Cannabis to the Rescue for Appetite Gain & Pain Relief

Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com

Stephen (who requested anonymity) has been through the ringer. His particular condition made its first appearance in 2004, with a jolt of incredible pain in his testicles.

With no rhyme or reason, the random pain might appear if he was walking or lying still. It ranged between crushing and piercing.

Initially, the 18-year-old was sent from his primary physician to a urol-ogist, who could not find anything wrong, but quickly ramped up the pain meds, from one 750-mg Vicodin every eight hours to five 5/325-mg Percocet every six hours in addition to a 2-mg hydromorphone (Dilaudid) every six hours or as needed daily.

Instead of subsiding, the pain spread. He visited another urologist, who ran every test under the sun but couldn’t pinpoint anything. A diagnosis of kidney stones led to more pain killers, but no kidney stones were found.

By 2006, his employer made it known that lying in a fetal position on the floor while calling in pain meds was not acceptable, and he left retail management. He then pursued a degree in computer drafting and design at ITT Technical Institute.

While his physicians were unable to uncover anything, a lab technician taking blood for a routine test noted that he had seen pain move south from the bowels to the testes, and that Stephen might want to visit a gastrointestinal doctor, which he did. Finally,

in 2009, at age 23, he had a colonoscopy, which found chronic active colitis. An endoscopy found acute erosive gastritis and duodenitis. An exam of his liver and surrounding area discovered pancreatitis.

Stephen worried that the opiates might be addicting. When he woke up one morning in a cold sweat and shivering, he knew that he’d become reliant on the Dilaudids. He put them away in his sock drawer for a week before taking another. When he told his doctor what had happened, she stopped prescribing hydromorphone and upped the Percocet dosage.

By this point, the pain, which had never left his testicles, was also in his stomach. “Food entering my stomach felt like hot glass shards,” he said. “It never changed consistency either, only temperature, as it moved through the rest of my intestines.” Because eating made him vomit, he quit eating. After he went from 285 to 150 pounds in three months, his doctor told him he was dying.

“It was a sobering moment, because I knew that if I didn’t do something I probably wasn’t going to see 24,” he said. “She sat me down and said, ‘Look, we need to figure out some-thing quick or I need to hospitalize you because you are starving. You are wasting away.’”

While Stephen had smoked marijua-na as a teenager, it had never appealed to him. Smoking was not a regular pastime. Faced with starving to death in pain, he toked again. Cannabis worked, both by improving his appetite and helping him forget the pain. Within a few weeks he’d gained 10 pounds, and his condition was stable.

As in many medical marijuana sto-ries, the federal government found a way to prevent the care of a seriously ill patient. A variety of things might have been occurring to draw atten-tion to his situation. For one, he’d been honest with his doctor and told her that he was smoking cannabis to improve his appetite. She, in turn, had noted in his medical records that along with the opiate medications, he was smoking historical medicine when necessary. In addition, when stopping in to pick up his prescrip-tion refills, he noticed that several doctors, and not just his primary physician, were signing off on his refills. All of this could have drawn attention to his situation. For what-ever reason, a second “doctor”– Stephen doubts that he was a doctor – began sitting in on his meetings with his physician.

“He wore the lab coat, but his stetho-scope seemed like a prop to me,” he said. “He was some kind of hospital administrator.”

With no warning, Stephen was taken off all pain medications. The reason given was cannabis use.

Unethical Pain Treatment Care of the United States Government

For any doctor to withhold treatment for anything other than medical rea-sons is something that has received attention in the courts. In 2003, in Conant v. Walter, by refusing to hear the case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affecting nine states) ruling that a Bush Administration plan to strip doctors of their licenses if they were caught talking to patients about the medical use of marijuana was a clear violation of First Amendment rights.

Not that Stephen was ever given any kind of pain contract to sign, because he was not, but shutting off pain medication because of cannabis use, which prompted the above-men-tioned action, concerns an outdated prohibition and has absolutely noth-ing to do with medical care.

