420 Magazine Background

Why Medical Marijuana Makes Sense For Chronic Pain, A Doctor's View

Jacob Redmond

New Member
The explosion of coverage on opioid abuse has been chilling for many chronic pain patients who use opioids responsibly to manage their pain. In many cases, with heightened scrutiny over its merits of use, reduced access becomes an issue.

Many chronic pain sufferers have turned to medical marijuana, which has far fewer side effects than opioids. The problem there is also access. Medical marijuana is only available in 23 states and the District of Columbia and, of course, there are complications because the federal government still deems marijuana illegal so people in the federal health care system (like the VA and Medicare for instance) often can't get medical marijuana prescribed.

Dr. Gary Witman is an internist and former emergency room physician who now practices in the Fall River location of Canna Care Docs, which are located in several states in the northeast. His practice focuses on opioid replacement therapy - substituting medical marijuana for opioids.

He agreed to share his thoughts with the National Pain Report on the issue of medical marijuana.

National Pain Report: What do you feel is the biggest hurdle?

Dr. Witman: The fact that the DEA has classified medical marijuana as a schedule one agent. Now I am completely opposed to the usage of recreational marijuana. I believe it should be closely monitored by physicians with specific classifications of criteria for which would provide the greatest clinical benefits.

National Pain Report: Why hasn't Congress changed the rules about medical marijuana?

Dr. Witman: Because I think that people believe that there is a slippery slope, they believe that individuals, who start with medical marijuana, or any marijuana, will want to go to drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

National Pain Report: Do you think the DEA and the federal government's auxiliary agencies and nongovernmental agencies like American Board of Medical Specialties have a stake in keeping medical marijuana illegal and un-researched?

Dr. Witman: It would be my goal, my wish for the DEA to welcome applications to their agency to perform appropriate clinical trials. Yes they are keeping it illegal right now. I have absolutely no understanding of why they're keeping it illegal. I mean I think we're up to 37 states now that allow us to provide this particular drug treatment to a qualified patient population. Hopefully soon it will be 50 states.

National Pain Report: What evidence then is going to be sufficient enough for them to say, ok we know that maybe this not a gateway drug or this is not a slippery slope. Is it anecdotal evidence or is it research that is needed?

Dr. Witman: No, I think that all we're looking for is the usage of this drug for medical indications. I think that congress, in general, believes that we're looking for this for recreational usage, and to get high. Remember most strains of medical marijuana right now are CBDs rather than THC. We're not looking for high THC's...we're looking for only those strains which provide medical benefits. And I don't think that congress has been adequately educated about what forms of medical marijuana physicians are looking or requesting to have legalized.

National Pain Report: Why do you think there has been no serious study on medical marijuana for chronic pain?

Dr. Witman: Because there's been a lack of funding to provide for the most appropriate clinical trials.

National Pain Report: If there is adequate funding – where would that come from?

Dr. Witman: That would come from the National Institutes of Health

National Pain Report: How are [National Institutes of Health] persuaded then, to start this research?

Dr. Witman: They would need to do a prospective clinical trial, and I have one in mind. It would be in patients with brain tumors. Medical marijuana has been demonstrated in cancer cell lines to cause apoptosis, which is program cell death, plus effects on angiogenesis. It inhibits the production of new blood cells and I think that would be an important clinical trial. And it would demonstrate that it would be no decrease in benefit, in fact, I believe it will improve survival rates for persons with brain cancer.

National Pain Report: Do you think that the research will change people's minds and is that the only thing that will change their minds?

Dr. Witman: Well, I think that will be the best way, yes. I don't think anecdotal materials are important. I think that clinical based evidence on a sufficient cohort of subjects is necessary to be able to reach a conclusion.

National Pain Report: Is anecdotal evidence any less factual?

Dr. Witman: Not at all, it just doesn't provide sufficient, in the subject's eyes, any statistical...you acquire enough individual with demonstrable clinical benefit before you can say with any medical certainly that something in fact is true.

National Pain Report: do you think the federal government changes and then the states follow?

