I Stopped Smoking Cannabis to Manage My Chronic Pain After 5 Years

Chronic pain and rare disease warrior shares her personal journey with using cannabis as a pain management tool.


Shilynn Marshall

1/15/20242 min read

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Good morning, I hope this blog post finds you well and rested. This morning, while practicing my tai chi (a new morning exercise I am testing out), I decided, well, finally accepted that cannabis is no longer serving my highest good.

A little background on my chronic pain history: I was born with numerous rare diseases - Klippel-Feil syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos, scoliosis, MRKH, Springles shoulder, horseshoe kidney, and missing half of my reproductive organs. Since the age of 5, I've been no stranger to the constant pain these conditions challenge me with every single day. In my youth, I fell into a hole of despair. After my second neck surgery, I was hell-bent on never suffering from pain again. I quickly discovered the pain relief that cannabis could bring.

For the next 5 years of my life, I haphazardly used cannabis to cope with negative emotions, CPTSD, and the most extreme pain flare-ups. It worked well, for a while, until I began noticing the "not-so-great" parts of smoking. Here are some of the largest concerns I found with smoking this well-known and loved plant:

  1. The potential to develop gingivitis or periodontitis skyrockets beyond measurement.

I am a very clean person, so once I realized how much harm smoking was causing my oral health, I began ritually mouth washing at least six times a day... I know, a lot. Alcohol in mouthwash is abrasive to the enamel in excess.

  1. Although this herb helps relax you, it made me far too lazy and blind to the effects of this laziness.

As a Christian, I've learned to recognize the harm that can come from a slothful life. I learned this quickly in my early 20s. I had to begin thinking about my future, further than just dinner that night with a fresh bowl to smoke.

  1. Smoke of any kind begins to slowly weaken the cardiovascular and immune system over time.

No matter what you smoke, actually, you will run into this issue, especially if your body is already compromised by a separate rare disease/chronic condition. Our bodies are not designed to undergo constant stress (smoking, drinking, fast food, etc.) And if you return to the previous reason (slothfulness), I rarely exercised due to this convenient "quick-fix." Our immune system is our #1 defense against the stressors (natural & unnatural) of this world.

  1. Smoking cannabis made me lose sight of my true values.

My angels, who serve me every day so I may fulfill my higher purpose, have been trying to peel my eyes open for years about this fundamental issue. Losing sight of your values, no matter what it's from, can cost you an entire lifetime of true fulfillment replaced by cheap thrills. As a young woman, preparing herself to become a homemaker one day, I aspire to live slow and live healthy - cannabis was holding me back from my truest desires.

  1. Smoking isn't actually as cool as everyone makes it out to be.

Yes, the media and even the government have begun to normalize it - in high school, I was all for it, but now, I am realizing the actual harm that comes from industrializing this plant. You lose the respect and sacredness of this healing herb.

Not all is lost during this long awaited goodbye to cannabis. I have began to explore my passions again for holistic health... such as juicing, yoga, walks, and even chasing my true career passion-writing! This is not a blog post to declare all consumption of cannabis is evil or bad! Absolutely not, but all I recommend is that you explore your options in this big world. You may be surprised by what you find.



person in black pants and yellow sneakers standing on grass field
person in black pants and yellow sneakers standing on grass field