Photo by Jen Thorpe

Those who know me well are aware that I have several chronic illnesses. Most of those illnesses cause pain, which can sometimes be unbearable.

There is no cure for any of my chronic illnesses, and I don’t want to take opioids for pain relief. After doing some research, I determined that CBD oil was a good choice for me.

Before I go any farther, a disclaimer: I am not a doctor. There is absolutely no way I could possibly predict whether or not CBD would be the right choice for you. I highly recommend that you speak with a medical professional before taking CBD.

My purpose for writing this blog post is to share my own, personal, experiences with CBD. Your experience will vary from mine, primarily because it is extremely unlikely that you have all of the same chronic illnesses that I do.

What is CBD oil?

Reader’s Digest has an article that provides some information about it. CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is a type of cannabinoid, a family of molecules typically associated with marijuana. CBD is non-psychoactive and non-addictive.

Reader’s Digest points out that CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp. (The kind I’m taking comes from hemp). CBD does not get people high.

Tetrahydrocannibinol, also called THC, is the chemical in marijuana that gets people high. Hemp lacks that chemical. No one is getting high from CBD, no matter if they are consuming it from edibles, oil, or topical applications.

Is It Legal?

The answer to that question depends on two things: where you live, and whether you are asking about marijuana or hemp.

In the United States, federal law says that marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. In short, this means that anyone in the United States who uses marijuana can run the risk of facing legal consequences for doing so.

Some states, like Washington, Colorado and California, have passed ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana. By 2019, more than 30 states have permitted some marijuana use (including for medical marijuana).

The federal government, however, still considers marijuana to be illegal, no matter what state a person happens to be in while using or carrying it. One should never assume that they can safely use it without risking legal consequences for doing so.

Hemp, on the other hand, is legal. Vox reported in December of 2018 that hemp was legalized when President Trump signed the Farm Bill into law. The Farm Bill contained a provision legalizing hemp, which is a species of cannabis that CBD can be extracted from.

The thing to be aware of is that the Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies CBD as illegal (even though it is made from hemp and does not contain THC). The Food and Drug Administration says CBD companies must obtain approval from the FDA.

In short, don’t be dumb. Figure out what the laws are regarding CBD where you live. Use your best judgement. Never assume that it is safe to bring pot or CBD with you while traveling from one state to another.

Personally, I’m in a good place. California legalized recreational marijuana sales as of January 1, 2018, thanks to how the people of California voted on Proposition 64.

The county I live in is, as I write this blog post, actively in the process of issuing permits to a small number of marijuana businesses. Those business are likely to have CBD – without any THC in it – alongside products that have marijuana. (Or, at least, I hope they will).

Do Some Research

There are a multitude of companies that sell products that contain CBD. My local CVS drug store has a display of topical creams and lotions that contain CBD – and I wasn’t expecting to see it in a big chain store.

After doing some research, I decided that it would be best for me to obtain CBD oil. This was harder for me to track down than you might think because I have a ton of food allergies. Many CBD oils are taken sublingual, and include coconut oil (which I am allergic to). It took a while to find one that was allergy-friendly for me.

The brand of CBD that I am using came from outside of California (but within the United States). The company is on Instagram, and I was able to ask them if this product contained coconut. I was assured that it does not, and that they use vegetable glycerine instead. The CBD oil I am taking was specifically designed for pain relief.

The price of CBD oil can vary (as can the price of other CBD-containing products). You might want to shop around and compare prices. Personally, I’m very happy with what I’m using.

Why I Started Using CBD

I have four chronic illness. Three of them have no cure (and will get worse as time goes by). The other one is borderline anemia, and I’m hoping it will resolve itself after I am in menopause.

My severe allergies (to so many things that I could fill a blog post just listing them) can be very painful, especially during Spring or Fall pollen season. There are days when it feels like I’ve been hit in the face with something really heavy and solid.

While I do take over the counter allergy medications (and one prescription allergy medication), they don’t always take away the pain my allergies cause me. When the pollen count has been high for a seven or more days in a row – I am in constant pain that simply does not go away until after the pollen calms down. Accupuncture can help ease the pain for a little while – but it is not a cure.

I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which can cause my joints to become stiff, sore, and at times very painful. I am taking some supplements that help reduce inflammation. But, there are many times when the weather is cold (or the air conditioning at the grocery store is up too high for me) and my joints start screaming.

I’ve also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. No one seems to have any idea what to do with this, and I’ve never heard anyone so much as mention the hope of a cure. I’ve stumped a specialist who honestly told me he wished he knew how to help me.

Fibromyalgia causes muscle aches that can be extraordinarily painful. For me, this happens when I overdue things physically. Sometimes, that means I went outside for a short walk and my fibromyalgia didn’t want me to do that. Other times, stress (both physical and emotional) can result in horrible pain.

When I started getting muscle spasms, that were so bad that I was screaming for my husband to bring me a heating pad, I knew I needed to find something that would reliably take away pain. CBD turned out to be the answer (for me).

A few drops of CBD stopped the muscle spasms within a very short span of time. I was impressed by how effective it was! The first time I used it was after a really bad muscle spasm started. The pain immediately went away. I was left sweating and with my entire body shaking from the pain – even after the pain subsided. If I had no pain relief, I believe I would have eventually passed out from the pain.

Obviously, I don’t want to have that horrifically painful experience happen over and over again without access to effective pain relief.

Now, I take CBD at the first sign of pain. It has helped me to be able to have more time where I can be functional and do things like shop for groceries with my husband, do some cleaning at home, or work as a freelance writer. I’m able to get more restful sleep because I don’t wake up with muscle cramps in my legs if I take CBD before bedtime.

Again, I am not a doctor, and your experience is very likely to vary from mine. Talk to your health practitioner(s) before taking CBD. I have absolutely no idea how it might affect you.

One of the best things about CBD, in my opinion, is that it can reduce pain. This gives people like me an option that is much safer than opioids for pain relief. CBD is non-addictive; opioids are incredibly addictive and the United States has a opioid epidemic. For me, the choice was obvious.

Why I Started Using CBD is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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