I’m not just "being," and struggling through every day, I’m actually living every day! – Annette
While medical cannabis has been available in Canada since 2001, it’s only been in the last few years that patients have had any option other than smoking or vaporizing the dried flower. Available since 2015, medical cannabis oils have provided a popular alternative for patients, allowing them to ingest the product and enjoy long-lasting effects.
At CanniMed, our patients told us they wanted other delivery methods; new ways to get the maximum therapeutic benefits from medical cannabis. So, we went to work and partnered with Avaria Health & Beauty, one of Canada’s leading experts in advanced creams, gels, lotions and salves to create CanniMed® Topical Cream.
This innovative product is a fusion of CanniMed's industry-leading medical cannabis oil with the Kalaya™ Carrier Base Gel created exclusively by Avaria for CanniMed. Combined at home by the patient the clear gel turns into a luxurious cream the same quality that you find at your local beauty bar.
For patients looking for a different way to find relief, the topical cream has been a fantastic addition to their treatment regimen. It provides all the benefits of CanniMed's medical cannabis oils, but allows for treatment of a specific area, as opposed to a whole body treatment. As well, patients are highly unlikely to feel "high" or intoxicated when using a cannabis topical cream.
"I wasn't a believer," enthuses Cynthia, from Nova Scotia, "but I am now!"
Cynthia is a veteran, having served in the Canadian Armed Forces, where she was injured in the line of duty. That injury, coupled with cognitive challenges from complications during a surgery, pancreatitis, a frozen shoulder and PTSD has made life very challenging for Cynthia over the last decade.
During that time Cynthia has tried most conventional treatments, but a sensitivity to medications meant that even the most common painkillers, "make me a zombie." Not seeing any other option, Cynthia just decided to live with her pain.
"Before CanniMed came into my life," she says, "I would see dawn break, because I was up [all night] from the pain."
For two years Cynthia's doctor tried to convince her to try medical cannabis, but she wasn't having any of it. For her whole life Cynthia firmly held the belief that cannabis was bad. The idea of trying a substance that she associated with criminals was never one that she entertained, until the pain became too much to bear and she reluctantly agreed to try the topical cream.
"When the bottle arrived, I opened it up and – this is how against it I was – I literally cried because I didn’t want to take it. I didn’t believe in it."
But she had made the commitment to try it with the support of her family, and put in the effort to become a patient, so she mixed the cream and took a leap of faith.
"When I applied it I was in shock that it actually relieved the pain. It didn’t take it completely away – I could still feel that it was there a little bit. Before this, there was nothing that relieved the pain."
Annette is a HR professional from Saskatchewan who suffers from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety and panic attacks. In addition to all this, Annette also has to deal with constant pain and muscle spasms from a car accident that severely injured her shoulders.
Similar to Cynthia, she has sensitivities to conventional medications (due to her fibromyalgia), making it very challenging to find relief from the near constant pain she's dealt with for the last 20 years. She has found some relief from Demerol, but is reluctant to take the opioid because she is unable to work while on the drug.
"There are a lot of topical ointments that I can’t have," she shares. "A lot of the all-natural products have wintergreen in them, but I can’t have wintergreen because it’s a natural form of aspirin, which I’m allergic to."
Annette had already seen the benefits medical cannabis could have through her husband, who uses it to deal with his migraines. The challenge for her was that she discovered a sensitivity to THC, the active ingredient in cannabis that usually helps alleviate pain.
Even though she couldn't benefit from the pain relief patients commonly find in products with THC, Annette became a CanniMed patient and is using CanniMed 1:20 oil to manage inflammation, as well as her anxiety and panic attacks. When she received notification that the topical cream was available, Annette was one of the very first to order a kit, and was extremely excited about the possibility of receiving some sort of relief from the pain in her shoulders. When she received the topical kit Annette immediately tried in on her bad shoulder. The results were immediate and positive.
"I was brought to tears of joy when the spasms that I have dealt with for so long stopped," she remembers. "For the first time in four years I didn’t have pain [in my shoulder]."
A month later and Annette remains very happy with the effectiveness of the topical cream. More than that, she's grateful for the sudden and ongoing improvement to her quality of life. "If I did not have this I would not be able to work. It allows me to continue on with my life."
Cynthia is also enjoying life without the never-ending fog that pain brings. "I'm on the road to recovery," she says, "I'm getting there, and CanniMed has helped me along the way tremendously. Without medical cannabis I wouldn't be where I am today."
Key to the success of both women was finding the right dose to address their own unique needs.
"You have to find your dose," Cynthia advises. "How much is right for you?"
Annette echoes that comment, adding, "You use a little bit and gauge to see how it's affecting you."
CanniMed recommends starting with a small dose of topical cream, about the size of a nickel, and rubbing it onto the area requiring treatment until it is fully absorbed. Wait at least 30 minutes before applying an additional dose. Patients always have access to CanniMed's in-house pharmacist to help determine the appropriate course of treatment.
Once Cynthia and Annette found their doses, they also found relief. Finding relief means that they also found peace – a break from the pain – which made it easier to rediscover themselves and the joy in their lives.
"I don't think a person realizes the struggle and pain they go through until they find the relief they can get from the topical creams," says Annette. "A lot of people with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia just kind of give up, but with the topical cream they don't have to. It's changed my life. I recommend it to everyone now!"
For Cynthia, whose journey began as an active opponent of cannabis use, the change has been even more dramatic. "It's totally transformed me. I'm disabled to the point I can't work, but it's given me back a quality of life so that I can function again. I am able to go out to the store, to go out for a drive, or out shopping. I can go out to my horses, and be with them again, which was a huge part of my life that I had lost."