I have now lived six decades on this planet, through the tail end of the years when the evil weed was illegal and being so freaked out by the notion of smoking anything that I went the other direction if I so much as smelled something that seemed to me like marijuana (dirty socks?).
Growing up with parents who smoked for years turned out to be the best advertisement to stay away from cigarettes my sister and I could have had. We celebrated when, one after the other, they quit.
As a grownup, I am still a major square when it comes to alcohol for several reasons, not least that I never acquired the taste for it (nor coffee, for that matter), which makes me a real drag at parties… which is one reason I generally don’t go to them. I feel like an idiot standing around watching tipsy people get tipsier, and I’m not joining in the uproarious fun. Same thing about being around people using marijuana.
But a few days ago, on the advice of a friend, I went to a legal pot dispensary a few miles from my house and bought my first pot product: a 2-ounce jar of CBD pain cream. For $70. Because this, as the kids used to say, is the good shit.
Not for me, though I’m now a big fan of CBD cream, but for my sweetie, who has been hobbled with sciatica for a couple of weeks to the point his only comfortable position has been horizontal. Dick is a 75-year-old who typically has a great deal of get-up-and-go, as my father used to say, though Dick appreciates a good afternoon nap (who doesn’t?). And seeing him literally flattened by this new ailment has been scary and enlightening for us both. We have learned a lot. Quickly.
The good news, though: The CBD cream, smeared on his right leg, has been as effective for Dick as the big bad narcotic the doctor prescribed, which I have also retrieved a few times now from the pharmacy of a major HMO, making me, I suppose, a double drug runner.
This is not generally how I see myself.
Dick was a bit wary at first of what he keeps calling the CDB. He, too, is a teetotaler out of habit more than anything else. “It’s not gonna get me high, is it?” he wanted to know.
This was funny to me because the big bad pain drug was making him more than a little loopy, though he couldn’t see that.
“By smearing it on your skin?” I said, unable to imagine how that might be possible, remembering people taking long tokes of joints so tiny I couldn’t fathom how they didn’t burn their fingers… even with a roach clip. “No, it’s not supposed to.” And it hasn’t.
A couple friends who regularly smoke pot were surprised to hear that Dick wouldn’t consider just lighting up, “the old-fashioned way,” one of them said. “It’s really effective for pain.”
And while I knew that to be true, I assured her that wasn’t gonna happen. People who like to indulge can and should smoke pot or ingest it any way that they want. But Dick and I have no idea how to get high or smoke anything, and we don’t want to learn now if we don’t have to.
Turns out, we don’t have to. To my experienced friend (who, my old-fashioned self says I shouldn’t identify, even though it’s now legal to smoke and inhale) who suggested the CBD cream, I am most grateful, not least because she sent me to a dispensary that, she assured me, was clean and friendly and whose name is Hugs.
I loved that even before I walked in—a place to buy weed with such a welcoming name. Sure, there’s an armed guard when you walk in, and you have to turn over your ID and sign a release before they let you in the store part, but once inside, it was bright and clean, as described, and the young woman behind the counter was most friendly.
I purchased the medium-strength cream, also recommended, and walked out with receipt (cash only!) attached to a clean white bag with no identifying marks. I got in the car smiling and took it to Dick. He had me slather on the first swipes, and its menthol-y smell tingled our nostrils as well as his skin.
“How’s it feel?” I asked as he laid on his good side, me rubbing in the cream.
He smiled. “It tingles.” Bigger smile. “In a good way.”
And in a few minutes Dick’s discomfort was significantly minimized. We both sighed with relief. The CBD cream plus acupuncture plus bodywork from a personal trainer in El Dorado Hills plus regular distant healing treatments by my mom, the holistic nurse—all of it is helping. And we are hugely grateful.
I’ve been through this before, watching significant others in pain, in health crises, and it’s no fun for anyone. I usually feel useless. But in this case, with suggestions for treatments and practitioners from others, we have spent two weeks trying a smorgasbord of options: the western medical drugs and the kind general practitioner at the HMO as well as the alternative pain treatments, including marijuana products. I’m ready to have Dick try the CBD tincture next, the kind without the high-inducing THC, and he’s willing, good sport that he is.
That will mean another trip to Hugs, where I may have to restrain myself from praising their products to the heavens and actually reaching out to an employee for a hug. I don’t think they have those on the menu, though they probably should for grateful people like me.
And when he’s really up and moving around well again, I’m taking Dick there to look around. You never know what might catch his eye.