Contributor: Lauren Brandstadter, LMT PacificWindsWellness.com
Our bodies alert us when there is an imbalance or disharmony. It shows us there’s something, “off,” by exhibiting various symptoms. The most powerful indicator of disharmony or dis-ease in the body is the pain response. Pain wants your attention! The pain response is a, “red flag,” that there’s something not quite right in the body. Trauma (physical and emotional), tumors, seizures, cancer, structural irregularity, blood flow issues, autoimmune disorders, anxiety, and neurological conditions are just some of the conditions that can generate a pain response in the body.
I have practiced the Healing Arts for nearly 30 years as a Licensed and Insured Massage Therapist in private practice. I have studied and practiced 18 different techniques to be able to provide hands-on healing for clients who have had little success in mainstream medical circles – as well as for my own healing. My repertoire includes Eastern, medical/structural, Western, Polynesian, energetic, emotional and spiritual healing techniques. Within the scope of my experience, I have seen hundreds of clients with conditions ranging from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), autoimmune disorders, and cancer among a host of other conditions, that improved by changing how they approach their pain and discomfort. The goal isn’t to simply make the pain stop; individuals are also seeking to take control of their own healing.
CBD and Your Body’s Ability to Heal
Years of professional experience with clients in pain has given me a bird’s eye view of how willing (how much of an investment of their time) and how much effort people are willing to give of themselves to take care of their own bodies. The most important thing I have learned by working with individuals in pain is that the body can and will heal itself – if you give it the right tools. When an individual is in pain, they’ll do just about anything to relieve it.
Doctors prescribe pharmaceutical pain killers (opiates or synthetic pain relievers) which only suppress the pain – they don’t heal the body. Prescribed pain medications can stress the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system, and over time the body can become dependent on them. As the body eliminates the drug and the pain response increases once again, a person will lean toward using more to alleviate the pain instead of making their best effort to help themselves heal.
Life with Pain
My own pain forced me to learn other ways of achieving the pain relief and healing that I so desperately needed. I was involved in a car accident in 2003. I was rear-ended by an old station wagon carrying a load of Belgian Block stone that was to be set for a driveway. I was driving a small 2-door RAV4 sport utility vehicle. After impact, I sustained 7 spinal disc herniations. Surgery was not an acceptable option for me to relieve the pain I had. I knew that I could take control and be responsible with the steps I needed to take in giving my body the tools it needed to heal. Relying on the doctors with surgery or to suppress the pain by giving me pain killers was not the way I wanted my treatment to go. I went to Physical Therapy, stretched, and worked through the discomfort every morning and evening for years, using only natural supplements for pain, like magnesium and Omega3’s.
Fast forward five years and I am diagnosed with stage 3 uterine and ovarian cancer. I rejected chemotherapy and radiation. The most difficult hurdle with this condition was the post-surgical, “souvenirs,” from the radical hysterectomy I had. The surgery was supposed to be a 2.5-hour procedure, and I was under anesthesia for almost 7 hours. I had excruciating pain and swelling in my left leg post-surgery, and the Oncologist (cancer Doctor) said there was nothing that he could do for me. Nothing, except to give me pain killers. I was on my own. I had to find a natural way to alleviate my intense pain that wouldn’t compromise my ability to be a single, self-employed mother to my 8-year-old daughter.
I did not want to use pain killers. I did not want more surgery. I felt like I had no recourse and would have to live with this pain for the rest of my life. Taking matters into my own hands, I reached out to some people who knew more about using cannabis for aiding the body’s healing ability than I did. They started me on a path to use this plant for relaxing the nervous system, reducing inflammation, supporting all the body’s processes, killing the cancer cells, and reducing my pain. I was encouraged to use cannabis to heal what needed healing.
It was working! I began to suggest this regimen to my clients. Many who were suffering with severe pain from injuries and surgery began using a CBD tincture I made to help their symptoms. These symptoms were rooted in both physical and emotional pain (PTSD, and trauma). They began to eliminate opiate and morphine-based pain medications and adopt alternative healing methods (CBD, diet, meditation/spiritual practices, massage therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, and acupuncture) with great success.
Following my own success, I did some more research on CBD, or cannabidiol. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most prevalent component of cannabis sativa, found in hemp and its cousin, marijuana. CBD by itself does not result in a, “high,” it supports healing in the body because it is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are natural substances that are considered a great source to the body in helping to adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect on bodily processes. I discovered that CBD is an effective source to reduce pain.
I was thrilled! Not only was my pain reduced, but healing was occurring at the same time.
Miracles of CBD
CBD is one of the best ways to reduce the pain response without compromising other areas of the body. Opiates and other over the counter pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories have many side effects, including physical dependency, taxing the liver, gastrointestinal pain, and constipation. Pharmaceutical pain suppressants don’t support the natural healing processes of the body.
They allow the body to be in a rest state while the body is mending, however, they aren’t involved in any aspect of healing the affected area.
Opiates and anti-inflammatories suppress the body’s natural pain response, while CBD relaxes the Central Nervous System (brain, cranial nerves and spinal cord) as well as the Peripheral Nervous System (nerves and ganglia outside of the brain and spinal cord) which reduce the intensity of the pain response that is felt when the body is compromised.
CBD initially reduces the inflammation and allows the body to manage and lessen the pain response from a multitude of conditions, while at the same time assisting the body’s natural healing processes. CBD also amplifies any other supplement you may be taking, whether it is a plant-based or a pharmaceutically created remedy. There are some contraindications taking CBD with other medications and these may include blood thinners, HIV antivirals, steroids, and Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medications).
