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How CBD helped adventurer Gail Muller overcome chronic pain

Gail Muller reveals how CBD helped her tackle chronic pain and overcome one of the world’s toughest trails.



How CBD helped adventurer Gail Muller overcome chronic pain
How CBD helped adventurer Gail Muller overcome chronic pain
Gail Muller completed the Appalachian Trail despite struggling with chronic pain.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Few people make it through the Appalachian Trail, let alone those struggling with pain. Adventurer, Gail Muller, reveals how CBD helped her tackle the trail – and why she plans to do it all again. 

Author and adventurer, Gail Muller, was born with her feet turned inwards.

Although she was otherwise healthy, she had to have casts fitted to straighten them out. Gail went onto play sports as a teenager, but despite her active lifestyle, a specialist predicted that it would have a dramatic impact on her health in later life.  

“[My doctors] made me walk on these machines so they could see how my hips and knees were working,” says Gail.

“The doctor said if I didn’t have my feet broken and reset then I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 40.”

But Gail didn’t lose her sporty streak and even took up rowing while at university. It wasn’t until later in her 20s that the doctor’s prediction started to ring true, as she developed a pain in her hip. 

“It started as pain in my right hip, in my back, legs and sciatica pain in my shoulder,” she explains.

“It was a  really insidious creeping pain that I didn’t want to bother the doctor about. I thought it was because I was rowing a lot and had done too much, but stopping exercise didn’t help.” 

Gail continues: “I was in teacher training at the time, so I was leaning over my marking books at night. I thought it could be that. I made every excuse under the sun for a pain that would not go away. There was a period of a few years where it ebbed and flowed before getting worse to the point that it was chronic. I had to [learn to] understand what a chronic condition was and that doctors often have no answers.”

Gail was given painkillers such as Gabapentin and nerve blockers, before her doctor eventually referred her to a pain clinic.  

“The prediction had come true,” she says.

“The clinic told me to stop hoping things will get better because it was holding me back. They said I needed to accept that I could lose my job and the ability to walk’.”

A trip to Italy for teaching provided some relief for Gail, as she visited a chiropractor and a dentist who realigned her jaw and teeth.

She felt it helped to unwind 12 years of chronic pain, allowing her to start running and building her strength back up. That was when she discovered CBD oil. 

“In learning more about CBD, I realised how wonderful it is as a component of a healing journey,” Gail says.

“It works well for me, as part of a busy working life where it keeps me focused and doesn’t change my energy levels. It turns down the pain in my body and helps me with what’s been building over the past few years, such as the chronic stress from the way the world is, or anxiety about deadlines.” 

How CBD helped adventurer Gail Muller overcome chronic pain

Despite the level of chronic pain she had been experiencing, Gail channelled her energy and love of sports into an adventure.

Aged 41, she decided to walk the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) a hiking trail in the US between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is no easy stroll, comprising of 2,190 miles.

It is estimated that only one in four hikers make it the entire way through and it can take five to seven months to complete. Gail decided not only to take on the trail but also to go southbound, the most difficult route. 

The trail is notoriously dangerous. As well as the threat of horrendous weather, walkers can face  bears and insects such as ticks which can lead to Lyme disease. 

Gail explains: “There were rattlesnakes, and someone was murdered with a machete on the trail  before I arrived. You would get flash warnings on your phone that told you if there was an  escaped convict that may be on the trail but you never saw any of them.

“It was mostly bad weather, especially drought when the springs dried up which was scary. We would go without  water for a long while. There were blizzards and lightning storms too.” 

Then there were broken bones. 

“If you get injured then you have very little way of being evacuated from the wilderness,” said Gail. 

“I had to rest when I finished in January and February as my foot was broken in two places. I hadn’t realised I had walked for 850 miles with two broken bones.”

When Gail was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) in late 2021, she realised that her love of hiking and being active allowed her to experience calmness. 

“It was the need to calm down my chronically cycling thoughts which at the time I didn’t realise was ADHD. I kept pushing myself to take on stuff and do 20 different things at once,” she says.

“I had sorted out my chronic pain to the point where it was manageable, but I couldn’t stay in one place. When a friend of mine passed away, it changed my perspective. I realised I can walk every day for a long way which is doing something active yet feeling achievement with every step.” 

How CBD helped adventurer Gail Muller overcome chronic pain

Although Gail didn’t take CBD with her on the AT, she did take it when she walked  the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). 

“I took Ethica CBD’s calm and body tinctures with me to do the CDT,” she says.

“I had to wait for two weeks to cross the border into the US from Mexico because of Covid, which was very stressful. It wasn’t good for my mental health and the CBD helped me with those anxieties.

“When I started the Continental Divide there were forest fires, grizzly bears and that was so stressful. CBD helped me to sleep even when I was cramping with pain.” 

Gail adds: “There are lots of things when you are hiking that cause your heart rate to go up. When you come around the corner, there could be a grizzly bear sitting in the pathway and they can kill you. You have bear sprays ready to deploy at them. It’s  a stressful environment and CBD was with me the whole way.” 

Never one to take much of a rest, Gail has a full line-up planned for 2022. 

“I’m working on an online course for predominantly women, but for anyone who needs  encouragement or coaching support to get outdoors,” she says.

“When it comes to trips, I am doing a park route through the footpaths of Cornwall to visit schools and talk about respecting nature and leaving no trace. I’m then going to hike the route around Mont Blanc; through Italy, Switzerland and  France. It’s about 10 days, then I will be doing the GR20 which is the length of Corsica.

She adds: “This summer, I will also be returning to the US to volunteer for two weeks on the Appalachian Trail, helping to rebuild parts  of the trail that have worn down.”

“I’m finally able to give something back to the trail that changed my life.”

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