Article by Trina Calderón, Leafly
In 2014, San Diego native Shannon Barnett, a makeup artist and set nurse now based in Los Angeles, hit a wall with fatigue and a series of red dots and open rashes started to show up everywhere from her ankles to around her mouth. Already dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome since age 12 and Raynaud’s disease since in 2009, Barnett was prescribed hormones, steroids, and even anti-malaria medicine to help fight the painful symptoms.
Nothing was working. The medicines triggered lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and other bad side effects, including dry mouth from the absence of saliva, which caused her teeth and gums to deteriorate at a fast rate. She visited a top rheumatologist associated with John Hopkins and was told there’s no cure, but she could take Plaquenil and Prednisone. Barnett questioned him and asked herself, why bother if there’s no cure and she continuously experiences bad side effects?
Barnett was sick of her bank account depleting doctor visit after dentist visit with no results, even with her clean, healthy diet. She took matters into her own hands and began research online. CBD came up over and over in related searches on inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Barnett was never a recreational cannabis consumer, but decided to try it after enough research.
After getting her medical cannabis authorization, Barnett went to a dispensary to find some CBD products. “It was not that great. They were smoking inside, and when I asked for something [high in] CBD that didn’t have THC in it–something that wouldn’t get me high–they were just like, ‘What?’”
As a nurse, she was looking for the gold standard amongst products, but soon discovered that the market was far from that. She found tinctures made with ACDC, a CBD-dominant strain, but they were all made with alcohol, which burned her mouth since she was suffering from such bad dry mouth symptoms.
Barnett visited another dispensary in West Hollywood and found a coconut oil THC tincture. Despite the lack of information available about the product, she decided to buy it and use it topically since she couldn’t ingest the THC. Lo and behold, it cleared her rash.