Posted in aches, Arthritis, chronic pain, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Inflammation, Knee pain, Muscle and joint stiffness, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Part 4 – Marijuana

Thank you for your patience with the delays in finishing the series, “Chronic Pain Relief Options.” Over the last months, I’ve endured a few setbacks healthwise and have finally found my voice again. I appreciate your support and hope you will continue to enjoy this series along with future posts for chronic pain sufferers.

As we continue our research into the different options available to patients suffering from chronic pain, Medical Marijuana is fast becoming one of the preferred forms of chronic pain relief by patients. However, regardless of the positive effects patients report from using Medical Marijuana, astigmatism continues to surround this natural drug.

This is, without a doubt, the hardest subject I’ve written about for many reasons. First, I know persons who use Medical Marijuana and respond with excellent results. Secondly, I know persons who are dead set against legalization, keeping marijuana from extensive research.

How does voting against the legalization of Medical Marijuana hinder research? On a federal level marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, regardless of its legality in 30 states including the District of Columbia and maintains the strictest category with criminal penalties. Therefore, if you live in a legalized state, you can be arrested on the federal level. However, we have a voice somewhere in this country and I believe if we open our minds to the positive outcomes of marijuana we may find a cure for the opioids issues we face today.

Without further ado, here is what I found.

What is Medical Marijuana?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) does not encourage Medical Marijuana use because of the lack of detailed data from research studies. It remains ‘unsafe for the public.’ To strengthen their decision, the FDA hasn’t approved Medical Marijuana as a viable medication.

The NIDA defines Medical Marijuana as “referring to the use of the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.”

However, the NIDA recognizes the approval of two medications in pill form. Dronabinol and Nabilone, (a man-made form of marijuana) contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and treat nausea from chemotherapy as well as increase the appetites of AIDS patients. There is the possibility more medications may be developed once extended research is finished.

(Other countries approved a mouth spray containing THC (tetrahydrocannabidiol)and CBD (cannabidiol) – nabiximols (Sativex) – for muscle control problems related to MS. And for the possible treatment of epilepsy in children, testing of CBD-based liquid drug (Epidiolex) is in trials.)

WHOA…What is CBD & THC?

           The Harvard Health Publishing Blog cites CBD, (also known as cannabidiol) is the extract from the hemp plant and has very little if any intoxicating properties. THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that causes the ‘high’ when using Marijuana. Patients reported no change in consciousness and instead reported many benefits when using Medical Marijuana. Strains with little or no THC are listed as CBD-dominant strains and studies show that patients report little change in consciousness. Benefits reported from patients using CBD include relief from insomnia, anxiety, spasticity, and pain.  However, there are more than 100 active components within the marijuana plant. Testing is needed before informing the public of the different strains and benefits and/or effects of marijuana use.

Frustration from scientific groups is heightened because of the inability to perform thorough research due to the Federal government’s marijuana restrictions. If research groups are unable to obtain marijuana, then how are they expected to perform tests to relay results to the public? Perhaps that’s the real deal. If research studies are stymied from researching marijuana then it remains a threat to the public, thus the government’s agenda??

A couple of days ago I received an email from The National Pain Report citing a proposal that would add “intractable pain” to the approved conditions list for medical cannabis was appealed by the Illinois Department of Health. The Director of the Health Department claimed there ‘wasn’t enough high-quality data from clinical trials’ to add intractable pain to the approved conditions list.

Although there are several reports showing that ‘intractable pain’ is on the list. Those reports were viewed by the following states:

Government officials will continue to halt legalization until we as a people vote for legalization. This one simple act encourages further testing of different strains and helps patients make informed decisions when considering Medical Marijuana as a pain relief option.

Side Effects?

Fast becoming the ‘go-to’ method for relieving pain, Medical Marijuana’s ability to reduce pain, improve quality of life and reduce side effects of other medications has improved lives of many chronic pain sufferers. Numerous studies show patients on Medical Marijuana reduce opioid usage by 64% – dramatically diminishing the risks of overdose and dependency.

Surprisingly, the side effects of medical marijuana are like those of any medication – if you abuse it, you’re going to have side effects. Marijuana products derived from CBD are considered safe and are federally legal in the U.S. These products are commonly found as ‘oil products.’ Doses of up to 300 mg daily may be safe for up to six months per the Medical Marijuana Inc. website. Doses of 1200-1500 mg daily may be used safely for up to four weeks.

 

Health information site reports that lightheadedness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, and dry mouth are symptoms reported by some patients. Throughout my research, I did not find symptoms of moving to a stronger drug (heroin, cocaine) as a side effect of using Medical Marijuana. However, if you try other forms of marijuana not inclusive of Medical Marijuana, and you’ve never used marijuana before, then you may experience stronger effects. The key is moderation.

 

Please consider reading this with an open-mind, perform your own research and remember the probability Medical Marijuana is becoming an integral part of all our lives. Therefore, research and testing are necessary to ensure the safety of the public.

This post is derived from the results of my personal research and may not agree with your opinion of Medical Marijuana usage. I encourage everyone considering Medical Marijuana as a chronic pain reliever, to perform your own research asking the questions I haven’t answered in this post. Opinions are strong on both sides, but I think you’ll be surprised at the growing number of benefits for persons suffering from pain, MS, Crohns Disease and Parkinson’s Disease (to name a few medical diagnoses) reported by patients.

Stay tuned for PART 5 of the Chronic Pain Relief Options series – Injections and Surgeries!