Several of my friends and followers who suffer from Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses have asked me how I cope with chronic pain and if I would share my secret.
Like a character my manuscript, Lyme disease has transformed me into a person I no longer recognize. The main reason among the many — Pain — it affects a person’s entire being and drives our moods, our character, and finally slows down the healing process. Lyme disease is like a vampire it sucks the life right out of you.
Most people with chronic illnesses experience pain that over the counter medications or prescription medications don’t touch, even with Codeine added. Collectively, those of us with Lyme or any other chronic disease are in pain and are placed on long-term Opioid’s or narcotic pain medications such as Vicodin or Oxycontin (Oxycodone). These medications work for some people, but for most of us we require something stronger like Morphine or Dilaudid, or as a last resort the highly potent Fentanyl usually in the patch form. Fentanyl is approximately 80 to 100 times more potent than Morphine and roughly 40 to 50 times more potent than (100% pure) pharmaceutical grade Heroin.
When I was in the hospital, I learned from several of the nurses they had seen many patients on Fentanyl or other narcotics for long periods turn to street grade heroin to relieve their pain because Fentanyl is too expensive. If they have no insurance, heroin becomes an affordable alternative for them. Heroin is not only highly dangerous and illegal, but it is also one of the reasons behind so many drug overdoses and reported deaths.
I struggle with over the counter medications on the market and don’t tolerate most opioid/narcotics either as they contain allergens or gluten. I have Celiac disease, and many medications contain gluten as a binder or for no reason at all. Dilaudid is one of two narcotic pain meds I can tolerate. The other, unfortunately, was Fentanyl. And it took me a while to adjust to the Fentanyl patches as they made me very sick. I continue to experience bouts of nausea, and chronic pain. I had wanted to stop using the Fentanyl for several years and have been on a titrating regime for a few years and have experienced horrible withdrawals. Even now I experience horrible withdrawals not surprising since my doctors quickly titrated my dose even when we discussed doing so slowly. And a result of the last quick titration led to serious cardiac issues and was hospitalized for weeks before finally undergoing surgery.
Currently, I have chronic pain from a combination of Lyme disease, shingles and associated neuropathy, as well as two serious falls in which I cracked my coccyx, sacrum, and ruptured two discs. The pain at times has been so severe nothing helped except Dilaudid and bed rest. This incident also put me back into a wheelchair unable to sit or walk without severe pain. When I heard about cannabis without the THC component and its ability to provide pain relief I was all over it. My Lyme Literate Naturopathic Doctor (LLND) used two trials of it. The first one worked surprising well. The second zero effect.
One of the samples of cannabis was a lotion and had a nice lavender scent to it. The other sample was in the color of dirty yellow or dirty green and its consistency like a balm you purchase in a tin for use on your lips.The second same didn’t work well at all. It was difficult to apply and after all the trouble to get it out of the container this was quite disappointing.
I wanted off of Fentanyl, so I could utilize the cannabis cream not only to manage my back pain but to help with the withdrawal symptoms. I had read in the medical literature that cannabis works well for both.
Marijuana is now legal in the state of Oregon for both medical and recreational use. Cannabis is also legal in Oregon and has been for medical purposes for a long time. I prefer this option over narcotics. It would have been wonderful when I when I had shingles the past two years in a row. My balm/cream works to eliminate my back and joint pain where Fentanyl no longer works.
One new concept in the war against prescription narcotic use, the state of Oregon now dictates to health organizations and doctors that patients who receive narcotic pain medications must sign a Pain Management Contract.
The Pain Management Contract used by Providence Health Management Organizations between their Doctors and patients who use pain medication must sign this contract. The interesting component to in the ‘Pain Contract’, is that it specifically asserts that the patient cannot use marijuana, cannabis, and CBDs. Regardless that THC the component responsible for ‘the high’, had been removed from all three. Cannabidiol or CBD is typically the second most common active compound in cannabis products.
Cannabis can be used to control my pain from Lyme disease and co-infections, and many of the symptoms such as horrible spasms, seizures, sleep irregularities, and many neurological symptoms, including depression, anxiety, etc. Enter cannabis.
I decided to make a topical product for myself from tincture purchased from a dispensary in Portland. I have no secret as to why mine works over those sold in other dispensaries apart from the type of marijuana they use versus what I use. I prefer ‘Blue Dream,’ which is the name of the plant. It should be available at any dispensary. The only secret is when you cook at home versus when you purchase food from the deli or processed food, you never know what’s in the food or how it will taste. Homemade is always better because you can control the ingredients.
