How I became a Pot Head

When I was in my 20’s, like many young people, I experimented with alcohol and a handful of recreational drugs.  I took so many risks that the fact that I didn’t end up dead in a ditch somewhere is nothing short of a miracle!  Now that I am in my 40’s, it is ironic that all I’m trying to do is get OFF drugs.  Well . . . all except one.

More than two years ago, I spoke to my primary care physician about medical cannabis.  She felt there wasn’t enough tangible evidence to prove its efficacy and she refused to prescribe it.  She also felt that if she was willing to prescribe cannabis, then she would be admitting to her teen-aged children that she was pro-marijuana.  I trusted her judgement and continued on with my regular pain pill regimen.  On the pain scale, I generally sit at a 2 or 3 on a really good day.  On a bad day, it’s about an 8.  My husband always jokes that when the nurse asked how my pain was during labour, the look on her face was priceless when I answered a 5.


Then, as if out of nowhere, a very good friend of mine mentioned that she’s been taking cannabis oil for her arthritis pain, and that it’s helped immensely.  I have another friend with MS who has also been smoking marijuana to manage her insomnia and other symptoms for years with success.  I began to see articles, postings, and studies about the benefits of  using medical cannabis for Fibromyalgia.  At the same time, evidence was being published that stated that opiates don’t help with fibro pain. ( )

So, to my pain doc’s complete surprise, I asked him about it.  I guess I don’t look like someone who would ask about pot.  He was open to it so long as I did the required research.  Which I happily did.

The jokes ensued: “Hey there’s a starter kit – does it come with Doritos?”.   And so did the anxiety of having a substance like this in a house with kids.  But after much discussion, both my husband and I felt that if it helped me, how was it any different than all the other experimental meds I’ve pumped through my body over the years.

Here in Canada, there is no official prescription for medical cannabis yet, but once it is legalized in 2018, that will change. For now, you receive a medical document, sign your life and liability away to protect your doctor, and it comes to your home wrapped in unmarked brown paper boxes. ( A more clandestine process than ordering porn I’m assuming, and far more difficult than getting Oxycontin!)

Cannabis is being studied world-wide for a variety of conditions.  The more valid research available can give more patients a better arsenal when they approach a resistant doctor.  There is a whole science to usage as well: the temperatures that release the best cannabinoids from dried product, the combination of THC (the stuff that gets you stoned), whether diffused into oil is a better way than vaping. (I’m so cool, I say vape now.), and the type and strength of CBD (the stuff that helps with pain).

When I started using the cannabis oil, I was excited because I was SLEEPING!  And sleeping well.  It’s been a year and a half and gone are the mornings when the pain is so bad I stumble and limp out of bed because I simply can no longer lay down.  I look better.  I’m moving better.  AND, I am down to one pain prescription, from 7, which is making my liver (and my wallet) very happy.

Until Next time . . . . I’m Chronically Yours,


Barb Yanciw photoMy name is Barb Yanciw and I am a Chronic Pain Warrior! My earliest recollection of pain is from when I was 7 years old, although my mother will tell you that I have always complained about “daily hurts”. When I was young the prevailing thought was that children don’t experience pain and therefore it was attention seeking behaviour. Until I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome two years ago, the only diagnosis anyone could give me was “shitty connective tissue”. Basically, what this means is that if a healthy person falls they might have a bruised elbow, I get bursitis. One specialist thought I may have contracted a virus as a baby and this impacted my joint development. Over the past 47 years of my life I have had 7 herniated discs, chronic migraine, pinched nerves, dislocated ribs, back spasm, and so much more. However, I am the kind of person that keeps moving forward and I don’t spend too much time at the pity party. If I had, it is more likely I’d be in a long-term care home rather than a wife and full-time working mom who likes to write and paint and hang with her dog. I hope you enjoy the things I write and that you see yourself somewhere in my words and find some comfort there.

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