While signing a treatment attestation for pain management would require a patient to acknowledge who he or she is and have that person agree to not misrepresent medical history, the standard pain contracts currently in use throughout the United States are something altogether different. Because of the federal government’s stance in placing marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, seriously ill patients that depend on the therapeutic bene-fit of cannabis are thrown under the bus. Because of Schedule I’s require-ment that a drug have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, the plant that’s never killed anyone can cause pain patients that have been honest with their doctors to lose their medical care. The inap-propriate placement has been noted by landmark rulings by two Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrative law judges (Mary Ellen Bittner 2007 and Francis L. Young, 1988), both of whom strong-ly favored more access for research and rescheduling in rulings that were ignored by the DEA.

Even the federal government’s Veterans Administration (VA) is changing with the times. In July 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs, through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), issued Directive 2010-035, the first of sever-al on the same topic, outlining guid-ance on access to and use of medical marijuana by veteran patients. The directive acknowledges that laws in states authorizing the use of medical marijuana are contrary to federal law, that veteran physicians recom-mending marijuana can lose the abil-ity to prescribe controlled substances and be subject to criminal charges, and that marijuana cannot be used on VA property even in states that allow medical marijuana. The direc-tive states that VHA policy does not prohibit veterans in programs of states that authorize medical marijua-na from participating in VHA sub-stance abuse programs, pain control programs, or other clinical programs.

The VA directive is a clear case of a federal authority deferring to state law, according to Michael Krawitz, founding director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. A letter to Krawitz from Department of Veteran Affairs Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel stated that “stan-dard pain management agreements should draw a clear distinction between the use of illegal drugs and legal medical marijuana.”

“It’s a recognition of validity of state law,” said Krawitz. “There’s no fed-eral law or rule or anything else requiring a doctor take a patient off of pain treatment, should that patient be using legal medical marijuana.”

When told of Stephen’s treatment, Krawitz was clear. “The notion that anyone would threaten a patient with denial of care is an absolute, outra-geous violation of every standard that we hold dear in our society,” he said. “Whether he signed a contract or not, taking away someone’s success-ful pain treatment is a violation of basic human rights. It is a violation of medical ethics and of the standards of medical care.”

Fighting Prohibition with Schedule III Medicine

When faced with a firewall prevent-ing her patient from having opiates because he’d admitted to using cannabis, Stephen’s doctor came up with an alternative plan. By now, they were both aware of the total dis-connect between the federal govern-ment and the medical profession regarding cannabis and health care. While cannabis might have saved his life, its status as a Schedule I drug was creating problems with the law. She prescribed Marinol, synthetic THC classified as a Schedule III (medically beneficial!) drug, which would always explain away any cannabis components in his system.

A funny thing happened when Stephen was yanked off opiates. His health improved, and his stomach didn’t hurt as much.

“The research confirms that cannabis has a synergistic, beneficial relation-ship with opiates,” said Mary Lynn Mathre, president and cofounder, Patients Out of Time. “Most patients taking cannabis for pain will either get off of opiates entirely or really reduce the dose, and they do not need the stool softeners, antiemetics, or antidepressants usually prescribed for opiate side effects.” His new regimen is Prilosec for stom-ach acid, Zofran for nausea and Tramadol when he does have severe pain, maybe once a week. He uses the Marinol, which works during his

most severe pain times, when he wakes up in the morning and when he goes to sleep at night. Cannabis is a mainstay in his medicinal war chest. A whole-plant advocate, he prefers a vaporizer for the fast action and also likes edibles because they last longer and seem to help with his physical pain.

“The cannabis helped with the pain in my intestines,” he said. “It defi-nitely helps with appetite and nau-sea. I have not vomited since I start-ed medicinally using cannabis, which has done wonders for my esophagus and stomach. Cannabis doesn’t have any of the side effects of any of the other medications that they give me.”

Pushing for Reform in Virginia

Stephen’s experience turned him into an advocate for others. Like many who realize that marijuana is more than a recreational drug, he is push-ing for a more compassionate med-ical cannabis program in his home state.

