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Tag Archives: chronic pain

   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.

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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.