Getting the right answers in your cannabis journey can be tricky. But with The Cannigma’s Ask the Expert, you can find questions from readers like you, answered by a real cannabis pharmacist.
I’ve had chronic nerve pain for 5 years. It all started when a dentist drilled my jaw. I sought help at the university dental clinic. The bite plate was made there, which ultimately ruined my joint.
I’ve been taking loads of pills (hydromorphone, pregabalin, escitalopram…) over the past few years. I have nerve pain and extreme muscle pain.
Cannabis butter, which I take in the evening, is the only thing that helps at the moment. I keep reading about ointments with terpenes that can help. Could you please tell me more about them?
Thanks for the questions and I am sorry about your jaw pain. Based on the medications you have listed, it sounds like the pain can be quite severe at times.
I am glad to see that cannabutter helps; this suggests you respond well to cannabis therapy. I would encourage you to keep using your cannabutter if it is not causing any issues, as certainly it is safer than a medication like hydromorphone. But I also want to give you a few more tools to use, as taking THC is not always an option. Additionally it sounds like there is probably some amount of inflammation and inflammatory pain in your jaw, and incorporating CBD into your cannabis regimen may be helpful.
Based on what you shared, I’m assuming your cannabutter is THC-dominant (Type I) and that the “high” is making certain daily tasks difficult, which is why you only use it in the evening.
If this is the case, I would suggest you try blending in some other chemotypes to get a more balanced effect when you have to be more sharp.
Important note: cannabis, and CBD in particular, can interact with many medications, including some that you are currently taking (escitalopram and hydromorphone). Please speak to your pharmacist and doctor about your medications and potential drug interactions, as I cannot offer medical advice.
A few things you can consider trying:
- Experiment with a Type III oral product with breakfast and/or lunch – this will keep you much clearer headed (though you may still “feel something”)
- You can increase to Type II if this doesn’t help – CBD modifies the THC experience
- Try a Type II topical product and apply it every 1-2 hours as needed if it helps
- Terpenes can have an effect, for sure, but the science is pretty weak for us to speculate. Also consider that terpenes (essential oils) from non-cannabis plants are frequently added to topical products. If you want to make your own topical, you can find some essential oils you enjoy the smell of and add them to your desired smell/intensity.
- Consider developing a meditation practice to help deal with the pain
- Look into electroacupuncture, as this has been shown to stimulate the endocannabinoid system.
- Regular acupuncture helps too, it’s just less studied.
- Ensure you’re getting enough sleep (weed may or may not help with that too)
Fun fact: camphor and menthol – active ingredients in topics pain relief products like Icy Hot and Tiger Balm – are terpenes!
Good luck and be well,
Codi Peterson, PharmD
Scientific advisor, The Cannigma
Have a burning cannabis question you need answered? Submit your questions to [email protected].
Sign up for bi-weekly updates, packed full of cannabis education, recipes, and tips. Your inbox will love it.