How Cannabis Changed My Life with Chronic Pain

Learn firsthand how you can incorporate cannabis into your pain management regimen

Image by Aiony Haust

Avoiding the Unavoidable

I have cubital tunnel and carpal tunnel in both my right and left arms. Because of this condition, I deal with chronic nerve pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in my hands, elbows, forearms and tear ducts. I do a lot to manage the inflammation in my arms by taking preventative measures – sleeping on my back with my wrist immobilized, obsessing over good posture, avoiding movements that put stress on my arms and hands and constantly pestering my boyfriend to massage my arms. However, flare-ups are still seemingly unavoidable.

Until a year ago, these flare-ups could be entirely debilitating. Simple movements like turning a doorknob, washing a dish or a jotting down a quick note were painful experiences to be avoided if possible. Although I took my prescribed 800 mg pill of ibuprofen up to 3-4 times daily to reduce pain and inflammation, the tingling “funny bone” feeling in my arms persisted, and I began to worry about what the regimen of ibuprofen was doing to my liver.

Many prescription pain medications can be extremely harmful or habit forming. Although this is often a necessary evil for most people with chronic pain like myself, the emergence of CBD based products have become a godsend. CBD, like all chronic pain medication, only treats the symptoms of pain and not the cause. However, it is unlike many other medications in that the reactions, which few people report, have been rare and mild with the side effects primarily being sleepiness and nausea. When I compared this to the litany of long-term damage from other medications, and I was intrigued.

Discovering CBD products changed my life. Almost all the stress that was being perpetuated by my chronic pain disappeared once I started letting CBD topicals melt into the skin on my arms and hands. I started out with topicals, specifically Papa & Barkley’s 3:1 THC:CBD Releaf Balm, which I still use religiously today. I discovered the more often I used the Relief Balm, the less I noticed the tingling pain in my arm from my cubital tunnel. The pain relief and the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD were comparable to the relief I was getting from ibuprofen but without the strain on my body. I found myself being able to quit taking the ibuprofen all together.

CBD: A Powerful Tool

As I started to realize how much the topical was helping me, I was curious to learn more about other ways to integrate CBD into my routine. I found that I could layer the CBD effects by using the topical while taking a tincture or an edible at bedtime when it was difficult to feel comfortable and sleep because of my condition. Alternatively, I would eat one of Korova’s Vanilla Bean CBD cookies if I wanted a delicious dessert before bed or use a tincture like Treatwell’s Wellness Blend when I wasn’t looking to eat sweets. Ingesting CBD provides a great calming effect and works very well all over or for general pain in the body. The benefit to ingesting CBD is that it works much longer and more overarchingly, whereas a topical is more localized and provides more instantaneous relief.

CBD is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal of pain relieving options and can feel like the safest thing in your medicine cabinet. Considering the very rare and minimal side effects as well its capability to provide strong general and localized pain relief, it is a much more preferable option compared to many other pain medications.

Recommended Products:

Papa & Barkley’s 3:1 THC:CBD
This topical is a great way to target specific areas of pain, especially in the joints and muscles. You will recognize it for its unique wooden cap and its nice herbal and floral smell. It is also, incidentally, a very hydrating salve.

Treatwell’s Wellness Blend Tincture
This tincture has a great calming effect and is quite tasty. It contains 3mgs of CBDA, CBD, THCA and 1mg of THC per dropper dose. It also contains high antioxidant and terpene levels! If you are extremely THC sensitive, they also have a CBDA tincture that is non-psychoactive.

Korova’s Vanilla Bean CBD Cookies
These cookies are extremely tasty and made with real vanilla bean paste. I like to get the bag of mini cookies – each cookie is 10mgs of CBD. Always give this one some time to settle in before you go back for more. Just like any edible, it takes time to take effect.


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Kristen DeVilbliss • Contributor

Kristen DeVilbliss is a freelance writer with a focus on wellness, lifestyle, and education. Since discovering the holistic properties of cannabis, she has been an advocate for changing the attitudes towards the industry into a space for people looking to heal and elevate their minds and bodies. She is excited to watch the industry expand and see new canna-products develop as the stigma surrounding cannabis fades and the market expands to a broader community