The pain response is a huge factor in how a person heals, and everyone has a different timeline for that healing. I encourage the use of CBD. It is an absolute miracle for those whose pain response doesn’t change with typical pharmaceutical remedies. CBD also amplifies (makes stronger) anything else you may take, so please keep that in mind, especially if you take a blood thinner. I began taking a CBD tincture for pain the day after I had the radical hysterectomy surgery. I was in agony. An elder friend who had been in the cannabis world his whole life came to town to help me. He was in his early 60’s at that time, and gave me instructions on how to use it, how to make it myself when the reserves ran out, and when to dose myself. After he introduced me to this homemade CBD tincture, I used it regularly for the excruciating pain I was experiencing. I also used it to eradicate any free-radical cancer cells that may have been floating around in my body post-surgery. I used it every time I ate something that didn’t agree with me that gave me pain. I was challenged because I didn’t know what foods would cause a problem.
The excruciating pain I experienced was mimicking angina, or a heart attack. My heart was healthy, and I didn’t understand why I had this severe pain in my chest. CBD was the only thing that helped reduce my pain. That CBD tincture was a miracle. CBD helped to relax my body enough so that it could heal naturally, and additionally helped support my body in eliminating stagnant Lymph fluid that was making my leg swell. It also helped the numbness and pain I had at the incision sites of the surgery from nerve damage. I ultimately discovered that foods in the nightshade family and legumes were the root of what was giving me the excruciatingly painful gas that made me feel like I had heart issues. CBD to the rescue! I also want to share that after the surgery, my spinal disk herniations were less irritated and therefore I had less pain in my back. I began juicing fresh cannabis the day I arrived home after surgery. It seemed my juicer was always in use! I added a thumb sized nugget of cannabis to my green juice daily. I used only one fruit to sweeten the juice as I didn’t want to add any additional sugar, natural or otherwise, into my diet. Sugar creates inflammation in the body and breaks down the immune system. I was already inflamed! I had a strict dietary regimen which I will discuss in a future article. I typically used Mango combined with Dandelion greens for phyto-estrogens and alkalinity.
The juicing was working. The tincture was working. I was sure it was the right thing for me to do. When the tincture I was given ran out, I had to start making it on my own. I researched CBD and its uses, questioning other alternative healing practitioners that were using Rick Simpson’s Oil with their clients. I also researched farmers that were growing cannabis, so that I might find the best strains to use for creating the tincture. I read everything I could find on the subject. I needed this remedy and there were no companies making it at that time. Again, I was on my own. I had to take a second job because I wasn’t strong enough yet to take on my massage therapy business full-time. The second job I took was working with a long-time client who was a Venture Capitalist, working in Europe with various universities and bio-technology companies that were using 3D technology printing to create living organ tissue, teeth, and bones.
That job offered me a trip to Amsterdam. While in Amsterdam, I had some down time and decided to seek out the Cannabis College to confirm that the tincture I had been making was the best recipe, and action for my healing. I experimented with different strains, incubating them for different lengths of time, and journaling when and how I used them. When I returned to New York, I started talking to everyone about what I was doing with the knowledge I had gained for my healing. I was suggesting it to clients for conditions like structural pain, tremors, cancer, sleep issues, symptoms of autoimmune diseases, and seizures.
Everyone was having some level of success with CBD.
I found that the best strains for relieving pain and stress were derived from indica or indica dominant strains. Sativa strain tinctures were extremely effective for anxiety, relaxing the nervous system, and relieving tremors. Both CBD strains were effective in supporting the immune system and the body’s natural healing processes.
I did not decarboxylate the cannabis before soaking it in vodka. I used a recipe I was given from the elder that helped me initially.
First, dry an ounce of indica (or an indica dominant hybrid) strain of cannabis for a day or so to prevent any mold from forming. I typically use an organic vodka made from Rye, not potato or corn. Corn is not digestible and creates gas even after the processing of the alcohol, and, the potatoes are acidic. Next, add 16 ounces of vodka, cover the jar with the lid, screw tightly, and store in a cool, dry place where NO sunlight can reach it. Leave it to gestate for 30-90 days. I gently shake the tightly sealed, glass jar once a day.
I don’t decarboxylate before putting the ingredients together. Decarboxylating activates the THC in the plant, which is great for pain, yet slightly reduces the healing effectivity of the CBD, and alters the mood. My clients wanted relief but didn’t want to be high. Suppressing pain only temporarily relieves it, no real healing takes place, and the pain returns. CBD reduces pain while supporting healing. It helps create a balance in the body’s natural ability to reduce pain. The tincture, made from non-decarboxylated cannabis, has a percentage of THC occurring naturally because it’s a natural component of cannabis. It contains about 3%, which is just enough to open the Cannabinoid receptors in our bodies. Hemp does not have any detectable THC at all, and we need that small percentage to open the receptors to allow the CBD in. Once the CBD receptors open with that small amount of THC that occurs naturally in the process of making the tincture, the receptors are able to take in all the CBD you ingest and assimilate it to wherever the body needs it. Studies done at Harvard University have also shown that CBD helps with anxiety, neuropathic, chronic, and inflammatory pain. It’s also being used for issues surrounding falling asleep and staying asleep.
TLC with CBD
Clients that have used my homemade CBD tincture remedy, including myself, have benefited greatly using a CBD tincture for their healing. It doesn’t interfere with daily activities. It does require an investment in yourself by making time, being consistent, finding the right dosage, and taking personal responsibility. In my experience, I have seen personally and professionally, how CBD helps all system functions in the body. Every body process we have that enables us to function in these bodies is supported by using CBD.
CBD is an effective and safe way to relieve the discomfort that painful issues cause and support the body in its healing processes. I highly recommend using CBD for anything that ails you.
May you have a pain-free, balanced, healing, miraculous life filled with heaps of love!