Opioids, Cannabis And Complimentary Therapies


When our Attorney general, Jeff Sessions told the pain community to take an Aspirin and tough it out; I hope he didn’t mean those living with cancer pain, A.S., CRPS, E.D.S. and many of the high pain chronic illnesses? I’m guessing that he must have meant that more for someone who strained their back by lifting a TV or a dresser that was too heavy? Maybe not? But that’s my guess. Along those same lines are “Complimentary Therapies”. In my personal opinion, if Acupuncture works for your kind of pain, that is great. If something called “grounding”, where walking barefoot and reconnecting with the earths energy can help your pain, thats wonderful too! Whatever works to diminish your pain, that’s what matters most. Insurance companies should be more than willing to pay for these complimentary therapies ahead of any major or minor invasive or noninvasive surgeries! There should be choices available to those who want and need them. But as much as mindfulness, guided imagery and “thinking your pain away”, are awesome ideas; I don’t think they generally help to curtail certain high levels of pain and pain illnesses.

Medical cannabis is helping many chronic pain patients with nausea, physical withdrawal symptoms and chronic pain. The Marijuana Effective Drug Studies (MEDS) Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). He has proposed a bill, (S.1803) to encourage scientific research on cannabis as an effective and safe medical treatment. We need to advocate for this bill because Medical cannabis can be helpful to some people who live with chronic conditions. The U.S. Pain Foundation along with the American Pain Society support this Act.

We are fighting for a variety of methods to help those with high pain illnesses to deal with their pain. I’ve read that Kratom is another plant based fighter against chronic pain. These can be wonderful tools to help many persons. We need to keep fighting for many different methods to help with chronic pain, because we are all individuals and what works for one person, does not always work for another. Pain patients should be able to use whatever method of pain relief works for them because individual metabolisms vary. The therapies available to us, help many different kinds of chronic pain. Each method contains various medicinal qualities that work differently in each patient. It’s also true that one specific method of pain relief doesn’t help everyone. Nobody should be forced into taking or doing something that they don’t feel comfortable with.

The same is true with surgeries and injections. In my personal opinion, these continuous injections into the spine, are just “money makers” for the chronic pain clinics who are now too afraid to prescribe opioids. Even though the CDC told us that the 2016 guidelines

were just a “guide” and they are not the law. It seems as though the majority of pain clinics and Doctors jumped on the bandwagon to demonize opioids after the guidelines were disclosed. Now we are seeing suicides go up with the decrease in prescribing of Opioids for chronic pain illnesses. It seems as though there is a correlation between the lowering of Opioid prescribing and an increase in surgeries for Spinal cord stimulators, pain pumps and nerve ablations. But no one should EVER be forced into having an invasive surgery that could possibly cause more pain and stress for these already medically fragile human beings. My physical therapist told me that the SCS means surgically putting a catheter into your spine to give small electric shocks in order make you think of those shocks instead of the pain! She told me that our brain cannot think of pain and pleasure at the same time. I’m guessing that some think these electric shocks are pleasurable? I had a T.E.N.S. unit soon after my car accident and it did help with muscular pain and soft tissue damage, slightly. I have read that they’re (SCS) most helpful in people who have low back pain, leg pain or one area of pain and not multiple pain issues (http://aansneurosurgeon.org/features/neurosurgeons-rise-address-opioid-crisis-america/).

My previous pain clinic physician informed me that the intrathecal pain pump administers approximately 1/300th of the amount of oral medication needed to relieve high amounts of chronic pain. But this is also living with a literal “hockey puck” inside of your gut forever and and depending on one person to fill it! That same Dr., told me that I would be “married to him” as a patient, for life. In my research, I have found that if your physician leaves his practice, retires or if you have complications in another city/state or country; your pretty much out of luck, in all honesty! Emergency rooms and other physicians won’t normally touch another Dr’s patient with a pain pump! Again, this is another invasive surgery where your body is being cut and something is put into your spine. Complications stem from worsening pain to paralysis. Here is an article that speaks to some of the complications (http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/to-your-good-health/implanted-back-pain-pump-is-an-option-for-very-few/article_474eed95-3f54-59ca-9b9b-9f8f941c0300.html). The nerve ablation or Radiofrequency Neurotomy, means literally “burning” nerves to “create a heat lesion”, thus, making the nerves lose functionality (https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/radiofrequency-neurotomy-facet-and-sacroiliac-joint-pain). Each person feeling relief from chronic pain, is all that matters. We should be able to have choices available to discuss with our own physicians.

Someone who knows our past history of illness and our current diseases. A Dr. who can discuss these different methods with us and help us determine which route is best for each individual.