Cannabis cream is a miracle drug. I wished I knew years ago about this form of cannabis and that it was a legal form. I have asthma and can’t smoke it, so it never was an option before. I would never have used Fentanyl. All of this is great news unless you use Providence Heath Services and their doctors. Listen up.
But before you become all giddy with excitement about DIY Cannabis Cream, especially in Oregon, there is a host of loopholes you must be aware of before you can use it. Please take a look at the following map accurate as of August 2015.
Even though some states allow various forms of marijuana for medical purposes. Check your states website to find out what you need to do to obtain a card. For example, eleven states allow the use of Cannabidiol only. That doesn’t guarantee your Doctor or the institution for which your Doctor works in allows its use.
This is a peculiar loop-hole in Oregon since marijuana officially became legal in Oregon. There is the dreaded Pain Contract all doctors who prescribe narcotic pain medication must adhere to. My experience is with Providence Medical Institutions, the Doctors who work or are associated with Providence, and Providence Hospitals. I assume that all Doctors have to operate under the same or similar guidelines that the ones at Providence do.
Washington DC, Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon are among the states in which recreational marijuana is now legal. 23 states plus Washington DC, have legalized Marijuana for medical use. In some of these states, you are still required to obtain a Medical Marijuana Card even though recreational use is also legal. According to the State of Oregon website, Oregonians are required to obtain a medical marijuana card, signed by a Medical Doctor. These cards are only legal for the state issued. In other words, no reciprocity exists among states. While this law is in effect in Oregon, it may not be applicable in other states, you will have to double check your state’s website to determine if you are required to carry a medical marijuana card.
Not all Cannabis Is Created Equal
Some growers may sell ‘cannabis’, but not all cannabis is created equal. I’ve heard many topical cannabis products sold from dispensaries do not work well. Which is in part why I decided to make my own. I use a special type of weed, which works great for me. And while it works great for me, you may need to experiment. You may also need to experiment a little with my recipe. I am unable to prescribe or give you advice on products. For one, I don’t have the knowledge like those who run the best dispensaries. I can merely tell you what works for me and provide you with the recipe I use. The rest is up to you.
Please make sure you follow the laws based on your state. I am not an expert or a chemist specializing in marijuana. I can only tell you what works for me, based on my results. Make sure if you are required to do so, get a medical marijuana card and carry it with you at all times. If you decide to grow plants, you are required to obtain a grower’s license, regardless if it for medical or recreational purposes. Each state is different. Follow the Law.
Now at last the Cannabis Balm/Cream Recipe
Cannabis Balm/Cream Recipe
—‘Blue Dream’ strain of cannabis tincture is purchased from a Medical Marijuana Dispensary. The size of the bottle is approximately 2 ounces. Note: I don’t advocate using mail order Tincture as it could be a potentially illegal or a federal offense. If it is legal, you do not know what you are getting and do not have the ability to speak directly with a ‘Pharmacist’ or ‘Chemist’ who has a significant amount of knowledge regarding the products being sold.
— Organic Raw- Coconut Oil (I use Nature’s Way)
— Lavender essential oil. I only use Young Living Essential Oil as I have found they are the purest brand on the market. For this recipe, I love the lavender because it helps soothes and relaxes the body, smells nice, and masks the smell from the cannabis tincture. Young Living has many others scents. I encourage you to try other fragrances. I personally use Young Living essential oils and love them. I have tried other brands but always come back to Young Living as they simply are the best products on the market. I have used them for about eight years when one of my girlfriends told me about them. All of the Young Living essential oils products are Therapeutic grade unless otherwise stated on the bottle or the description. You can safely consume them unless otherwise indicated. I use them drinks, for cooking, on my body, in detox baths, and infusing in the air. They are wonderful for so many uses. NOTE: I do not receive money for mentioning Young Living essential oils or products. I do not work for them. I merely am someone who loves their products and loves to tell people about their products. I do warn people not to purchase these on-line from Amazon as you don’t know what you are getting. And from on-line sites for the same reason unless you know a person who is selling the products. You may already know someone who uses them, if not, shoot me an email and I can help guide you where to purchase them. You won’t be disappointed. As for dispensaries for the Tinctures you are on your own unless you live in the Portland area.
