So before I started chemo, I spent a lot of time researching ways to avoid and/or minimize the slew of possible side effects that I was told to expect.
Three of the most common were bone pain, joint pain and neuropathy - none of which sounded like any fun at all.
And one of the (potential) remedies that popped up in a lot of articles, was CBD oil.
In addition to helping to ease bone, joint and neuropathic pain, CBD oil is also thought to have anti-inflammatory AND anti-anxiety properties. So this went to the top of my list when I was stocking my home pharmacy.
Now as almost every medical professional out there will say, more research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be made. And you should ALWAYS consult with your oncologist before integrating this (or any alternative, holistic or complimentary treatments), to make sure it won’t interfere with your current course of traditional treatment - if that's the route you've chosen.
When I brought this up with my oncologist, he told me that there was not enough research to say one way or the other if CBD oil would work. However, he also stated that it would not interfere with my treatment protocol. So I got a referral to a local Compassion Centre, and met with them to go over my options.
I was super clear that I did not want a high THC content. Mostly because I didn’t want the buzz, but also because I’d read that hormone sensitive cancer cells can be aggravated by high THC intake. And my cancer is triple positive, which makes it extremely hormone sensitive.
With that said however, there are almost as many articles to dispute this, as there are in favour of it, so who the hell really knows at this point. But, based on the conclusions that I came to on my own (as a non-medical professional), I went with high CBD and low THC.
And my guy at the Compassion Centre agreed, and suggested a 25:1 ratio. 25 being the ratio of CBD oil, and the 1 being THC. That 1% is basically the residual THC that can’t be extracted out of the oil when it’s processed. And I can say from 18 months of experience that it’s def not enough to give even a hint of a buzz.
I took 50mg everyday (sublingually) throughout my six month chemo run, and I’m sure that this, along with a plant-based diet and a few other holistic approaches, are why I didn’t experience any bone pain or neuropathy - much to the shock of my oncology team.
Like none at all!!
And I still take 25mg every night before bed, as some of the "after chemo" (maintenance) cancer meds that I'm on can cause similar side effects.
Something that also happened very shortly after I started chemo, was legalization!
Until a few months ago, I had continued to go to my "underground" Compassion Centre because they were as legit as an illegal dispensary can be. They've been around for more than 20 years, and have a form that a doctor is required to complete before you're even allowed in the door for an initial consult. And they only provide to people with confirmed medical conditions.
With that said, they are obviously not affiliated with any insurance companies, so I was paying for all of this out of pocket. And I was totally ok with this - until my private insurance company partnered with the Shoppers Drug Mart dispensary and added medical marijuana to their list of accepted and claimable medications. At which point, I jumped ship.
I'm self-employed, but have always paid into a private benefits policy through Manulife. And it's a decent plan that covers 70-90% on my prescriptions - which is a pretty significant chunk of change.
And as much as I'd prefer to support the little guy (ie. the Compassion Centre), I can't say no to that kind of savings - especially when the product is just as good - and regulated!
So for any of you out there who are looking into CBD oil, or are already getting it from a dispensary - if you have a benefits plan, I'd definitely suggest checking with them to see if you can claim it. They'll send you the necessary forms, and walk you through the process to get everything set up.
With the Shoppers dispensary, everything is online. You can't walk into a store and buy it at the pharmacy. Instead, you order it online or by phone, and it's delivered to your door.
They've got a pretty knowledgeable support staff, who have been well trained and are happy to answer any questions that you might have. As will (should) most employees at Compassion Centres as well, for those of you looking into that option.
I'm not well versed, at all, in the field of cannabis. I don't know my indica's from my sativa's, or anything about which strains or hybrids work best for which ailments. So I'm grateful that in both cases (the Compassion Centre and Shopper's dispensary) the staff was willing to discuss the different options available to me, and suggest what they felt would work best for me and my particular situation.
And thankfully, I've had no complaints about any of the brands that I have tried - although my preference has been a brand (manufacturer) called Aurora.
Lastly, if taking it orally isn't your thing (or even if it is), you could always (or also) try a CBD oil cream or salve/balm. I purchased a great salve from my Compassion Centre and have been absolutely blown away at how well AND quickly it works.
Of course I haven't had to use it all that much, because I haven't experienced much bone or joint pain (thanks, in large part, to the CBD oil), however, I have had the occasional flareup - mostly when starting a new medication or if I have been out and about galavanting all day. And all it takes is a little bit of that balm massaged into the area, and within 10 minutes or so, the pain is gonzo!!
So yea. I really hope that this is helpful for any of you who are curious, but not sure about whether CBD oil is something you should consider.
Again though, if this is something that you are looking into (whether you have cancer, anxiety, bone pane, or any ailment for that matter), please please please be sure to consult with your MD or oncologist first. There are so many different drugs out there that react differently when taken alongside natural and holistic remedies. And you want to be sure that you're giving your primary course of treatment every chance that it has to work, without an adverse interaction.
p.s. Here's a great article on the potential benefits of CBD Oil for cancer.