I Decreased My Cannabis

I Decreased My Cannabis

I love reading how those of us that turn to cannabis for medical need will inevitably need to increase consumption levels over time to maintain the maximum effect. According to some, we become addicted and may even turn to hard drugs due to this exposure to cannabis. Somehow that sure didn’t happen to me or others I have known to utilize cannabis for medical need through the years!

So, if this is so true, then could someone explain why I have, since beginning use in 2007, been able to instead reduce the amount needed to accomplish sleep and pain relief? I started cannabis immediately as an oil form since smoking with Sarcoidosis could be fatal, according to my pulmonologist. I converted the product into night oil, taken one hour before bed. I was pleasantly amazed that the first night of trying this method, that I accomplished a full night of sleep. At that time, my pain level was high, and many corrective surgeries were on the horizon. It took four teaspoons to accomplish the needed help. But now that I have successfully been through twenty-four surgeries, I have found the dose to be too high. Today, it only takes one teaspoon to achieve the same positive results.

Unfortunately, many patients, who might benefit from the use of medical cannabis, remain fearful of turning to it, due to the promotion of misinformation. People, through poor education, are not able to understand the reasonable use of this plant. Some scare tactics out there are damaging the chances for some of those in need, for considering trying cannabis as a possible relief. If I listened to them, too, I would most likely not even be alive today. I happen to have a body unable to metabolize aspirin, Tylenol and all opiates. Living with both EDS and Sarcoidosis that are both presently incurable, didn’t leave me with many options for pain relief. How sad it is to give false information and hurt others for trying this as an alternative. And I would have been one of those listening to that false information, had I had other options to turn to. That is why I must speak out to hopefully open the eyes of so many being misguided by others fears.

The way I use cannabis is private, activates while sleeping and then keeps the body calm into the next day. Thus, for me, there is rarely a need to take medications during the day. I happened to stumble onto a magical way for me to use it. I can travel easily with my oil. People are looking for dry product, not a sleeping pain relief oil. I am including the link to how we create this just in case someone reading this would like to give it a try.


But remember, read carefully how to administer it, for if you jump to a high dose due to your level of pain, you will not like the sensation. The key is to slowly introduce it to your body, increasing in small amounts nightly until you have accomplished a full night of sleep and are not waking up groggy. If that happens, don’t panic and let it wear out of your system and then decrease that dose the next night. If you get the sleep and wake up refreshed, then stop at that dose.

I am now sixty-nine and a proud user of cannabis. I speak out, take on negative comments when I write about it but keep using my voice for, I know this can be an answer for many out there. I am not pushing this on anyone but instead telling you my truth and hoping to open other eyes to this as an alternative to other medications. America For Safe Access (ASA) has submitted a bill to Congress looking for sponsors, that would make cannabis, like now thirty-one other countries, a right to all. We need to stop fighting state by state for qualifying conditions to include and allow our doctor-patient relationship to be determinative in the utilization of this medication just any other medication is prescribed. return on this topic too. No one should have to hear how this helps me here in RI and live a state where they either have no program or aren’t able to qualify with their medical issues.

May life be kind to you,

Ellen Lenox Smith

Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain- And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.

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Authored by: Ellen Lenox Smith

Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. They are co-directors for medical cannabis advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, along with Ellen on the board and they both also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. For more information about medical cannabis visit their website. https://ellenandstuartsmith.squarespace.com/

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Jeffrey Werling

Here in Indiana i will be dropped from my pain docte r if I test positive for cannabis while taking prescribed narcotics.Is it different for people in other places?
My wife wants to relocate if there is such a place,thanks.


While this is a great article, and I am very happy for the positives CBD and THC oils have had on your pain and many others, I must interject and emphasize that like any treatment not all patients will respond the same or not at all. I had high hopes to be able to switch to CBD oil or a combination oil of CBD and very low TCH. Its all the rage here in Canada with little respect to potential side effects and or different responses with each individual patient. I spent a lot a money and almost a year of trying every combination possible . The products had very little to no effect on my pain. When THC was added I was in terrible pain crying and then laughing at the same time. It was pure crazy making for me. I am a person that does not like to be altered or doped up to achieve pain reduction. In addition, my tachycardia and hypertension got worse. The danger was in the lack of respect and the lack of knowledge that my physicians had for CBD and THC. Here in Canada its the replacement drug of choice for all pain patients on opiates. This is great if you respond well to it, but you are left with nothing to take if you don’t. Thankfully, I found another physician that took me off of it and my hypetension and tachycardia definitely have improved but not normalized as my pain is never is great control. There needs to be a respectful encouragement to try new things to manage pain not another enforcement of something else regardless of the outcome. Blindly prescribing Cannibis for every pain patient is not the answer either. Just like everything else with pain management its another tool in the tool box that may work for some and not another. Pain management must return to the basics and has to be gentler and non judgemental and a purely collaborative approach between the patient and the caregiver. All treatment should be optional.

