This post contains affiliate links to products I used to research for my mum.
Mum’s had fibromyalgia for over 40 years. To be honest I’ve only been learning about it for the past 12 months because mum rarely talks about it – it upsets her, so she just doesn’t go there.
Last year we had a real scare with mum’s health and since then I’ve been trying to find ways to help her manage her pain.
I’ve been taking her to doctor’s appointments since the scare because they say things that easily upset her and she doesn’t hear a single thing past that and then she misses some pretty important information. I was going to say (insert angry gripe here) but the long and short of it is, mum agrees that she has to stop relying on doctors and she is going to start taking control of her own health, with my help.
Since then I’ve been on the hunt for reputable, natural ways to relieve pain – my mum turns 70 this year, so I’m not going to just give her any old thing! It needs to have some merit.
Anyway during my research I kept coming across CBD Oil for fibromyalgia. CBD stands for a substance called cannabinoids which is found in hemp and marijuana. We’ve been hoping for medical marijuana to hit Australian shores for years, wondering if it might be an alternative to opiate based medications for mum.
At one of our appointments, we asked her specialist if medical marijuana would be of any benefit. He very carefully didn’t say yes but he also just as carefully insinuated there would be no contraindications (and then promptly “kind of” changed the subject and told us exactly where land had been designated near the hospital to grow medical marijuana! Well at least it’s on it’s way!).
But we had what we were looking for – CBD won’t work against mums current medication.
The next bit of research I did was looking into how CBD works on the human body. I read a very insightful book called CBD-Rich Hemp Oil, Cannabis Medicine Is Back that explained how the human body has it’s own cannabinoid system which “has regulatory roles in many physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory. The primary purpose of this system revolves around maintaining balance in the body”. Incidentally the human cannabinoid system is actually named after cannabinoids found in marijuana (they discovered cannabinoids in pot before they discovered cannabinoids in people!).
Fibro pain is a neurological pain (as opposed to an acute injury caused pain) so it makes sense that if your neurological cannabinoid system is impaired, you could support it with an alternative cannabinoid. We already do this with HRT for menopause with either plant based estrogen or synthetic estrogen. CBD-Rich Hemp Oil, Cannabis Medicine Is Back explains how the plant cannabinoid is a safe and natural replacement therapy for the human cannabinoid system.
CBD-Rich Hemp Oil, Cannabis Medicine Is Back goes on to say “there are many reasons why the body may not meet its endocannabinoid demands. Experiencing an acute or chronic stressor or multiple stressors, systemic compromise such as genetic or digestive issues, the demands and alterations of emotional and physical trauma, pollution and buildup of internal toxins are situations that could change the supply and demand needs for endocannabinoids.” – endo being human.
So for someone like mum who’s had fibromyalgia for 40 years, chronic pain and depression, I thought well that puts her in the chronic stressor category. So I felt like I was still on the right track.
Is it about now you’re thinking that my mum is going to get “high as a kite”?
Apparently not. Marijuana has two main components, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol is the part that causes the high) and CBD. When CBD oil is made for legal human consumption it’s made from hemp, not marijuana and the final product has to contain less than .3% THC, effectively making it a useless recreational drug.
I saw some warnings during my research:
- Be careful which CBD Oil you choose because it can be extracted using “good” olive oil or c02 methods or “bad” ethanol methods
- Quite often it can be sold with very little actual CBD in it
Apparently it’s hard to cultivate hemp to have the exact same level of CBD every time so I made sure I bought from a reputable company.
CBD oil can also be used externally and internally as it’s easily absorbed through the skin.
I chose to buy an oil that can be used orally – to be honest I didn’t think an external one would work on the cannabinoid system as well and I was looking for quick pain relief for mum while her medications were being reduced.
