Week 3 of using Cannabis Full-time to Treat Fibromyalgia
In my article last week, I talked about how I wanted to try Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) to manage my chronic pain. After some good luck with a CBD tincture a few months back, I thought another edible concentrate would help me better manage my fibromyalgia pain with cannabis. So on Tuesday, December 4th I went to my local dispensary and bought a 1-gram syringe of RSO (strain: critical mist) for $15. Nearly a full week later and I have about half a gram left.
So far, I’m really happy with the longevity of RSO even in comparison to the cartridge I bought for my Thanksgiving trip at the end of last month. It really feels like the RSO is easier to ration out for daily dosing. The cartridge, on the other hand, is almost too convenient for dosing. It’s really easy for me to sit and take drag after drag from my vape pen; even if I don’t need to. I do NOT have that problem with RSO because, honestly, RSO tastes the way dog crap smells: like shit. Taste is a huge reason I don’t “overdose” with RSO as easily. Meanwhile, the cartridge I bought last month tastes like mint, is delicious, and has a genuinely pleasing smell. RSO does not; at all. Consequently, my first time using RSO wasn’t pleasant.
Unlike tinctures that are smooth and liquidy, RSO has more of a sludgy, engine-grease-mixed-with-molasses type of consistency. It might not be too hard to imagine, then, that RSO doesn’t move very quickly when it’s cold. When it’s too cold, RSO essentially becomes an unmoving solid. I didn’t know about that before I tried it for the first time.
At first I tried taking RSO with a big bite of (very cold) breakfast cereal. As the budtender at my dispensary had warned, I started with a rice-grain size dollap of the green-black sludge. I loaded it onto my cereal spoon, took a bite, and almost immediately spit it back out. Somehow I managed to swallow the bite, but when I looked back down at my spoon, the oil had affixed itself to said spoon. I pulled a few pieces of cereal out of my bowl to try to scrape the remaining “liquid” off the spoon, but it didn’t work. I begrudgingly tried to use my teeth and tongue to get the “liquid” off my spoon, AND IMMEDIATELY REGRETTED IT!
Eventually, I was able to get the RSO off my spoon with some hot water and another piece of cereal. Then I proceeded to devour the remainder of my cereal and down the leftover milk in an attempt to get the nasty taste out of my mouth. And yet, I still couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth. Since then, I’ve used much more flavorful (and warmer) food items to help me consume the helpful but disgusting concentrate. My favorite food to use so far was some caramel covered brownies I bought at the grocery store last week. Even when the RSO flavor broke through the caramel-chocolate taste barrier, it wasn’t too bad! All I had to do was eat more brownie to wash the taste away. Win:Win. One day I even decided to put my RSO dose on a fried egg sandwich I was eating for dinner and that wasn’t too bad either!
Aside from the nasty taste of RSO, though, it’s actually quite effective in terms of managing my chronic body pain. On Thursday, not only was I dealing with my everyday fibro pain, I was also having excruciating period cramps; something I’ve struggled with since a year before I even started menstruating 14-years ago. The cramps are often bad enough to immobilize me. Sometimes they wake me up out of a dead sleep in the middle of the night. All attempts to inhale cannabis for pain relief in the past have worked to tame the pain, but only after inflicting an insane head-high on myself as well. As a freelancer who works from home most of the time, that’s not usually a huge issue. But if I want to go out, I can’t until the cramps are gone. And, now that’s it’s cold AF all the time where I live, going out isn’t an option at all unless I’m thoroughly layered with warm clothing.
Although the pain was bad enough to warrant a dose big enough to make me unfunctional afterwards, the RSO did something I’m not sure smoking can do for me: it started working from the inside out. An hour after eating my brownie-RSO concoction, I could feel the pain relief start to radiate from my gut-outwards. Thankfully, the pelvic area is quite close to the human stomach, so my pelvic area was one of the first places to receive relief. Then the pain that had migrated over into my hips and down my thighs started to fade. At first, I could still “feel” the pain, but it was more like a heavy pressure than actual pain. Once the RSO had a chance to fully integrate into my body … wow. Just, wow.
When I smoke or vape cannabis, I’d say I get somewhere between 1-3 hours of pain relief max. With RSO, the pain relieving effects last anywhere from 4-6 hours. To be honest, I wasn’t keeping track on Thursday. I just needed relief so I could do more than curl up into a ball of pain. I can say with 100% certainty, though, that I only took my RSO dose twice a day the other days: once in the morning, once at night. When I tried to achieve the same effective pain relief by smoking flower or vaping with a cartridge, I had to dose once every 2-3 hours.
I’m out of brownies now, so I’m going to have to get creative with my RSO dosing again; but I’m definitely sold on using RSO instead of flower or a cartridge to manage my pain. Not only is a more affordable choice in the long run, it’s much easier to dose with. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll never smoke or vape cannabis again. It just means that RSO will be my primary choice for pain management.
Bonus: RSO is also pretty easy to make at home. Unfortunately, making RSO at home is extremely dangerous. RSO is made by mixing cannabis and some sort of solvent. Typically, people use 100-proof grain alcohol, 99% isopropyl alcohol (i.e., rubbing alcohol), butane, or water. I don’t know much about using water, but I know any of the other solvents will produce highly flammable fumes. As a result, RSO is combust too many vapors plus any open heat source (e.g., stove, lighter, matches, sparks, etc.) can actually cause an explosion. Eventually I’ll make my own RSO at home, but not until I’m confident I can do so without blowing up my apartment complex. If you want to make your own RSO, take time to do the research. Once you’re ready for production, make sure you are making it in a well-ventilated area with little to no access to an open heat source.