Recreational and Medical Marijuana Use Perspective

23 07 2014
Life is full of many potential roads that can be traveled.  Which life roads will you choose?

Life has many potential roads to travel. Which lifestyle path will you choose?

It is very interesting to learn how attitudes have changed about  marijuana use since I was a kid. After speaking with local youth in two states (California and Oregon) regarding marijuana use… there is a nonchalant attitude regarding medicinal and recreational use of this natural weed.

The common answers to my questions, “don’t you think marijuana will harm you in any way if you continue to use it?”  Or more to the point, “if you keep smoking the stuff, aren’t you afraid of addiction and associated health risks?”  Much like laying a bet, are you assured you are not gambling with your future life potential, relationships and health?

The common answers in reply, “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes.” “Alcohol unlike marijuana use is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, broken families, job loss etc., where cannabis use does not appear to be the case.”  Other common answers I get from adults, “I can quit anytime I want to, it’s not addicting, it’s not a gateway drug and I don’t drink; I choose this drug as my recreational drug or pain management program of choice.  ‘I prefer this vice opposed to drinking.”

Others simply state, “For me there are no problems regarding the use of this drug, therefore, no harm to career, health, family or other future endeavors.” Much or our youth and many adults don’t appear to see recreational or medicinal cannabis a harmful substance derived from mother earth.  They see man-made pharmaceuticals and other illicit drugs to be worse compared to a natural weed habit or medical use.

It is interesting to note, they mostly compare weed within the same legal recreational drug class as tobacco, spirits, wine and beer. In other words, “on the street,” cannabis use perception is that weed is an  acceptable recreational and medicinal drug choice that is a right and should not be outlawed from such use.  However, there are risks of potential drug addiction and health problems from smoking marijuana just like any other toxin that needs to be filtered from the body.  Such as respiratory and carcinogenic risks from carbon monoxide inhalation.

My sampling of these queries is rather small, around 50 discussions on this topic where 80-90% concede (teenagers and adults), cannabis is probably the least harmful of the illegal drugs.  Almost all adults I spoke with acknowledge the medicinal properties and benefits for chronic pain sufferers and cancer patients.

Consumers today are very educated because of the Internet.  Allot of the paranoia over this natural weed has been removed from society.  Through demographic and cultural studies consumers see how various peoples have used marijuana socially, spiritually and medicinally for thousands of years without any documented deaths caused from an overdose.

I can see the medicinal benefits from scientific studies, however “all” drugs have the potential to addict the user and cause respiratory, or other secondary health and social problems similar to alcohol and tobacco overuse. Science does show in research studies where cannabis can have a negative impact on growing minds and bodies especially if one becomes addicted during the developmental stage of their lives [18 and younger].  This physiological fact alone can destroy a life before it begins.  This is why sales and regulatory controls must be put in place once State medicinal and recreational laws are passed.

I felt it was very important to add two addiction articles back in 2009 that support this updated article “Medical Marijuana Use; Part 1 (pain benefits) and “Lay your Bet” 2 (scientific support data) for chronic pain sufferers.”  As you read those two earlier articles, there is a very good case to continue THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) research and medicinal benefits.

There is some very good science based around severed or damaged nerve endings where only the THC and other cannabinoid receivers at the nerve endings provide pain relief through cannabis use.  Science also shows these damaged nerve endings do not respond to the typical opiate prescription; hence pain alleviation through the pharmaceutical prescription gold standard has little to no effect in many chronic pain controlled studies.  Read Part 2, Pain Relief Benefits. Regardless of the medicinal benefits, we must be very vigilant with our children while our states continue to relax marijuana use laws for patients and now recreational use in some states.

I’m in favor of legalized marijuana use for chronic pain sufferers and other ill-health conditions.  My concern over Recreational use legalization is controlling the substance distribution on a large commercial scale and keeping it out of the hands of our children. I’m very aware and concerned about our children’s access to marijuana should it become fully legalized for recreational use.  This would add an additional drug within hundreds or retail outlets and thousands of households that requires the same protections as prescription drugs, liquor and tobacco.

If and when recreational use of marijuana is approved by voters, it must have similar controls and penalties as our states liquor laws. In preparation for recreational marijuana legalization, parents must not and cannot depend on any school, or government agency to protect children from abusing any drug.  It is our responsibility as parents and educators to teach them to know differences between right and wrong and consequences of any form of substance abuse.

