Cannabis Oil and Crohn's Disease

Cannabis Health Radio Podcast Episode 300: She Manages Her Painful Crohn’s Disease With Cannabis

Episode 300: She Manages Her Painful Crohn’s Disease With Cannabis

At the age of 17 she began developing extreme digestive issues and back pain. By the time she turned 20, Nikki Jackson of British Columbia, Canada, was on 15 different pharmaceuticals for digestive pain and some for the resulting anxiety/depression of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Using cannabis and cannabis oil for Crohn’s disease during the last 8 years is the only thing that helps her manage her pain and digestive issues.

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Full Transcription Below
Preamble

Welcome to cannabis health radio, a podcast where we share stories from people around the world. We’re using cannabis as medicine. The information is meant to raise awareness about the health benefits of cannabis, but should not be taken as medical advice. Now, here are your hosts Ian Jessup and Cory Yelland.

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And welcome to another episode of cannabis health radio. I’m Ian Jessup. And I’m Cory Yelland. Our guest today was diagnosed with extreme digestive issues in her teens. And by the time she was 20 she was on different pharmaceutical medications, too many to name right now. And she had to deal with a host of issues. Joining us from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada to tell her cannabis story is Nikki Jackson.

Hi, thank you for having me.

It’s great to have you. Now take us back to your teenage years and tell us some of the health issues that you were facing as a teenager.

Introducing Nikki Jackson

 It all started when I was around 17. I was already having major anxiety, I was a teenager, graduating high school, not knowing what to do with my life, which causes anxiety in itself. But then my stomach… I would be getting… I call them stomach attacks. They started at three in the morning. And most of the time, it was like a hot burning knife would be dragged through my insides and cramping from every angle, to the point where I wouldn’t be able to stand up straight. I couldn’t sleep. There was no comfortable position basically for me to be in. I ended up in hospital almost every two weeks because the pain would be so intense that I would be nauseous and I couldn’t work. There were so many things happening all at once. I would be in the hospital. They can’t really do much for digestive issues in the hospital, unfortunately. They would give me antispasmodics anti-anxiety medications, pain medications, but by the time I would get home, I’d feel the exact same that I would before I went to the hospital.

Was there a diagnosis a particular diagnosis you had at that stage?

From 17 to 19, all they said was IBS. And they couldn’t find anything else other than IBS. When I was 19 to 21, they were saying early Crohn’s Disease. But they would never actually give me a diagnosis, which was frustrating as I was trying to get onto disability. But they were claiming my anxiety was more of a factor than anything else. So, I got an early Crohn’s diagnosis at about 22 which we basically held onto. And we pursued that up until this past year where I was actually off for nine months because my digestive issues got inflamed again, basically due to stress and other factors. But I actually now have H Pylori, Candida, and an unhealthy amount of strep and staph organisms. It was a misdiagnosis back then, which I’m very glad that I advocated for myself because they would have wanted to cut out all my insides at 19.

Wow, so you had H. Pylori. Yeah, Candida, what was the other one? An unhealthy amount of strep and stuff organism?

None of the Medications Worked

So basically, that’s fancy words for over fermentation of bacteria in my body.

How many medications were you on between 17 and 23?

I was up to over 15 different pharmaceuticals.

None of them worked?

Absolutely not. They gave me mild relief. I was on anything from pain medication, sleep, medication, anxiety, antidepressants. antispasmodics. They had me on anything they could shove in me. And yeah, I did not feel good in any way, shape, or form on them.

 Do you know what astounds me, Cory, we’ve interviewed a lot of people who’ve been on even more medications. And doctors don’t seem to care how many medications you’re on, they just keep pushing these medications on you.

Yep. And it was oh, this one doesn’t work. So, let’s try this one and these side effects. So, here, take this one for that. And it was at a point where I had so many pills, I could barely keep track of them all and to afford the pills as well, that was another factor. And then my mom would come over and pat my bong for me when I was having a stomach attack. I would take one bong rip and the whole spasming would stop. The pain would relax and then I’d be able to eat a cannabis capsule for example. And then the pain would slow down and dissipate. Getting the cannabis in me was the only thing that would actually stop the stomach attacks. I could take every single one of the 15 pharmaceuticals and they wouldn’t stop it. But one capsule and one bong rip would.

What was in the capsule, Nikki?

