Cannabis and Ehler Danlos Syndrome
I hope this letter finds you in good spirits.
I have followed your work for a couple years now, as it centers on an area of great interest for me. I have a lot of respect for you and the work that is dear to your heart, as it is also dear to my own.
I suffer from a rare genetic condition called Ehler Danlos Syndrome. In short, it is a collagen disorder/deficiency that impacts my body in a multitude of ways.
The most stressful symptom of this disorder occurs with my joints. The Collagen in my joints does not have the same rigidity and elasticity as most people, and as such, tends to be very fragile. This caused arthritic pain through many of my joints (mostly hands and arms) since I can remember. I also have what I call ``phantom nerve pain`` which feels like anyone else`s nerve pain, except it seems to come and go quite randomly, and appears to have no source.
I also have true Arthritis in my hands, not just arthritic type pain, and this has been prevelant for some time now, I am only 35.
Every morning when I wake up, I have to rock my knees back and forth to wake them up before I stand up straight when I get out of bed in the morning, or I will almost fall over.
The other two major problems I face are constant headaches and somewhat frequent migraines, and gastro intestinal issues (acid reflux, etc.)
I was also diagnosed with Acute Asthma when I was about 20.
There are other smaller issues as well, but these few will have enough purpose for my explanation.
I began ingesting Cannabis as a recreational endeavour about ten years ago (I was about 24). I never gave it much thought, other than to acknowledge the fact that I enjoyed how it felt. It became apparent to me, after a year or so, that certain problems that constantly plagued me throughout my life, had become much less severe, or had disappeared completely.
The first thing that became apparent to me was how infrequently I seemed to have joint pain. Please understand that these are pains that I felt almost ALL THE TIME when I was awake, and would even wake me up at night. To add to general joint pain, I have always been plagued by on and off Carpel Tunnel syndrome, and strains, as I am extremely double jointed.
I have been smoking almost daily, and I can honestly say that my persistent, nagging joint pains have almost completely become a thing of the past.
It does still occur, but with such rarity, that it doesn`t seem to be something I think about in life anymore. This is something that used to bother me EVERY day.
I still get more serious problems like Carpel Tunnel at the same frequency, but the pain is much more manageable. Even more so, I find the issues themselves tend to last for shorter time periods since my intake of Cannabis started.
The other major source of relief for me is regarding headaches. I have suffered constant headaches and occasional migraines since I was a teenager. I used to use ibuprofen, but somewhere in my early twenties, I developed stomach problems due to my ibuprofen intake. My headaches would be so severe, that I often required at least 1600mg of ibuprofen daily, to even put a dent in some of the migraine attacks I dealt with. Being a doctor, you can understand what this would have done to my stomach and digestive system in general. I was prescribed Pantaloc to relieve the stomach problems.
Cannabis has been wonderful for helping me to deal with headaches and migraines, for a few reasons. I certainly believe that it has been helping to manage the pain itself, especially with migraine attacks. Mine are not as severe as some people I have seen, but severe enough to impact my quality of life. Cannabis has provided tremendous pain relief.
The other relationship with headaches comes from Cannabidiol, which I truly believe has strong anti-inflammatory properties. I believe this has been a large part of my headache relief, because of where I live. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. If you research for 5 minutes, you will discover that we receive warm winds in the winter called ``Chinooks. ``
These warm winds come with large pressure changes, which tend to cause me tension headaches. The anti-inflammatory properties of Cannabidiol have greatly helped with this muscle tension, without me having to ingest large quantities of ibuprofen.
I do believe I even read a report somewhere about Cannabis and Ehler Danlos migraines, and it touched on the Cannabinoids impacting Seratonin and Dopamine secretion, and this was somehow helpful with certain types of migraines. Speculative, as I cannot seem to locate this source again. If you know of it, I would love to see it again for another read through.
Lastly, and this is not so much related to Ehler Danlose Syndrome (not directly anyway) is Insomnia.
I have had this condition so severely, that I was prescribed heavy sleeping medication which often left me feeling ``hung over`` the next day, or at least that is how I interpreted the feeling. I could easily stay awake for up to 40+ hours. I knew quickly, that these pills where no good for my body long term. I could feel it in the way I felt the next day, it felt very chemical and unnatural, and I could feel my organs working to process these chemicals out of my system.
Cannabis has replaced these all together. I sleep a constant 7 hours every night, uninterrupted, where I used to sleep an hour at a time, if I was lucky, for maybe 5 hours.
Effectively, Cannabis has almost entirely replaced the following chemicals from my medicine cabinet:
Not to mention the general increase in quality of life due to a significant drop in pain, as well as increased, constant sleep patterns.
As I stated above, I was diagnosed with Acute Asthma at about 20 years old. I had another test for this when I was 31, 7 or so years into smoking Cannabis. All signs of my Asthmatic conditions seem to be non-existent at this time. This is food for thought regarding lung damage from Cannabis.
As a side note, I would like to add this as well. I used to drink, and ingest a myriad of other narcotic substances, most of which I rather not name, but most where illegal. This was mostly before Cannabis was introduced to my life. I do not drink alcohol anymore, ever. I have not ingested any other drugs in many years as well.
This seems to be in direct conflict with the theory that Cannabis acts as a gateway drug. For me it had almost the opposite effect. I find no interest in these other pursuits in my life anymore.
As a second side note, for those that believe Cannabis leaves you lethargic and unmotivated. As a high school student, I barely passed most of my classes. I did attend college, but dropped out, and generally wasted a lot of time in my life between then, and my early twenties. Upon discovering Cannabis use, I have moved my career forward more than I ever did previously, I have managed to travel to some cool places that I would never have been able to afford, and I have developed some of the best friendships I have ever had in my life, the type you know will likely be with you until one of you passes away.
So much for lethargy and apathy…….
I hope this information is something you can use to show people yet another shining example of the positive influences that Cannabis can have on the human body. I have been a fan of yours, and read much of your work, and hope it continues. You’re a good man.
A Canadian Cannabis Consumer
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