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Category Archives: chronic back pain

    Back in the early 90’s, William was in a car accident.  He sustained whiplash, a couple of herniated discs, and a few broken bones.
    Complications from the back injury prompted his physicians to put him on a cascade of lethal pharmaceuticals.
    A couple of drugs put him in the hospital, some caused hallucinations, others – uncontrolled body temperature, still others – violent fits.  “The anti-depressants basically made me happy I was in pain,” remarked William.

    Anti-depressants are routinely doled out to the chronically ill under the premise that, whether the cause or the effect, the patient must be depressed.

    William suffered with a migraine that lasted for a year.  He would have to lock himself in the bedroom, pull the shades and lay there in the darkness.  Often he would cry from the intense pain.

William struggled with prescription narcotics

    The drugs that his doctors had him on put him in another world.  They robbed him of his short-term memory.  The only thing that kept him grounded to reality while he was on prescription meds was the pain.
    The only drug that he found that sufficiently relieved the pain was Percocet.  But because of its toxicity, physicians will only prescribe it on a limited basis.

    Percocet, a narcotic analgesic, is used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain.  It contains two drugs – Acetaminophen and Oxycodone.  Acetaminophen is used to reduce both pain and fever.  Oxycodone, a narcotic analgesic, is used for its calming effect and for pain.
Percocet is known to cause dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, sedation, and vomiting, but most serious is its high tendency for dependence.

    William had a friend who asked him if he had ever tried Cannabis.  He admitted that he had used Cannabis on occasion recreationally.  His friend asked him if he’d ever used it to treat his pain.  William realized that when he used Cannabis, he felt better.
    He and his friend went out and obtained some “black-market” Cannabis and William began dosing.
    That day was the first time that he had control over his pain in 14 months.  He cried that day, not because he was in pain, but because he was released from it.

    He’ll always have the injuries that he sustained from that car accident long ago.  But he’s able to manage his pain now, with Cannabis and physical fitness.  He finds that he doesn’t have to dose on a daily basis anymore, but only on the days when the pain is too much.  On those days, Cannabis “… does the job for me.”  With it, he no longer takes any pharmaceutical meds for pain.
    The only side effect he has experienced from dosing with Cannabis is that he got hungry.

    But the story doesn’t end there.  William was diagnosed with Epilepsy when he was eight years old.  He’s been on a wide range of medications to treat it.  Depakene, Depakote, Tegretol, Dilantin, Phenobarbital, Klonopin, and many others.

William realized that he had one month to find an alternative.

    With some of his medicines, all he wanted to do was sleep.  He spent much of the time unconscious.  The Tegretol gave him violent mood swings.  Others would cause him to break out in rashes or hives; one even caused him to bleed on the surface of his skin.
    It was Klonopin that finally enabled him to gain control of his seizures.
Due to the seriousness of Klonopin, physicians only prescribe it as a last resort.  Two of the many side-effects of this serious drug are short-term memory loss and coma, but with the high frequency of seizures that William was experiencing, he considered it a worthwhile trade off. 
    At one point, he was experiencing 12 to 15 seizures a day.

    For years, wherever he moved, whatever doctors that he would have treat him, they would always prescribe Klonopin.
    A few years ago, he fell on hard times.  He owed his physician money, so the physician refused to treat him or sign for refills of his prescription.
    It’s hard for him to discuss this time of his life without him becoming emotional.  He remembers going to his physician’s office, with other patients there, pleading with him to give him his medicine – so that he could work, so that he could drive – he was a single father with two kids – so that he could do the things he normally did that he knew he wouldn’t’ be able to do without that medicine.
    The physician begrudgingly agreed to fill William’s prescription for Klonopin just one more time, but that was it.

    William realized that he had one month to find an alternative.  He got online and looked up alternative treatments for Epilepsy.  He found a vegetarian diet, exercise, meditation, prayer, and Cannabis.  Because he only had 30 days, he did them all.  he turned vegetarian, he started a strict exercise program, he meditated and prayed every day, and he started smoking Cannabis religiously.
    When the 30 days were up, the prescription was gone, but he didn’t have anymore seizures.
What’s more, they stayed gone.  After a year, he was no longer a vegetarian, he didn’t meditate and pray every day, and he didn’t exercise like he should, but he continued to dose with Cannabis.  It’s been three years and he has not been on any prescribed medicine and it’s also been three years that he has been seizure free.
    About six months after he had been off the Klonopin, William’s physician ordered an EEG at the local hospital to check the progress of his Epilepsy.  What they found was that the seizure activity in his brain had actually increased, but they no longer surfaced.  He no longer had any visible seizures.

