Op-Ed: My Experience with using Cannabis to manage my Chronic Kidney Stone Disease.

Cannabis public domain image from Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0

Cannabis public domain image from Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0

*Disclaimer: The opinions in this post are mine alone and publishing of this post is not an endorsement by this website for this treatment approach*

This post is my story about my 28 year long (and counting) journey living with chronic kidney stones and how using cannabis has helped me.

Greetings and salutations my fellow kidney stone sufferers. Today I’d like to talk about hope. I’ve been quoted as saying “Hope can be a dangerous thing” many times over the years. I’ve come to realize that I was a lot more messed up than I had realized. I’ll start there and end up with why I now feel that hope is a good thing again.

I’ve lived with kidney stones since 1989 (As far as I can remember, possibly earlier). I grew up in a small town in Indiana. I was abused. I’ve known pain my entire life, more than I ever wanted to know. My first experiences with stones were thought to be bladder infections, and were treated with the home remedy of cranberry juice. I would get very sick but eventually get better. This might have been once or twice a year.

When I was 17 and living in an apartment, I got very sick at work. Drove myself to the hospital and was diagnosed with a UTI. Sent home with some Tylenol w/ Codeine. A week later while in the bath, I passed my first stone that I “caught”. Dang thing stuck to the tile on the wall. Had it analyzed (calcium oxalate) and everything started to click.

Joined the Navy to get out of town. Got married at 19. Passed two stones my first year of marriage. It stayed the same from 1989 until around 2009. Then it got worse. I started passing a stone a month. I thought I was going to die. I had been taking opiate pain meds for acute pain as long as I could remember. Now that it was all of the time, I was taking opiate pain meds for chronic pain. I spoke with my doctors, family and co-workers (They’re family, still are!) and we went for the opiate pain therapy plan. Worked great for about a year. Then a downward slide. I got worse. I was checking out on Life. It was much easier to “function” when not feeling ANYTHING.

It was around August of 2015 that I realized I had to make a change, and a big one. I started weaning myself off of all medicines I was prescribed. This took several months. I live in Washington State, and had experimented with marijuana as a teenager back in Indiana. I was an idiot as a teenager, big time idiot. Hard not to be when you think you’re alone in life, even with family there to help that you’ve turned away from. (Sorry family, you know who you are).

I spoke with an employee of mine about medical cannabis, as the laws were passing here for full out recreational use of the drug. I gave medical cannabis (I believe I was vaping Rick Simpson Oil at the time) a try. It worked for my nausea and pain! Then I got some more and it didn’t work as well. Go figure. Turns out it was black market.

I spoke with my pain specialist about the drugs I was supposed to be taking, and the drugs I was actually taking. Turns out opiates are pretty toxic for long term use. Turns out that most of the states finally realized this and were maxing patients out at 120mg morphine equivalency per day. Did I mention I was abused? Here is where that comes into play. I have a distrust of “modern medicine”, as I don’t consider it that modern. I’ve been suffering for almost 30 years. Not one answer except, “Here, take these and we’ll see how it works”. My pain doctor explained more things to me than I can go over here, I’d encourage anyone in a medical or recreational state to speak to  your doctor candidly if you are a user.

I started going to the recreational shops. Trying out all of the various “delivery” systems you can use with cannabis. Concentrates, edibles, sublingual. You name it, I bought it.

IT WORKED! But it’s extremely cost prohibitive to use as your primary pain medicine. I now cultivate my own flower material, and process my own edibles and tinctures. I can’t stress this part enough. I make my own medicine! I know exactly what plant it is, what it was fed, where it was grown, when it was harvested & how it was processed. All of those things make a difference, even with the same plant! It’s so therapeutic I can’t put it into words. I enjoy gardening already. I enjoy baking already. Most of my medicine I take internally, in the form of cookies. Little more exercise needed, but I find a cookie to be better for ME and healthier for ME than a bottle (or bottles) of pills. I haven’t taken opiates but once in over a year and a half! For me this is huge, as I see the political and economical winds blowing. Prohibition is ending, it’s only a matter of time. I’ve taken control of my own body. My own health. There isn’t a drug that a doctor can “take away” from me, as I’ve learned to cope and be self sufficient.

My 2016 yearly physical I passed with flying colors. BMI right where it should be. The year before I was 223 lbs. Had been for years. I was 160.1 lbs for my physical this year. I pass a LOT more stones, but they’re MUCH smaller. I have managed to decrease my stone size by increasing the frequency at which I pass them. This is through diet, exercise and true pain management.

