Lupus, Cannabis, and Edible Treats – One Woman’s Journey

When Christina ***** was diagnosed with systemic lupus, starting a business was probably the last thing on her mind. Yet a business did come of it. Perhaps not as a direct result; instead, the decision came after experiencing a seven-year addiction to pharmaceuticals, which was shortly followed by the ingestion of a simple edible cookie. Things just haven’t been the same since.

“I became addicted to everything [I was taking],” Christina told Everything Medical Marijuana in a recent interview. “Didn’t know it until my kids were like, ‘Mom, you don’t laugh anymore. You’re not the same.’”

As difficult as it might have been to admit that her kids were right, Christina had noticed it, too. The drugs were robbing her of happiness, life, joy, and her family.

“The light of your soul gets extinguished when you take [prescription pills] every day. Period,” Christina said.

So, on the advice of her son, she stopped taking all her lupus prescriptions. But something went horribly, terribly wrong. Within just a matter of days, she was in the hospital, suffering from seizures and other withdrawal symptoms. It hadn’t been intentional. She didn’t even realize she was addicted, so she certainly hadn’t anticipated the hell of a detox.

“I had no idea. I never abused it,” she said. “I trusted my doctor.”

Unfortunately, that trust ended up landing her in detox for 10 days. She also had to spend 30 days on seizure medication to help mitigate against the prescription-related seizures. And all of that was made worse by her continued symptoms – pain, problems with her skin, her joints, her immune system, anyplace that her lupus felt like taking over.

“Lupus is a very sad condition,” she said.

But then her husband managed to get a medical cannabis card. She went into a dispensary, searching for some sort of hope. She knew she couldn’t smoke cannabis; that had actually intensified her symptoms at the beginning, which is why she’d turned to pharmaceuticals in the first place. So she asked for help from the budtender.

Christina was offered simple cookie. The edible that changed everything.

“[The lady at the dispensary] gave me the best edible at the time,” Christina said.

She went home and tried it, and to her surprise, it was like “the heavens opened up.” Her pain was being managed. She felt spiritually alive (unlike the deadness she’d felt while taking prescriptions), and she just knew this was a major step in the right direction.

“I could have pain relief, naturally, without getting addicted,” she said.
And she’s right; while cannabis can be addicting, its overall addiction rate is much lower than other pain relief drugs – even pharmaceuticals. And the “detox” is hardly worth comparing. You might get a little grumpy when trying to stop cannabis, but there aren’t any seizures, vomiting, or pain. It’s manageable, and you don’t need the aid of a physician or hospital to get through it.

There was just one tiny little problem for Christina; she couldn’t afford her medication at dispensary prices – not at the dosage she needed. She started researching how to make her own. Knowing she needed optimal symptom and pain relief for her lupus, she experimented with different combinations of CBD and THC. She even examined different carrier options (butter versus coconut oil, etc.). Finally, she found the recipe that worked for her.

“I started out at 50 milligrams . . . [Now] I only dose once a day. It’s about 500 to 700 milligrams,” Christina said. “I use [THC] just strictly for pain, and it’s like maybe a couple times a week I have to do that,” she said. “I come from that healing side.”

While Christina’s dose is exceptionally high for some, it is low for others. The point is that it is personalized. It fits her needs and keeps her off the pharmaceuticals that have caused her so much grief and pain.

“I’ve been clean and sober off of all pharmaceuticals for 10 years, September 4th,” Christina said during her interview. “I wake up feeling great . . . [but] if I wake up and have a flare up or something’s bothering me that day, physically, I might take a small oil hit off a vape pen, and I won’t even feel it in my head, but I physically feel it.”

Now, things could have stopped there, but Christina realized that there were others out there like her. People that needed affordable, easy to ingest medicine. Patients who wanted or needed an alternative to smoking their cannabis. And new users that needed guidance and assistance as they found the right dosage and regimen for their specific condition. She already had a bakery, and was making cake pops and other treats for the local community. Wicked Delights didn’t seem like much of a stretch, but she never could have guessed what it would mean for the medical cannabis industry.

Based out of Olympia, Washington, Wicked Delights is a commercial marijuana bakery that is best known for its beautiful, tasty, and potent products. They use only high quality ingredients in their delightful morsels, and they still use butter, which is almost unheard of in the industry today. So, if you ever get the chance to try something from Wicked Delights, don’t worry about counting calories (who cares anyway, right?!). Instead, simply take comfort in knowing that you are ingesting one of the finest edibles around, and that it is made by someone like you – a patient, a person who needs pain and symptom relief, not just a “high.”

“I cook low and slow with a really fatty butter [to keep more of the beneficial agents in the cannabis],” Christina said of her tasty treats. “I come from the healing side.”

Of course, this bakery isn’t just about baked goods and candies. It’s not even about just healing. It’s about giving back to the community and educating patients who need pain and symptom relief. It’s about helping patients that are new to ingesting cannabis, and helping them find the medication and dosage that works best for them.

“You can never judge what somebody’s going to get high on,” Christina said, adding that she’d accidentally overdosed her mother while perfecting one of her recipes. “One cookie for my mom was too much.”

Which is exactly why Christina and CBD Outreach, run by Jami Bisi (owner of Everything Medical Marijuana Magazine), suggest that patients start with a small dose. Take less than you think you need – even just a half a cookie or candy may suffice.

“Ingesting it is a whole different ball game,” Christina said. “People don’t expect the full body and head high.”

If, after a couple of hours, you’re still not feeling better, you can take more. But, again, make sure that additional dosage is small. Remember: you can always take more, but what you can’t do is stop an overdose once it happens. As such, overdose should be avoided at all costs.

Please note: Though overdose may not result in fatality, it is an extremely uncomfortable feeling. You could experience a racing heart, breathing problems, may feel dizzy or disoriented, and may even feel sick. It generally passes in a matter of a few hours, but those few hours can be a little scary. If you ever do overdose on cannabis or edibles, consider taking a hot shower or simply sleeping until the effect wears off.

So, if you are a registered medical user and plan to start using edibles (or are even just considering it), make sure you talk to someone at a medical dispensary or a naturopathic doctor – someone who is qualified to give you accurate medical advice. And keep in mind that not all dispensaries are medical in nature, so if you do not have this option available to you, you may contact Everything Medical Marijuana or CBD Outreach for assistance.

We also have our own dosage chart, which was published in our July 2017 issue and is expected to make a reappearance in our future issues. Patients are encouraged to start with tinctures first, if at all possible, and then move to canna-caps. Once your tolerance has been established, you can start using edibles and then slowly start working to a dosage that suits your specific needs. If, at any point, you have any breakthrough pain, you can use vape pens, dabbing, or other THC consumption methods to help you through it.

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