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Topical Cannabis Based Lotion For Chronic Pain? Can It Really Work? Yes, It Does!

Updated on November 27, 2010

Sleep and Chronic Pain? Forget About It!

If you suffer from severe arthritis, fibromyalgia or any other chronic pain disorders, you are constantly searching for pain relief. You become willing to try almost anything that promises to ease the pain. Just one night of real sleep becomes the goal of anyone suffering and in pain! Not just two hours, not just four, but is there any way a sufferer of chronic pain can get one night of uninterrupted, deep sleep? Usually and in most cases, the answer is no! Forget about sleeping like a normal person. It just isn't going to happen! By the time you receive whatever diagnosis you are going to have to learn to live with, whether it is arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or any other number of chronic pain diagnoses, you already know that your sleep patterns have changed significantly. Well before the diagnosis comes, the possibility of ever being able to sleep through the night occupies many of your thoughts.

Opoids generally interfere with sleep, believe it or not. So, the very medication that you may be taking to control the pain may worsen sleep disturbances. Hard to believe? Do a little bit of research and you may be surprised to learn that this is true. But then on the flip side, pain itself interferes with the ability to sleep, so you are caught in a Catch 22 situation: damned if you do and damned if you don't. Adequate pain control and sleep do not necessarily go together. In fact, they don't go together at all. If you have chronic pain to the point that simple Tylenol or Advil cannot control your pain, you understand what I am saying. If you have been suffering for years, the outlook is not good that anything will change anytime soon.

Too Stubborn To Try It!

Since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2007, I have been prescribed a myriad of medications to control the symptoms, never able to cure the disease itself. Prior to that time, there was the diagnosis of severe arthritis of the spine, and a spinal surgery to replace vertabrae in the neck with bone grafts. Pretty heavy duty stuff and a change of lifestyle, for sure. The sleep disturbances or lack of sleep began in 2006, just prior to the spine surgery. It has continued until now. Occasionally, there have been nights that I have been able to sleep for as many as four hours straight.

I keep a pain diary, because anytime I am able to reduce the pain or increase the amount of good sleep, I want to be able to repeat whatever I did to produce the positive change. Up until now, I have been unsuccessful. My doctors have tried everything, from opoids for the pain to prescription strength pain patches. I have been moderately successful in the area of pain control. I have been unsuccessful in the area of sleep. I have been evaluated by sleep specialists and pain specialists. My doctors have not failed me. They have been with me every step of the way and they know that I have tried everything they have suggested. Nothing has worked, up until now.

Someone I love very much has been advocating that I try a topical pain reliever that contains cannabis. I have been very vocal in my disapproval of this approach. No way was this going to work! No way was I willing to try this! No way! No way! No way! I didn't fight the doctors when they prescribed oxycontin, hydrocodone or even synthetic morphine, but this topical lotion was not going to become one of my medications. I researched the product. It is widely prescribed in Canada, the United Kingdom and many other European countries. What do they know? If the FDA and the federal government says it is illegal, then it is illegal and that satisfies me. Even though Canada and the UK have clinical studies that prove this lotion works, I remained opposed.

Well, I caved. For the last few weeks, the pain has been unbearable! Call it peer pressure or whatever you want, I tried it. One time and I was sure I would discredit all of those European studies. This particular product is called Pain Eraser and is sold legally in California to anyone who has a medical marijuana card. It is not cheap. But the person that wanted me to try this, bought it for me. Now I know that just because this person has a medical marijuana card doesn't mean that I am allowed to use it. I understand the possible legal implications. The morphine I use is okay, but topical cannabis is not. Sounds kind of silly, doesn't it?

I Don't Want To Say It Works, But It Does!

The first night I tried this, I applied it to my neck and left shoulder, as well as my mid-back at around 6PM. I had taken my scheduled medications at 7 PM. My next dosage was due at midnight, but at 11 o'clock, I was tired and went to bed, figuring I would wake up in a couple of hours because of the pain. I woke up, but not until 6 in the morning.

Seven hours of sleep? Unheard of! I had not slept seven hours in over four years! I woke up and I had some pain in my neck, but it was not intense pain. I would even say it was closer to moderate pain. I had also gone almost 12 hours without any pain medication. That means I cut my pain medication by 50%. That is a significant decrease. I have now used this topical lotion for three nights and the results have been the same each night. I am not sure that it will continue to be effective, but so far I have to admit that I think it works.

Placebo effect? I don't think so. I was vehemently opposed to trying this. I was fully expecting and wanting it not to work. It is hard for me to admit that it is effective and might work in the long term. But I have to be honest. If this Pain Eraser can take the place of morphine, hydrocodone or oxycontin, that would be a great thing.

I will continue to use this lotion and I will be informing my doctors at my next visit. I may end up getting a medical marijuana card. If you suffer from chronic pain, you know that just one night of uninterrupted sleep would be wonderful! Three nights in a row is more than you could ever wish for!

I will update this hub periodically and revise the results as I continue to use this product. Eventually, I might even be able to discontinue many of the medications I currently take. That is my goal. It is also my hope that other people with chronic pain find some way of decreasing the pain and increasing good sleep. If other people with chronic pain have something that works, communicate that to the rest of us. Even if, like me, you really don't want to admit that something works, help the rest of us.


