The gummies were in a long thin tube. Made with plenty of sugar and spiked with THC (http://www.greenstate.com/explained/what-is-thc-and-is-it-right-for-me/), I bought two cans just in case the opioids my surgeon had prescribed didn’t work.
They didn’t. My rotator cuff surgery was extensive and brutal. After the block wore off by 9 pm I was in agony. The narcotics didn’t even take the edge off.
The next morning, after my boyfriend had left for work, I ate a gummy.
Let me preface the following with this explanation: I don’t even drink wine. No drugs, no substances, no nothing, other than the occasional pain med for migraines. The only time I’ve ever been high (other than one epic night in Australia in the 1980s) is in the dentist’s chair, on laughing gas.
When the full effect of the THC hit me I happened to be in the living room.
Next thing I know- and the details are understandably fuzzy now- I was keeling slowly over headfirst, my face rather unfortunately aiming right for the base of my big wooden bookcase.
While it’s funny as crap now, it wasn’t right then. I was drunk out of my gourd on the THC. My gourd was gushing blood, and I’d just given myself my twentieth concussion.
At 65, this might not be the best course of action. However, it didn’t put me off all bud products. It did make me more mindful of what I ingest, and where I might place myself when I do so. (As in, a room full of down-filled pillows)
My boyfriend’s brother is the CFO of a large chain of pot products stores here in Colorado. These products were legalized here a few years back with Colorado Amendment 64, which was passed by voters on November 6, 2012. That led to legalization in January 2014. While that has led to cannabis tourism here and other legalized states, it’s also left a great many of us who were never users before just a bit befuddled about how to use the plethora of products that are now legally offered.
In an article on marijuana in this month’s Outside Magazine, which is my bible for my favorite sports, writer Graham Averill explores how cannabis in many forms- most especially CBD, which does not have the properties of THC- are making significant inroads into the athletic community. As an athlete myself who has undergone some pretty epic injuries, I am very interested in non-narcotic options to better manage pain and induce sleep.
The gold standard for non- narcotic pain medicines includes aspirin and aspirin-like products (derived from bark and long used in traditional medicines) and NSAIDS, which include Ibuprofen. As a bleeder, I can use neither, as they thin the blood. NSAID use, especially high dosages or constant use, has been linked to heart failure and strokes. This is true even for short term use (https://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20150710/fda-warning-nsaids-heart_risks#1). Athletes who use these meds to control pain risk more damage than if they push through the pain, which is in some cases not an option.
On the other side, acetaminophen is linked to liver failure and death, although not in reasonable doses. Ask someone in terrible pain what is meant by “reasonable,” and you can understand why we have liver transplants and morbidity due to Tylenol and its sister versions (https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/09/11/tylenol-far-most-dangerous-drug-ever-made-11711). Some 450 deaths per year are associated with Tylenol use.
Yet both are more effective at managing long-term pain than opioids. Increasingly, studies have shown that people treating long-term pain have to increase their opioids to get the same relief, which is what leads to addiction. While this doesn’t tend to happen with Tylenol or Advil, for example, those drugs, while in some cases more effective with pain management, can cost us our health (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180417181101.htm).
Especially for those of us aging athletes, which the Outside article noted might be endurance athletes over forty (gawd, to have those 25 years back and still be considered old), having far healthier options becomes critical. Many of us strain, pull, or injure a bit more, or when we do they might heal a bit more slowly. That means that we have to manage that pain a bit longer. The less time we’re popping pills which damage important organs, the better.
So is this bud for you?
Let’s consider. Among the many products that the local store offers includes two that I use regularly for pain management and sleep. One is Mary’s Medicinals Elite CBD Muscle Freeze. My boyfriend, since he’s had access to these products longer than I have, suggested this for a topical cream on angry injuries. It is by far the best and most effective product I’ve ever used to calm down cranky muscles, and I am now using it as post-op therapy as I go through my exercises. I’ve used Icy Hot and a broad range of creams on the market, but Mary’s is by far the most effective and longest-lasting.
The down side is that I can’t take a can with me overseas. I can’t risk entering a protective Third World country that sees such products as contraband. So when I travel I have to take Icy Hot pads. Helpful, but not as much.
