My husband, Alex’s, decades-long battle with relentlessly progressing MS had left him bound to a wheelchair and struggling with symptoms that severely impacted his quality of life. In 2015, he was also diagnosed with a second autoimmune condition: Lymphocytic Colitis, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease that is triggered by food allergens. Since that time, I’ve learned that MS can affect any part of the body since the Central Nervous System is the command center for everything. So, when he woke up on the night of October 20, 2018 complaining of stomach cramps, we both thought it was colitis-related, or perhaps a virus. I called an ambulance, and he was immediately taken to the ER, and then admitted into the hospital. CT scans of his abdomen revealed an intestinal blockage which needed to be treated immediately.
What followed was several months of unplanned-for hell. He needed a full, open abdominal surgery. Afterwards, he aspirated, got pneumonia, and was placed in a medically-induced coma. He survived that, only to get a severe infection and a necrotic wound. Worse than that, though, was his complete inability to move. The MS had gotten worse. He did not have the muscular strength to blow his nose, use his phone, eat without assistance, or even operate the call button for the Nurses’ station. His muscles had completely atrophied.
During this time, he was moved from the hospital, to long-term acute-care hospital, to a Skilled Nursing Facility. By the final move, he was so thin and frail, I hardly recognized him. Although he was given Physical Therapy, he was not provided with adequate nutrition or the care he needed to improve. I tried desperately to get him into a Rehabilitation hospital, but he was too weak to be accepted. We even tried to get help from his Neurologist. Alex had to go to the appointment on a stretcher. After a three-minute neurological exam, the arrogant Doctor scoffed and said “no Rehab will take you”. He then prescribed a 60K MS drug, and Baclofen for spasticity, and then he click-clacked away on his Italian leather shoes, essentially dismissing my husband to die. It became clear that no one in this system was invested in actually seeing him improve. I knew that I had to bring him home, if for no other reason than to ensure his last months were surrounded by his family, friends, and animals. I wanted him to have some quality of life, even if it wasn’t the life he had before.
It took about two weeks to arrange for the substantial amount of care that would be needed. There were agencies to interview, equipment and supplies to arrange, and every variety of personal care product to purchase. I turned our living room into a hospital room with the help of his mom and our good friend, Frank. Alex arrived at home, and was helped into bed onto which I’d placed an alternating pressure mattress because he also had a bed sore that he’d acquired at the Skilled Nursing Facility.
Despite having the best home care, an excellent aide, and Physical Therapy twice a week, Alex was still struggling. His biggest hurdle was severe spasticity that raged nightly and forced him into a fetal position, and caused tremors and pain. The problem was so bad that he couldn’t sleep. Nights were torture for him. Even as the wound healed, improvements in his mobility had plateaued.
He tried Baclofen at night, but it only gave him a modest amount of relief that didn’t last long. I started to investigate a Baclofen pump, a device that is implanted under the skin that provides continual medication intrathecally. The last thing he wanted to do, though, was subject himself to another surgery. He then began vaping various strains of cannabis, hoping to at least get some relief from the insomnia he was experiencing. Around this time, I started searching the internet for some help, hoping to find a medication, a new Neurologist, or some kind of device to make things better. As luck would have it, I found a podcast by someone claiming to have cured his MS with cannabis oil. I listened, but had my reservations since the vaped cannabis wasn’t doing much. What was different about the podcaster’s approach was that he extracted the cannabis into hemp oil.
Alex and I talked about it, and I purchased the supplies that would be needed to make a jar. The first night, he took a teaspoon. It didn’t help. Then we started experimenting with different combinations of Baclofen and the oil. Now, I know mixing cannabis and muscle relaxants is not recommended, but he was suffering terribly and the worst side effect was going to be an increase in the effects of the Baclofen, which is what was needed. To increase the actual dosage of Baclofen can cause other problems that are detrimental to a quadriplegic, problems like respiratory depression and constipation, which is why people opt for the pump, despite its considerable risks.
Then, one night he took one 10mg tablet of Baclofen followed by a tablespoon of cannabis oil and it was the magic combination. For the first night in months, he slept soundly until the next morning. Every night, he repeated this protocol with the same results. He also started gradually getting better. At first, we were thrilled that the Baclofen effects lasted through the night. Over time, we were surprised to see that the spasticity decreased overall, even during the day when he wasn’t taking the medication.
Two months later, the improvement he has experienced befuddles even the Physical and Occupational Therapists who work with him four times a week. He is eating on his own, wheeling around in his wheelchair, standing, using the computer and his phone, and exercising daily. He is happier than he has been in months, as he continues to improve every day. Overall, he knows that he was given a second chance thanks to one incredible plant.
If you want to make this oil for yourself or someone in your care, I recommend using the best bud you can find. My husband prefers Girl Scout Cookies. This high THC strain is heady, yet it does help with muscle tension, pain, and spasticity. At times, Alex experienced minor paranoia, but that faded quickly.
1 ounce ground and decarboxylated bud
2 cups CBD hemp oil
2 10 oz. heat safe jars with lids (or use several smaller jars)
a glass carafe
a fine-mesh strainer
- Place half of the bud and half the oil in each of the jars.
- Seal them shut, and place them in the crockpot.
- Fill the crockpot with enough water to barely cover the jars.
- Turn the crockpot on low and cook the bud and oil for 6-8 hours, or overnight.
- Position the strainer over the carafe and pour the oil through it. Press the bud against the strainer with the spoon to extract all of the oil.
- Pour the bud-free oil back in the jars, seal them shut, and store them in your refrigerator. Cannabis oil will keep for up to a year.