Categories
Travel

Day 524 and Low Recovery

I’m on my way to Austin Texas today. Most of yesterday got eaten up by various preparations to be on the road. I’m scared for this trip as Texas hasn’t made cannabis legal so a core part of my physical stability regimen from my physician can’t be brought with me if I want to stay on the right side of the law. I’m terrified of Paxton the incredibly corrupt attorney general.

I did a bit too much yesterday in preparation for travel and unsurprisingly my Whoop and Welltory are flashing red warning signs. I struggle to sleep before travel because of the anxiety and no amount of magnesium, melatonin, quiet reading and essential oils was going to get me down. Even Ambien was like yeah girl your heart rate is crazy.

A poor set of recovery metrics from Whoop

I’m hoping the flight is easy and I get a good night sleep once I’m in Texas. I’d like to be in the green for tomorrow as I’ve got a few little things to finish in preparation. But my basics biometrics are still so bad a 45 HRV is considered good as I think I’m still in a long post viral thing from May.

The Texas heat is going to quite extreme unfortunately. I’m skeptical all go outside for any longer than it takes to get a cab. I brought a bathing suit but I am not sure frying by the pool will do me any good.

A weather forecast for Austin Texas showing a string of over 100 degree highs for a week.

I’m much more concerned about Texas’ notoriously unstable power grids. What if it goes down while I’m there? Will my Texas prepper friends take me in? Will the hotel be on a generator? Is downtown Austin likely to be restored quickly? What if it’s a cascade event and nothing can be brought up for days like their last major grid event?

I’ve done my best to set the lowest possible expectations for being able to meet up with me socially. Which is a shame as conferences are for networking. My DMs are packed with excited DAO folks trying to get my attention. Meanwhile I’m not even confident I’ll leave the hotel room for anything but my own talk and one meet up with a long time friend whom I’ve not had the chance to be with IRL.

I’d like to do more but so many factors are combining to make me extra cautious about obligations. There are too many potentials for a cascade failure and I want to give a great talk so I’ve got to save my energy for that. I’m not worried about being good for the talk.

I’ve got an incredible gift where I can muster all my focus and energy even when extremely sick. I’ll use every last drop of it to meet my obligations. No one will be able to tell I’m sick. And then it’s entirely possible I’ll crater for days. My autonomic nervous system is very sensitive. It’s a blessing and a curse.

I’d you absolutely must find a way to meet with me (and sorry pitching me IRL might not be in the cards but DM and we will chat) I may try to host some folks at my hotel suite. If you are an actual friend of mine and can respect the disability situation maybe we can make it work. But no promises. Which of course my actual friends will understand so open invitation and such.

Categories
Medical Politics

Day 475 and 4/20

Last year on April 20th aka 4/20 aka the day America celebrates weed culture, I wrote an post on using medical marijuana for my ankylosing spondylitis. It’s a thorough look at how I incorporated THC & CBD into a pain control regimen for an inflammatory autoimmune disease. I’ll recap some of it here as my views haven’t changed at all in the intervening year.

As a libertarian I’m pro-legalization but I likely wouldn’t have chosen to use THC recreationally except that it happens to be a drug that has demonstrated benefits for my condition and is comparatively less dangerous than other pharmaceuticals I am also proscribed (namely opioids and high dose NSAIDS). For some context, despite being a native Coloradan I had never smoked weed till this year. As a kid it just didn’t seem appealing (that’s what hippie boomers do), and to be candid as I got older I didn’t love the idea of tying a health need to something that wasn’t legal everywhere.

I spent months testing everything from bud and regular joints to elaborate butter and shatter concoctions in an expensive Pax vape. None of it achieved the desired effect which was pain mitigation and minimal head highs. It was expensive and demoralizing. It was hard to manage dosing and consistency and I was unsure if it would remain a part of my medical regimen. I wasn’t sure weed was ready for prime time but I did feel it was important to document it all both for my own biohacking purposes but in case it could help others.