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  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 4 years ago from California, USA

    Topical creams, lotions and oils do work- I was a total skeptic! Recently my doctor, a very traditional internist, wanted to know how her patients could access the creams- I was impressed, to say the least! I am going to check out your website!

  • profile image

    therapyinabottle 4 years ago

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2008. After being put on more prescriptions than I could keep track of. I realized cannabis helped my pain. I went off the meds and started smoking. I learned to grow my own medicine, but realized I couldn't go back to work from disability and be allowed to medicate...then after a couple of years of research and development I developed my first massage oil and patients all over were and are loving it. I now make an oil and 3 different balms that smell divine. I will be releasing a new product in December 2012. I am back to working a day job and I can medicate at work without anyone knowing. It's great because I don't lose my focus either. If you live in California and are looking for topical treatments, you can check out my website.

    One love.

    Becca :)

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Francis,

    I haven't used medical marijuana other than the Pain Eraser lotion, but know people who have and who swear by it. Many M.D.'s are of the opinion that marijuana helps with chronic pain and prescribe for their patients with cancer.

    The people who identify with the need are those who have debilitating pain; that kind of pain that prevents you from doing even the simplest of tasks and sometimes, the medical profession ignores that. The ones who are insensitive are just that, insensitive.

  • profile image

    Francis Fong 5 years ago

    My parents are so against the idea of medical marijuana, i freaking hate it, i hope more people post things like this. so what if a lot of people lie to get a green card. what the hell is so bad about smoking pot?! nothing. it may be the most beneficial plant in the world, from the hemp industry to its medical and recreation effects. Please tell your doctor and anyone else that doesn't believe it. Good luck!

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Cheryl,

    Had cut all of my pain meds but the Lyrica out about one month ago. I am 57 and hate the idea of being dependent on narcotics. The withdrawal was mild (3 days of mild sweats), but now one month later, the pain had become so intense, have had to start taking soma and vicodin again. The Pain Eraser has been the only thing that has saved me from going back on the morphine and I will use that instead. I have so many affected areas that I would have to bathe in it for it to cover all. But for my legs, hands, neck and mid-back it still works wonders. The muscle spasms are the worst, but this works for me- I so hope that this gives you some relief. You don't have to use very much, and it calms spasms almost instantly.

    I was afraid of withdrawals because I had been on pain meds since 2006. My doctor has always told me that when you are really in pain, the mechanics of narcotics work differently. The withdrawals are not the same as they are for people who just take drugs for no reason other than to get loaded (sounds funny coming from someone with no drugs in her youth).

    This most recent experience has shown me the full extent of my pain with NO meds. My body is messed up...sounds like you are the same. I am so sorry. Please let me know if the pain eraser works for you. I am keeping some positive thoughts for you.

    I have also started wearing very loose,soft, heavy socks, as much as I hate them. Seems if I force my feet to stay warm, it helps with the spasms.

    Best of luck to you. There are others of us out there. You are not alone, by any means.

  • profile image

    Cheryl 6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. My son-inlaw also told me about a relative of his that uses a cannabis cream for her arthritis on her hands and the pain in her back. My son-inlaw is going to pick some up for me and I pray that it will help take my pain away like I have read from several people. I have suffered for to many years with fibromyalgia, sciatica, arthritis, osteopenia. I am 48 and have been living with this pain for almost 20 years. I am taking Oxycotin, Norco, Cymbalta, Soma, and anti-inflamatory. I to go to sleep I either take 10mg of Ambien or 2 Ativan along with my other meds to try to go to sleep without being in constant agonizing pain. I am very excited to use the stuff as soon as possible. I will let you know if works for me also.

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Dear johnwindbell,

    Yes, it does! In my late 50's and a grandmother, and had no idea! Also, better than pain pills, I think...

  • johnwindbell profile image

    johnwindbell 6 years ago from - the land of beards and buggies

    It works, and without the FDA approval, oh my. Bless you for sharing. Keep on.

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    I am glad you came up with a recipe yourself. Apparently, there are a lot of people that do the same thing. The lotion is expensive, but when you get pain control like that, is worth it! Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them!

  • profile image

    Orb 6 years ago

    I could have written exactly the same thing,Someone gave me a lotion to try and it was the first time my feet had been pain free in 7 years,I wake up half way through the night and instead of taking Oxycodone I rub some lotion on and I'm pain free in minutes and back to sleep.I went to my Doctor and told him about this,he was unaware of it.He did sign the paperwork for me to become legal.He said people like me were what the laws had been changed for.A friend of a friend heard what this had done for me and found a recipe and made a batch of sauve and gave me some to try.It to worked very well.Someone else heard about this and had me try a paste like substance and it to worked.I'm in the legal waiting period now but this is incredable and wonderful to be able to cut down on narcotic pain medication.It does not provide any kind of "high" just pain relieve.I'm so thankful to live in the State I do and to have finally given in to people's suggestions to just try this.Just wish I had found it earlier but even more glad to find I can make my own.Expenses are very tight when you live with chronic pain and this was an add expense I couldn't afford without being able to grow and make my own.

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Thank you, JM! It's probably the same thing under a different name and made by a different manufacturer! I guess the active ingredient is the cannabis, I am so glad you have found something that helps, too, and thanks for letting everyone in Colorado that it is available. I never knew about topical cannabis ointments were even made.

  • profile image

    JM 6 years ago

    for those of you in Colorado, try Apothecanna! The Super Salve works wonders :)