Inadequate Sleep Can Kill Us
As for sleep, first let’s discuss why. As we age, many of us find ourselves making multiple nocturnal toilet visits. Some can’t sleep at all, and this is very bad news. Even one night of interrupted or disturbed sleep (I’m not addressing your weird dreams, just your sleep patterns) can lead to an increase in deposits of amyloid-beta — peptides linked to Alzheimer’s disease (https://newatlas.com/sleep-deprivation-amyloid-alzheimers-dementia/54119/). Lack of sleep affects a host of other life quality issues but let’s just be clear: we need sleep. Good quality sleep. Each of us, perhaps slightly different amounts. But two or three hours a night ain’t going to cut it for most folks, especially long-term, and most especially as we age.
A few months ago my boyfriend suggested that I try Green Hornet gummies. They work sporadically, which is part of the problem of a young industry. Quality control issues mean that one gummy might carry twice the potency of the gummy next to it in the blister pack. So, like that Forrest Gump box of chocolates, “You never know what you’re going to get.” There are nights I conk out as though someone flipped a switch. Others, it takes a while. But I do sleep, and mostly through the entire night. That’s a godsend for basic health, to say nothing of recovering from major surgery.
Last night said boyfriend was at his brother’s shop replenishing my Mary’s Freeze when he decided to get creative. Pot edibles are a great way to avoid smoking (which I simply will not do, and neither will he). When he got home he handed me two neat, beautifully-packaged boxes of what looked like dark chocolate truffles. The boxes were very child-proof, I might add, to the point where I was completely flummoxed on how to open the damned thing, which says more about my maturity than the box design. Let’s just say I had to get the boyfriend’s help. These 1906 Midnight Dark Milk Chocolate sleep edibles looked like a modified Godiva Chocolate package. Intended, I’m sure.
Well, it sure worked for me.
Being a fool for a truffle, I asked the BF about the gift. He told me that they were for sleep. I gave him the stinkeye and asked about the dosage. Last thing I need is to get up and fall over in my bedroom, where there are far too many sharp edges to add to the growing scar collection on my coconut. The dosage was the same as the Green Hornets, which I tolerate quite well.
I popped one in my mouth, and being a glutton for punishment, right before I tottered off to bed I also nabbed a chunk of real dark chocolate (I know, I know, right after I brushed my teeth, too). I broke the piece in half and settled in, happily sucking on the decadent treat.
When I woke up this morning I grasped Gerry, my long-suffering, thirty-year-old teddy bear. He bore something on his butt that didn’t feel right (just like a husband or wife of thirty years, you know when you find something that doesn’t belong). AUGH!! WHAT IS THAT????
As this is sheet day, I leapt out of bed and began to strip.
Big dark brown smears all over the place.
I looked down at my partially -clothed body and noted a similar big dark brown smear on my right upper leg.
Um. Huh. I sniffed cautiously.
That’s how swiftly I went to sleep.
When I don’t finish my chocolate, I know the edible worked.
Dragging out the spot remover, I soaked the sheets. I’m hopeful.
As for Gerrybear, well. His fuzzy rear looks like he’d ingested several spicy burritos and washed it all down with a bottle of gin. Getting the melted goo off his brown butt is going to take some work. Still, it’s just chocolate. Not the edible itself, but the treat I gave myself after the edible.
For diabetics, you might need to be mindful of the sugar content of the bud edibles, which can be problematic.
The High Price of Pharmaceuticals
For years I had been prescribed Trazodone for sleep (and PTSD). Ambien, also for sleep, is addictive. Melatonin doesn’t work for me. Like so many drugs, Trazodone, like every other anti-depressant, has some nasty side effects including:
- Muscle ache
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or stomachache
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Loss of interest in sex (erectile dysfunction in men)
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Dry mouth or dry eyes
- Numbness, burning, or tingling sensations
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Nervousness or confusion
- Weakness or fatigue (source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/trazodone)
I had a great many of those symptoms. After dumping this nasty drug, they dissipated. The pot edible simply made me go to sleep so fast I had chocolate stains on my sheets. That’s a small price to pay as opposed to living with the above symptoms, courtesy your friendly pharmaceutical company.
Just the Beginning
Marijuana has huge potential. We are just beginning to discover what it can to for our health and bodies. If there is any indication of the potential of this market, consider this: Bayer/Monsanto is maneuvering to gain control of the world’s supply of pot seeds. Hint: they can see what’s coming. If and when the prices get out of hand-and they WILL-and a gummy costs $50 a pop (don’t underestimate greed), I guarantee you the black market will again flourish.
