E74 - Can Cannabis Help COVID Long Haulers with Peg City Hippie

Has Covid-19 affected your day-to-day? “Ah, yes!” We have all been touched; this virus has influenced behaviours within all of our communities and our condolences are extended to those who have lost love ones. This episode tells a story of an individual who recovered from Covid-19, only to suffer from debilitating symptoms long after the acute nature of the illness had passed. These are people referred to as “Long-Haulers.” Brittany (Peg City Hippie) explains how cannabis assists her with the long-term effects from the SARS-COV-2 virus. This is another extended My Cannabis Story from an individual willing to share with Kirk and Trevor.

Tuesday, 05 October 2021 14:18

Meet our guest

Brittany (Peg City Hippie)

Research Links

Music By

JD Edwards Band
Desiree Dorion
Marc Clement

(Yes we have a SOCAN membership to use these songs all legal and proper like)

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Episode Transcript

Trevor: Kirk. 

Kirk: We're back. 

Trevor: So, what have you been doing? 

Kirk: What have I been doing? Well, we went to southern Manitoba and traveled around southern Manitoba in a van. 

Trevor: I hear that. I hear that Van has a name. 

Kirk: It does VanHoot. Yeah, we call it VanHoot #VanHoot, and it's coffee colored. And it's a 1983 GMC Rally. It's kind of basically it's basically a queen size bed with four tires. 

Trevor: It's all you need in life, I think. 

Kirk: Yeah. No, we, Michelle and I wanted to find a van to camp in n, and that's what we got. So, we went down the southern Manitoba last week and checked out St. Jean Baptiste, Altona. Altona is a beautiful, beautiful city mate; went to Steinbeck, Morden Winkler, Melita, La Riviere.  Sat by, we took our van and sat down by the river and had a couple of beers and camped out. It was a good time. 

Trevor: Oh, it's a nice part of the province. Honestly, a majority of those towns I've been in and around, but only in winter while driving kids to and from hockey games. So, I'm sure it's much nicer in the summer. 

Kirk: Well, Manitoba has some large, large farms and some very flat country and some very French communities. So, and very conservative, very, very conservative communities. And So, it was a good time. 

Trevor: And the area you were in, there's alSo, a lot of low German speaking Mennonite communities, So, we've got Manitoba relatively diverse place. 

Kirk: Yes. So, I got to do that. And now this this conversation we have today, I'm bringing you another cannabis story. This is this is Peg City Hippie. This is a young woman. Thirty-four-year-old woman Brittany from Winnipeg. I follow on social media and she has long COVID now. Couple of little disclaimers here. I contacted her and asked her for a story about long COVID, and the story turned out to be a little bigger than just long COVID. She's got several co-morbidities that she deals with and cannabis helps her. But I've taken probably a 30-minute discussion Trevor, and I've made it into, I think, probably about 15 minutes. And I've done that on purpose because the thesis of this story, of this episode was to talk to her about long COVID. So. she is a thirty-four-year-old woman who was who is working frontline essential care at a at a grocery store did a few shifts and this is again, this is about August in 2020, 2020. So, yeah, So, this we're talking about the second wave is coming and people, people weren't always following the protocols and the government opened up the province and she went to work and she got herself COVID. So, she tells us this story. So, before we get into her story, maybe we should talk a little bit about what long COVID is. 

Trevor: Sure. Now other disclaimer. Kirk and I health care professionals, yes, are either Kirk or I infectious disease experts who are really, really good at COVID? No. So, we'll talk in generalities. And any infectious disease doc out there wants to say you guys are full of hooey, please tell us and we will absolutely out of the correction. So. COVID19 started by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It gets in you. Causes an infection. The first week or so, it's a virus doing its its thing, it's replicating. Second week or so, your body starts attacking it. And then third week or So, you're getting better. Most people, most of the time or way worse and that's, you know, the people who end up in ICU and unfortunately dying more or less. The long COVID. And it's cold by a bunch of names. So, I've most recently heard it as long COVID and long haulers. Kirk read a couple other things in more official names, but it's what happens after that; after the threeish weeks, and you don't have to be real sick. Like, yes, you can have long COVID if you ended up in ICU and back out in the community. But some people who had mild or even no symptoms weeks to months later can have this long COVID symptoms. And my understanding is we're still trying to figure out all of the where's, whys, and hows of what's going on with it. 

