CANNABIS CULTURE – Julia Lake taught high school in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. When she retired in 2017, she knew exactly how she wanted to spend her days. An avid gardener, she dreamed of filling her yard with massive flower beds filled with towering rhizomes and brightly colored irises. Unfortunately, the arthritic pain in her joints was making it increasingly difficult for her to even put on the gardening gloves. That’s when her daughter Alexis suggested CBD cream combined with yoga.
Like many older Americans, Julia was initially appalled at the suggestion of using a cannabis extract for pain relief, even after Alexis explained to her that cannabidiol is non-psychoactive. Julia agreed to try the yoga but adamantly refused to explore CBD in any form. Much to her delight, three weeks of yoga did result in some pain relief. Research has shown yoga to be an effective tool for pain management in older women, and Julia seemed to be a living testament to these findings.
But it wasn’t enough.
Though Julia’s inflammation was becoming less noticeable and her mental well-being was improving significantly, her pain still hadn’t improved to the point where she could stop taking the NSAIDs that she relied upon every day. And this was becoming a serious problem.
After noticing some unusual stomach pains, she went to her doctor and discovered that her daily regimen of ibuprofen had resulted in damage to her GI tract. What’s more, when the nurse checked her blood pressure, it was higher than it had ever been. As her weight was normal and she was otherwise healthy, her doctor told her that the high blood pressure may have been due to the added stress placed on her kidneys by the drug. More than 30 million Americans take NSAIDs for arthritis and other pain-related conditions, and physicians are seeing an increase in symptoms where reduced blood flow to the kidneys causes fluid buildup resulting in high blood pressure and hypertension.
Finally, Julia had had enough.
Since her over-the-counter medicines were causing her more harm than she had even feared possible with cannabis, she told her daughter that she was ready to try CBD. She was given a topical preparation and instructed to apply it to her joints daily.
To her astonishment, the cream worked much faster and more effectively than her previous pain relievers. Six months ago, she could barely twist open a bottle cap without writhing in pain; now she’s mastering the firefly, a yoga pose that requires her to support her entire body weight on her hands. It’s actually kind of amazing.
Julia now takes CBD oil every day as she continues her yoga regimen, and she notes that she hasn’t felt this pain-free since her 30s. The CBD works wonders on its own, but the yoga provides much-needed flexibility to her joints and a welcomed boost to her mental health. Best of all, she’s now able to spend several hours tending to her garden every day.
Julia’s story isn’t unique. A recent report highlighted CBD American Shaman, a specialty CBD shop in Knoxville, Tennessee. The shop’s owner, Todd Bliss, reports that his average customer is female and 60. In addition, the AARP reports that people over 50 make up more than 36 percent of patients on the medical marijuana registry.
For anyone who, like Julia, is experiencing incessant arthritis pain despite having tried everything, the combination of yoga and CBD cream may be just what the doctor ordered. The pain management benefits of yoga are well-documented, and CBD oil has likewise shown tremendous promise in clinical trials.
In a study published in the European Journal of Pain, researchers looked at the effects of CBD on arthritis and concluded that “CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.” Furthermore, the researchers found that CBD gel “significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain, immune cell infiltration and thickening of the synovial membrane in a dose-dependent manner.”
For anyone who wants to reap these benefits on their own, it’s best to stick with CBD cream. The researchers in the aforementioned study concluded that oral CBD has poor bioavailability for this type of pain management, but topical CBD works quickly and without side effects. Use the cream as directed, and apply some right before yoga class. Whether you’re a passionate gardener like Julia or just one of the millions of Americans who’s sick of living with chronic pain, relief is available.
Isabella is a freelance writer from Los Angeles specializing in writing for the holistic health and cannabis industries. She’s also a full-time yoga enthusiast and an advocate for mindful wellness.