    William is a hard working American.  He works a full time job and contributes greatly to his community.  William takes care of special needs children.  So much so that a number of local agencies compete for his services.
    He’s raised two children on his own.  Now he’s helping others raise their children.
    All William wants – instead of pumping his body full of pharmaceutical toxins, making him sick, lose his memory, lose his mind – is just to be able to medicate with Cannabis once in a while, so that he can be clear headed and pain free, so that he can continue to be an asset to society.

    To view more of our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit our website at www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet .  We need your Testimony.  Please contact me today about scheduling your interview.  Help us change law through your personal story.  I can be contacted at seren001@swbell.net.

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    Buddy is 86 years old.  He started in the tobacco business when he was 17.  He didn’t retire until he was 73. A buyer for Kent, Newport and Old Gold, the fast paced, highly competitive world of a tobacco broker was the driving force for most of his life.      

    Buddy outlived his wife by eighteen years.  Now it’s just him and his son Tom.  Tom is his father’s caregiver, now.  Tom is also chronically ill.

    Buddy has been suffering with Neuropathy of the feet for twenty years.  He said that it feels like nails piercing the bottom of his feet.   ” I jus’ never had anything in my life to hurt like this.”

Buddy believes Cannabis could Help Relieve his Chronic Pain.

     Neuropathy encompasses more than 100 diseases and conditions affecting the peripheral nerves-the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs. It usually affects the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain.

    Buddy is a veteran.  He served four years during World War II.  He was told that it was probably the long walks packing heavy equipment that lead to his feet problems.

Two recent scientific studies (Headline from 2007) have confirmed what Buddy has found (that conventional narcotics don’t work for his condition) and what he has been told (that Cannabis is effective for Neuropathic foot pain). The following video from the 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, hosted by Patients Out of Time, features Dr. Donald Abrams, who conducted one of the studies in San Francisco, explaining the protocols for his government sanctioned research.AIDS, Pain & Cannabis, with Donald Abrams   

    Buddy also has Rheumatoid Arthritis.  He’s been ailing with it for 12 years.  
    Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic, systemic Autoimmune Disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints, where it causes inflammation and destruction, and some organs, such as the lungs and skin.
    The stiffness in Buddy’s joints confines him to his easy chair and hopelessly shackle him to pharmaceuticals.  He had to elevate his legs to make it through our interview.

    Buddy has skin cancer across the top of his head and down his back.  Squamous Cell Carcinoma is one of several colored cancerous lesions visible on the surface of his bare scalp.
    Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common cancer of the skin (after Basal Cell Carcinoma but more common than Melanoma). It usually occurs in areas exposed to the sun, and can generally be treated by excision only.”

    Buddy told me that most times, he’d rather be dead.  He quickly adds that he won’t kill himself, but, “…I’d rather be dead.”  The pain he deals with is that intense.
    Over a decade of chronic illness and inefficiently treating it with prescriptions drugs has lead him to this point.  There must be something else.  For Buddy, even the thought of dying is a welcomed relief when faced with the ever growing pain he is experiencing. 

    Buddy and his son Tom are avid readers.  That’s evident from the stacks of books that fill their home.  Decades of captivity to their illnesses has honed their ability to research.  It is that energy that they focused on finding relief from the pain and discomfort they both experience.   
    Though conventional medicine fell short of a solution, one 4,000 year old medicinal herb continually surfaced in their study.  Cannabis.  From what they read, studies had shown that it not only could relieve pain and was a natural anti-inflammatory, but could also be used to increase the effectiveness of conventional medicine so that they could minimize the damage to their livers and digestive systems.     

    Buddy and Tom don’t want to break the law.  They don’t want to live out the rest of their lives in excruciating misery, either.  Buddy says his state legislator won’t listen to him because he’s a Democrat. 
    It seems all too many of our elected officials are out of touch with the chronically ill.  They steer clear of the controversial issues like Cannabis, even when they know that millions of Americans could benefit from this holistic medicine. 
    What’s it going to take?  A hundred testimonies like this?  A thousand?  Just how many more chronically ill Americans must face the fear and indignity of prosecution, even as their very lives are in peril from disease or critical injury.

    To view more of our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet/ .  We need your Testimony.  Please contact me today about scheduling your interview.  Help us change law through your personal story.

    Anne is a registered nurse.  For a time, nursing was her life.  Unfortunately, this profession that she loves so much has slipped beyond her reach.  In 2001, she became disabled. 