Dr. Witman: It's really the south that has been most resistant. In virtually the entire northern portion of the United States have welcomed the introduction of marijuana treatment. but it's the south that has been most resistant.

National Pain Report: The state of Georgia] spoke of isolating CBD, not use the rest of the plant, and disregard the "entourage effect"...all of the things you probably shouldn't be doing – trying to synthesize it and replicate its [properties]. I found that astonishing and steeped within the culture of the south and within their own social attitudes against it.

Dr. Witman: First of all, I think you're in a tough state, Georgia, to be able to move forward very far. I think there is some great resistant in Georgia to provide dispersement of medical marijuana products. If you can get it through in Georgia, God bless you.



News Moderator: Jacob Redmond 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Why Medical Marijuana Makes Sense For Chronic Pain, A Doctor's View
Author: Allie Haroutunian
Contact: Contact Page
Photo Credit: None Found
Website: National Pain Report
 

Going Down

New Member
I have first hand knowledge about opiates. I've taken them for the last 12 years. In June of this year, I got so fed up with all the side effects that I quit. It's been almost 5 months since I've had a pill. My life has been a living HELL ever since. Thing are getting better. Not fast enough. Today has been an extreamly tough day. The only thing that keeps me going is Cannabis. It takes the edge of detox off. You would think an article like this would make me happy to shead some light on the subject. BUT, THC has it's place. My understanding was CBD and THC complement each other. I know I spoke out about this on another article but "Medical Marijuana" and "Marijuana" is all the same damn thing! The word Medical is just used for those who have a weak view on Cannabis. I have plenty more to say about the subject but anyone reading this, on this :420:site, is kinda like preaching to the choir.
 

Radogast

Grow Journal of the Month: April 2017
Why don't these doctors ever mention the totally legitimate scientific studies proving the medical value of cannabis for specific conditions that have already been done in other countries? For example the year long, large scale pain therapy study recently published in Canada.

What is wrong with citing Canadian studies and the several good studies out of Israel?

Quality science knows no borders.
 

DrRootswell

On Vacation
When I am "high" I forget that I am sick. It's that simple.
No, maybe the truth of it is that you are less sick. Not that you forget. You are always aware of your sickness. It could be that you are in fact less sick, because what is "sick" but the symptoms of said sickness. And if your symptoms are less, you are by definition less sick.
 

DrRouse

New Member
The explosion of coverage on opioid abuse has been chilling for many chronic pain patients who use opioids responsibly to manage their pain. In many cases, with heightened scrutiny over its merits of use, reduced access becomes an issue. Many chronic pain sufferers have turned to medical marijuana, which has far fewer side effects than opioids.

An old friend ran a chain of pharmacies in CA and noticed that after a medical MJ dispensary opened across the street, the volume of opiate prescriptions that he had to fill dropped by 80%!!!! He did interview many of his customers and the basic news was that the use of medical MJ allowed them to drastically cut down on their opiate use.

This is not an insignificant bit of data, and is something that the states and the feds should investigate as it supports relaxation of the restrictive medical MJ laws in this country.
 

Radogast

Grow Journal of the Month: April 2017
The explosion of coverage on opioid abuse has been chilling for many chronic pain patients who use opioids responsibly to manage their pain. In many cases, with heightened scrutiny over its merits of use, reduced access becomes an issue. Many chronic pain sufferers have turned to medical marijuana, which has far fewer side effects than opioids.

An old friend ran a chain of pharmacies in CA and noticed that after a medical MJ dispensary opened across the street, the volume of opiate prescriptions that he had to fill dropped by 80%!!!! He did interview many of his customers and the basic news was that the use of medical MJ allowed them to drastically cut down on their opiate use.