Kirk: Yeah, I know about long COVID because you and I share a passion with TWIV, another podcast that talks about long haulers, long COVID. I know that way back. Probably, I think the earliest I remember hearing the term Long Hauler or Long COVID was probably last summer 2020. And I mean, I have been working. I have been working COVID. I've I've done what have I done? I've done immunizations, I've done screening. I've done, I've done contact tracing, I've done care. I've gone into COVID zones, zoned up in the suit. 

Trevor: Yeah, I've seen pictures of you at a suit; going in and out of, yeah, we'll call isolation area. 

Kirk: Yeah, yeah. So, I I've been working, I've been working frontline COVID in remote communities well since March last year. But for this episode, I started doing some searching because of Brittany Peg City Hippie, she considers herself for as she considers herself a Hippie 2.0. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I thought that was quite cool because she because she's into social media and I consider myself a hippie wannabe. I'm of the age, maybe about five years too soon. But anyways, So, as I was starting to do my research on this, you know, and trying to prepare to talk to you about it. The literature doesn't really refer to long COVID or long haulers. I have found names like post-acute COVID 19 neurological syndrome. I have found post-COVID-19 syndrome. Post COVID 19 condition, post COVID intensive care syndrome and the definition that I have found by one of the authors and I'm sorry I didn't quote the name of the author here, but essentially it says to "definding Long COVID is not recovering for several weeks or months following the start of symptoms that were suggestive of COVID, whether you were tested or not." And during the conversation I had with Britney, she had some difficulties with her testing and she she gets into that a little bit about her second test did not necessarily come out as positive, So, I think it was a false negative for her because she doesn't think that the testing went down deep enough. Now I've I have swabbed people. 

Trevor: You have tickled a few brains. 

Kirk: You have to get down deep and you have to leave it in there. We're counting. I think one of my practitioners was counting for 12 seconds. I think I was counting for 15 and you give it a little twice. So, it's not it's not a comfortable thing, but long COVID is essentially you have these symptoms for a long time. Now, I think it was probably in October or November TWIV episode where they were talking about spring break and the kids were all going down south in Florida. But spring break happens in March, but I thought maybe it was March this year and they were all going down and the kids were. This is early COVID. It seems like it all blends.

Trevor: It all kind of merges. 

Kirk: But yeah, when the 20 somethings were all trying to get it right because they figured, go get it and get over it and go forward. Well, what they discovered is some of those young kids were getting long haulers and they are sick for quite a while. So, this is not a disease you want to go out there and catch to get better. I mean, it's like, what was it a meme I saw on social media? You don't go out and try to purposely catch polio. Right? So, so, So, anyways, this this young lady caught COVID while being a frontline worker. Essential worker.  Working in environments that we're not safe and got Long COVID, So, maybe we're just listen to her story a little bit and come out of it at the end. 

Trevor: Let's listen to the Peg City Hippie. 

Brittany: OK. Name's Brittany, I'm thirty-four. Born raised Winnipeg, I got a job in August and as a cashier and after four shifts for grand total twenty-five hours, I ended up catching COVID and, yeah, I ended up quitting the job because they wanted me to work while sick and even before I got my COVID test, and, it was about three weeks for the initial illness. I ended up, I just started super easy, like I didn't even know I was sick at first it was just, I woke up with like a headache and saw like my body was really sore and I just figured, Oh, I'm just back to work, So, I'm just sore. And yeah, no, it wasn't till the second day when I started getting pressure in my sinuses and stuff and then a heavy chest after five days and eventually it progressed to pneumonia. And my doctor was I was in communication with my, with my doctor calling her back and yeah, yeah. I after like three weeks, I started to get better for about two three days and then, I got worse and I've never gotten better. And it's been about like almost 10 months now. 