Virginia’s possession law for a first offense is a small fine and under a month in jail. Cultivation of 10 plants can be considered a personal possession misdemeanor. Selling marijuana to a friend can be adjudi-cated as an accommodation, with the same weight as a possession charge. Virginia does have a medical cannabis law that covers patients with cancer and glaucoma.

Stephen is drafting more comprehen-sive medical cannabis legislation, meeting legislators, and working with advocacy groups such as Patients Out of Time.

“The problem with medications handed out for pain is that many of them are more addictive than effec-tive,” he said. “Cannabis saved my life by stabilizing the weight loss. It’s been extremely beneficial in other ways, including pain management. There is no other way to put it; cannabis has been a blessing in my life.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

This menu shows the most recently posted content for a quick update since you last checked-in.

News Distribution Partnership with CannabisNewsWire (CNW)

Treating Yourself is a news distribution partner of CNW. Would you like your story headlines published on this website? Are you...

CBC Family Feud’s Gerry Dee to Host Cannabis Industry Awards Gala

ANNOUNCING THE 2020 O’CANNABIZ INDUSTRY AWARDS GALA – NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS EVENT DATE: THURSDAY APRIL 23, 2020 TORONTO AIRPORT...

From the Family Vault of Shanti-Baba

"Seems more than strange to grow up as a child and see how important my parents and their peers viewed...

Why Get Pines Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass might just be a typical plant growing in your backyard, but few people know that it has a lot...

How to Make Your Own Canna-Caps

by Old Hippie BeyondChronic.com What do you do when you need cannabis medicine and you can’t or don’t want to...

Database Search

Are you researching marijuana as medicine? Use the simple form below to search any condition. Read personal stories from patients just...

Cannabinoid Receptors in the Body and Their Importance

David B. Allen M.D. By legal Democratic Vote; Cannabis Is Medicine In 1964 Raphael Macheoulam, an Israeli professor of Medicinal...

The True Origins of Haze

By Big Herb It all began in 1969, In Santa Cruz, California. At the time, there was Thai Oaxacan and...

Top 5 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are those seeds that are formed from Cannabis Sativa, a hemp plant. They are different from marijuana but...

Cannabis and Working Out

If you're wondering how cannabis can help you with your workout regime, then you probably need to read this article....

How Companies Are Creating Innovative New CBD Products

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp that may deliver unique health benefits. CBD is just...

5 Marijuana Compounds That Could Help Combat Cancer, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s

by Paul Armentano Deputy Director of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) This commentary was initially...

Living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta

By Michael Morrow My name is Michael Morrow, I'm 37  years  old and I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. OI is a...

Gifts from Mother Nature

By Dianna Donnelly - "The couch activist” Aspirin, otherwise known as Acetylsalicylic Acid, is one of the most commonly ingested preventative medicines...

Paradise Seeds Allkush; More Than Just Kush

One of the new feminised strains from Paradise Seeds is named “Allkush”. So nothing but Kush? Taken genetically literally, no...

28ft… The John Berfelo Story

By John Berfelo "Medical marijuana saved me from a life on pharmaceutical drugs..." My name is John Berfelo and this...

My Grinspoon Moment

By Carl Hedberg Sometimes a single meeting can change your life. Such was the case for me when, in the...

The Science Behind Cannabis Safety

David B. Allen M.D. By legal Democratic Vote; Cannabis Is Medicine. Drug safety is on the minds of most all...

Heavenly Hash: The Art, Science and Industry of Cooking with Cannabis Extracts

by Samuel Wells Samuel Wells is an Assistant Professor of English in Denver, CO An Edible Enigma As scientific and...

Living High with HIV

How Medical Marijuana Rivals Mainstream HIV Medicine By BenBot In 2011, I was diagnosed with HIV. An unmarked van was...

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

With Veterans at Risk, Change is Necessary, but Progress is Slow By Mary Lou Smart In 1933, the repeal of...

Milagro Oil for Lung Cancer

By Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com Compassionate care advocates Michelle and Michael Aldrich at Patients Out of Time’s Seventh National Clinical...

Living and Dealing with ADHD

by Patricia Allen It was back in 1974 that I first became familiar with the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder...

