, and suffering from chronic pain in every joint, from the hips down. Every minute of every day. I felt like a 98-year old trapped in a 36-year old’s body. I couldn’t get down on the floor and play with my daughter. I couldn’t walk up and down stairs without bracing the wall. I couldn’t go for long walks without being in agonizing pain after.
At first, being very naïve, I assumed this was part of PP (post-partum). When you become pregnant, your joints loosen to help your body expand to carry and birth your baby. I assumed that mine were just ‘fitting themselves back together’ and it would resolve itself soon. In the meantime, I popped Aspirin and Tylenol like candy to manage the pain. Weeks and months passed by. Things didn’t get better. In fact they got worse.
AN UNEXPECTED ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION
Frustrated and at my wit’s end, I made an appointment with my family doctor. After an examination, he suspected that it was arthritis. We would need blood work to confirm, and in the meantime, he scheduled an appointment with a Rheumatologist. He told me that many women developed arthritis after labour and that this was in fact, common.
“But what about the pain?” I said. “I don’t want to keep taking Tylenol and Aspirin.”
“Yes, that’s definitely not a good long-term solution. Have you considered taking CBD?” he said.
“CDB?!” I had heard of people taking CBD before, but for anxiety and sleep issues.
“I’m still breastfeeding her though. It’s only twice a day, cause she’s mostly on solids, but is that ok?”
“Well, it’s entirely up to you. The issue with CBD is that there haven’t been enough studies yet to conclusively show any effects on pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, Madison is getting most of her nutrients from food now instead of from you, so I wouldn’t be too concerned. But again, it’s up to you.”
I was willing to give it a shot. The pain was too unbearable not to try it. He gave me a requisite for a few cannabis clinics and I was on my way.
New to the CBD game, I was completely unaware of how many different ways it could be taken. Tinctures, vapes, edibles, body creams and balms, etc. How would someone know what’s best for them?! My recommendation, is to speak with your doctor and an authorized medical practitioner at a reputable cannabis clinic before purchasing anything (which means no back alleyways, hidden rooms, or doorbells, friends). I would also recommend to not purchasing anything online, unless you’re certain that it’s from a reputable supplier. CBD is still illegal, which means that its production is not regulated. This means that there are no standards in place to ensure that you’re getting a quality product. So you have to do your research, and work with your doctor, because if you’re taking CBD for health issues – quality above all, is essential.
Another thing to consider is what your symptoms are, and the rate in which you’ll be treating them. (If you’re taking it for a skin condition, you’re better off with a cream than ingesting or smoking it.) After speaking with the practitioner at my clinic, I opted for a balm for my joints and a vape pen to help with the pain as-needed throughout the day.
MY FIRST TIME VAPING
My first-time using CBD was like nothing I expected. Worried that I might feel high, I made sure my partner was home with our daughter. It took moments for it to begin working and immediately the pain was gone. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t feel high at all, but instead felt calm, relaxed, and pain-free. This was incredible. It lasted for about an hour or so and then wore off. At which point the pain wasn’t as bad as before so I didn’t feel the need to take any more for another few hours. The CBD balm wasn’t as effective for my arthritis. However, there were a few times that I pulled my back out picking up my daughter (#momlife), and used it to relax the pulled muscle. It worked like a charm.
The most interesting thing about taking CBD was that I suddenly felt like I was part of this underground, secret society. So many people I knew were taking it for various reasons – and yet no one talked about it! However, once it came up in conversation, the flood gates opened. Moms in my mom groups were taking it for anxiety and post-partum depression. Friends with high profile, stressful jobs were taking it for stress and sleep. Neighbours with acne and skin conditions were taking it for relief. The health benefits of CDB were clearly being felt by so many.
And yet with all these people taking it and feeling better, the social stigma was real. I was definitely judged in a few circles. Especially as a mom – and a breastfeeding one at that. People couldn’t understand why I would resort to ‘illegal’ drugs for pain relief when so many ‘legal’ synthetic-drug options were available.
JUST BECAUSE YOU GET IT AT A DRUG STORE DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOOD FOR YOU
Just because it’s sold on a shelf, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Pain relief for example, acetaminophen aka Tylenol (which is even safer than Advil aka Aspirin) has been reported to come with its own negative side effects such as liver issues, kidney disease, and bleeding in the digestive tract among others when used as a long-term solution for pain. So, even though taking synthetic drugs for my pain was ‘socially acceptable’, as a long-term solution, they would be more harmful than the potential side effects of CDB.
The fact is, that although widely offered throughout the city at reputable cannabis clinics, CBD is still illegal. Which means that regardless of the benefits, some people will just be against it. To compound the negative connotations around it, when it is legalized in October of this year, you still won’t be able to use it publicly and can get fined for doing so. Meaning that me and my Mom Posse are going to have to vape at home, before hitting the playground #delinquents.
YOU DO YOU, BOO
At the end of the day, the benefits of CBD are undeniable. With ongoing research for this alternative form of therapeutic medicine growing, more benefits will surely be discovered. However, as with any drug, there are side effects. So, if you are considering trying CBD, I strongly encourage you to consult with a healthcare practitioner to ensure it’s the best option for you.
Most of all, I encourage you to have an open mind. As the popularity of this alternative form of medicine grows, you may encounter some people in your circles using it and benefiting from it. So, do your best to slow the judgement, Judy. Because I can tell you from this Mumma’s standpoint – all the eyerolls and gossip in the world won’t stop me from being able to crawl around on the floor with my daughter all day. I’ll smoke to that!
With love and nut butter,