The first two capsules I started with was the Ryanall on the Stockanoll from the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club. They’re super low dose THC, but they’re broad-spectrum, as one is made from the leaves, so you’ve got high terpene content, and the other ones made from the stalk. So, you’ve got a broad spectrum of cannabinoids in them. And I started there. And once I could take up to 10 or 15 milligrams of those at a time I moved up to the higher dose capsules.

 What was your introduction? Was your mother your introduction?

 She was, yeah. So my mother, at the same time as I was dealing with my issues, she was dealing with similar but different issues. She has Colitis that was actually created by the pharmaceuticals they gave her for her back pain, and it ended up eroding her stomach lining. So, when we came to BC, we moved here in 2000, my mother was in the ringer from 2000 to 2012 in the western medicine front, and then she found the club. And six months later she brought me to the club and history was born.

Well, that’s really amazing. What a good mother introduced you to cannabis.

 I was using it recreationally at the time. I was a silly teenager, just trying to get stoned as much as I could. But I had never used it medicinally. And introducing me to the capsules and the edibles was really the game-changer. And suppositories of course,

What has it done for your anxiety?

Cannabis Oil for Anxiety

It’s the only thing that can control my anxiety. And I still to this day have panic attacks on the regular especially when my stomach is bad. It really affects my mental health. I take CBD regularly and it keeps me level. I’d like to say my brain likes to go very, very fast. It helps me from spinning out, as well as, I can actually get full-body relaxation because I’m so tense. I’m constantly in a fight or flight mode with my issues. It keeps me away from the fight or flight, which is amazing.

Nikki, what’s a typical day look like for you, cannabis-wise?

It really depends on the day and how my health is doing, but I always start with CBD in my smoothie. I put at least 20 milligrams in my smoothie each morning so I can get dosing throughout the morning because that’s the only thing I can ingest for the first few hours when I wake up. And then I take some capsules, usually a broad spectrum. I’ll probably take like 100 milligrams of straight Indica THC. I’ll take some of the raw capsules and the Ryanall and Stockanol. I usually set it at about 200 in the morning. And I usually by the end of the day I’m eating upwards of 400. If it’s a bad day closer to 1000. But I’m smoking throughout the day too. I’m basically consuming as much as possible. It’s like a fun game I play to how much I need to medicate myself.

With your digestive issues, what are some of the foods that you can’t eat?

 I don’t eat gluten or dairy. I try and stay away from processed sugar. I really only consume honey or maple syrup. Probably easier to tell you what I can eat, to be honest. I can only eat white meat – chicken and turkey. Vegetables, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, rice, yellow potatoes, and a few different kinds of fruits – berries, pineapple, and bananas are pretty much all I can consume at this time.

 And when you don’t eat something that agrees with you, you start to get cramping?

Super cramping. Yeah, it goes one way or the other. Either I go to the bathroom 10 to 15 times a day, or I can’t go for a few days. But either one of those options ensues. Just absolute cramping from all angles.

Life is a real struggle for you at times.

 It has been over the last 10 years. There have definitely been times that have been quite unmanageable. But I found the regime and I’ve had quite the community of support from the VC that’s helped me figure out my issues and how best to deal with them.

 Have, I mean, this is really an unfair question, but I’m gonna ask it anyway. Have you ever thought about taking your own life as a result of your problems?

 100% it’s definitely not an unfair question. Anyone that lives with chronic pain for an extended period of time is bound to get depressive thoughts and unfortunately, that’s one of the ones that come with it. I’m not at that stage quite anymore. But this past year when I was off work for the first time in my life. I had never let my body win and I felt like it had won for a moment. So, there are definitely times where your brain can get tired of dealing with the rest of it.

 What would you say to someone who may be listening who doesn’t know much about cannabis and wants to learn how? How do they go about that process? Because we’re constantly getting emails from people who ask us questions about some of the very basic things about cannabis. Take us through, given the fact that you work in a cannabis store, take us through the process that people can go through to make themselves more educated with respect to cannabis.

The internet is a wonderful, but scary, thing. I always, when I’m researching anything to do with cannabis, look for multiple sources. There are a lot of people, like you guys, that are creating tons of content with very educational great knowledge in there. I would say just research as much as possible. And if you’re scared of the plant, try CBD first because everyone, I know, there’re some people that can react to CBD still, but everyone in my opinion benefits from a little bit of CBD in their life unless you have an aversion to cannabis. But start with CBD, see the benefits of that, and go from there. And ask questions if you know someone who’s consuming, who’s been in around the plant forever. Ask questions. We’re all more than willing to answer.

 You probably knew nothing about the endocannabinoid system. Let’s split that up.