That’s not all. One company spent half a mil fighting pot legalization…why? Because of course they were developing a synthetic version of the same. Heaven help the consumer who grows his own. He HAS to be made to pay premium prices for a synthetic version. Pardon me while I retch. Oh wait- pot helps with nausea… that’ll be $450.00 for that one pill, thankyouverymuch. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/24/a-pharma-company-that-spent-500000-trying-to-keep-pot-illegal-just-got-dea-approval-for-synthetic-marijuana/?utm_term=.a1204465644d. Don’t mind my cynicism, but pharma companies lead with greed, not with our health in mind. Healthy people don’t need drugs. We want happy, productive lives. Unfortunately that does not fit the current healthcare profit model.
The down side of increased pot product use is that of course, there are now, and will be plenty more, stories of those with adverse reactions. Opponents will seize on this to attempt to deny everyone else use of these products. That disregards the simple fact that anyone can have an adverse reaction to anything, whether a plant, a bee sting, a drug (most especially pharmaceuticals but let’s not go there). To stymie development of natural products from hemp and the marijuana plant because the odd kid or adult ingested far too much or wasn’t particularly careful robs everyone else of what I’ve found to be right useful- if expensive- products.
Like many of us I will happily pay more for a non-pharma option for sleep or pain medication. My boyfriend and I are aging athletes, subject to perhaps a few more aches, pains, bumps and bruises than those less active. Neither of us uses any kind of recreational drug, including alcohol. However, given the woeful track record of the pharmaceutical industry and health care in general, both of us would far rather shell out a bit more to shelter our well-being rather than ingest chemicals that have devastating short- and long-term effects. The hysterical argument that using pot products and edibles is going to lead to a massive increase in dangerous drug us is, to my mind, beyond stupid. I would posit that like everything else, users on a bell curve. Most of us will find occasional use for these products. That hardly makes us heroin addicts. Those who are headed in that direction don’t need sedate pot products. They are on the streets finding far worse. Others who just like being high, will do that anyway. I’m addressing the rest of us who can find legitimate, hugely useful applications which can potentially improve our quality of life.
As best we know right now, pot products fall into the prevention and wellness category. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ mindless yap about how pot is as lethal as heroin has a great deal to do with who owns him: Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma (https://www.davidwolfe.com/jeff-sessions-war-medical-marijuana-big-pharma/ and https://herb.co/marijuana/news/jeff-sessions-big-tobacco). Follow the money. He has no choice but be a mouthpiece for greed and profit. As someone who has been a corporate lobbyist in Washington, I saw that’s how the game is played. It’s not for the people. It’s for the profit. There is no profit in our wellness, otherwise Big Tobacco (and I daresay a good bit of Big Pharma) would have been out of business a very long time ago. But that’s another story entirely.
I never imagined myself a pot ingester. However, at 65, and exceedingly more mindful of my health, I am a fan. I have no interest in getting high per se. Being on the edge of the Grand Canyon, kayaking icy fjords in Iceland, riding a fine horse across a wide open plain does that for me just fine, thanks. There is nothing that LSD can do for me that watching a million birds wheel in the evening sky doesn’t do better and far more safely. But that’s just me. When I do injure, or need help finding my way to dream land, I am pleased to use pot products even as the young industry sorts out its consistency issues.
Is this bud for you? Perhaps. It may be worth a try. If you are committed to weaning yourself off damaging drugs, each of which has its own set of potentially lethal side effects, you might want to explore your local pot store. Or, the CBD products which contain no THC. Many are legal in nearly all states. The only danger I see is not allowing for a strong reaction, as my sore noggin can attest to. That just takes a bit of care, just as you would with anything you’ve not yet tested. Watch for how you react. As with all things, no two bodies are alike, and we can make no assumptions about how anything will affect us.
If nothing else, you could find out what a real, full night’s sleep feels like. Not bad for a little truffle with a kick. I’ll take that kind of medicine any day.
P.S. The chocolate came out. And Gerrybear, who remains my dearest belly pillow, is doing time in the dryer with a clean butt. He is happy to have his good name cleared of any wrongdoing concerning burritos and gin.