Rosalind Rivera

I am ecstatic for the writer but I must add this most important note. I tried the Cannabis oil myself for over a month and a half with absolutely no relief whatsoever to either my chronic intolerable pain nor to aiding my many, many sleepless nights due to the level of my pain. I have Spinal Stenosis for which I’ve had surgery, Lupus Erythromysis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and a few other very painful conditions. It may help some but it also does not help everyone. It certainly did not help me!


Very informative information.Thank you Ellen.I also want to say to the one commenter on here who assumes Ellen’s pain is a 1 or 2 and just looking for sympothy is uncalled for. If you have read many of her Articals she has contributed to NPR you would know the pain she has lived with for many years and all the surgeries and more she has been through.Sorry for all the Pain your going through as I live with Chronic pain myself.I just feel what you said was uncalled for.No need for being nasty or judgemental.Sorry if I sound harsh but we are all in this together.Thank you Ellen for this info and wishing you all the best.

Jody Hoffman

I think that your very wrong about people thinking that pot is addictive and leads to harder drugs. Yes I call it pot because that is what it is, CBD oil, cannabis or MMJ it is all based from or is pot. In my state 95% of voters approve of medical marijuana & 65% approve of legalized recreational marijuana. The numbers are higher nation wide. I’ve known since the 1970s that smoking a bowl helped me sleep, it dispelled nausea and relaxed me. Native Americans used it since before Europeans came here. I live in a state that has yet to come up with a useful medical marijuana law, the one in place is useless for pain and other conditions. The only good thing that has come out of the so called opiate epidemic is open up people’s eyes and minds to the benefits of marijuana & that prescription drugs are the way most teenagers start abusing drugs. Before I start receiving a bunch of response’s to this post I have done my research and yes more addicts got started by stealing from the medicine cabinet than smoking weed & without pot there is no CBDs or anything else.

Although medical marijuana is legal in PA, very few doctors are willing to go through the training ( a couple hour seminar) to become certified to prescribe it. The ones that do are overwhelmed and taking no new patients. Seems like doctors are not yet ready to accept the benefits possible. Sad because they are taking away opoid pain medications at an alarming rate. And if our government wants patients taken off opoids, why have they not provided proof of positive affects cannabis can have to medical insurance companies. They covered our opoids for decades, why do they not cover cannabis in it’s place. Yes it may be legal. But good luck finding a doctor to prescribe it and funds to pay for it.

James McCay

I’m happy to hear it helps you Ellen. I wish it would help me.
Cannabis always made me severely paranoid & I got no other effect (even in very small amounts). All I kept thinking when I experimented with Cannabis; (3) times over many years from age 16-36 was “When is this awful feeling going to end?”.

Then I recently tried the 90% pure 1000mg bottle of CBD Oil from Colorado. It worked GREAT for two days and then absolutely no help! Apparently this is a common experience for Chronic Intractable Pain patients. I wish more of them would have mentioned this online before I WASTED $60.00 that I can’t afford! The website’s small print says “NO REFUNDS FOR OPENED BOTTLES.” How am I going to know if it works OR NOT if I can’t open the bottle? So that’s just another SCAM preying on us!

With the help of my Pain doctor many years ago and my own research, I was diagnosed with Hyperthymusism (an extremely rare component of my rare Myasthenia Gravis). My XXL Thymus Gland, yet not large enough to be a tumor (that produces immune T-Cells and many other immune system things no US doctors know about yet, because so few people suffer from XXL Thymus Gland Hyperactivity) I had to fight for myself.
Many common OTC & Rx medications never worked on me since early childhood, so I obviously had an XL Hyperactive Thymus Gland my whole life undiagnosed! I’ve had to do all the work to diagnose this problem or it NEVER would have been diagnosed! I need to remind myself- “YOU DON’T GET PAID ANYTHING TO DO THE DOCTOR’S JOB!” but it’s necessary in this day and age.

