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COMMENTARY
CBD balm
A hemp balm containing CBD oil has helped Jeff Packham with his chronic back and hip pain. (Jeff Packham)

(Editor’s note: The following commentary is presented as the companion piece to a news post about the growing use of CBD oil in Oklahoma following legalization in 2015.)

Several years ago, I was asked to do a feature on the medical benefits of marijuana while I was writing for a community newspaper conglomerate. As I reached out to various people about their reaction to ingesting marijuana — illegal at the time — to ease their pain, they were all surprisingly consistent about the benefits. It helped them alleviate and, in some cases, eliminate their pain.

I was unsurprised the interviewees found a pain-management benefit from marijuana, but I was shocked they were willing to publicly discuss their use of an illegal drug. The benefit was so strong that their desire to get the word out was more important to them than the possible negative fallout from the public. They were willing to risk law enforcement getting involved in a state known for being tough on drug crimes.

Over a decade later, my own experiences with pain have been documented, as I have struggled daily with intense discomfort following spinal surgery two years ago. With or without medication, my days start with powerful pain. Fortunately, I was able to gradually get off the prescription pain meds and now take ibuprofen two to three times a day despite the constant existence of the pain.

Could CBD balm be the cure?

My discomfort is such that I offered no resistance whatsoever in trying cannabidiol oil, commonly referred to as CBD oil. CBD oil was first legalized in Oklahoma in 2015 for clinical studies but has since been expanded to allow for retail sales. Such sales are restricted to products containing no more than 0.03 percent of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.

At the time of this writing, I had applied a balm on the areas of pain in my back and hips. While I still wake up each day with some level of pain, I am able to mostly forget it is even there as I go throughout the day. I can only assume the reason for this improvement stems from the CBD oil balm I used from Ambary Health, as that is the only thing that has changed in the two weeks since I first met owner Jimmy Shannon during the course of researching for my other CBD oil story.

While I also tried some CBD oil drops underneath my tongue during my first visit to Shannon’s other retail shop, Vapour Kingdom, in Norman, Oklahoma, I have continued to use the balm on a daily basis. It is the best I’ve felt since I had the spinal surgery in 2015.

CBD poised to grow in popularity

CBD balm
In this archival photo, the author poses with his late sister, who, prior to her death, suffered from the same kind of seizures that led to the legalization of CBD oil in Oklahoma. (Provided)

Words from Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols also resonated with me on a different level. I grew up with a younger sister who had hemi-paralysis and endured grand mal seizures similarly to what Echols’ niece, Katie, has experienced. I look back and wonder if my sister might still be alive today – she passed away several years ago after living into her 30s – if she had been able to take CBD oils rather than the overload of daily medications prescribed to her to combat her condition.

What I do know for sure is that CBD oil is beneficial with none of the mind-altering symptoms that come from smoking marijuana. I have experienced these benefits firsthand, and I applaud the efforts of people like Shannon and Echols for taking steps to lead Oklahoma to this solution. We can only hope that it becomes more accepted in Oklahoma as times goes on.

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Jeff Packham is the CEO of Jupiter Promotions, a full-service public relations, marketing and social media management company in Oklahoma City. He has worked as a reporter covering the Oklahoma State Capitol for both the Journal Record and CNHI.