Marijuana has been stereotypically associated with a younger crowd. But…Read more »
Asthma is a debilitating ailment that many more adults than ever deal with on a daily basis. Mine had been under control, without pharmaceuticals, since I began using cannabis medicine. There have been a few instances where I’ve had to reach for my rescue inhaler since switching to a nature’s bronchial dilator – the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, but they have been few and far between. This is one of #mmj’s many gifts. I ALWAYS HAVE A RESCUE INHALER WITH ME. The times I have reached for it, as many asthmatics know, can be very frightening moments.
After traveling by crowded jet in mid-July, my weakened lungs succumbed to a upper respiratory infection that just would not go away. There are times when the human body doesn’t fit the car analogy I’ve been known to use. The air filter is clogged, we clean or replace it. We fill up with poor quality fuel (food), and the car (the body) performs poorly. Dead battery? Drop in a new one (transplant), and no more jumper cables required. My compromised immune system just couldn’t do the job alone, and cannabis is simply not a panacea.
I have been fortunate to find an MD to work with me who understands my resistance to pharmaceuticals, and my use of cannabis medicine. He has allowed me to educate him enough to be a better healer for me within the parameters he has been given, and together we are doing a pretty good job with my quality of life.
For over a month, my asthma had been at varying stages of crisis. We incorporated the best of traditional and non-traditional (you decide which is which) medicines. The antibiotic in week two, cleared up a big part of the initial culprit. Then, one by one, corticosteroid, a long-acting beta agonist, and a bronchial dilator via nebulizer, were added. I increased the cannabis infused oil I ingest – careful to use compounds that worked wonderfully for many of the side effects I experienced from this adrenal drug cocktail.
Another trick I discovered was that by taking one small puff of a high CBD strain in my vaporizer when I could not stop coughing, the spasms in my chest would relax enough for me to BREATHE. This worked best, for me, using ground flowers, rather than hash oil. It takes very little, and a small amount goes a long way. The goal is to stop the spasms (symptom), not to medicate.
The side effects from some of the pharmaceuticals are not comfortable, so making the decision to take them was not an easy one. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic lists for corticosteroid:
- Elevated pressure in the eyes (glaucoma)
- Fluid retention, causing swelling in your lower legs
- Increased blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Weight gain, with fat deposits in your abdomen, face and the back of your neck
When taking oral corticosteroids longer term, you may experience:
- High blood sugar, which can trigger or worsen diabetes
- Increased risk of infections
- Loss of calcium from bones, which can lead to osteoporosis and fractures
- Menstrual irregularities
- Suppressed adrenal gland hormone production
- Thin skin, easy bruising and slower wound healing
Not an attractive list of side effects for a drug, however, it has proven to be a life saver for millions of people each year, whether faced with organ transplants or asthma. Apparently, someone at the FDA had the wisdom to see this as well. When faced with the choice between life or death, it seems an obvious choice.
Because my body is the sum of all its parts (organs, muscles, vascular, brain chemistry), it is important to see the role cannabis would play in fitting in my present regimen. First, by taking an inventory of my health issues (it is important to focus on the core problems, not only the symptoms) and the side effects that are being caused by my health issues, as well as the pharmaceutical side effects. My health history includes a myriad of complications besides asthma that must be taken into account – thyroid, kidney, chronic pain, auto-immune to name a few.
Next, I look at whether cannabis is of known benefit for each issue. Which cannabinoids and terpenes, are best for it? Is CBD and myrcene the winning combination for side effect A and B, while THC and linalool looks like the winner for issue C. This is getting easier to do as testing becomes widespread, and more states legalize medical marijuana.
Once I’ve gathered this information, I look at the cornucopia of medications I have in front of me – much as a mechanic would look at his tool box. Which tool is best for the job that needs to be done. Then, I closely pay attention to my body’s response to different combinations of treatments. The best results with the least side effects makes the most sense. First, do no harm.
Unfortunately, some of my tools are still those of a much earlier century because of regulations limiting studies, and the type of funding and cooperation it takes to accumulate this sort of data. Governments, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, dispensaries, black markets, and the stigma associated with cannabis as medicine for many individuals makes accumulation and analysis challenging. The image of herding cats doesn’t come close to describing the anarchy. Competing agendas, distrust, lack of education, inconsistent and purposeful misinformation are rampant.
Yet, even in this environment, the medicine is defining itself to those of us who are paying attention. By working with test results, patient data feedback, and knowledgeable cannabis specialists, the legitimate field of cannabis medicine is forming. I am grateful to be a benefactor of its healing properties, and to in my own way, add to the knowledge base.
As I approach week seven, I am pleased to report that I have reduced my corticosteroid dosage in half, and I am no longer taking a beta agonist. My bronchial dilator is delivered far less via nebulizer, and more frequently by rescue inhaler twice per day). My previously increased cannabis oil dosage, is steady, and will remain at this level until my MD and I agree this asthma episode is over. I can rest easy knowing that I am an active participant in my health care, and that I am following the path of least resistance for my body’s well being.
About the author. She is a patient, friend and advocate. Please visit Mara at Aunt Zelda’s http://www.azcannaoil.com.