I now have hope again. Once I realized that true “pain management” does not equal “not feeling any pain”, that was my epiphany. The pain is always there, but manageable most days. Now I don’t “hope” for a cure and get discouraged. Now my hope is that I can help others in a similar position. Be a resource for people. And have as good of a damn day as possible. What else in life is there?

_____________________________________________________________

Editor’s note: Current research suggests that cannabinoids/cannabis are useful in the treatment of chronic pain. There is currently very little information on the risks and benefits of using cannabis for kidney stone patients. Always consult with a medical professional before you make any changes to your treatment plan. Two additional resources you may want to review on this topic:

A recent review article on the use of cannabinoids from the Journal of the American Medical Association. The article concludes “There was moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity”.

A Colorado urologist’s experience with treating patients who use marijuana, including his warnings about potential negative effects for patients.

 

About Jerry Cepican

I grew up in Indiana and moved out to the Great Pacific Northwest when I got married in 2000. I have been married to my beautiful wife for over 15 years, and have a daughter entering high school. For work I am retired (after over two decades) from the Disaster Restoration Industry due to my illness. My main two hobbies (besides family) are Fishing and Baking and Gardening. While I have been a kidney stone sufferer for over 28 years, I do not allow that to define me.
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15 Responses to Op-Ed: My Experience with using Cannabis to manage my Chronic Kidney Stone Disease.

  1. Dagny Fitzwater says:

    I live in TX now (was in CA for 7 years). I have been passing stones for 13 years. My biggest that I have caught was 8mmx5mm. They seem to have changed over the years. I just passed one on 12/4/17 that was 5×4. I was in 10/10 for that one. It actually got stuck halfway through the ureter for 5 days. It took 8 days to pass which is the longest ever for one. I estimate I have passed at least 70 but the small ones don’t hurt too bad.
    I tried CBD (Charlotte’s Web) for the pain last night and it helped a bit. But I can’t get true THC (Indica capsules is my preferred way) being in TX. I hate it as opioids hate me. They make me vomit, constipated, have heartburn, and itch every time I take 1 pill or 1 IV dose. I have been accused of being a drug addict or seeker since my 2nd ER visit in 2005.
    I used to be a “Just Say No” person until I tried it for my tooth pain. Now I tout its benefits to anyone who will listen.i just wish it was legal as alcohol is.

  2. Heather says:

    Just read your article. As sad as it is knowing that someone can be related to so easily through a shared chronic medical condition, I came across your article just at the right time. I’m 44 years old and have had a “rocky” (lol) relationship with stones (calcium oxolate also) for over 25 years. I’ve taken Torodol, Atasol 30, Demerol and just recently graduated to morphine for pain management. I am beyond sick of taking pain medication that often requires me to take gravol to counteract the nausea cause by the pain med. blaaah

    Last week I passed a 5mm stone with a crazy crystal hook and I did not want pain meds to deal with the excruciating, expletive causing little bastard. My bf suggested trying smkoing marijuana (a strain known for pain mgmt., he is well read on the plant) and I said why not, it can’t be any worse than any of the prescribed pain meds I’ve taken over the years. Well, I’d just like to say that I’m not a smoker and have never had marijuana before. The pain relief was almost immediate, no nausea, I wasn’t curled up in a ball on the bed all doped out and falling asleep. The 1st time I thought the pain relief was coincidence. Have used it 5 times now for stone related pain. I don’t think the pain relief is coincidence anymore. Sure I might be “stoned” and restricted from driving and going to work because I know I am impaired, but I’m not knocked off my feet, I’m not nauseated. I am still awake, can function around the house and man, not having pain for a few of hours sure “rocks”.

    To each their own with their thoughts about marijuana use for pain management, but as a chronic pain sufferer and sick of being sick, I’d take this pain management any day over bottles of pills.

    Now back to trying to evict my current bastard tenant :)

  3. Rae J says:

    Jerry,

    I am dealing with lots of stones, over a number of years but still want to keep my body as natural as possible. I can’t seem to find anyone who can tell me ‘this is a list of foods you should avoid’. I don’t eat red meat, haven’t in years I’ve always had problems digesting it. But if you could PLEASE let me know what other food/drink I should be avoiding I will be extremely grateful. PS I don’t drink soda, I carbonate my own filtered water and put a few lemon slices in it. Thanks in advance for your time and help.

