From The Doctor: Can Marijuana Help A Bad Back

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Ron Strider

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The bona fides of cannabis as a pain reliever are so well established that even the FDA has approved pharmaceutical CBD and THC for the treatment of chronic pain associated with AIDS and chemotherapy. In states with legal medical marijuana, doctors recommend weed for pain of every stripe and hue: arthritis, Crohn's, disease pancreatitis, migraine, heartburn, psoriasis, epilepsy, Parkinson's, and on, and on. Check out French Toast's entire Rx section for more info on all of that. But what about a bad back?

Let's dig into what exactly this means.

In a paper published in the September issue of the journal Spine, researchers examined 5,000 responses to a national health study. It found that users of marijuana (or cocaine or heroin or meth) were more likely than the general public to have chronic lower back pain.

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The pro-drug, achy-backed respondents were also more likely also to have a prescription for opioid painkillers. And here's where the judginess creeps in.

The authors did not distinguish medical marijuana use from recreational–which seems like an enormous oversight if you're at all concerned with causation (i.e. do illegal drugs mangle your lower back, or do people take illegal drugs as a means of self-medicating the pain). But the focus of the paper was not the etiology of back pain; instead it was a hypothesized connection between illegal drug use and the inclination to abuse (legally obtained) prescription medication:

The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of illicit drug use among U.S. adults with and without chronic low back pain (cLBP)–although addictive medications, such as opioids and benzodiazepines, are frequently prescribed to patients with cLBP, little is known about illicit drug use among Americans with cLBP.

The subtext is clear: We believe if you smoke marijuana, you're more likely to abuse your prescriptions.

The misuse of opioids is a serious problem today. But shifting the blame to marijuana use obscures the issue and stinks of victim blaming: The evidence is clear that the majority of people addicted to opioids aren't dope fiends looking to abuse whatever drug they can get; they're people with real pain who are given terrible tools for dealing with it.

The authors conclude with the hope that "deeper understanding of the relationships between pain, illicit substance use, and prescription opioid administration" will "assist in the design of safe and sustainable interventions for patients with chronic pain."

Challenge accepted! If you want to end opioid addiction, how about cutting way back on prescription painkillers and leaving cannabis alone? A study published last July in Health Affairs found that this is exactly what's happening in states with medical cannabis laws: Prescriptions for opioid painkillers in these states dropped by 1,826 per doctor as patients found their own alternatives. Far from fueling the opioid-abuse epidemic, cannabis could actually be the means to quell it.

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I'm a pain patient, my dicktor is cutting my back big why because people high-profile personalities died while using opiates not for pain but pleasure I use opiates for pain capital P capital a capital I capital n Wild on my pain meds on capable of getting out of bed doing the work that's required of me though it's not a lot my cat was glad I would empty its litter box now I'm cut off are cut back for my pain meds and told smoke pot okay I'll smoke pot even though it really doesn't relieve my pain I just get so high I don't care that I'm in pain or that my cat's litter box is not being cleaned so I would like to think the DEA for taking away my opiates I would also like to thank Jeff sessions for trying to take away what little relief I got from smoking pot.
My story: I took oxycotin for over 4 years for my back pain. When the pain clinic discovered I was a mmj patient they stopped my prescriptions. OK, I stuck to my guns and have been opioid free since 2015. It took me 6 months to stop using oxycontin. I'm so glad I did because my liver was affected. I did not abuse my pills. I am 65 years old and have had a protuding L4 disc since I was 35. I used some form of pain killer for 30 years!!!! Incredibly, the best thing that happened to me was the discovery of my mmj use by my pain doctor. She effectively kicked me off her opioids by giving me an ultimatum. I will never go back and I haven't gone on to use any other drugs (LOL) so much for the gateway effect. Sessions is a moron and a small minded little man with a personality disorder.
I am also a low back pain suffer... I had spinal surgery in 1998 with a fusion of L4 L5 and S1 because I blew out the discs between them. I also have been diagnosed with scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylosis. I TOOK (past tense intended) Oxycontin from 1998 to 2013 when I finally weaned myself off of them with the use of medical cannabis. All of the madness that went with the Oxycontin was a relief to be rid of, but my cannabis bill increased... I did the reduction and ending of the Oxys over 2 and a half years and without a doctors help. My doctor knew I was a medical cannabis user, but he did not care, even though I was drug tested on a regular basis. I never took more than prescribed, and toward the total ending of them, I took LESS than prescribed!! I have no desire to take them again because cannabis works for me!!

The whole bunch of crap from Sessions and the "45th administration", (can't even put myself to write it's name) has caused grief for many like myself, due to the stupidity and close mindedness that they possess. With all the money that is in the medical cannabis business, I would think the government would be enlightened and see that tax benefits that are in place in the "legal states" that are up and running, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington and California on 01/01/2018. With 40 million people in California and 58% (average) voting in favor of recreational legalization, and Proposition 64 had this wording for taxes: Proposition 64 created two new excise taxes on marijuana:

A cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves, with exceptions for certain medical marijuana sales and cultivation
A 15 percent tax on the retail price of marijuana

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what could be done for the country if there was a change in the classification of cannabis from Schedule 1 to something better... See this link for listing: Title 21 CFR - PART 1308 - SCHEDULES OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

The government needs to look into research, I would volunteer, about the medical and pain reducing benefits of cannabis, so that the "opiate epidemic" is not a factor anymore. The cutting off of the opiates from people doesn't work because there are people who will do the diversion to others. I was in a pharmacy one day and a lady told me(!) that she was going to not take any of her painkillers, but was going to give them to someone else. Just nuts...