As most of you know, I’ve had back problems for several years. After two surgeries and more than half a dozen epidurals, I have kept searching for products to relieve the discomfort in my back and help my walking.

As I approach my 88th birthday, I have decided I can’t do any more surgeries or even epidurals. The relief from either procedure is only short-lived so I have to find another way to treat the problem.

The over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and so-called pain killers have been ineffective. I tried an opioid called Tranadol, which has helped more than anything, but a couple of my doctors have said there may be a potential problem using Tranadol and the interaction with one of my other meds.

So I said, “Me, time to try marijuana.”

Before I relate my experience with trying to find a pot solution to overcome my back pain, I have to give you a brief, simplistic intro into the cannabis world.

There are two main elements in all marijuana. THC is the psycho-active part. The CBD is the curative part. There are all kinds of products and combinations of THC and CBD available. The retail dispensaries are very friendly and helpful but, frankly, limited in their knowledge of what to prescribe and how to effectively use the product.

It’s all quite confusing—you have to expect a lot of trial and error.

First, I tried the oil 1-to-1. Difficult to open the bottle. Not sure how much of the dropper to fill. Trying to hold the liquid under my tongue for 30 seconds to one minute was very hard. No one indicated how often in a day to repeat usage.

Next, I was recommended to a supplier who had no storefront but came to your house. He told me all about cannabis, creams, oils, edibles, and vaping. He also was insistent that my problem would be better served, contrary to most opinions, with higher doses of THC.

“Okay,” I said, “let’s try the oil for starters.” The dropper would only hold half so I took two half droppers. An hour later, I was feeling some relief but was higher than a kite. I couldn’t finish a sentence I started and couldn’t follow my trainer’s instruction at the gym because I couldn’t remember what he said.

I felt out of control, and I didn’t like it. My supplier said I’d get used to it after a few weeks. Gabriele is still laughing about that day. Didn’t think I wanted to stay high for three or four weeks.

Next stop—a local retail dispensary. They said a cream is the only way to go. Pretty even amounts of THC and CBD. Worked okay but you needed someone else to rub in on your back. I couldn’t reach.

Gabriele uses it on her arthritic hand and it works quite well for that.

As my search continued, I visited my local health food store, where they sell CBD products made from hemp and have no THC in them. Friendly people but pretty much the same confusion about what to buy and how to use it.

Everything I learned was still somewhat confusing; too many diverse opinions, no clear facts.

Somewhat exhausted with all the mixed information, I sought out an MD whose specialty was cannabis. He didn’t take Medicare; and after a long tutorial on what’s in cannabis and all the ills it treats, we finally got to my question: What should I take and how?

His recommendations:

A. 1-to-1 THC/CBD oil from a specific manufacturer
B. Swish around mouth before swallowing
C. 3 to 4x a day
D. Will make your sleepy (does it ever)
E. Will encourage more snacking and gaining weight
F. Over next 2 to 3 months, he will monitor all and adjust the dosage.
G. Okay to use Tranadol occasionally—I didn’t care if I got addicted.
H. Hemp products are inferior to plant products.

Here I am, four weeks into the new round. Having some relief but constant back pain, napping too much and feeling a bit foggy most of the time.

Coach/trainer Julie suggested I take a break from the gym for two weeks and try taking the pot at night.

So, I’m taking the pot at night and the Tranadol during the day. It’s working pretty well on my lower back, but now I have a new problem in the neck, so we’ll have to see where we go from here.

It’s an adventure and takes a lot of patience!


Filed under Blog


  1. Coming up to 88? Happy Birthday!!!
    You still have the writing talent. This week’s blog made me laugh so hard I fell out of my chair.

    But I have to tell you, I don’t hear much new. You always seemed a little indecisive to me; so I can understand your confusion over how much to take and how often. One of the lessons I learned from you was I could keep changing my mind and continue improving whatever I’m working on up to the moment it has to “go to press.” Never was a reason to make a decision without the deadline looming.

    Keep trying different scenarios and eventually you’ll find the right one.
    That advise about getting used to it so it quits making you high is true. You build tolerance so it is like push ups. First you do 5 or 10 and feel sore and eventually you’re doing 25 or 50 and no soreness.

    You know nothing has changed when you realize you never did finish sentences or follow instructions very well. And your memory was always so bad you always thought it was the others who did the forgetting. You even sent me to UCLA to take memory classes with (remember his name?)
    … Arthur Borenstein.

    Hope you find some pain relief soon. Nothing could be better than seeing a blog twice a week from a pain free Art!

  2. March 8. 2019


    Lot of Seniors high on something. We (I) can learn a lot about the Cann. and related. Thanks for the prelims. My most recent illness has been prostrate cancer. I take a blended drug cocktail as a shot 90 days apart. No pain, and the read outs look OK. Thanks again, ART, and its does get better sometimes.

    tom adams

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