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   In spite of everything he’s been through, Richard is a remarkably easy going guy.  Unless you knew him, you’d never know that he was chronically ill.  But then, his more obvious scars have healed. 
    In 1991, while working construction, Richard fell over 40 feet, severely dislocating his left shoulder.  Five surgeries were to follow, so was pain that would not go away.  This was in addition to three herniated discs in his neck and seizures that he has suffered from as a result of multiple head injuries.
     Through it all, he has seen 7 pain management Physicians.  They intern doled out the usual fair of highly toxic prescription pain killers,  – OxyContin, Methadone, Morphine, and Percocet – common opiates.  In addition, the was given Dilantin to offset the seizures.  
    These drugs, though highly addictive, can be quite affective in reducing or even eliminating pain in the short term.  Unfortunately, because of their toxicity, they are normally only prescribed for short durations.  People with chronic pain are almost always left lacking once their physicians have exhausted their short list of narcotics.

Richard uses Cannabis to treat his chronic pain and seizures 

    These toxic pain killers racked Richard’s body with a host of side effects:

OxyContin is a narcotic pain reliever.  It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain.  Side effects include:  constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, sleeplessness, vomiting, weakness, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, confusion, difficulty urinating, fast or slow heartbeat, seizures, severe dizziness, lightheadedness,, or fainting, slowed or difficult breathing, tremor, vision changes.    

Methadone is a narcotic analgesic.  It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain. Side effects include:  constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, increased sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, confusion, excessive drowsiness, fainting, fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, mental or mood changers, seizures, severe or persistent dizziness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath, slow heartbeat, slow or shallow breathing, swelling of the arms, feet, or legs, trouble sleeping, trouble urinating, unusual bruising or bleeding.

Morphine is a narcotic pain reliever.  Side effects include:  constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, exaggerated sense of well-being, headache, lightheadedness, nausea, restless mood, vomiting, rash, haves, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue, excessive drowsiness, hallucinations, pounding in the chest, seizures, shock, shortness of breath, sudden chest pain, and sweating.

Percocet  is a combination of a narcotic and an analgesic/antipyretic, Acetaminophen and Oxycodone. It’s used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain.  Side effects include: constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, flushing, lightheadedness, mental/mood changes, nausea, vision changes, vomiting, rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, change in amount of urine, dark urine, slow or irregular heartbeat, slow or irregular breathing, stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Dilantin is an anti-epileptic drug, an anticonvulsant. Side effects include:  hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, swollen glands, fever, sore throat, headache, skin rash, confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior, slurred speech, loss ob balance or coordination, restless muscle movements in the eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck, tremor (uncontrolled shaking), extreme thirst or hunger, urinating more than usual, nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), easy bruising or bleeding, swollen or tender gums, changes in the shape of the face or lips, itching, dizziness, nervousness, sleep problems (insomnia), twitching, vomiting, constipation, headache, and joint pain.  Other side effects may occur.

    A common complaint among chronic pain sufferers is constipation.  Physicians are hardly quick to tell us that a side effect to Opiate pain killers is an apparent shutdown of internal function.  Only those who have experienced it know the terrible pain and humiliation that we experience as a trade-off for the pain – and this is only one of many terrible side-effects.  Rarely do physicians tell you, when this awful side effect sets in, that the cause isn’t a symptom of the disease, but actually caused by the pharmaceuticals that are supposed to be treating the condition.  
    The next thing one can expect their physician to order is a stool softener, and maybe an exchange of medicine to another narcotic, but once someone has been graduated to an opiate/narcotic pain medication, there is very little else available on that level. 
    If this condition persists, one can eventually expect to be fitted with a Colostomy bag.  

    For Richard, there was still yet another hardship to face.  He contracted Hepatitis C.

    Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infectious disease affecting the liver.  It is a very serious, potentially fatal condition.   An estimated 150-200 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C.

    Hepatitis C compromised Richard’s liver.  Now he must be very careful about toxins like Opiates.  Dosages that his physicians used to prescribe would most certainly kill him now.
    His only choices were to live out the rest of his life in excruciating pain and disability, or seek out a holistic alternative that would by-pass the liver entirely.  Cannabis is the only medication that fits that bill.
    When Cannabis is smoked or vaporized, it provides a holistic treatment for pain, seizures, and many other very serious health conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia, Lou Gerick’s Disease, and others.  For those who are suffering from liver disease, Cannabis can be safely ingested through the lungs, thus bypassing the liver and  avoiding any unnecessary distress
    What’ more, studies have shown that when heavier narcotics are required for pain or relief from seizures, dosing with cannabis can reduce the amount of prescriptions required to as little as 1/3.

    Cannabis is not only the best choice for Richard medically, it’s his only choice.