This is not an insignificant bit of data, and is something that the states and the feds should investigate as it supports relaxation of the restrictive medical MJ laws in this country.
And not coincidentally, opiod deaths are down in medical marijuana states.
 

devolving

New Member
About time someone addressed the "other" issues with prescription pain killers. The pharmaceutical industry, government regulation, insurance limits and who knows who/what else have made it almost impossible to stay on a "legal prescription" pain regimen. The costs have sky-rocketed and insurance is paying less! My insurance claims to have spent $20,000 in 4 months on prescriptions therefor I will be required to pay, personally, another $20,000 before I would receive any more benefit from my plan. Given that my disability income for the remaining 8 months of the year would total $8800, I would be unable to get anywhere close. One of my prescriptions was $700/mo another $1600. Even illegally obtained marijuana is much less expensive than the "legal" opiates!
I was in a very bad accident 27 years ago, afterwards, I was told I'd never walk again, that the damage to my legs was too extensive. Since that time I have been diagnosed with: chronic pain, post trauma degenerative bone disease, Hepatitis B & C (since cured), Lupus (SLE), Gout, and most recently, subjective thyroid as well as had over 40 reconstructive surgeries. A number of my conditions would warrant MMJ in any of the states where it's legal now but, not here and I cannot afford to move. If we are not successful at decriminalizing marijuana, there will be many, many patients who will be forced to seek alternative, frequently illegal, sources for pain relief.
Having been being treated for a severe level of chronic pain for over a quarter of a century, I've not just seen it but, lived through it, all. I was forced into morphine addiction in the hospital originally. There was not one person involved that did not know and understand that that was happening. There was also no one who believed I would ever be functional with or without the medications. The pain was just too much. Of course, depression arrived along with the pain and the reality of the situation. The opiates only exacerbated that symptom. After that things rapidly got worse. Discovering marijuana literally saved my life.
 
Last edited:

DrRootswell

On Vacation
so much for the " caring" and "compassionate care" from your providers. Now you ass out. Still got the same level of pain, I presume, and now that the money gone, so is the help with managing that pain. Bummer. Yell it from the rooftops! I understand entirely the not being able to move that is such a simpleton's answer for the situation. Just move. Why are we such morons?
 
Last edited:

DrRootswell

On Vacation
Obviously you just an expensive cut of meat. Be firm, confront these " caregivers" about their real motivations. At least get them to admit to you that you just an expensive cut of meat.
 

Radogast

Grow Journal of the Month: April 2017
My wife is on opiods right now (Oxycodone and Tramadol) in addition to medical marijuana.

Her primary care physician writes Oxycodone prescription for one week at a time, a paper prescription, non-refillable, requiring a trip to the doctor's office and two trips to the pharmacy each week for one medication.

Fortuitously, 15 plus nurses, doctor's and home nurses we have seen in the last month ALL are supportive of her use of medical marijuana. They are totally comfortable with marijuana as a primary pain medication and don't mind when she can stretch a week of Oxycodone tablets out to 2 weeks or more.

Life is better in a medical marijuana state.
 

Heather De Ath

New Member
No, maybe the truth of it is that you are less sick. Not that you forget. You are always aware of your sickness. It could be that you are in fact less sick, because what is "sick" but the symptoms of said sickness. And if your symptoms are less, you are by definition less sick.
Mr. Rootswell,

You would do well to not take that sort of attitude when responding to someone. Each knows his own body better than anyone else, including you. I would suggest a little love and some sensibility next time responding to someone. My opinion of you is already in the crapper after one post. I will give you once chance to redeem yourself. I have had YEARS of holistic snake oil shoved down my throat. And believe me 98% of it is crap! There is NO CURE for my [diagnosed] Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac Disease. But getting as high as I can makes me forget that I am sick. But since I live with my step-dad and mother, and am 49 years old I have to abide by their rules. One of which is that I cannot have my marijuana meds here anymore. This is because my step-dad has guns in the house.... his house. If anything would have went south when I was growing here he could have lost everything. So I have to abide by what they say. They can take their medication... but I can't take mine! So I have to go off the property to take care of business. That's a problem. So please, don't tell me what I know about my body. Best take a tactile approach next time. And there is no way you are a doctor. You wouldn't last a week in a Level I Trauma center with that attitude of telling people what YOU say is right and that they do not know their own bodies.
So.... lets up the level of caring and love in your responses... please.
 

