Published on March 5, 2019 by David Wylie

Cannabis helped me heal

Here's the moment the morphine really kicked in.

With the recent story about former NHLers taking part in a study on whether cannabis can help concussion recovery, publisher of the oz. David Wylie shares his experience.

Fractured memory

I remember flying over the handlebars of my mountain bike. Then fog.

I opened my eyes and tasted dirt. My face felt sunburned and I was thirsty. I’d been there for a while. I vaguely remembered some dream.

I tried to sit up, but screamed from the pain. Then I laid back and groaned, becoming aware of the aching in my back and the stinging on my cheek and arm. Fog.

More time passed before I heard a familiar voice in the distance calling my name.

“David!”

“Here,” I managed weakly.

My girlfriend at the time had found me and was calling 911 from up the hill.

Bits and pieces of a fractured cellphone conversation trickled back, and I realized that I’d somehow managed to call her after the crash.

“I’m hurt. Help.” …

I was on an isolated hill and couldn’t move. Search and Rescue had to use an ATV with a trailer to get me to the ambulance.

One of the first responders asked me my name. I had to think hard about it. They asked me simple questions to test my memory, trying to determine how badly I had rattled my brain. I slowly started to come back to myself and joking with paramedics about what they were giving me through an IV.

Inspired by morphine in the Kelowna ER, I posted a selfie to social media.

Cannabis as medicine

I knew I hit head first, but hadn’t yet begun to comprehend what kind of long-term damage a concussion can actually do.

While I worried about my back, those who knew better worried about my head. Thankfully, I was wearing a helmet and I was lucky enough not to suffer any serious trauma, despite the dive into the dirt and rocks.

Still, the concussion took its toll.

In the weeks after the crash, I suffered from headaches, dizziness and nausea. I had trouble focusing my eyes and tired easily.

This was the pivotal moment I personally experienced the significant benefits of cannabis as medicine.

Concussion recoveries require long periods of time over weeks and months spent in a quiet place – without screens or books – where the mind can rest and heal. That can be hard for an active mind at the best of times, but with the pain in my back from the crash, I was finding it impossible.

Post-concussion, the emergency room staff gave me a bottle with a handful of the drug Dilaudid, one of the more powerful opioids. When it ran out, I asked my doctor if he could refill the prescription. He laughed, and instead gave me a prescription for Tylenol 3. It didn’t help.

I could see then how easily it could be to get hooked on opioids.

I was lucky enough to have someone close to me at the time who was able to get quality cannabis. It was exactly the medicine I needed, and eased the pain and settled my mind into a state where I could properly recover from the injuries.

After the crash, I learned about concussions and was surprised at the how life-changing they can be. Even a mild concussion can have long-term and debilitating repercussions.

More research into how best to support concussion patients with cannabis is a welcome sight.

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ABCs of CBD

oz. staff • December 16, 2018