Only High Dose Methadone (150mg 2X a day) ever helped my excruciating 24/7 -365 widespread mostly nerve pain from THREE Neuromuscular diseases (two are autoimmune diseases as well) since 2003.
Now my Pain Management doctor became totally paranoid by rumors he listened to from morons! If it weren’t for my printing pages for him from National Pain Report- he would have KILLED far more people! THANK YOU NPR!

Ellen Lenox Smith

Howard Kobel - I read your judgment about me -Yes, I have learned to live with pain, some days not very productively and others reasonably. I have endured 24 surgeries and experienced catatonic episodes. No one truly knows what others go through. I am sorry you live with such terrible pain. I have attempted to learn to live despite the horror of two incurable conditions and know those words you quoted from my book title turns some off, but it’s the path I am trying to live, despite my life sentence. I am trying to live in survivor mode instead of just being the victim, which would be easier.

Gary Jermyn

The problem really is grandstanding politicians and corrupt, ambulance chasing, attorneys. There is nothing wrong with opioids nor cannabis if the pain sufferer is properly advised. I am amazed at the rush to legalize something that is (or has been) illegal while simultaneously grandstanding to make something that is legal, illegal. Maybe because there are deep pockets (pharmaceutical companies) available. The amount of non-criminal abusers of prescription opioids is negligible but, never the less, these people should be helped. The amount of the criminal element (yes, this includes a few corporations, and physicians) is significant. The answer for the criminal element is, JAIL! Yes, fines should definitely accompany jail time, but criminals should have the fear of incarceration and the criminals should be bankrupted. And yes, I have chronic lower back pain and pain from shoulder surgery and I am tired of the word “taper” (aka elimination) of opioid solutions which work and being supplanted with Tylenol and physical therapy which, well, you know …………….. The fearful Medical Profession is intimidated by government and lawyers.

Ellen Lenox Smith

Audrey Lynn - to answer your question, no I do not do that and here is a link to how I make the oil, two types of tinctures and topicals

Gary Raymond

What was in the Indian peace pipes? I do not know anyone in my life who used marijuana long-term who is not mentally fried now. Did the pot affect them, or were they unstable from birth?

Pro choice

Someone said marijuana leads to weight gain on here but it’s not true. I lost weight. Others have & medical studies back it up. Some “assume” it due to ‘munchies’. I after having my opiates took in cancer recurrence for 1 yr 6 months determine to fight for opiates but suffered w/nothing just knowing marijuana wouldn’t be strong enough. Well after it hit my liver, bile duct extreme pain, vomiting still no Opiates I gave in - it worked & changed my life! There is no gateway drug. The DEA had to remove the gateway theory from their web page 23 of 25 lies in the plant they had to take down. I’m sure in my last week’s I’ll need something stronger & everyone is different but don’t knock it unless you try it. You must educate yourself on the strains etc. I’m glad I gave it a chance. I do advocate for Opiate meds etc but also marijuana legalization. I’m pro choice. It’s much better to do marijuana than to suffer waiting on a corrupt Government.


PLEASE STOP pushing marijuana. I think it is very improper to put in a link in your article. This is not Craigslist it is for medical information. It is for articles about what works for you. You have written so much about this we know your choices.

There are exactly no studies proving its efficacy. Matter of fact studies show opioids continue to be necessary and increase as time goes by with it. Sure, pain increases with age, I get that.

Those of us who have tried marijuana and were uncomfortable with it (definitely not fearful of it I hated it) get frustrated that everywhere we turn we are pushed by the PC people insulting our intelligence and our right to dislike it. Acting as if we are scared or uneducated “about the good it brings to patients.”

If you like it..use it.

Here in Missouri there was a choice of 3 ways to take marijuana on the ballet. No choice to keep our state free of it. How is that anything but shear manipulation of the vote?

In states that legalize it for health studies and stats show that when recreational is approved medical use/sales stop or radically falls to the side. Sales slow enough to threaten medical use. Car accidents increase with illegal DWI being noted. Not more alcohol but marijuana showing. It stays in your system far longer than most people think.