The only relevant dosage instructions I could find were from CBD-Rich Hemp Oil, Cannabis Medicine Is Back which says starting with “1 or 2 mgs of CBD taken orally. “…” it will normally last for about 12 hours. So 1 to 2 mgs seems to be a low-end starting dose and may very well end up being the dose. Some other people experienced in CBD dosages suggest that 4 to 8 mgs a day is a suggested general amount taken by people with mild conditions. It is also important to consider that cannabinoids are stored in fat cells. One may not need as much after taking them for a while, a few weeks perhaps. Our individual metabolisms and needs must also be considered, as no two people are exactly alike.”
There was still no way I was going to give this to my mum unless I tested it on myself. Now with the aim of objectivity and transparency, I’m going to admit that I smoked recreational marijuana back in my early 20’s, so I know what it’s like to be high.
For my test dosage I used .75ml. I followed some instructions I found online, which said to hold the oil under my tongue for 30 to 60 seconds so it gets absorbed quickly through the skin as opposed to swallowing it and getting watered down in my digestive system. The CBD oil I bought is tinted with cinnamon and mint but the undertones were no stronger than a good olive oil (gee I sound like a wine connoisseur!). Anyway I waited about 60 seconds and swallowed.
I live in a houseful of 4.5 adult kids (only 2 of them are mine) and one of them came and asked me a question about her tax about 5 minutes after I’d taken the CBD oil! Now I don’t know if I had a psychosomatic reaction (talked myself into it, because let’s face it, no matter how you dress it up, I just swallowed some pot, maybe not all of it, but some of it!). But I did mention to “tax questioner” that I felt “a bit silly”. The sensation wore off in about 5 minutes and as I was talking tax stuff at the time I didn’t notice anything else. At this point I kind of doubted that CBD would help mum. But I don’t have fibro or pain so maybe I wasn’t feeling anything because I don’t have such a badly impaired cannabinoid system.
So the following weekend I sat down with mum. Now I’d included mum in all my research and she had given the go ahead to buy and try. This time I only had .5ml and mum had .25ml.
We didn’t feel a thing for about 15 minutes. Mum and I get along really well and we’re chatting away and honestly I can’t remember what started us off but we ended up full-on belly laughing, tears streaming, tummy hugging, giggling and gasping for about 15 minutes before we could pull ourselves together enough to say … what the!!!
To be clear, we were NOT high. We … just … felt really good! You know once the giggles starts and it simmers in the background waiting to trigger you off again? That sensation lasted for about half an hour. And honestly – you have no idea how long it’s been since I’ve seen my mum laugh!!
I waited for a couple of hours before I left mum (to make sure she was still ok) with instructions to start with JUST ONE DROP next time she had some! On the 45 minute drive home I realised that I felt no stress, I also felt more motivated in general than I have in a long time, and dare I say that my progesterone stumped libido may have kicked back in a tiny bit! I hadn’t felt this good since menopause kicked in 5 years ago. To be honest the last 10 years has been a bit shit and this feeling reminded me what it was like to be 20 again.
Now I don’t know if it was all that healing laughter that made us feel good for the rest of the day, but when I got home I bought some CBD oil for my own stress management that has started to affect my weight and adrenals.
I gave mum a follow up call the next day. Firstly she had felt happy enough for the rest of the day to not worry about pain or stress so she didn’t feel the need to take any more CBD oil and she slept really well that night. But she did try rubbing some on a very sore arthritic foot. The results 15 minutes later – the pain hadn’t completely gone but it was definitely less sore (and no giggles!).
For the next few weeks mum’s going to track her pain levels and CBD oil usage in a dot journal. We can then use the information to track exactly how they relate to each other or even if they do. Dot journals are a great way to record a very clear, visual picture of mums pain levels against any pain relief treatment we try.
To give it a fair go we’ll track it for a month or so. I really hope to see a positive pattern at the end of her trial because let’s face it, I was looking for a natural pain alternative that actually worked – we’re talking high pain levels here. But at the end of the day if the pain results aren’t all that great, it’s great to see mum smiling again.
Even if CBD oil relieves her tension and stress that’s a good start in my book and hers.
Will let you know how it goes!
Stay happy 🙂