I had untreated postpartum depression for several years after the birth of my son. His birth was really difficult physically. I pushed for three hours. I had trouble breastfeeding. He was in the hospital for three days with jaundice. The birth didn’t go as planned. Here I was expecting maternal bliss and it was the exact opposite. I didn’t want to hold my baby. I kept wondering what was wrong with me. I was in so much pain. It’s not that I didn’t bond with him, I just felt so sick all the time. I didn’t know it was postpartum depression, so I never got it treated.
After I had my son, I started having severe gastrointestinal problems. I couldn’t keep food down. I was feeling full all the time. I would get bloating and nausea every time I would eat. I would have to sit up in bed for two hours with debilitating abdominal pain with no explanation of what was causing it. I went to a gastroenterologist and went through all the tests and found out I had a condition called delayed gastric emptying along with ulcers. I also developed severe carpal tunnel and had no use of my right hand for a month after my son was born. Pregnancy and birth really affected my body. I was an absolute disaster.
The doctor put me on medication for delayed gastric emptying, but it had really bad side effects like unintentional limb movements. That medication has since been taken off the market. I was still having abdominal pain, so I was keeping a food diary to see if there were certain foods that triggered it. After looking at the journal, my doctor told me to stay off gluten because he thought I had an allergy or sensitivity to it even though I tested negative for celiac disease. I went completely gluten free and it changed my life. Inflammation in my body started going down. My carpal tunnel started getting better.
I still had to take Prilosec to help control my symptoms, so I decided to visit a naturopathic physician. She put me on a regimen to heal my gut—an elimination diet, no gluten, sugar, nitrates, carbs, additives, or preservatives for 90 days. That really helped, but I still had anxiety and depression, even though I was in denial about it.
Then things got more complicated and stressful. I discovered that my now ex-husband had a pathological gambling disorder. He had liquidated all of our joint marital assets and racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. That sent me into a spiral of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. It took my entire world and flipped it upside down. My therapist said she thought I had long-term depression and PTSD.
I moved out and bought a new home. A friend suggested I try CBD oil (cannabidiol) to help with physical and mental health issues. She had been using it and said it had stopped her joint pain. I decided to try it because even though I wasn’t getting abdominal pain from my gluten sensitivity, if I eat gluten I get inflammation in my joints. My hands and joints swell and are painful.
When I started taking the CBD oil, all of that went away. I was just amazed. I didn’t expect it to do much. My anxiety and depression started to decrease. I was able to decrease the dose of my antidepressant from 40 mg every day to 10 mg every second day. My skin is also clearer and I don’t have as much hair loss from stress as I used to.
I combine CBD oil and adult use cannabis and it helps balance me out emotionally as my brain heals from the trauma I’ve been through. I’m able to focus. My body feels better. It’s calming down my body from the inside out.
Every time I tell family members that I use CBD oil, I’m surprised how many of them say they do the same. My aunt had shoulder surgery and also lost her husband so she was dealing with depression. Her daughter suggested medical cannabis and it’s changed her life.
My advice to anyone considering medical cannabis is don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider. I was afraid of being judged by my primary care physician. That initial fear of being judged holds a lot of people back. I was able to talk to my naturopath. She fully supports the use of medical cannabis and wishes she could recommend it, but naturopaths aren’t one of the groups of healthcare providers who can do that under the current legislation.
Talking with her gave me the courage to talk to my primary care provider and take the steps to work towards getting my medical cannabis card. Initiating that conversation with your provider can lead you to a path where you have access to a medical cannabis dispensary so you can see what’s available and talk to a medical cannabis physician about what symptoms you’re experiencing and what can help. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your primary care physician, that may be the wrong provider for you. They’re there to take care of you and your body and mind and should be open to treatments you would like to try.
Editor’s Note: This CBMD patient story has been written and submitted by an anonymous cannabis patient. CBMD has been released from any and all claims as to its content and is not responsible for any medical and/or clinical use claims.