DrRootswell

On Vacation
Mr. Rootswell,

You would do well to not take that sort of attitude when responding to someone. Each knows his own body better than anyone else, including you. I would suggest a little love and some sensibility next time responding to someone. My opinion of you is already in the crapper after one post. I will give you once chance to redeem yourself. I have had YEARS of holistic snake oil shoved down my throat. And believe me 98% of it is crap! There is NO CURE for my [diagnosed] Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac Disease. But getting as high as I can makes me forget that I am sick. But since I live with my step-dad and mother, and am 49 years old I have to abide by their rules. One of which is that I cannot have my marijuana meds here anymore. This is because my step-dad has guns in the house.... his house. If anything would have went south when I was growing here he could have lost everything. So I have to abide by what they say. They can take their medication... but I can't take mine! So I have to go off the property to take care of business. That's a problem. So please, don't tell me what I know about my body. Best take a tactile approach next time. And there is no way you are a doctor. You wouldn't last a week in a Level I Trauma center with that attitude of telling people what YOU say is right and that they do not know their own bodies.
So.... lets up the level of caring and love in your responses... please.
Rudy, you totally misunderstood. Disease is a set of symptoms. The disease always remains, I am very familiar with IBS My friends has Crohns, but your symptoms are lessened when high, my friends definitely are, because of the effects of the MMJ, which makes life better. I do have very much compassion for your situation, and know that MMJ is very helpful with IBS. Sounds like your step dad is a real shithead. My friends lives definitely are better.
 

DrRootswell

On Vacation
My wife is on opiods right now (Oxycodone and Tramadol) in addition to medical marijuana.

Her primary care physician writes Oxycodone prescription for one week at a time, a paper prescription, non-refillable, requiring a trip to the doctor's office and two trips to the pharmacy each week for one medication.

Fortuitously, 15 plus nurses, doctor's and home nurses we have seen in the last month ALL are supportive of her use of medical marijuana. They are totally comfortable with marijuana as a primary pain medication and don't mind when she can stretch a week of Oxycodone tablets out to 2 weeks or more.

Life is better in a medical marijuana state.
Radogast, I totally see your point. Do what you can. I am with you.
 

Going Down

New Member
I talked to two of my docs about smoking weed. One wouldn't say one way or another if I should be using it. I was most surprised about my primary care docs reaction. He had the look of horror on his face. He then asked me if I was asking him to write a script. I told him no because I knew that would never happen. Then he asked me if I was going to quit once I finish detoxing off of methadone. I backed down a bit because of his dumb ass reaction. I just told him that I will see how I feel. I know that I will using cannabis for the rest of my life. Everyone in my situation should. All of the pills that I took over the last years just created more problems than they solved. The main problem I ran into with methadone was, it created more pain for me. Opioids are only meant to be taken for short periods of time. Twelve years straight of taking my meds as prescribed is'nt recommended. At this time, I've given up on my doctors. I feel like they don't have my best interest. They just want to push big pharmacy's agenda.
 

Smokeater

Well-Known Member
so much for the " caring" and "compassionate care" from your providers. Now you ass out. Still got the same level of pain, I presume, and now that the money gone, so is the help with managing that pain. Bummer. Yell it from the rooftops! I understand entirely the not being able to move that is such a simpleton's answer for the situation. Just move. Why are we such morons?
I live in Illinois and 2 years ago they "started" a 4 year trial program, but it wasn't until November of 2015 that they allowed any dispensaries to open. I am unable to find a Doctor to write a prescription even though I am on 3 class 2 narcotics from an injury I sustained while working as a full time Firefighter/Paramedic. I injured numerous discs in my lower back and neck while carrying a 500+ Lb person out of their home on a call and am now permanently disabled and in intense pain 24/7. I have contacted every person I can think of for help from politicians, Doctors and even the state and gotten zero help. I would LOVE to move to a place where there are no problems getting medical MJ, but it took 27 years as a Firefighter/Paramedic (because were not paid so well) to save enough money to buy a house which we just did recently and now have no option to move. I can't even get it illegally considering I'm 52 now and don't have any idea where to go to get it. I have written so many letters to politicians to originally get medical MJ passed here (they even read one of my letters in our states "congress" due to the fact that I'm in so much pain and have been on the class 2 narcotics so long and they are going to end up killing me due to what they are doing to my Kidneys and Liver. I worked for so many years saving and helping other people, and now I need help and their is no one who will help me. The guidelines are so restrictive in Illinois as to who qualifies that even though I'm in a wheelchair with documented injuries to my discs in my back and neck and HAVE to take the class 2 narcotics to have any quality of life, but the conditions here don't allow even me to qualify for medical MJ.
 