Kirk: Wow. So, So, So, this is August 2020, So, the pandemic had started in March. So, what were you doing from March to August? What was your attitude towards COVID then? 

Brittany: Well, I I was terrified to get it because I have asthma that I got from sewer gas poisoning and like, So, like, I didn't want to get it, but I didn't qualify for any financial assistance, like none of the CERB stuff because I was looking for a job before the pandemic started. And, So, they didn't count anyone like that, and So, basically by the time August rolled around and Pallister put out that "Ready, Safe, Grow" thing. I basically felt like I had to get a job. I couldn't stay in very long, So, I figured I'd just get a job bank a few hours before the next wave. And yeah, no, my workplace was So, unsafe that just I didn't even last long. 

Kirk: So, this is after the first wave and the second wave already started? 

Brittany: It would have been right before the second wave. It was right at the end of August, beginning of September when I got sick. 

Kirk: So, everyone had this false sense of security, I guess at that time. 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah. 

Kirk: Yeah, so. So, you were you were working in essential service frontline worker or cashier and So, were people wearing masks were people. 

Brittany: I would say one in five wore a mask.  In four shifts, I had to constantly remind like the only thing we were doing was when people came in, we would have them cleaned their hands with hand sanitizer. But there was no mask requirement. There was no cleaning the anything, really. 

Kirk: All right. So, August rolls around.  Now, I was reading a little bit about your blog. When the symptoms started happening, you went and had a swab done. 

Brittany: Yes. Yes. This was my second swab that I had had done. The first one I had done, probably back in May when they started opening it up for asymptomatic, just to see if I'd had it. And that one, I definitely had felt the swab going very far up. And, you know, the brain tingle. The one that I had in in the end of August, it was I am 100 percent sure it was a false positive and even like, ah, a false negative and my even my doctor agrees because it felt different, like it didn't really go in far. She didn't move it around either like to scrape and stuff. And I ended up having the test done like two months later So, my dad could go to work or something like that, or what six weeks later or something like that. And that one felt like the first one, too. So, I know that second one -- and that was after -- yeah, it it did, I know it was a false negative. 

Kirk: OK, So, isn't that interesting? So, then OK, So, then you catch the symptoms. You see your doctor. How were you diagnosed with COVID then? Because the swab, the third swab took place, you said how? How long afterwards? Three months? 

Brittany: Probably like two months after. By a basis of ruling every other thing out. I got I should test for influenza; for mono. She could hear the pneumonia. I lost my smell and taste a hundred percent. 

Kirk: There it is. 

Brittany: Honestly, like, OK, like symptom wise, the pneumonia and the heart palpitations and all that stuff is worse and the brain fog. But losing my sense of smell and taste was psychologically the worst. 

Kirk: Right? And the third test did it come back as negative. 

Brittany: Negative. But by then, you're not even going to like the likelihood of even testing positive is So, Slim. They really need to get you in those three to five days. 

Kirk: OK, So, you are. You are you are diagnosed as COVID. You said you had a period of time that we were starting to feel well again. And then what happened? 

Brittany: The symptoms just came back with a vengeance. I was having I was still having a hard time breathing. Heart palpitations whenever I stand up and walk around. The headache is... I wore sunglasses for like the first six, seven weeks. Like it, it is, and it's not even like pounding as much as like pressure. And if I was touching my face, it would be painful. And by the time you were, half my face goes numb, like just on the left side and yeah, there's just So, many multitude of symptoms at just every day, like spin the wheel, you don't know what you're going to get today and even throughout the progress of the day, it gets better or worse. 

Kirk: OK. And have they drawn any blood? Have they found any antibodies? 