As part of this educational messaging, confusion can be mitigated amongst your youth if our federal government fully recognizes states rights per voters approved marijuana use laws and conflict of their drug laws.   Regardless of the voter approved marijuana use  consumers should not have to fear Federal prosecution because State and Federal laws differ.  Our kids and young adults should not be confused over Federal and State rights conflicts where incarceration may occur from an outside agency having no right to interfere with States Voters rights.  So long as its use and distribution stays within the legalized States boundaries.

Until DEA controlled substance laws relative to marijuana use become reclassified as less then a scheduled 1 controlled substance or recreational drug use, then cannabis users may be prosecuted over States rights by the FEDs.  These legalities must be resolved as cannabis will eventually be legalized in many states for medical marijuana and/or recreational use.  To not resolve this State’s right issue can only ruin young lives through unjust incarceration.

Here’s an interesting conflict within our DEA drug schedule classification.  THC the psycho active ingredient in marijuana is already legally sold as Marinol & prescribed by HMO medical providers.  However, most consumers don’t know this information.

Marinol is listed and classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), as a scheduled class III drug under the same physician prescription controls as Tylenol pain relief medication.  This is very easy for the patient to get their hands on. So instead of smoking the cannabis, or eating it which is the illegal part, you are legally able to ingest the THC oil [psycho active ingredient] prescribed by most HMO’s for almost any type of pain and/or disease.

Maybe our government within its infinite wisdom determined it would be easier to control marijuana distribution through legal pill prescription so children couldn’t get their hands on it.  Since Marinol must be refrigerated, it seems to me, it would be easier for our children to get their hands on these tiny capsules, conceal and consume.  So do they really have our children’s best interests in mind?

So it stems to reason, the medical community understands the medicinal use of THC and also enjoys the profits from this high cost prescription drug.   If the government was truly concerned about a chronic pain or cancer patient wellbeing the DEA would cooperate with States rights to fully legitimize the use of cannabis for pain patients.  They could do this by simply declassifying the DEA drug schedule to list medical marijuana as a Class III prescription similar to Marinol; and remove the fear of a patience medicine being taken away and prosecuted.

Recreational marijuana use on the other hand is a different ball game which requires a different set of rules to protect our children from drug abuse and addiction.  If and when medicinal and recreational use in your community occurs, it will be up to all parents to get involved within home town politics and tell elected officials your expectations of how local government will create home town policies to protect our kids from those that don’t want to play by the rules.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2014 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Corp., Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Medical Marijuana Use Pro's and Con's

19 06 2009

It is very concerning after speaking with local youth in two states (California and Oregon) regarding marijuana use; there is a nonchalant attitude regarding this drug.  The common answers to my questions, “don’t you think marijuana will harm you in any way if you continue to use this drug?”  Or, if you keep smoking the stuff, aren’t you afraid of addiction and associated health risks?  Much like laying a bet, are you assured you are not gambling with your health or future life endeavors?   The common answers in reply, “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.”  “As a matter of fact, alcohol is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, broken families, job loss etc., where with cannabis this is not the case.”  The other common answer, “I can quit anytime I want to, it’s not addicting, it’s not a gateway drug and I don’t drink; I choose this drug as my recreational drug of choice as I prefer this vice opposed to drinking.”  Others simply state, “For me there are no problems regarding my use of this drug, therefore, no harm.”  Our youth and many adults don’t appear to regard cannabis as a harmful substance as it like many of our controlled drugs are derived from mother earth, mostly to be tainted by man-made processing chemical manipulation and sold as approved prescription drugs, or recreational drugs (tobacco, spirits, wine and beer).

In other words, “on the street,” cannabis untouched by man appears to be a safer alternative for medicinal purposes (chronic pain alleviation) and recreational use (opposed to alcohol), even though most seem to understand there’s an inherent risk toward addiction (but don’t want to admit it outright) and health risks (e.g., cannabis smoke carcinogens).   My sampling of these queries is rather small, around 50 discussions on this topic where 80-90% concedes (teenagers and adults), cannabis is probably the least harmful of the illegal drugs that should be fully legalized.  And almost all adults within this sampling seem to acknowledge the medicinal properties and benefits for chronic pain sufferers.  I can see the medicinal benefits through the scientific studies, however “all” drugs must have some form of state and federal regulation or greater health and/or addiction problems “will” significantly impact our youth as is with our legal drugs.  Our youth should be of great concern with regard to cannabis legalization.  Any drug including cannabis can have a negative impact on growing minds and bodies especially if one should become addicted during the developmental stage of their lives.  This fact alone can destroy a life before it begins.

