There’s only so much mental and physical preparation one can do for my first surgery, let alone a knee replacement that involves body parts that aren’t my own. Once I was finally able to wrap my brain around the seriousness of the situation, I began thinking about the medication options I would have once I was out of surgery. I moved to Washington in 2014 to pursue a career in the legal cannabis industry, and have made a point to learn as much as I can about the healing properties of this plant. After years of birth control and other problematic pharmaceuticals, I decided to go in a more holistic direction of healing.
It’s highly unlikely that you’re unaware of the opioid crisis that is currently sweeping our country, but just in case you are, allow me to bring you up to speed. The National Institute of Drug Abuse has reported a 2.8-fold increase in the total number of deaths involving opioid drugs from 2002-2015. This means in 13 years we have more than doubled the counts of opioid-related deaths. Towards the end of my adolescence, I witnessed many of my former classmates’ lives ruined due to their opioid addictions. Since then, I’ve been weary of doctors who are all too eager to produce prescriptions for these drugs that have taken the lives of so many.
The idea that I could become addicted to these drugs myself terrified me. However, the night after my surgery showed me just how much I needed the opiates. I was caught between my personal conflict with taking opiates, and a serious medical need to stay on top of taking my doses in a timely manner. I felt so lucky to be allowed to be able to bring my cannabis into the hospital to begin my regimen of treatment right away. Prior to my surgery, we made about 100 coconut oil capsules, each containing 100mg of THC. It was truly a relief to not feel stigmatized by the medical community for the way I choose to regulate my health.
For the past two months post-op, I have been experimenting with different levels of cannabinoids to find the perfect blend for my body. In the beginning, I was on a combination of opiates and high doses of THC and CBD, switching on and off between 1:1 capsules and capsules with only THC. I like to use a combination of THC and CBD because the Cannabidiol can counteract the heavily psychoactive effects of a high dose of THC. The opiates made my brain foggy enough, so having the CBD gave me some much-needed balance. Through a combination of healthy eating, mindfulness, my cannabinoid concoction, and some amazing topical oils and gels gifted to me by other medical marijuana patients, I was able to bring my opiate use to an end a month after my surgery.
This year was the end of an era for me. I am still in the process of recovery from my surgery, but I finally found out the source of my chronic knee pain. I took the initiative to have my knee replaced, and I made the choice to medicate my pain away with cannabis. Each body is different, but if science can support an alternative to highly addictive opiates, the choice for me is crystal clear.