A full year after having the flu I found myself still feeling ill and exhausted. I couldn’t walk across the room without feeling out of breath and if I had to leave my house for any reason I would end up stuck in bed for days. My heart rate would sky rocket for no apparent reason and my head would feel like it was about to explode. But every test my doctor put me through either came back normal or inconclusive. No one could tell me what was wrong. At one point I thought maybe I was just dying.
When I finally realized that I had ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) I was devastated. I didn’t know much about that condition but I did know it was incurable and horribly debilitating. About 1 million people in the US have ME/CFS and most of those people are too disabled to work or go to school. A study comparing the quality of life of people with different illnesses found that the average ME/CFS patient feels like an AIDS patient 2 months before death. Not surprisingly there is a very high rate of suicide in this population.
Along with ME/CFS I ended up diagnosed with another incurable disease called POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). As the name implies your heart rate spikes up really high when you stand or sit up and is fairly common among people with ME/CFS. I would get dizzy, nauseous and have horrible pain in my head from being upright for too long. Just trying to cook for myself felt like torture but I was told by my cardiologist that I could not go on heart medication because the side effects could be dangerous. It felt like no one could help me and I was going to be stuck in bed forever.
Despite my horrible brain fog that made me feel constantly intoxicated I spent my time in bed researching ME/CFS to try to find anything possible that might help me recover or at least function better. The lack of good scientific research on the subject is depressing but after a few months of searching I finally got lucky. I came across some research that showed on a cellular level what was going wrong in the bodies of people with ME/CFS. One thing that stood out to me was the fact that women with ME have low levels of a specific endocannabinoid, 2AG, that binds to CB1 receptors.
By this point I had already tired CBD oils and pills in an attempt to get better quality sleep and relieve some of my pain. It helped a little but not enough to make a difference in my physical capabilities. In the past I had tried smoking & vaping THC for chronic back pain which just made my pain worse and gave me HORRIBLE anxiety. However I was desperate to find something useful so I decided to give THC another shot. THC binds to CB1 receptors and could theoretically reduce symptoms caused by a shortage of 2AG.
By the time my CBD/THC gummies arrived I had had an 8 out of 10 migraine for over a week and any time I stood up my heart rate would reach 120+ bpm making me feel dizzy and out of breath. Knowing I was sensitive to THC I cut a gummy cube into 8 equal parts to start out with a very small dose. About 2 hours after taking the gummy I could stand and walk without having my heart rate go crazy and my pain was almost completely gone! And to my surprise my brain felt clear and sober. After months of horrible brain fog that made me feel constantly high I now felt sober. I was so happy I wanted to cry. But part of me was still skeptical. ME/CFS is a cryptic disease. Some supplements and medications can help people feel temporarily better only to cause you to crash hard later.
I continued to experiment with cannabis products while also continuing to expect myself to crash at some point. Eventually I crashed from too much physical exercise but the crash was not as bad as my previous baseline. After about 2 months of experimenting I was confident that the results would last. To be clear I am far from cured but my levels of pain and fatigue are much lower. I now experience long periods of time without brain fog instead of that being my constant state. For months I couldn’t read a book without immediately forgetting whatever I had just read. And my digestive issues cleared up as well, eating is way more pleasant now! I’m still disabled and still sick but I don’t feel as trapped. I am so happy and grateful to have stumbled across an amazing natural medicine that has given me some aspects of my life back.
What Exactly Did CBD products do for me?Here’s a short summary
reduced body aches,
completely got rid of my tachycardia and heart palpitations,
made me feel more calm and happy
Increased my appitite