Inflammatory Comments

by Bill Drake As a long-time TY reader I’ve noticed what seems to me to be a rather over- whelming...

How Cannabis Might Keep Coronary Stents Open Longer

By David B. Allen M.D.Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, Member ICRS. And Prisoner of the Drug War Cali215doc@gmail.com First the set...

Unlocking the Secrets, Advanced Tissue Culture

Tissue Culture is a process of isolating cells from plant tissue (explants) which are cultured (grown artificially), in a nutrient...

Anxiety Panic Disorder and Cannabis

By Hal Lubinsky My name is Hal Lubinsky. I'm in my forties, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a U.S....

Can Cannabis Cure Schizophrenia?

By Richard Shrubb, Freelance sailing, health and social affairs journalist ould cannabis treat or even cure schizophrenia? Things look promising...

Multiple Sclerosis: Regaining the Good Life with Whole Plant Therapy

By Mary Lou Smart© 2012 www.medicalcannabisart.com A trial attorney, Jim Dyer practiced law in Tucson, Arizona for 34 years before...

The Science of Cannabis Leads in Many Directions

The Evolution of a Sense of Well-Being By Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com While speaking at Patients Out of Time’s Seventh...

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

By Shantibaba It is evident for all people who wish to listen that doing all things within moderation is better...

Post Traumatic Stress

Psychology and Medication at its Best By Jeff Kundert OTR Jeff works as a Wellness and Fitness Educator. He has...

The Ripper Effect

By Subcool Some really interesting information has come to my attention, and I am very excited to tell everyone in...

Auto-flowering Plants

By Shantibaba The discreet evolution of Auto-flowering cannabis plants is a recent occurrence, one that is in mode at present...

Uncovering the Original Sacrament: Chris Bennett’s Cannabis and the Soma Solution

Review by Samuel Wells When asked to name an author crucial to the growing mainstream understanding of the uses of...

Cornerstone of Individualized Phytogenetics ACDC 22:1 @ CB3

Alternative Cannabinoid Dietary Cannabis 22%CBDA:1%THCA acting at GPR55 Alias CB3 by William L. Courtney, MD, AACM American Academy of Cannabinoid...

Mr. Magoo

By Ron Hudson My birthdays: I woke that birthday morning, in October of 1966, knowing it would begin like the...

Medical Cannabis University

By Reverend Philip H Hoff - Chancellor, MedicalCannabisUniversity.org ( MCU, Inc. ), a 501 c(3) nonprofit school. The school focused...

Storm’s Story

By Georgia Peschel WHEW! Delivering this kid was like delivering a hurricane!” When our son was born, those were our...

Soil Pests & Diseases

By Lazystrain Soil is a living organism made up of billions of microbes and bacteria. The cosmology of soil life...

A Tragedy Felt Around the World

by Jonny Appleweed On Oct. 27, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and...

Autism & Cannabis

Prohibition Makes it Tough on Parents by Mary Lou Smart Jeremy Patrone (not his real name) has a goal. He...

Vaporization of Cannabis: Are there benefits over combustion?

By William Eckhardt Although vaporization is a relatively recent development for the delivery of cannabinoids the proliferation of vast numbers...

Bedrocan

By Harry Resin Generally when you think of Amsterdam, you think of the coffee shops, but that’s not all that’s...

Bulking Up Tips – Muscle Building Steroids

Bulking up is a long, long process. Daily, intense workouts, a strict diet and much more… God only knows how...

Using CBD Oil For A More Relaxing Massage

I usually get a massage at least twice a month. It helps get me relief after a very stressful week...

Find The Temperature of Anything Using a Special Gun

If you already know what a temperature gun is, then you know that it is entirely different from a certain...

World’s First Psychedelics PR Agency Launched By Canadian Cannabis Professionals

A team of Canadian cannabis industry professionals have launched the world’s first public relations agency focused on cannabis, psychedelics and...

Cannabis Pitch Live, Los Angeles February 21-22, 2020

Are you ready to go to market with your Cannabis Enterprise? You need to be at Cannabis Pitch Live in...