After all of that experimenting, I settled into regularly using patches. It’s one of the least celebrated formats and, because that’s how it works, the last format I tried before settled into a routine. I use a brand called Mary’s Medicinals that makes an excellent 50-50 THC to CBD blend. It is completely reliable on dosing and effect. It has little to no head high. And it lasts for eight to nine hours. Basically as close as I can get to a pharmaceutical. Turns out I wasn’t kidding when I said I really was in it for the pain relief.

I genuinely hope that THC continues to cement its place in American culture and medicine. It’s a cheap easy and effective drug that replaces a lot of expensive and potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. Of course we’d have powerful interests working to ban that. It’s a a national shame and I’m glad Americans have fought back. I’d rather weed replace alcohol and tobacco. Why get drunk and wake up feeling shitty when you can get calmly high and feel better in the morning. But it’s a long path and sadly it’s still viewed negatively by some. I hope to do my part on 4/20 to encourage folks to see it’s benefits.

Categories
Chronic Disease

Day 110 and Weed

As it is 4/20 I thought I’d share how introduced THC into my medical regimen. I suffer from an autoimmune condition that manifests as inflammation in my upper spine making me an excellent candidate for medical marijuana. As a libertarian I’m pro-legalization but I likely wouldn’t have chosen to use THC recreationally except that it happens to be a drug that has demonstrated benefits for my condition and is comparatively less dangerous than other pharmaceuticals I am also proscribed (namely opioids and high dose NSAIDS).

For some context, despite being a native Coloradan I had never smoked weed till this year. As a kid it just didn’t seem appealing (that’s what hippie boomers do), and to be candid as I got older I didn’t love the idea of tying a health need to something that wasn’t legal. I lived in New York for the past 15 years and while I could have had medical marijuana prescription I was frankly too intimidated to try. Without legalization I never would have attempted it.

Since moving home to Boulder during the pandemic I’ve been experimenting with different THC strains as well as combinations of THC and CBD. I’ve purchased a PAX (an expensive vape), worked through different flowers, butters, shatters, edibles and tinctures. It’s been enormously expensive (probably getting to be over $1,000) and demoralizing as quality, impact and consistency is variable. This despite living in a state where it is completely legal and has the foundation of a consumer culture where you can walk into any dispensary to receive quality advice and purchase wherever you like. Weed has a long way to go before it’s reliable in the way that other pharmaceuticals can be.

I’ve found that CBD on its own doesn’t impact me in any positive manner. But CBD when combined with THC seems to have a reasonable analgesic effect. And I do notice I feel better the next day. For me it’s roughly comparable to taking a double dose of aspirin. Different strains don’t impact me much though I experimented with indica and sativa strains own their own as well as mixes. Indica supposedly has more of a body high versus the mental high of a sativa. The only aspect I really noticed was it’s a challenge to notice a body high when vaping. This makes me have a slight preference for mixed as without a mental high it’s hard to judge impact and dosing.

Interestingly I don’t seem to get much of an impact from smoking or vaping period. Which is weird but I’ve got a weird body. I’ll need to Vape for an hour straight to get any noticeable impact. That’s made me much prefer edibles as it’s less time consuming and more controllable. I’ve been leaning towards a hybrid tincture or gummy that is a 50-50 mix of THC and CBD. THC on its own doesn’t seem to cut down the inflammation pain in the way a mix does. It really seems that the more you break out individual terrapins the less effective it is at driving a result.

My absolute least favorite part of using THC is the high. If I could see a reduction in inflammation and pain without THC and only using CBD I would be thrilled. But CBD just doesn’t on its own for me. So I tolerate the high that comes from THC on bad days. I can’t take it during a work day as it does slow me down mentally. I can workout while on THC and it has really improved my capacity to weightlift as exercise improves inflammation so it is a virtuous cycle. That is if I don’t accidentally push myself too hard. That’s a real danger when you feel better than you actually are. Pain killers of any kind are both relief but it’s helpful to remember tier the pain isn’t gone it’s just subdued.

All of this should be caveated with I don’t take very much (generally 2.5mg but sometimes up to 5mg) it’s not a daily drug. I use it as needed when I’m in worse pain than my regular prescriptions don’t cut it. This is all personal and I don’t recommend anyway try out any drug without checking with your doctors. But honestly I’d rather use THC than Tylenol. So happy 4/20!