I mean no disrespect. You seem like a good writer and you have good information. But on marijuana we definitely know where you stand. It seems like every other article is about the great that marijuana does. Over the years since the seventies when I used it a few times and decided it was not for me, the marijuana train has picked up steam and proponents, like they said they would back then have a great big presence everywhere.. It is like the gospel of dope and it is taking over our society.

People who dislike it have not formed a union to stop it but those who endorse it sure have. Enough.


Thanks for your perspective HOWEVER the same can be said for all meds once the efficacy sets in???????


I grew up during the ‘Just Say No’ era during which we were taught that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to harmful drugs and addiction of heroin, crack, etc.

I didn’t believe it and the scare tactics did not stop me from using marijuana for its endless benefits. 30 years later, it still has not led to a need for more marijuana (less actually) nor to any ‘hard’ drugs.

On the other hand, we all know that Alcohol is addictive, extremely toxic to the human body and responsible for countless deaths each year.

Marijuana is a plant and in my experience, the CBD/THC combination has been the most effective ‘drug’ to treat my fibromyalgia pain.

Susan Conolly

I am 62 yrs. old started smoking at 21…I have never turned to harmful drugs ie alcohol. Different crops may have maybe made me smoke a bit more or less but nothing like is being reported. My lungs are totally clear and other than my pain I am healthy.

DB Stewart

My life be kind to you, too, Ellen.

Hi Ellen!

Quick question: do you decarboxylate the cannabis before putting it in the oil/glycerin?

Thank you!

Howard Kobel

It hurts like hell and i have a good life anyway…what kind of [edit] is that? She must have constant pain scores of 1 or 2 and report as 9 or 10 to get sympathy. I live in 9/10 or go unconscious from pain if not medicated. Without certain opiods i am bedridded, immobile, unable to sit or stand at times, lose consciousness, become incontinent and the list goes on. Without meds that at times are denied based on reasons unrelated to the fact i was crushed by an suv, had an addict for a girlfriend, people tried to get me to falsely confess to crimes that were never committed, etc. So if she says it hurts like hell, she doesnt know what hellish pain is.

Thanks, Ellen. for those insights. In answer to your question. the likely reason that your effective dose dropped, is that your metabolism has changed over time. Normally people secrete an endocannabinoid called Anandakidw, made from a fatty acid that occurs in peanuts and tree nuts. Folks who are allergic to nuts can be deficient Jim anandamide, because they cannot eat the raw material for it. Anything that altered your body’s output of Anandamide, will alter your need for Cannabinoids..

Been There

Excellent information Ellen. I’m going to help you even further. hopefully. As someone that used marijuana for recreational use for several years a very long time ago, it does not lead to taking any other kinds of drugs in any way, shape, form or fashion. I enjoyed the calm, the serenity, it produced. I met the love of my life and he had to quit smoking it to keep his job, out of love I quit with him. A couple of years later he would start again and I could not for it made me paranoid and sick. I was thankful it did that to me at the time. The other day I was in the mall and saw a young man in the middle of the mall with a cannabis shop. It was very professional and the young man just looked like he knew exactly what he was doing. There was no signs of recreation to be seen, only medical help. I was shocked and surprised but oh so very thankful for those that will have to use this versus opioids. Somewhere, somehow some kind of relief has to be found for the chronic pain patient.


So glad it works for you Ellen. Please remember we are all different. Cannabis has an unpleasant withdrawal syndrome and can lead to substantial weight gain. Carrying more weight when one has chronic pain just makes the pain worse. My Pain Consultant who is head of Pain Management for 5 London Teaching Hospitals tells me that research shows cannabis does not work on any known pain pathway. It gives pain relief as it makes one “feel better”. The problem with THC which is what helps neuropathic pain, is that one cannot function when stoned. Cannabis can help some people,for,sure, but there is no such thing as a free lunch. What is true of all drugs is also true of cannabis.


After freaking out over having my meds reduced, I to turned to marijuana for pain relief. Funny thing I use about every other day and found the effects last about two days of relief. It works better then RF treatments unfortunately I can’t tell my Doctor because I will be removed from the program . The Government has lied to us all imagine that! How sad a drug that help so much is illegal for me to use just complete nonsense.