  4. Mary says:

    Your article gives me hope. Along with the stone I also have psoriatic arthritis which has its’ own set of nightmares. We are in Ohio and medical marijuana not an option. I keep seeing oils and different things being advertised. I would like to try something even of lesser strength to begin with. The amount of drugs required for psoriatic arthritis is unbelievable.Most of what the specialist has me try has side effects which has me stop the meds before knowing if they might work. So if there is a way to purchase something I would love to try. Thank you – Mary

    • Mary,
      We are seeing miracles with pain, illness, energy and such with this 10X stronger 6 uptake CBD sublingual oil by a doctor. I’ve had people try others and then try this and big difference theres a patented delivery system that makes this lipsomal. Theres a saying “your not what you eat, you’re what you absorb.” I’d be happy to talk. I had a near death almost 12 yrs ago and God screamed out Sea salt. Minerals are Key to Life. He has shown me much. Id be honored to even pray with you. What we were made of is key too. Doctors have poisoned us against doing what were were made of. My twin was given death sentence after 1/3 blood left in body…still very much alive 16 yrs later because of this key alone. Pull up dehydration and any disease on search bar. If you want to talk please email me. Sherryps91@gmail.com. You need to get oiled up. I have a rural, inexpensive ways. http://Www.godsherb,info and http://www.blessedminerals.com Blessings Sherry

  5. Krupal Jagtap says:

    Hello
    I have had this problem for almost 3 years now. Currently have 3 stones 14, 7 and 3mm ones. Dont really want to get them operated but it seems inevitable now. I am based in India and am willing to travel if better alternative is available.. Can you help me out here jerry?

  6. Brian O'Mara says:

    Have you tried Chance Piedra?
    It broke up a 7mm stone stuck in my ureter. Passed it basically pain free after taking 2.5 grams per day for 7 days. Look it up!!!!!

  7. John Kloepper says:

    I had two stone clusters. A large 42mm stone on left side, removed last month via PCNL, and a few <7mm stones on the right side removed 6 days ago via ureteroscopy. Twice while waiting for my diagnosis / surgeries did I convince myself that an evening of cannabis would help with my pain. The first time was this time last year and then again this past December. Both times I did so expecting / hoping that i'd feel some pain relief. At that point (particularly in December) my pain was constant and often at a 7 with frequent peeks up to the 9.5 realm.
    Bottom line, on both occasions I experienced NO RELIEF, infact I can remember vividly how this last round I got the seriously paranoid experience of laying their believing I am going to die tonight from this pain. I hind site I would have rather been in control and understanding of my faculties and pain levels 24/7, that way atleast I would have know when it was a real issue and not the weed talking.

    • Jerry Cepican says:

      John,

      A few things. It sounds like you may live in a State that doesn’t have a medical service for Cannabis. You would be surprised at how effective the plant can be when: Grown Correctly, Harvested Correctly, Processed Correctly.

      If I was in pain and took say, 200mg of a strong Sativa, that would be a dumb idea. I’d feel the pain worse, and be paranoid as all get out. I have no desire to be “stoned”, but I do have a strong desire to help advocate for the potential in this plant.

      Personally I’ve only used Opiates once in the last two years. And I pass hundreds of stones a year.

      Respectfully,

      Jerry

    • I am so sorry for your suffering. Everyone is different. Many products do not measure up to absorbing into the body. http://Www.godsherb.info How can one trust sources? Makes all the difference in the world. You are not what you eat, you are what
      you absorb.

  8. Arjun Kumar says:

    I got to know some new information about kidney pain relief. I also didn’t know about cannabis as u mention how it can be effective in kidney stones.Thanks Jerry

  9. Jerry Cepican says:

    I’m a fan of Indica’s for sleep/pain. There is a lot of information out there, but I honestly think that if you don’t either: A) Grow yourself, B) Know and trust where it came from…you shouldn’t touch it.

    Differences to how it affects you:
    Strain
    When it was picked

    How was it processed?

    The above three make a difference, even with the exact same flower.

  10. Adge Anctil says:

    Great article Jerry. I enjoyed reading your experience and I live in AZ so I have access to medical. It’s power in my own hands. Now it’s just finding what works for my life, working, sleeping and even appetite control.

    • Jerry Cepican says:

      I’m a fan of Indica’s for sleep/pain. There is a lot of information out there, but I honestly think that if you don’t either: A) Grow yourself, B) Know and trust where it came from…you shouldn’t touch it.

      Differences to how it affects you:
      Strain
      When it was picked

      How was it processed?

      The above three make a difference, even with the exact same flower.

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