Treating pain or anxiety with weed alone never really worked for me.
Throughout my life, I've been struck intermittently with sudden, severe bouts of acute abdominal pain so intense I once thought my appendix had burst. Whether it's administered through CO2 cartridges, gummies, chocolates or even the flower itself, I've never found cannabis alone to work for me.
One time, however, I was at my desk, desperate for relief, and figured it was worth the gamble of dropping my bank account to the single digits for a $14 2-to-1 CBD-to-THC cold brew coffee. Thirty minutes later, the pain was gone.
Even so, as an infrequent user and pain survivor trending toward recovery, I never know quite what to expect with any new cannabis product pitched as remedy.
So the first time I used Peak Extract's Rescue Rub topical THC salve, I was skeptical but optimistic.
Peak Extracts co-owner Katie Stem developed Rescue Rub from Chinese topical medicines meant specifically to treat areas of blunt-force trauma. In developing the product, Stem says she found the salve worked better with increased levels of THC rather than with a higher ratio of CBD. She says the majority of people regularly using Rescue Rub suffer from arthritis and are over the age of 60.
I'm only in my 30s, and these days, I get a pinched nerve in my neck often when I sleep on it wrong—or, more frequently, when I sit in front of the computer long enough. When it started to flare up, I had my girlfriend apply it to the affected area for me. From a 2-ounce glass jar, she scooped a few fingers' worth of the off-white balm—it smelled of citrus, and had a consistency almost identical to a beard oil or hand salve you'd find at Trader Joe's. I didn't really notice any change in the slight, sharp, remote pain that lives somewhat permanently in my neck. I even took a few tokes of Peak Extract's CO2 oil, Yerba Buena Corazon, which is 61 percent CBD. Tasty, but no relief.
By the time I got home from work the following day, the pain had increased threefold and spread to my shoulder. This time, I asked my girlfriend to really go to town with that Rescue Rub and work it into my neck and shoulder. When she was done, my whole left side was glistening. At the same time, I took a few hits from the other cartridge I had, this time a sativa: Panama, another Yerba Buena-grown, Peak Organic CO2 oil, which is 65 percent THC.
Minutes later, the pain had vanished.
The moral here is that everyone's nervous system responds differently to cannabis, whether CBD, THC or some combination of the two. Like aspirin, cannabis can provide relief for painful, debilitating ailments, but it certainly isn't the solution. With Rescue Rub, which retails for $35 per 2-ounce container, you'll find quick, affordable relief at the very least, and you can save those ducats for some much needed massage and chiropractic therapy.
BUY IT: Peak Extracts' Rescue Rub is available at multiple Portland dispensaries. See peakextracts.com for more information.