Not when I was first starting, absolutely not. No, I really figured out most things from trial and error. And myself. Talking about the depressive state, I was very nervous to talk to anyone about my issues. And so, it was trial and error for the first few years. But I’ve definitely learned a lot more since being within the club and doing an intense amount of research over the last 10 years. Because your body needs a lot more than we think it does.

 When you were at your worst, what was it like for you?

It was really scary. I was at my worst between 19 and 23, when you’re supposed to be figuring out your life route.  Healthy, traveling, doing all the fun stuff, you know? And I had to plan my days around where the bathrooms were. If I was going on an outing, I had to know exactly where every possible spot was that I could stop. It’s a lot of mental anguish. It takes a lot of energy to even think of what your day is going to be like. It was really hard, for a really long time. But it can get better. And, the only way it can get better is if you listen to your own body. So yeah, trial and error is a big thing.

 I think people have to be willing to experiment and try things. Because what may work for you may not work for someone else who has a similar issue as you.

Cannabis Sativa vs. Cannabis Indica

Our bodies are completely different. Our genetics are different. The way that we react to it is different. Like, for example, Indica and Sativa. Most people think Indica is the couch. It’s gonna relax you. We have people come into the club that are completely backwards. If they smoke Indica, they’re up for hours, cleaning their house, and energized. All of the things. If they smoke Sativa then they’re going to bed. Our genetics are all different. Every human is different, and the way the plant works, with you, is going to be different. Trial and error is a necessary part of cannabis medicine.

That’s interesting. Have you ever heard of that Cory? You know, on occasion I have. And as Nikki’s talking, I’m thinking also you know about how Sativa versus Indica… on another level, CBD versus THC. So, when somebody says seizures, the first thing everyone thinks of is CBD for seizures. And yet, you know, we have people like Baby Novalee who CBD exacerbates her seizures. Put her on THC and she goes months without a seizure. So yeah, it’s just all about everybody responds differently. And I get so many messages from people saying, can you tell me exactly what that woman with liver cancer use? Well, I can. But is that going to work for you? Maybe, maybe not.

I get similar questions that the club because I’m very open about what I’ve been through, and I don’t present myself as a sick person, I make sure that I look good, feel-good kind of person. So being sick for 10 years, I make sure that I don’t look sick because I don’t want anyone asking me questions about my illness when I don’t want to talk about it. I sometimes have to explain what I’ve been through for people to understand that I know what I’m talking about. But then, as you said, they want to know exactly what you’ve done. And, you can give them an idea, but if they’re not trial and error in it themselves, it’s really it’s just talk

You know you don’t look sick to me.

Thank you.

You know, you look healthy.

Thank you.

What about strains? When people ask you questions about strains, what strain should I use?

 I always ask what effect they’re looking for. Because people get stuck on strains, you know. Someone thinks crushes the only thing that’s going to work for them. There’re other strains that have the terpenes that are in the Cush. A lot of people… I think we’re starting to learn about terpenes and their effects more. But I really just try and figure out what flavour profile they’re going for and what effect they’re looking for. Because I go through all different strains. It’s really, again, the trial and error, the balancing of it as well.

And the strain that’s grown in Canada may be different than the strain that’s grown in England, even though it’s the same strain. Yep, the makeup of it will be different. And if it’s grown in the United States, it may be different as well. Yeah, so “strains” is really a misnomer, isn’t it?

It is, and I feel like the whole Indica and Sativa labels on them too, are kind of not as accurate as they could be because of the terpenes, for example… We have a strain Rainbow Driver at the club right now. It’s super citrusy. Normally it wouldn’t affect me as a citrusy profile strain. I love the flavour but doesn’t usually get me stoned. This bud is a 50/50 hybrid, but it gets me super stoned. So, there’s some other terpene that’s in that strain that works well with me. I would have never thought by the smell that I would get baked off it. But it really is the genetic makeup of the strains that are becoming ever so more important for the medicinal values.

When you were having very serious issues with your digestive problems, weren’t you malnourished?

Yes. I was actually dying of malnutrition. That’s one of the reasons they told my mom they wanted to cut my insides out at 20. They told my mom I was dying of malnutrition. There was no absorption happening in my digestive tract. That is scary as hell. I was really skinny. I’m 120 pounds right now. I was 150 in high school, and I was 100 pounds when I was super sick. 100 Pounds.

How tall are you? Five, eight, and a bit? And you were 100 pounds? Yeah, you were skinny.

