An aching thumb sent me to the cannabis counter. It was one part 1970s LCBO and one part Holt Renfrew

Article by Cathrin Bradbury, The Toronto Star

An aching thumb sent me to the cannabis counter. It was one part 1970s LCBO and one part Holt Renfrew By CATHRIN BRADBURY Although the coming Ontario Cannabis Stores will sell accessories, there will be no marijuana creams for arthritis — THC or no THC. (COLE BURSTON / THE NEW YORK TIMES FILE PHOTO)

I have a sore right thumb. If I were a cartoon character it would have stars and lightning bolts shooting out of it, that’s how much this thumb hurts. So I called a nearby relative, who is 70 and my go-to expert on pain. We come from a large clan in which the women start to get arthritic hands on the downward slope of 50.

“How about marijuana cream for arthritis? It’s supposed to be a miracle cure,” I said. “There’s a place in Kensington Market.”

“Raided and shut down the day after I bought my last batch.” This is unexpected. I am the younger, cooler relation. I had no idea Maryjane, we may as well call her — she’s a successful professional and prefers to be incognito — was an epidermal stoner.

“Of course I don’t get high.” My second newsflash from MJ: her cannabis-infused topicals, as they are called in the business, are non-intoxicating, with zero of the euphoria associated with most (but not all) joints and edibles. Marijuana sans buzz — that is, loaded with medicinal CBD but without THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis — is a fast-growing business that has lured a new batch of pain-wracked patrons like Maryjane, who’s tried and failed to retire, twice, and doesn’t have the time for or interest in getting stoned. Two-thirds of Canadians registered to take medicinal marijuana are using it for severe arthritis, according to Health Canada. And that doesn’t count the lucrative sales to senior citizens out of storefront dispensaries.

“Here’s a spot called Peace and Love on Queen.” I was on a website with a photo of John and Yoko in bed, holding flowers in their hands.

“Sold out.” This went on for a couple of minutes — doesn’t carry it, sold out, busted — until Maryjane lost patience. She was having 14 people for dinner and didn’t have time for me and my thumb. “You’d be better off going to Vancouver.”

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