Marijuana for pain and noobs
January 14, 2022 2:41 AM   Subscribe

Have you successfully used marijuana to manage pain? Do tell!

My partner has chronic pain in his back due to an injury and he's looking to reduce his use of pain pills (or get off them altogether?) We are in California but have somehow never partaken in marijuana.

While normally I may pop inside one of the many dispensaries near me and ask for suggestions, I am currently avoiding going anyplace indoors if I can. So I've checked out their products online for delivery, and it is kind of overwhelming.

If possible, he would prefer not to smoke anything. We don't know how to roll or prepare any sort of device, and we have a small child at home that we don't want to expose to any kind of smoke. Also, he would like to ease the pain but preferably not be knocked out, as he does need to stay alert for his job and then help with childcare. Given these parameters, are there any specific suggestions anyone has for where to start? I know I'm not looking for "flower" but then I see there are edibles and tinctures and concentrates and extracts and on and on, not to mention different ratios and brands!

OR... should he skip all this and just use CBD? Are there any good brands to check out there?
posted by thelasttango to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
So I use pot daily for pain. Here are some thoughts, in no particular order:

- Edibles last a looong time. I use them for sleep, and they're great. They are not as great for pain management if you need to stay alert, though, unless you have figured out the neceesary dosage and timing with a fair degree of precision.
- I do best with a high-THC edible, but again, I take it to sleep.
- CBD-only did have a mild effect on me, and it's worth a shot, but I think most of the available products are wildly overpriced for the effect.
- When I was first in california, I would get mostly a simple edible - the ones that are basically Tootsie Rolls were good, as were some of the gummies - but I also would get some new thing with each order and try it out. I'd recommed designating an time for experimenting where your husband can afford to be nonfunctional and try stuff out.

I don't do anything involving inhaling, but I know other folks will have that handled. Good luck!
posted by restless_nomad at 4:55 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]

I don’t have access to edibles and my only option was a vape machine thing and my doctor said that 1:1 thc and canninoid would not have psychoactive effects. I’m happy with it… I still don’t like it that much but I think it does help a lot.
posted by pairofshades at 6:05 AM on January 14

I would find edibles (gummies, chocolates, etc) that come in a shape that can easily be split up evenly - many are roughly 10mg of THC per piece. Cut into quarters and start with 2.5 (a very small and sometimes negligible dose in terms of psychoactive effects, though that may be what you're seeking here) and adjust from there.

Don't make the rookie mistake of upping your dosage an hour in because you "don't feel anything" - try again the next day with 5mg, etc.
posted by windbox at 6:13 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

The topicals (use ones with both CBD+THC) work really well. My parents swear by the Papa & Barkley 3:1 CBD Releaf Balm.
posted by Arthur Dent at 6:18 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]

The other Mefites are right that gummies are likely your best, easiest way to use it for pain relief. But if you haven't used pot before, just be really careful, methodical with edibles. Get those little 2-2.5mg gummies, take one, wait an hour, write down results, etc. Its just really easy to eat too much and end up zonked out.

Also, edibles keep you high for a long time (many hours versus an hour or 2) which is why a lot of people eat them and go to sleep - I wouldn't be taking edibles and spending the day doing work, errands, or playing with small kids (cuz I'd likely be distracted by the fridge and watching netflix).

The advantage to vape pens is that its immediate, and its not smoke, and you don't stay stoned as long as edibles. But, I'd say for a novice user its easy to get trashed on a vape, hardly feels like you are inhaling, all of a sudden you are very stoned.

There's a difference between indica and sativa (that will be indicated on the package). Generally, indica is for body, chiller, but makes you sleepier. Sativa is your more alert, head high kind of stuff. For pain I'd guess most folks go with indica. There are hybrids for pain that claim to keep you alert. Personally, I don't associate being stoned with being "alert" - awake, sure, but fully functional...?

An older relative of mine eats a cookie that has 5mgs in it nightly, as a way to relax and fall asleep and says it very much helps with aches and pains.
posted by RajahKing at 8:10 AM on January 14

East coast here but the dispensary I frequent is super customer-service friendly as it's relatively a new legal industry here and boy are they thriving! Call and ask for a 10 minute phone consult or an email exhange with one of the budtenders. They do it live in the dispensary, so it's not like they would be taking time to do something they wouldn't do if you came in. I wouldn't cold call and expect it but a lot of places will schedule a time you can call. Or even ask if you can have an outside consulation on their property and then you can order online in the future.
posted by archimago at 9:56 AM on January 14

I recently visited a dispensary for the first time and they have a tincture, which is drops you put under your tongue. It seems easier to manage without going so far you feel lethargic than edibles. I'd check out a tincture.

You can probably call the dispensary and see if they have any tinctures that would be high in cbd specifically for pain.
posted by liminal_shadows at 10:53 AM on January 14

... and my doctor said that 1:1 thc and canninoid would not have psychoactive effects...

Although people vary widely in their reactions to marijuana, you should definitely not expect that 1:1 THC:CBD will not have psychoactive effects.
posted by polecat at 1:13 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]

A few things I've observed :

* From my experience, weed doesn't relieve pain, but it can distract me from my pain — which can be nearly as good in some cases
* Having said that, it can be very effective at treating "general crappiness feelings" like common cold, bad mood, booster shot side effects, etc.
* It will make you tired, hungry, and stoned. This can be good or bad. Personally I could never do my job high, and wouldn't even want to try. So my usage is limited to off-hours
* Getting the dosage right is crucial and not always easy. I'd recommend using the same type of edible from the same source every time, and only using edibles where the THC has been measured. Having said that, "overdoses" do happen. Obviously not life-threatening or anything, but you can wind up paranoid and/or asleep for hours if you're not careful
posted by panama joe at 1:33 PM on January 14

I use CBD/THC for intermittent uterine pain (it's inconsistent and sometimes crippling) and decided to try it since NSAIDS make my stomach upset. I was also a noob and still to this day have not actually smoked, eaten or vaped any pot, I've only used edibles and tinctures. All my advice I've gotten my from local dispensary.
For long term delivery that's consistent in dosing you might want to try a patch. In my state some of them are only available for medical marajuana patients but for your purposes a high CBD/low THC patch should be available without. I got my mom some patches when she was going through chemo and her report on their effectiveness was something like "it works but you take it off and feel like shit."
Tinctures are the next route for consistent doses. Not to knock edibles but not all of them are made with regular doses in mind. I use a 4:1 (CBD is listed first on labels in my state and probably yours) tincture at a 10-15 CDB dose.
2.5mg of CBD is so little, I don't think my dispensary even sells edibles that low. 4mg is probably the lowest to actually have an effect.
TBH, Advil still works best. But I can't take enough Advil and also have a working stomach so I mix and match depending on the day. I don't work or drive when I've dosed but I could probably still do child care. I don't have kids tho so 🤔.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:36 AM on January 15

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