This past week I read an article in “Clinical Pain Advisor” (https://www.clinicalpainadvisor.com/treatments/epidural-steroid-injections-postmenopausal-women-bone-mineral-density-vertebral-fractures/article/739080/) that touched on the issues with the Epidural Steroid Injections. After having many of these injections in the first years following my car accident, now I find out that they cause decreased bone mineral density and increased risks for vertebral fractures. It appears that there are complications with every method of pain relief. We just need to be able to choose what is best for our own body. Nobody should be forced into surgeries, Acupuncture, Marijuana or Opioids. On the other hand, if one method, such as Opioids, have worked for you and you’ve literally tried many other methods of pain relief, then you should be able to continue. Taking a pill that has little or no side effects for a group of people who are doing well with Opioid therapy, should be still allowed and not demonized. I believe there will always be a place for Opioids for the relief of chronic pain. If you have been taking them for many years and are stable, then obviously you are not “addicted”. Don’t forget that there is a difference between addiction and dependency. Also, don’t forget to support the “Opioids and Stop Pain Act” (S.2260/H.R. 4733), introduced by Senator Schatz and Representatives Welch & MicKinley. The U.S. Pain Foundation, along with 30 other Pain organizations support this Act. It will provide $5 billion over 5 years for research of the NIH into the understanding of pain and the discovery and development of therapy for chronic pain.

2 thoughts on “Opioids, Cannabis And Complimentary Therapies

  1. The basic flaw in the AG’s thinking, is that he has not kept up on biochemistry over the past century. When he was a wee lad, Eugenics was still somewhat in fashion. It had taken some hard knocks, when images of Dachau and Auschwitz got published in the newspapers, and as the hunt for the missing German leader dragged on for nine long years until Khrushchev came forward with some locked-up Nazis who gave eyewitness accounts of cremating Hitler’s remains in 50 gallons of gasoline before surrendering to Russian soldiers, it was pretty much impossible to put a human face on the ideology that had caused these horrors across Europe.

    Eugenics leaders took the view, that people who need drugs to survive, are less-evolved, than people who can function without them. The further evolution of the human race, said the Eugenics leaders, depended on the dying-out of the inferior. Making that process more humane was the driving ideology. If they could offer the less-evolved a pleasurable way not to have children, they might with less suffering accomplish, what the death camps had failed to accomplish.

    There are two logical problems with the Eugenics philosophy.

    Firstly, nobody has perfect genes. Every one of us has defective, imperfect genes, that fail us in some way. People don’t die of “old age”. We die of compounded genetic errors that compound themselves as we age. To see in this some sort of pattern, that reveals who is “more-evolved” and who is “less-evolved”, is simply impossible. We’re all equally imperfect, flawed life forms, and not a one of us is perfect.

    Secondly, it’s been known since 1983 that the human body normally contains morphine. Our own blood cells, brain cells, gut cells, and adrenal cells make substantial quantities of it. There is no such thing as an ‘opioid-free’ person. Those seeking to improve the human race by ridding it of morphine, are deluding themselves.

    Sobriety is much more than the absence of drugs, just as satisfaction is more than the absence of hunger, faith is more than the absence of doubts, and love is more than the absence of loneliness. Government and law are only useful for stopping bad things from getting worse. By violently restraining a violent person in a cell, police can protect the rest of us from further violence. But political force does not accomplish improvements to society. We do not learn to love, nor care about others, in the mere absence of conflict. Political processes are worthless, for increasing the empathy of our society.

    When Mr Sessions was recently sued in a New York courtroom over what plaintiffs allege is an unconstitutional DEA policy of obstructing medical research on the cannabis plant, his three lawyers claimed that they could not understand the plain words of the Complaint. One of the co-plaintiffs, a minor child with epilepsy who needs cannabis to control her seizures, and whose parents can be arrested if they try to travel with her by airplane or by driving through states where medical cannabis is not yet legal, the judge singled out. He asked Mr Sessions’ lawyers, ‘She uses the drug and it stops her seizures. You’re telling me you can’t understand that that’s a medical benefit of using the drug?’

    In the complete absence of empathy, perhaps it’s not possible to comprehend that a medical benefit of using an anti-seizure drug, is that the seizures stop happening.

    But I have trouble seeing why I should trust people that lacking in empathy, to hold law licenses and serve as officers of a law court. To me, it seems dangerous to allow such people that much power.

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  2. A very good article, well written and succinic. (no wasted words). The poster is accurate as well. Basically, one must have experienced severe intractable pain to understand it. When I was young, I just thought I knew what pain was. Many people that have had to have a root canal on a tooth can understand the kind of pain that comes in your jaw every time your heart beats, but few understand the pain from a car accident after the shock wears off or the pain of scar tissue on nerves and thecal sac deformity from an extruded disc. To know what it feels like to be shot with a bullet, one must have experienced it.
    Our MRI and CT images are testimony to our suffering. Many of have been thru so many different NSADs we have had bleeding ulcers and ASPIRIN is not for us.
    We do not seek pity. We seek empathy. Empathy only comes from people that truly know what real pain is.

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