Lost in Pain
If you aren’t familiar with the Wrestling culture, being beaten to a pulp and having multiple injuries is no excuse for not training. You just go. Throughout my 30’s, while pursuing a career and an active social life, I trained several times a week against athletes younger, stronger, and better than me. The only thing I had going for me was a certain donkey-like stubbornness. Eventually, though, I was drinking more booze after practice as a way to numb the constantly increasing soreness. I used other ways to self-medicate as well, of course; Ibuprofen and Tiger Balm, mostly, as well as a LOT of ice. However, as the pain and damage piled up, I kept turning to Vodka as the main way to recover. Not smart; every morning after practice, I was stiff as a board AND slightly hung over.
It would be over a decade until I finally began to consider other ways of healing and recovery from training. After four surgeries, a booze-induced gut, and countless sleepless nights due to chronic pain, I finally realized that things weren’t working. Around that time, I had switched from Wrestling to BJJ, and was introduced to a culture that was less competitive and far less masochistic. Guys were doing Yoga, and meditating, and there was a noticeable difference in the level of machismo; it was still there, but it was also considered bad form to refuse to surrender when your health was at stake due to a tight choke or submission. (This would NEVER be encouraged on a wrestling mat. Trust me.) These guys were more warrior-poet than Viking. And, luckily for me, it was BJJ that introduced me to cannabinoids.
What are they?
Cannabinoids are the active components of Cannabis Sativa, and have been the subject of rigorous research in recent years. The two most common cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the molecule that binds to the CB1 receptors located throughout the brain and provide the famous "high" that is associated with marjiuana. CBD on the other hand, is non-pyschoactive (you won’t get high by using them, or paranoid, or drive to the local 7-11 and purchase all the Doritos) and binds to your CB2 receptors located in your immune system.
According to the National Institute of Health, cannabinoids have been shown to have great impact upon regulating the immune system through their immunomodulatory properties, which is a fancy way of saying that they can suppress inflammatory response and, subsequently, attenuate disease symptoms. We know this through testing it against the ravages caused by multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and even hepatitis. It even can directly inhibit tumor growth. Even more amazingly, preclinical data with cannabinoid-based drugs suggest efficacy in other inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis.”
By the time someone brought CBD to my attention, I was ready to try anything. The wear and tear from over 30 years of grappling was routinely depressing me, as my body seemed to be falling apart a little more each day. I was in a terrible spiral of pain preventing me from training, which would make me bummed out, which would encourage me to train while injured or banged up, which would lead me to…more pain, and more Vodka. I got over any cultural hesitancy to start using a Cannabis-based substance pretty easily. And…here we are.
I’ve been using the CBD based CannaBody balm for about a month now Next column, I’ll tell you what the early results have been.