— A bowl larger than a cereal bowl to make a water bath
— Infinity Dark Wide Mouth Bottles to pour the oil into.
- It is important to have Air Tight Jars. The oil breaks down the plastics which then leaches into your cream when they come into contact and will contaminate the cream.
- Scent-Proof, Airtight BPA Free Plastic Lid: Heavy durable ultraviolet glass locks in aroma with airtight BPA free plastic lid. Insurance against the potency and purity of the cream from dissipating.
- Tight Seal: Provides additional protection; blocks out air exchange.
- Lab tested and approved Ultraviolet Glass Preserve and rejuvenate freshness for over 6 months! Blocks out all damaging visible light rays and only permit beneficial rays to enter. Delivers shockingly powerful and superior protection over other glassware.
Stainless Steel Funnel – You can find one at Amazon see the example above.
—1 Cup Organic Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
—14 Droppers of Cannabis ‘Blue Dream’ Tincture (bottle (‘Blue Dream,’ Tincture is my preference for this cream and is named after the Blue Dream plant. See the photo below for the approximate size of a dropper. The dropper sizes may vary slightly from a three-quarter to full and the size of the Tincture you purchase. My Tincture bottles are about 2 ounce. Depending on the size of your bottle you will have to adjust your tincture accordingly. The amount of Tincture used and the number of droppers you add to the coconut oil can be altered if you find you are not getting enough relief. If you add more Tincture you will need to add more droplets of Essential oil. Keep in mind you should feel little to no pain immediately following application. Each person is different and therefore may respond differently, this is especially true if a different plant is used to make the Tincture. You should ask the dispensary for the same plant for the Tincture. It is a very common plant. The dispensary should have it or be able to get it or tell you where to go to get it. Talk to the Chemist or Pharmacist. They can and should be very helpful (If they are not, then change dispensers.)
—14 Drops of Young Living Lavender Essential Oils (generally 1:1 ratio of essential oils to tincture)
—1 cereal bowl
—1 larger bowl to set the cereal bowl into for water bath to melt the Coconut oil.
— Stainless steel funnel
Add the tincture to the coconut oil and place into a warm water bath to liquefy the coconut oil mixture. Do not use a microwave.
This what the coconut oil and tincture will look like. Let cool slightly.
When slightly cooled, add the Young Living Lavender Essential Oil to the mixture and gently stir. Using a stainless steel funnel pour your liquid into your small Infinity glass jars. You can use your preference here. Feel free to add a few drops more of essential oil if you still believe the mixture is stinky.
I am a super taster and sniffer. Truth. And the ratios are adequate for me. But not Lady Morgana. She bolts from the bed, even from a sound sleep the second the finished product is opened. She surpasses my super taster ability. Glass containers are preferred since there is evidence that CBD reacts with plastics. I used an old dark colored prescription bottles this time.
This mixture will fill three of the tall thin prescription bottles. Let hardened. Apply as needed where needed. You can even place on your gums if you have a tooth ache. Every ingredient is safe to eat. And you will not feel weird or stoned.
Final product. Keep in a cool dry place to maintain the consistency similar to coconut oil only softer. If you have mixed up more than one cup put excess in the refrigerator. If your house is warm and the consistency melts, then keep in the refrigerator and take out what you desire then return to refrigerator. I use approximately a teaspoon size and massage it into my lower back. Re-apply as needed. I find the pain relief is instant in most instances. This pain reliever can be used for pain muscular and bone, gum/teeth pain associated with Lyme disease, joint pain, especially hands and feet, knees, and hips. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
*Note: I do not receive any endorsements or monetary compensation from any companies mentioned above or in any of my blog posts. The products I mention are merely the products I use and prefer.
*Note: Always use Organic Raw Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. I prefer the brand I use in the photo. It can be found at New Seasons Market or Whole Foods, or any Organic or Health food store.
Medical Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor so I cannot make diagnoses nor would I use social media as a venue to do so.
Copyright Disclaimer: © 2015
All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Photos: Photos within recipe courtesy of ©2015 Lloyd Edwards,
Recipe: LA Edwards
Supply Images: Wikipedia, Amazon.com,
Graph: 24/7 Wall Street, NORML.org, Aug 19 2015
Janet Loehrke, USA Today