Brittany: They did cultures that showed that I was like, like the my immune system's fighting something. 

Kirk: Interesting. You know, what we skipped on is Pig City Hippie is your moniker. What is what is Pig City Hippie?

Brittany: It's just it's just like my Instagram channel and stuff, and it's just a nickname of mine that, yeah. 

Kirk: But you got a hat. You're wearing a hat. Was that a birthday gift? 

Brittany: No, I got a guy online designed it for me. It's got the Winnipeg skyline in it. 

Kirk: OK. OK. Oh, that's said I look. Let's have a closer look. That's very cool. 

Brittany: Yeah, I I always consider myself a hippie 2.0. Peace, Love. Good vibes. But like, I use social media. 

Kirk: Right, right. And yeah, yeah. Fair enough. Fair enough. So, tell me a little bit about how you're using cannabis then, you obviously were a cannabis user before you got COVID. 

Brittany: Oh, absolutely. I'm an advocate. Cannabis gave me my life back. 

Kirk: In what way? 

Brittany: I had a lot of Health problems when I was younger. Epilepsy, since I was 15. I tried multiple medications and it was never under control. I have a slipped disc. Spondylitis in the L5 S1 with bilateral pars defect. I had that most of my life. And So, I found cannabis helps with pain management because all they do is through opioids that you and I didn't like the feeling of oxy and stuff. So, I use cannabis for that and epilepsy. It's the only thing that's ever worked on reducing my seizures. Like, I went three years without a single seizure. And that's and most times I was only getting to like my previous record was like eleven months. 

Kirk: Wow. OK, So, like, this is a story I didn't know I had here. Let's talk a little bit about that. So, you have epilepsy, you must have been on some anti-seizure medication at some point. And when did you develop epilepsy? 

Brittany: I had my first seizure at 14. I was diagnosed at 15. They said it was something on my left side of my brain. Yeah, I had gotten a lot of concussions from from just school and stuff. And eventually, I guess just the multitude of concussions led to be developing epilepsy. 

Kirk: OK. 

Brittany: It was never under control. We tried multiple medications and it just didn't work. I did that spending like a week in the hospital, hooked up to everything, and they still couldn't get control of it. And So, finally, I just, you know, I started smoking weed when I was working night shift as to help me sleep, and I noticed that I was actually feeling better and having a reduce in symptoms and less seizures. And So, I just started using it more and started doing my own research, and then I found a CBD oil. And yet I've only had like four or five seizures in the last six, seven years, and that is beyond the records for me because I was doing multiple year. 

Kirk: Are these are these grand mal or focal? 

Brittany: Grand mal, and I completely pass out for it and. 

Kirk: And you OK? Yeah. And are you are you working with a physician on these dosing? 

Brittany: I know like my doctors cool with me using cannabis. She's prescribed me So, that I can have my ACMPR though my garden died when I got sick. I haven't even restarted it. But yeah, So, she supports me and I have a therapist that I talk to all the time and I've educated him and he he's really looked into that as well for others like he has other patients. And so, yeah, I got doctors support. 

Kirk: OK. And are they prescribing you dosing or are you taking care of that yourself? 

Brittany: I'm doing that myself. I know more than they do about cannabis. I'm educating them a lot at the time. 

Kirk: Isn't that interesting? OK, that's interesting. And you know that there are cannabis doctors out there. You know that there are. Yeah, yeah. OK. All right. So, so. Wow. That's that's amazing. So, epilepsy and now the Long Hauling. How does cannabis help you? How do you balance the Long Haul and the epilepsy and against pain management? So, cannabis is doing a lot for you here. 

Brittany: It's what keeps me going. And so, cannabis is so, great for depression. You know, it can help your mood and stuff. There's So, many things that I use it for. I no longer have any problem, well until Long Hauling started I didn't have any problems with IBS anymore. For years, and I've been suffering since I was three years old with that. Yeah, that's why I'm such a huge advocate for it, because it is, it gave me my life back. And So, with Long COVID, it's more just maintaining what I was going for before and yeah. I don't think it's had any major effect just as, though it was like the same effect it was having before. 