120 Is even too skinny. I should be about 130. But with the issues in the past year, I can’t get over 120 right now.

Do you find that you’re slowly getting better, or you’re just maintaining your health?

Reduction of Stress and Understanding Triggers

I think it depends on the environment around me. And with the major stresses that have been going on with the club over the past few years, I’ve been more on the maintaining side of things. After taking time off this past year, I’m on the getting better side of things. It’s just keeping the stress and understanding the triggers as well. It’s really, you’ve got to learn about yourself when you’re chronically ill, too.

You know, I was reading through your letter that you sent us and, you know, you talked about doing suppositories and plant material capsules et cetera, et cetera. And you mentioned RSO or cannabis oil, whatever you want to call it. I’m wondering, first of all, how much actual cannabis oil do you do? And I can’t help wondering… I’m wondering if you did that on a regular basis, say three times a day or something for a significant period of time? Whether that would actually repair things for you versus alleviate symptoms?

Rick Simpson Oil Crohn’s Disease

Totally. I try and consume as much as I possibly can. As I said, I find the capsules better only for convenience. I do however make doses of Rick Simpson Oil for myself as well. When I was super sick, I was taking the Rick Simpson oil every three hours. For a long time. Me and my mother… that was one of our first medicines. I like the capsules now because I don’t have to have such intense levels of THC to get the effect that I need, but I definitely always carry a bottle of Virat ESCO around with me. Explain to listeners what that is.

So Varied ESCO is a local Island company that creates Rick Simpson oil, which is a brand that I’ve trusted forever. So I keep a little vial of the oil in my purse at all times for easy dosing.

Cannabis Oil Suppository

A couple of weeks ago we interviewed a fellow in Slovenia who is a cannabis activist and works with scientists.  He indicated that taking cannabis oil by suppository or vaginally is the best way to take it for effectiveness.

I would agree with that. It’s the most bioavailable way to get it into your body, and it also bypasses the liver. A lot of people that aren’t okay with the super-stoney-effect find a lot of relief from the suppositories, because you’re getting all of the medicine without as much of this stoney effect

Benefits of Using Cannabis Suppositories

You know, Nikki, something really, really exciting that happened in the past couple of weeks and was directly related to Bozidar, is that they have now done some studies on suppositories, because of course, they’re studies that show that cannabis oil is not absorbed in the blood vessels in the rectum. But it turns out that’s what’s happening is they’re being absorbed by the fluid from the lymph nodes that are also the rectum.  The rectum is full of lymph nodes. But the more interesting part was that these studies indicate that the level of CBD… the concentration of CBD in the system rectally versus orally was 250 times stronger rectally, and the THC was 100% stronger.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Actually, Cory, one of my co-workers has ovarian cysts and we just started having cannabis suppositories as an option. And she has been using those regularly. It is the most relief she’s had in the last few years.

So nice. Very nice. How’s your mother doing? She’s okay. Um, her health issues. definitely got better. We both medicate constantly as well. We actually started making our own edibles as well. We use Rick Simpson Oil and coconut oil and make it all ourselves. She’s on the managing train as well. She helps a lot with the club as well. She’s on the board of directors for VC. She’s very active in the community now too.

 Yeah, that’s, that’s fascinating. I’m wondering, as you were talking earlier about your digestive issues and your malnutrition, whether the cannabis is starting to rebuild your stomach and digestive lining? What do you think?

Cannabis Oil Reduces Inflammation

I believe it is. I firmly believe that it is because cannabis reduces inflammation. Inflammation is the problem that I have in my gastro tract. As I said, when I took cannabis when I was super sick, it’s the only thing that stopped the stomach attacks. I can only imagine that it’s stopping the attack by reducing the inflammation. Immediately. Because it’s an immediate effect when it’s happening. I believe it is. The more I need to take.

 Do you chat with other people, who have digestive issues, about some of their issues that are similar to yours?

Yeah, I talk to as many people as I can. Honestly, when I first got sick 10 years ago, a lot of digestive issues weren’t talked about in the mainstream media. They weren’t talked about even in the doctor’s office. They just really weren’t a thing. So, I was more labelled as crazy, and too much information, kind of person. But now, most of most people that I know, know someone either with Crohn’s disease or crazy digestive issues. They’ve got a mother, a brother, a friend that has these issues now. 10 Years later it’s much more rampant. And people are looking for answers. And, because I’ve been so open these last 10 years about what I’ve gone through, people come to me a lot. And I’m very grateful for that. I’ll talk to anyone about it.