Radogast

Grow Journal of the Month: April 2017
I can't even get it illegally considering I'm 52 now and don't have any idea where to go to get it.
I suggest a relative or friend you can trust with a kid in high school. I'm not saying go to the high school. Just talk to them. Be trustworthy and take no chances. There are college campus' in Massachusetts and Connecticut where you drive back behind a building and some nice marijuana is available, but it's not as easy in Illinois. Besides, high school kids are more frugal and tend to have very high quality marijuana for lower prices. I've heard some very good things about farm grown weed in John Deere country, Illinois.

Your low cost alternative is what I do, grow in my basement. I've invested about $1800 over 18 months (not counting my electric bill) and harvest 2-6 ounces a month. It sounds like a lot of money, but that's about the same price as 5-6 oz of good quality weed. Sadly you have no legal cover for growing in Illinois.
 

Heather De Ath

New Member
Rudy, you totally misunderstood. Disease is a set of symptoms. The disease always remains, I am very familiar with IBS My friends has Crohns, but your symptoms are lessened when high, my friends definitely are, because of the effects of the MMJ, which makes life better. I do have very much compassion for your situation, and know that MMJ is very helpful with IBS. Sounds like your step dad is a real shithead. My friends lives definitely are better.
Sorry if a came across a harshly critical; I wasn't--but the internet is very hard to express emotion on and we have been trained by the internet elite to be divisive. The only thing I was trying to convey was [please have] a more compassionate view. And you can post strong emotion without swearing. Actually it was my mother who gave me the news. My step-dad was probably bullied by the Sheriff.
 

Smokeater

Well-Known Member
That is the " system" you supported all those yers. Didn't realize it until it came bck to bite you in the ass did ya? I'd even bet you were dead set against mj all those years, so what you gonna do now? Good luck, you ass out. Luckily for you, we got your back when the rest of " civilized" society turned its back on you. Anyway, thanks for your years of service, and if you was a cop I would say tough shit, but you were a service and help provider, not a Gestapo. Can you finally dig what this all about? It is about your right to do what is best in your estimation to make your own decisions for yourself.Wish you the best bro smokeeater.
Your wrong, The system I supported was supposed to start right away with less restrictions and include my condition to qualify for as well as the persons right to get help and make their own decisions, That's part of what I asked the politicians about about and was told would happen. Illinois is who sat on their asses and refused to allow people to get help. BTW, your dead wrong about me ever being against MJ, I have always felt it should just be legal (not only medical) because in my many years of service I NEVER saw anyone that O.D. on MJ or have any harm come to them from MJ. I have always said that MJ is safer than alcohol and won't doesn't kill your liver or is physically addictive. In fact, The only reason I stopped smoking originally (and now I just have no clue where to get it) was because of my job, They do random drug tests but I always felt that if MJ is illegal so should alcohol. I can't even count the number deaths I have seen from either drinking too much and vomiting in their sleep or all the people I've seen die from just drinking too much alcohol and getting alcohol poisoning and that doesn't even touch the number I've seen from drunk driving. MJ has ALWAYS been the best option (I believe) to getting relaxed/help with pain and other problems. As to what I'm going to do know is what I'm hoping to find an answer too and is why I was on this site. What's with all the negativity? Calling me an ass and assuming I was ever against MJ makes you sound ignorant. I have no idea why you would jump down my throat for explaining my situation and commenting that I agree Illinois has big problems with it's medical MJ laws. It may have "bit" me on the ass, but it's not from anything I've done. Try lightening up and stop jumping to conclusions.
 
Top Bottom