Kirk: You did, you have to adjust your medication, your dosing at all? 

Brittany: I can't smoke flower anymore. It makes me cough just way too much. My lungs can't handle it. I mostly just smoke concentrate, specifically live resin all the time because live resin the terpenes and they're just so much more better and it's concentrated. So, I don't have to smoke nearly as much as I would if I was using just flower. But I'll use tinctures and I have really pain creams and stuff. Cannabis, CBD-THC-pain-creams. So, edibles. Yeah, I just can't smoke flower anymore right now. 

Kirk: And is this and you say you have a garden? So, do you grow your own plants. Have you found your own Strain that works best for you?

Brittany: I have some favorites of mine. Jack Kerer is a great wine Kona Gold. I would love to get my hands on Charlotte's Web. That was the one that was created for that little girl, Charlotte, who had really bad, uncontrolled seizures. Passed away last year, but yeah, Charlotte's Web, that strain. I would love to get some of that, 

Kirk: OK, and then you grow your own and then you have your own press and you're making your own residents your own tinctures that you making that? 

Brittany: Oh, I got a friend who makes who's way better at all that than me. Mostly I grow the flowers, just like for my own smoking. And yeah, for rosin too. 

Kirk: OK, and now that your lungs can't take the flower and your plan is to get your garden going, I imagine. 

Brittany: Definitely get it going again. 

Trevor: So, Kirk, like you were saying at the onset, Peg City Hippie has what what we call lots of co-morbidities, lots of other medical conditions going on. So, whether that made her more or less susceptible for Long COVID, I don't know, and I'm not sure anybody does, but there's a lot going on. And she's using cannabis to treat a lot of it. So, it's just. She's a very interesting person and medically because of all the other things going on, it's interesting that again, I'm the last person to say cannabis is a wonder drug for everything all the time because, you know, certainly isn't. But it's interesting how many things that she's personally using cannabis to to treat. 

Kirk: Yeah. And and I kind of purposely edited some of that conversation out of it because again, I wanted to focus on the Long Hauling. But she does bring co-morbidities to the to the issue. But and she was a user of cannabis before the Long Hauling. But what I kind of like about this story is that she she finds it helps and she mentioned at the end there, she finds it helps with her depression. You know it. It helps pass time in. And we know this from experience. Cannabis, you can pass a lot of time, you know, high and and it can... 

Trevor: Shocking yes. One of the things one of the things I liked and I'm going to go on a little digression and So, play arm armchair researcher. Through TWIVs and but actually really came out and hers is she talked about some of the neurological parts of Long COVID and, when I put another hat on, I'm a volunteer with the MS society and it's just (multiple sclerosis) MS is another neurological condition. And one of the hallmarks of MS, you know, not everybody all the time, but our neurological symptoms that come and go like one day you can't feel your hand. The next day it comes back. One day eye might not work and it comes back. Like, it's not quite day to day. You know, flare ups could be over months, but it was just the fact her talking about your tingling that went away and came back. Smell that went away and came back. Actually, I'm not even sure by the end of it if her taste and smell had come back, she's talking about how troubling that was. But it's just. It's interesting to me, and this is just completely talking out my ear. How similar some of the symptoms of Long COVID are to multiple sclerosis? I'm not saying that means there's any necessarily link between the two, but it's to me, it's it's fascinating. 

