How I Discovered Cannabis for Pain
I wish I knew about cannabis years ago, it would have saved me from a lot of stress. Truth is, ever since I started using it, I’ve seen changes in my health.
Stigma around cannabis use
Here in Ghana, weed is referred to as “wee.” It is believed that people who use cannabis are gangsters. People also say using weed makes you mad and violent.
Maybe this is to put fear into us, not to abuse it, but still, I think it’s too much of an exaggeration.
The pain of a crisis
In 2014, after a major crisis, I experienced avascular necrosis of the hip that wouldn’t go away. I tried I could but ended up getting stuck to crutches for a while. The pain was so severe, even pethidine could not help much.
Weeks had passed, and the pain wouldn’t stop. One day while crying in pain, a doctor friend came to visit me at my hostel and gave me 2 rolls of cannabis to try for my pain. I was reluctant because of all the stories I heard about it, so I pushed it away.
Later that night, the pain came back. As I groaned in pain, my roommates began to complain. They were trying to rest for class the next day, and there I am disturbing them with my pain.
Trying weed for the first time
I endured the pain till all my strength was gone. After dragging my legs for what seems to be like forever, I finally took a roll and lit it. For the first time in months, I slept like a baby. I could still feel the pain, but my body did not react. Gradually, the pain reduced, and I started learning to walk again. Even though I loved the effect it had on me and my pain, I feared all the myths that came with it, so I swore never to touch it again.
Managing pain crises
A few years later, a similar crisis occurred. A very painful infection. It was on and off. Medications only seem to make it worse. I told a sickle cell warrior friend of mine, and she told me cannabis helped her. I quickly called my doctor friend and told him about it. He spoke to me again about using cannabis for pain. This time, I did not object, so he brought me some.
I used it on my soups, smoothies, and tea. I didn’t even realize when all the pain stopped. I then made it a ritual once a month.
Connecting with other patients
After my dialysis last year, I attended a meeting for patients and doctors living with sickle cell. To my surprise, the talk was on cannabis. I sat there listening to all these testimonies.
I was using it too, but what was I doing wrong. They all testified about having no more severe crises when they started using it. Why do I still get them? After the meeting, I approached a few to ask and found out that I had to use it more frequently. Mmmmm! So that’s what I’m not doing right.
It's a wonderful feeling to be free
I’ve not had a severe crisis for over a year now ever since I started using cannabis frequently. I’m more focused, energized, and healthy. Yes, I get sick, mild pains but nothing serious enough to take me to the ER. I eat better, look better and feel better.
It’s a wonderful feeling to be free for a while now, and I hope this continues.
Unfortunately, cannabis is still illegal in Ghana, but a license could be granted for health purposes. I’m trying to get one, and I hope I do soon.
About the myths that come with the use of weed, well, I’ve not experienced them yet. Looks like it’s actually a savior and not a prophet of doom, and I think you should say it too.
Everyone is different
Every sickle cell patient is different. It may or may not work for you. I love to use it because it really works better for me than strong pain meds like morphine. Not only that, it helps me relax and sleep better and gives me an appetite to eat well. So why not?
Its unfortunate weed is still illegal in Ghana, but a permit can be issued for health purposes. I’ll try and get one, so I can use my weed freely.
Have you had a special caregiver in your life?