I started using high concentration CBD and THC extracts on March 14, 2015. I purchased two 10 gram syringe tubes - one of CBD extract, one of THC extract, at a concentration of 500mg/gram each. I thought I'd share my experiences - I'll regularly update the timeline of events at the bottom of this post. Hopefully this will help someone else using or considering using this treatment.
TOLERANCE: It is recommended that you use the THC and CBD at a 1:1 ratio, as the claim is they work better together than separate. It's necessary to build tolerance to the THC, which is one of the most psychoactive components of marijuana. At first it's suggested to just dip a toothpick in the extract and rub it under your tongue, then every four days, double the dose until you're able to tolerate a gram of extract per day (1/2 THC, 1/2 CBD). I'm not yet able to tolerate anywhere near that amount! Currently I am using half an inch squirted from the syringe of CBD, and half an inch of THC. I am using it almost daily and my tolerance is increasing VERY slowly. Where I am in the chemo cycle affects my tolerance, how long it takes to take effect, and the length of the effect. (see below)
INGESTION: The taste is absolutely vile and long-lasting, especially as I increase the dose. Trying to hide the extract in food just ruins the flavor of all my food. As such, I started putting it in empty medication/supplement capsules.
TIMING: If you're considering using THC extract, be very careful with planning and timing. "Raw" under the tongue, the extract by itself takes about 1-1.5 hours to "hit." In a capsule (even if I only use half of a two-part capsule) it takes anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to hit, which is incredibly inconvenient. Once it hits, the high can last 12 hours or more.
Once I started chemo, I noticed that the timing is very unpredictable - something to do with the way chemo affects my digestion I'm sure. Now when I take the extract, which I put into half of an open capsule, it can take several hours to hit and the high is much shorter and weaker. If you're using it for nausea or pain relief, this is very inconvenient.
TOPICAL: In addition to using it orally, I also experimented with using it topically with DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide) as a carrier to take it into the skin directly on my breast at the site of the tumor. (I alternated days, using it orally one day and topically the next, or some days doing one extract orally and the other topically.) Because DMSO is a solvent, it actually makes it much easier to wash off the remaining extract without leaving a stain. DMSO will take ANYTHING into the skin, so I have to be careful not to use anything "contaminated" to smear the mixture on, otherwise it will lead to irritation (be careful that soap, cleansers, lotions, perfumes, etc. don't end up passing through the skin.) I'm doing topical application of high concentration iodine this way as well, also very effective and greatly reduces skin staining. I do note the psychoactive effects of THC taken topically, but it's reduced compared to orally, which would indicate less efficacy in uptake - though hopefully it's reaching the tumor directly rather than just circulating through the blood to my brain! (I know, that's probably not how it works...) NOTE, since surgery I have only been using it orally.
CANCER EFFECT: I'm told users of cannabis extracts have seen improvements in their cancer markers after about six weeks of use. In vitro and animal studies show signs of shrinking tumors, preventing metastasis and initiating apoptosis (programmed cell death.) I can't measure the last two, but I didn't note any reduction in tumor size. My tumor was originally measured at 2.4cm via ultrasound and was very easy to feel just under the skin. It seemed to me that it changed discernibly on a daily basis. Some days it felt more solid than others, some days it was closer to the skin, some days it actually felt larger - it never felt smaller. It was roughly the same size (2.38cm) when measured via ultrasound before surgery, and actual size was 3.2cm when removed via lumpectomy.
- CBD extract is not psychoactive, but it makes me feel slightly "uncoordinated," and at the same time clear-headed and open-minded. THC extract makes me high, creative, giggly and very sexual. VERY sexual. I've had two hour long orgasms on cannabis. I've also been able to orgasm from my husband just caressing my leg. (This is crazy, but true.)
- Nothing is as effective at making me sleep as cannabis extract. I've used a lot of melatonin and tryptophan over the past couple years, and neither works as well at inducing a deep and restful sleep. Once night sweats or hot flashes started during chemo, I found that the extract allows me to sleep though them undisturbed.
- Aches and pains nearly vanish. At one point I thought I had a cracked rib from coughing so much while sick - turned out to be an extremely painful pulled muscle. Cannabis made it possible for me to function until it healed. I also used it as my sole pain medication through lumpectomy and port placement surgery recuperation with great success.
- Mood is elevated. Getting a breast cancer diagnosis threw me for a loop, I could've easily fallen into a depression. Cannabis has helped me to avoid that and maintain a better outlook on a terrible situation. I notice that I'm more irritable and prone to becoming morose about my diagnosis if I skip cannabis for a day or two.
- Hair and skin are greasier after about a month of taking cannabis extracts. My face is oily and my chest and breasts have broken out in red spots (looks kinda like heat rash - just red dots, no heads or pimple-like characteristics.) This went away after the first month. My hair has actually been looking better than normal for the last couple weeks, with no flyaways or frizzies... not sure if it's related to cannabis or something else.
Any questions let me know, and as I continue with this treatment, I'll update with any other notable information. Hope this helps!
My timeline of events:
Mar 2 - mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. Tumor size recorded at 1.7cm x 2.4cm via ultrasound
Mar 4 - IDC diagnosis
Mar 5 - got my cannabis recommendation
Mar 14 - purchased cannabis extract (10g THC, 10g CBD), began taking it daily
Apr 11 - pre-op appointment with second ultrasound at my request. Tumor size recorded at 1.44cm x 2.38cm via ultrasound.
Apr 27 - lumpectomy. Actual tumor size 3.2cm. It would appear cannabis did nothing to shrink the tumor. It did, however, work effectively as pain medication. I didn't use my prescription for Dilaudid at all.
May 21 - diagnosed with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS), a rare genetic disorder that gives me a nearly 100% lifetime risk of various cancers. 40% of women with LFS get breast cancer. Radiation increases our chances of new cancers.
June 24 - Bard Power Port with Grohong catheter placed in my chest. Agan, cannabis was great pain medication and helping me to sleep.
June 30 - Attempted first chemo - failed, they couldn't access the port and I refused to let them into my arm veins (that's why I got a port!!)
July 17 - Successful first chemo (TCH). Cannabis nightly ever since is helping me sleep, mitigating side effects and still has very positive effect on sex.
I'm age 42, married, no kids. I have Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, a genetic disorder that gives women a nearly 100% lifetime risk of several types of cancer and makes radiation-induced cancers more likely.
3/4/2015, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
4/26/2015 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
7/16/2015 Herceptin (trastuzumab)
7/17/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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