Kirk: Yeah, she raises. I mean, as a nurse listening to her story, there's a few things that pop out. One was fact checking. Some of the some of the comments. You made a couple of comments about the World Health Organization that I went looking at. The World Health Organization uses post-COVID syndrome, I believe as a definition for Long COVID. The public, the chief public health officer of Canada, Theresa Tam and the Public Health Agency of Canada, they have, and it's funny because this interview happened I think in June I had with her and July 7th. I think my reference says July 7th, the Public Health Agency of Canada came out with a statement about about post-COVID-19 syndrome, and they basically say that initial findings from a living systematic review led by the Public Health Agency of Canada on post-COVID conditions indicates that most laboratory confirmed COVID 19 patients continue to experience one or more symptoms within four to 12 weeks, or 83 percent of the people with COVID have symptoms afterwards and beyond 12 weeks 56 people most prevalent symptoms in both the short term, which is four to 12 weeks, and the long term to 12 weeks after diagnosis periods, is fatigue, general pain, discomfort, sleep disorders, shortness of breath, anxiety or depression. Although the substantial proportion of individuals reported a variety of symptoms occurring four or more weeks after COVID diagnosis due to low certainty in the evidence. Further research is needed, et cetera, et cetera. But essentially, what else, collaboration a Canadian? I held a one day virtual expert panel. They call it the best brains. So, Delphi, they did a Delphi on and we laugh at Delphi because it was in one of our other episodes with the Delphi tapering opiates. So, they're doing Delphi on this as well. The Public Health Agency. So, I think in Peg City Hippie's defense here that the Canadian health agencies are starting to recognize that and start talking about it. But you raised some issues about chronic illness if if people with post-COVID conditions and syndromes, Long COVID, if it persists, I mean, it's going to affect people's ability to work So, long term disability, it's going to affect income. Oh yeah, oh, it's a huge. 

Trevor: And unfortunately, there's going to be lots of people like Peg City Hippie who are otherwise young, healthy people, yet kind of in the prime of their lives, prime of their their employment, prime of their salary making years who could be waylaid for weeks to months to honestly, we probably don't know how long this might go, and some people say, well, it's going to be a significant burden to society. 

Kirk: Well, and this is what you I mean off mic, a couple minutes ago, you said that it really isn't a public health issue. It's more of a of a chronic condition. But yet, you know, chronic conditions, if people are if people aren't viable and they can't contribute, it becomes a public health issue for wages and, you know, min-income and all those issues. So, once again, I think I think we learned from our listeners. And I want to thank Brittany for for allowing us to tell her story. I hope she's happy with how we presented it and I wish her all the luck in the world and she and we'll have to catch up with her in in in episode 200, I guess. 

Trevor: Yes, Brittany, here's wishing you really well, but that segue nicely into we thought this was going to be a My Cannabis Story ended up being a whole episode, and that happens. But if you've got a story about cannabis, it doesn't have to be: I love cannabis, you know, we're kind of positive, but that's just us. We're more than happy to talk about I. I hate cannabis because, you know, I don't think there's many people out there who I'm completely indifferent to cannabis. But if you got a I have a completely indifferent to cannabis story, we want to hear that too. So, if you have a My Cannabis Story about why you like it. Why you hate it. Anything in between. Record it on the voice memo on your phone and then email it to us. All the information's on our website at wwwreefermed.ca, you can email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Yes, we love to hear the My Cannabis Stories. We will keep it completely anonymous if you wish. And more importantly, the listeners love hearing the My Cannabis Stories. They want to hear how it's affecting other people out there. 

Kirk: I'm Kirk Nyquist.  I'm the nurse at Reefer Madness, the pod I cover. 

Trevor: Trevor Shewfelt I'm the pharmacist. Thanks for listening. Come back. We've got lots more great stuff coming 

Rene: Right on, guys. That was another good one. It's Rene here back at the studio. And as we usually do, we play a song at the end, sometimes requested by our guest. And Brittany had suggested that she would mind hearing something by J.D. Edwards. So, the song we're going to play is Back to You and Reefer MEDness - The Podcast would like to recognize that we are recorded on Treaty two land just as a point of note. And all right. Here we go. 

Kirk: Thank you very much. Any final words? 

Brittany: Thank you for spreading information on this. Any like even. That's all. That's the whole reason I'm doing this, and it makes it worth it to share my story. 

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