I felt it was very important to add two addiction articles to the MAE Health repository since I wrote two previous articles on “Medical Marijuana Use, Part 1 (pain benefits) and 2 (scientific support data) for chronic pain sufferers.”  As you read the two articles, there is a very good case to continue research and development while easing up on state and federal laws for chronic pain sufferer’s use of cannabis.  There is some very good science based around severed or damaged nerve endings where only the THC receivers at the nerve endings provide pain relief through cannabis use.  Science also shows these damaged nerve endings do not respond to the typical opiate prescription; hence pain alleviation through the pharmaceutical prescription gold standard has little to no effect in many chronic pain controlled studies.

Now you are figuring out possibly where I’m going with this.  We must be very vigilant with our children while our states continue to relax marijuana use laws.  I’m in favor of legal marijuana use by chronic pain sufferers.  I’m also very aware and concerned about our children’s access to marijuana should it be fully legalized.  There is a greater probability that distribution abuse and use will occur because of easy access to chronic pain patient’s medicinal prescriptions, or full legalization as an adult recreation drug.  We must not and cannot depend on our government agencies to protect our children from abusing any drug.  It is our responsibility as parents to educate our children, knowing the differences between right and wrong with an understanding of the possibility of addiction and consequences of drug use regardless of whether our society and government deem the substance legal, or illegal.

Control and regulation is very important when dealing with any drug as all forms of mind altering substances have the potential for abuse, health risk, societal harm and addiction.   If there is no, or limited state-federal regulation, control, such as, quasi-legal medical marijuana (read previous MAE achieved Medical Marijuana articles “Pain Benefits,” http://www.mirrorathlete.com/blog) then our government supports a quasi-illegal black market operations by turning a blind eye to states rights and the science backing cannabis pain alleviation.

In other words, if science supports the pain alleviation benefits of any drug including medical marijuana then our federal agencies should recognized the benefits and legalize the drug.  Our federal government should fully recognize states rights for pain patients as opposed to potential imprisonment for those that fall outside of federal guidelines.  Until this is done, like alcohol which we know has the same access and abuse potential by our children… Without federal recognition of cannabis as a controlled substance for medicinal use, substance abuse of the drug will not be monitored and addiction, carcinogenic health risks, with associated mental health probabilities will not be addressed correctly, or adequately.  Instead many cannabis users will possibly be subjected and directed through the penal system for rehabilitation if convicted; which we all know is not the best treatment and rehabilitation course for any drug addict.

Why, because our penal system incarcerates and holds prisoners for breaking the law which is big business unto itself… Incarceration appears to incorporate treatment and rehabilitation for addicts inside, but how successful are these programs really?  And is treatment and rehabilitation this industries main focus?  It sounds like a business that is dependent on law breaking convicts more so than a rehabilitation center for drug addicts.  So, I ask again is this the best course of action to rehabilitate an addict?

I really don’t know since I’ve never been incarcerated, or exposed to these rehabilitation programs.  However, I believe any government run programs are inferior to a third party source.  Really, what am I to think?  Our government has proved time and time again it only knows how to spend money with inefficient government service programs.  It would appear our government is more interested in taxing the American people for unnecessary or inefficient services to grow government.  If the financial rewards and power out weight any human benefits then “We the People,” will come second to power and corruption.  It’s all about power, control and a human trait that cannot be tamed, ‘greed!”

With any drug, “ANY Drug,” there is always the potential for substance abuse.  Cannabis will eventually be fully legalized on a national level, first as is occurring through medical marijuana permits.  The major marijuana composition THC is already legally sold (Marinol) & prescribed by our medical providers.  However, most consumers don’t know this information.

Marinol is listed and classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), as a class III legal prescription.  So instead of smoking the cannabis which is the illegal part, you are legally able to ingest the THC oil prescribed by most HMO’s for pain management.  Maybe our government within its infinite wisdom determined it would be easier to control marijuana distribution to our children in this format.  In fact, since Marinol must be refrigerated, it seems to me, it would be easier for our children to get their hands on the tiny capsules, conceal and consume.  If the government was truly concerned about a chronic pain patient wellbeing they would fully legalize cannabis and provide the choice to ingest, or inhale their script.

Part 2, “Marijuana Addiction, Lay Your Bet!” is continued and will be published within July09 issue.  I will post information regarding legal marinol and government greed that will knock your socks off!  You’ll not want to miss the continuation of this article!  Really, is this multi-billion dollar industry concerned about our children’s potential addiction, or is it really about government greed, power and control?

