When weighing your treatment options, you often do research and try to paint yourself a realistic picture though all the hope. When I started research on medical cannabis, I was skeptical — maybe even cynical. I had already tried so many snake oils for pain management and I was tired of being jerked around. What I found when using medical cannabis is that not only did it help me with my pain, my appetite, and increase my quality of life, I also realized there were a few underrated benefits no one talks about enough:
1. Friendly and knowledgeable dispensary employees and budtenders:
You want to understand fear? Go to the ER and tell your doctor you have two chronic illnesses. Then watch that same doctor pull out his smartphone and Google one of your conditions.
A few people at the dispensary my husband Zaine and I frequent see a lot of different kinds of patients from all walks of life. My husband and I shopped around for a “homebase” dispensary — a place where we could trust the people working there, where it felt comfortable and relaxed, with fair prices and good product. Eugene, Oregon’s market is flooded but it wasn’t long until we found a shop just a few blocks away from where we live. Zaine went in a couple of days after they opened and picked out some medicine for me and liked how welcoming it felt, and how accessible all the budtenders were.
He’s built a rapport with the employees there now, and they know what he’s looking for and all about my Crohn’s/fibro needs. Budtenders like questions; specifically, they like knowing what’s going on and how they can help. In my experience, they care, they’re on your team, and they want you to feel better just as much as you do. Take the same amount of care picking the places you get your medicine as you do the doctors prescribing it.
Flower, dab, concentrate, topical creams, edibles, vaginal creams, oils, patches, etc. There are so many ways to take cannabis-based medicine. The variety of products can be tailored to fit your care plan — for fibro, I like to ideally use a hybrid flower in the beginning of my day, and an indica with a moderate THC for the middle. I can smoke socially with my neighbor (who is also chronically ill) and we’ll chat about life and such while we get out of pain together. Then we can share coffee/tea and snacks.
If I need to I can sneak in an edible or two for body aches if necessary, and then as my day is winding down I smoke a bowl or two myself, or if it’s been a bad day, I can call another friend (another chronically ill friend), and he’ll bring his rig and we dab high THC concentrates until we’re both tired and we sleep. I’m trying to work in tolerance breaks and so far, I have averaged about two to five days a month (which is plenty for now).
3. Autonomy and Customizability:
I can pick when to take my medicine, I can pick where I get it, how much I’m willing to spend, how much I need, how I plan to use it, what strains I get, where it’s grown, how it’s grown, etc. This is the most free I have ever felt in a treatment plan. The regiment I have listed out is a combination effort between my husband and I. We get to work together to fine tune the treatments on my own.
4. Fun and Sociable:
This seems weird to write about in an article about chronic pain and medical treatments, but I’m going to be 100 percent honest: Cannabis makes me social. It gets me out of that anxiety funk and makes it easier for me to talk to people. I don’t depend on it; rather, it’s helping me work out why I’m anxious and help me be social when I’m not medicated as well!
5. My pipes are cute — there, I said it.
I take as much pride in having cute pieces as someone who decorates their cane or ostomy bag does. It doesn’t change the fact that I have something wrong with me, but it does brighten my day. I have a cute, blue swirl glass piece and another cute green glass swirl piece. They’re just little pipes but I like them. I want to get a glitter pipe next and a decorative vape pen that I can take with me for when times are really rough. I hope soon I can also branch out and try a few new things but we’ll see what money and time permits!
I’ve found lots of hidden benefits to cannabis that were just waiting to be discovered. Cannabis just might be the ticket for many chronic illness patients to take back our lives and take over our treatments.