    Anne has a rare autoimmune disease, called Adult Onset Stills Disease.  She’s one of five people in the state of North Carolina with that diagnoses. 
    Still’s disease is a form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, characterized by high spiking fevers and transient rashes.  It’s basically a very progressive form of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Anne has a rare Autoimmune Disease

    She also has degenerative joint disease in both knees and both hips, all requiring immediate replacement.
    She’s been through two back surgeries and now has what’s considered a ?failed back?.  She has a herniated disc at L34, L45 is bulging, and L5S1 is bone on bone.

    Anne has Fibromyalgia.  Once referred to as arthritis of connective tissue, Fibromyalgia is classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and tactile allodynia.

Anne has replaced her prescriptions with Cannabis

    Anne has Myofascial Pain Syndrome.  Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is a painful musculoskeletal condition, a common cause of musculoskeletal pain. MPS is characterized by the development of Myofascial trigger points (TrPs) that are locally tender when active, and refer pain through specific patterns to other areas of the body.

    Anne has Chronic Pain Syndrome.  Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, associated with a particular type of injury or disease process.

    She has been through chemotherapy to try to kill her extra white cells, to slow the illness? degenerative progression.  It made her terribly ill and caused her hair to fall out. 
    She was continuously in pain.  Her physician had her on a daily regiment of six class two narcotics, muscle relaxers, and sleeping pills.
    Nothing that the physicians and specialists tried stopped the pain and progression of her disease.  They told her that she would be in a wheelchair by the time she was 40.

    Now at 38, she doesn’t know what life holds for her.  All she can hope for is some measure of quality of life.  She really wants to go back to work.  That would give her fulfillment. 
    She’s up for a third spinal surgery at Duke University Hospital.  She’s had six major surgeries in the last eight years.  She’s praying that this time it’ll work; that it will help her start again.
 
    Though her church background forbade her from using cannabis for any reason, when she was thirty-three years old, she tried it for the very first time when she suddenly lost her physician and her scripts stopped.  In one fall swoop she was forced to come off OxyContin, Morphine Sulfate, Percocet, Dilantin, Valium, Flexural, Robaxin, and sleeping pills. all at one time. 
    Cannabis, though illegal, was the only medicine available.  Without it she doesn’t think she would have survived the ordeal.

    The first time that she dosed with cannabis, she felt that she was free again.  It helped her with depression and elevated her mood.  But most of all, it freed her from unmentionable pain. 
    Anne was physically devastated, as much from the pharmaceuticals as from her illnesses.   She believes Cannabis can free her from both.

    Modern science is confirming that Ann is correct when she says that Cannabis relieves many of her symptoms.  Doctors and researchers listen to Professor Raphael Mechoulam, who first isolated THC in Israel  in 1964, at a Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time. In this video, Dr. Mechoulam explains the role of Cannabinoids and Cannabis as an anti-inflammatory agent – highly effective for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, as well as it’s neuroprotective properties. 

Cannabinoid System in Neuroprotection, Raphael Mechoulam,PhD                    

With her condition properly managed with Cannabis, Anne truly believes that she could go back to work. If only the medical community did not discriminate against her medicine through random drug testing.
   
    Now that she has found a holistic alternative to her harmful pharmaceuticals, she would like to have her healthcare supervised by one of her local pain management clinics, but all that she has applied to have refused to treat her because she uses cannabis. 

    She has done her research.  With all that she has been through with conventional medicine, she insisted on being thorough.  What she found was a wealth of medical evidence, all affirming that cannabis was the safest and most affective medicine available to treat her illnesses.

    All she wants is some measure of quality to her life; to safely, legally, and sufficiently treat her illnesses.  For her, Cannabis is what she needs.

    View all our Patient Testimonies at www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet. Patients and prospective patients, we need your help.  Please consider giving us your video testimony.  Together, we are strong, together we will abolish prohibition, once and for all.

 

    I interviewed Dennis at his home in western North Carolina.  Dennis is retired.  He lives a quiet life with his wife, Sheila and dog Beano.  They’re at that time of their lives when their success should equate to long walks, extended vacations and just enjoying their lives with each other. 

    But Dennis has chronic degenerative back disease.  His illness has grown to the point where even simple movement can cause him searing pain.   His left leg and foot have weakened so much that walking now requires deliberate and very physically demanding effort.  He’s usually not without a cane.

    To ride in a vehicle for more than just a few minutes can put him flat on his back for days.

    Dennis also suffers from heart disease.

 

Dennis suffers from chronic back pain

 

    Surprisingly, Dennis’ physicians were the ones who recommended that he try cannabis when pharmaceuticals proved useless in treating his symptoms.  Gradually he was able to taper off most of his prescriptions, finding that cannabis either complimented his pill regiment and for some of them, replaced them altogether.