Everybody Poops

Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with being open about some of the issues that that you’ve had. And I think that people afraid to talk about bathroom issues is a stigma. Yeah, there is a stigma. Absolutely. And people are not only free, but they’re embarrassed about what they have. And you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it. No, we need to bring it back to that book. Everybody poops. We all read that in elementary school.

I guess that was before my time.

I saw that in your library. It’s a good one. Yeah, it’s really interesting that I find in chatting with people who I would never suspect that they would be taking cannabis. They just kind of secretly let it out that, oh, yeah. I’ve tried that. And I continue to try it or try it every night. Yeah. And I was reading a thing the other day that cannabis consumption in Canada is one of the highest in the world compared to other jurisdictions. Yeah, I can see that. And yeah, that’s right. And even though we have legalization in Canada, it is a mess. And you know that far better than anyone else because you work in a cannabis club.

Nikki works in the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, which is the oldest cannabis club in North America, started in 1996. And the government between 1996 and legalization, left it alone. Now, as soon as we had legalization, all of a sudden, the raids started.

Cannabis and Government Legislation

Yeah, we’ve had two raids. Since legalization, the most recent one in June. We’ve got the city’s support, which is even more frustrating now that they’re enforcing more. We’ve most recently gotten an eviction notice from our landlord. Not his choice. The government is strong-arming him with a threat of jail time and a $50,000. Fine. So yeah, the government really doesn’t like not getting all the profit.

I know. Yeah. Tell me the difference between the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club and other organizations, other businesses that sell products. What’s the difference in the product?

Best Quality Cannabis Oil 

 And the product for sure. We only use the best quality ingredients. We use the best quality of oils. We were speaking earlier… compared to legal markets… they use the lowest quality of oils. We make everything ourselves.

Sorry to interrupt…. They use canola oil which is the cheapest oil. And, canola oil was an engine lubricant before it became a cooking oil.  Super indigestible for people like myself. So, we use all the best all-organic olive oils, organic hemp seed oils, MCT oils, and we test everything. We source it all from the best places we can. But really what the club is better with is that we talk to the patients. We help the patients. We explain the products. We help them create a regime. And we cater to the lowest income group. We have the lowest cost of products. We’re actually the only ones I’ve seen that have lowered our product cost in the past few years. So yeah, there’s a lot of benefit. And that’s not to suggest that everyone out there is using crappy products.

No, absolutely not. There’s a lot of good, absolutely a lot of good. But I would like to think that our standard across the board is higher than others.

 Yeah, it’s, it’s fascinating. It’s interesting. It’s good to have you in and talk about your issues. And I know you have to get to work. So, we’ll let you go. And I hope over the course of the next few months and years that you start to gain some weight. I don’t think I’ve ever said that.

I’ll take it because most people are overweight, and they’ve got to lose some weight. But you don’t look sickly.

Cannabis Oil Helps the Metabolism

I’ll tell you that I think cannabis can help with the overweight issue too. It metabolizes everything in your body faster. Tell people about that.

There’s a stigma that cannabis users are lazy and overweight and all those types of things. But actually, if you look into the studies, cannabis helps metabolize a lot of things in your body. It makes your metabolism move faster. So actually, you’re more likely to burn fat faster when using cannabis.

I’ve got to tell you something, Cory. Are you still there? Yes. No, I’m not here anymore, no. I thought so. Last night, I took some cannabis, and I ate an entire pint of vegan ice cream.

 Oh, yeah?

And so today…. Today, I decided that ice cream is no longer on my portion sizes.

No, but I ate half of it before my wife got home from work, and the other half when she was there. And she said, “Did you eat the whole thing?” I said, “Yeah”. But it’s the last time ever I’m going to have her see. And that’s the real danger of marijuana. Right!

Nikki, good to talk to you. Thanks for coming. And I greatly appreciate what you’re doing. And I hope you and your mother give it all you got. We’ll show them how it’s done. Thanks very much. Thank you for having me. Thanks, Nikki.

The trials and tribulations of cannabis. Nikki was in the studio because I actually read about her story. And I thought that she’d be great. So, if you have a story about the use of medical cannabis, send us an email go to cannabishealthradio.com. Send us an email. Tell us about it. And maybe you can be on the next episode of cannabis health radio. If you’d like to donate to our cause, you can send us as little as $5 a month, if you want on Patreon, or to make a one-time donation, go to cannabishealthradio.com Thanks for listening, everyone. We’ll be back next week with another episode of cannabis health radio.
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