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The Medicine Makers: Choosing Cannabis to Heal Post-Op

The time has come to really walk the talk. Tomorrow morning I will get a hip replacement, and I intend to replace opiates with cannabis post-surgery as much as possible. I began my research months ago, asking advice from every person I know who makes their own tinctures and magic potions out of cannabis. The result is a collection of bottles and cans and jars full of pain relieving and anti-inflammatory concoctions which should ease me into a relaxed and healing body.

The operation is happening right here in Mendocino County, at the new Frank Howard Memorial Hospital. The joke is that it has the best restaurant in town, as the vegetables and most of the food served is organic and locally-sourced. All the rooms there are private and a masseuse will come to the room, along with someone to wash my hair. Sounds more like a spa than a hospital, so I am trying to think of this as a “vacation.”

Swami and I went to a pre-op class where they taught us exercises and gave advice. When the discussion of anesthesia and pain relief came up, I freely stated that I intend to use cannabis products post-op as much as possible. Surprisingly, the “Joint Care Coordinator” (seriously, you can’t make this stuff up) simply asked me to bring my own cannabis meds with a schedule for the nurses to follow for administration. When she instructed everyone to stop all anti-inflammatories 10 days before the operation, I quickly asked if that included T-Relief (a homeopathic arthritis remedy) and cannabis. Her immediate response was to stop the T-Relief, but that cannabis was fine. “In fact,” she said, “ cannabis can thicken the blood while the problem with anti-inflammatories pre-op is they thin your blood too much.”

The Joint Care Coordinator (this is also my new name for Swami as he usually rolls the joints, with great care, in our household) went on to tell the story of a nurse who was getting a hip replacement a few years ago. She absolutely insisted on using cannabis for pain relief until they relented. When the doctors and staff began to see the amazing results, they couldn’t help but recognize the benefits. Not only was she healing faster and was able to do the exercises with more ease than other patients, but she also did it with a smile! It was clear that the opiates slow down the healing process along with everything else. Ever since, while the hospital staff can’t bring up the subject of marijuana or recommend it, they also do not deny patients the option if they bring their own supplies.

I know three other women now who have undergone a hip replacement using cannabis for pain relief. All agree that it helped tremendously. Each also stressed the need to do the exercises religiously to enhance healing. Considering the pain I have been in for several years with this hip, I can only dream of it fading away. I often eat a strong edible before going to sleep now to get me through the night, so I feel quite comfortable dosing myself in hospital and afterwards in recovery.

Luckily, I have some incredible friends who are supreme medicine makers. I’ve consulted with some of them to help gather the necessary goods. Along with excellent advice since she just went through this a couple months ago, Jude Thilman at Dragonfly Wellness Center in Fort Bragg gave me some MJ4X medical oil concentrate, which is basically what we have known as Rick Simpson Oil, but this is truly made with organic methods. Very pure stuff. She instructed me to place a tiny bit of it on a toothpick and smear it inside a vegetable capsule to make it easy. It is very high in THC and is also used by cancer patients for their pain and healing. In addition, she gave me some of her high CBD (Ratio 1:20 THC-CBD) Bhutan brand tincture for pain. My friend Rosebud tells me that strong CBD has been proven to help stimulate bone growth and healing. So I’ll do that as a balance.

Another medicine maker I consulted was Hummingbird Lane Farms, who I’ve seen before at the Farmers Markets at AREA 101 in Laytonville. Luckily one was held recently so I could stock up on her magic potions. I’ve used her spray-on oil in the past which is super fast working, a brilliant delivery system, but for this I went for her tinctures and salves. She recommended her glycerine based tinctures — the Sierra Berries for day and the Blue Dream for night.

After all these drops and oils and capsules and fresh organic veggies from the garden, a girl needs a treat! That’s where the edibles come in. Of course I love sugar, but eat very little of it as it doesn’t love me so much. However, I make exceptions for edibles. So I have stocked up on my favorite via my friends at Harborside Health Center. After months of research, I have settled on the Altai chocolate covered cherry Pips. They are bite-sized and yummy, with a perfect balance of sweet and sour. Plus, I love how you can titrate them so well. Each little cherry is 10 mg of cannabis, a light dose for me, so I can start slow and build up as necessary. Not only do they make me feel good in my head, but in my body as well.

For a heavier hit, and a solid night’s sleep every time, I go to my old high school friend who makes the most delicious caramels in the world. And do they pack a punch! I think it has something to do with the way they melt in your mouth and hence absorb exceptionally well. I have a feeling that a bit of caramel and a dropper of Blue Dream sleeping tincture, and I’ll sleep like a baby. And when it’s time for exercise, it will be a sativa chocolate cherry and a hit of the Sierra Berries tincture, and I should be dancing with my walker in no time.

Have you used cannabis to heal post-op? Tell us about your experiences.

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