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Medical Marijuana Use Pro’s and Con’s

19 06 2009

It is very concerning after speaking with local youth in two states (California and Oregon) regarding marijuana use; there is a nonchalant attitude regarding this drug.  The common answers to my questions, “don’t you think marijuana will harm you in any way if you continue to use this drug?”  Or, if you keep smoking the stuff, aren’t you afraid of addiction and associated health risks?  Much like laying a bet, are you assured you are not gambling with your health or future life endeavors?   The common answers in reply, “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.”  “As a matter of fact, alcohol is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, broken families, job loss etc., where with cannabis this is not the case.”  The other common answer, “I can quit anytime I want to, it’s not addicting, it’s not a gateway drug and I don’t drink; I choose this drug as my recreational drug of choice as I prefer this vice opposed to drinking.”  Others simply state, “For me there are no problems regarding my use of this drug, therefore, no harm.”  Our youth and many adults don’t appear to regard cannabis as a harmful substance as it like many of our controlled drugs are derived from mother earth, mostly to be tainted by man-made processing chemical manipulation and sold as approved prescription drugs, or recreational drugs (tobacco, spirits, wine and beer).

In other words, “on the street,” cannabis untouched by man appears to be a safer alternative for medicinal purposes (chronic pain alleviation) and recreational use (opposed to alcohol), even though most seem to understand there’s an inherent risk toward addiction (but don’t want to admit it outright) and health risks (e.g., cannabis smoke carcinogens).   My sampling of these queries is rather small, around 50 discussions on this topic where 80-90% concedes (teenagers and adults), cannabis is probably the least harmful of the illegal drugs that should be fully legalized.  And almost all adults within this sampling seem to acknowledge the medicinal properties and benefits for chronic pain sufferers.  I can see the medicinal benefits through the scientific studies, however “all” drugs must have some form of state and federal regulation or greater health and/or addiction problems “will” significantly impact our youth as is with our legal drugs.  Our youth should be of great concern with regard to cannabis legalization.  Any drug including cannabis can have a negative impact on growing minds and bodies especially if one should become addicted during the developmental stage of their lives.  This fact alone can destroy a life before it begins.

I felt it was very important to add two addiction articles to the MAE Health repository since I wrote two previous articles on “Medical Marijuana Use, Part 1 (pain benefits) and 2 (scientific support data) for chronic pain sufferers.”  As you read the two articles, there is a very good case to continue research and development while easing up on state and federal laws for chronic pain sufferer’s use of cannabis.  There is some very good science based around severed or damaged nerve endings where only the THC receivers at the nerve endings provide pain relief through cannabis use.  Science also shows these damaged nerve endings do not respond to the typical opiate prescription; hence pain alleviation through the pharmaceutical prescription gold standard has little to no effect in many chronic pain controlled studies.

Now you are figuring out possibly where I’m going with this.  We must be very vigilant with our children while our states continue to relax marijuana use laws.  I’m in favor of legal marijuana use by chronic pain sufferers.  I’m also very aware and concerned about our children’s access to marijuana should it be fully legalized.  There is a greater probability that distribution abuse and use will occur because of easy access to chronic pain patient’s medicinal prescriptions, or full legalization as an adult recreation drug.  We must not and cannot depend on our government agencies to protect our children from abusing any drug.  It is our responsibility as parents to educate our children, knowing the differences between right and wrong with an understanding of the possibility of addiction and consequences of drug use regardless of whether our society and government deem the substance legal, or illegal.

Control and regulation is very important when dealing with any drug as all forms of mind altering substances have the potential for abuse, health risk, societal harm and addiction.   If there is no, or limited state-federal regulation, control, such as, quasi-legal medical marijuana (read previous MAE achieved Medical Marijuana articles “Pain Benefits,” http://www.mirrorathlete.com/blog) then our government supports a quasi-illegal black market operations by turning a blind eye to states rights and the science backing cannabis pain alleviation.

In other words, if science supports the pain alleviation benefits of any drug including medical marijuana then our federal agencies should recognized the benefits and legalize the drug.  Our federal government should fully recognize states rights for pain patients as opposed to potential imprisonment for those that fall outside of federal guidelines.  Until this is done, like alcohol which we know has the same access and abuse potential by our children… Without federal recognition of cannabis as a controlled substance for medicinal use, substance abuse of the drug will not be monitored and addiction, carcinogenic health risks, with associated mental health probabilities will not be addressed correctly, or adequately.  Instead many cannabis users will possibly be subjected and directed through the penal system for rehabilitation if convicted; which we all know is not the best treatment and rehabilitation course for any drug addict.

Why, because our penal system incarcerates and holds prisoners for breaking the law which is big business unto itself… Incarceration appears to incorporate treatment and rehabilitation for addicts inside, but how successful are these programs really?  And is treatment and rehabilitation this industries main focus?  It sounds like a business that is dependent on law breaking convicts more so than a rehabilitation center for drug addicts.  So, I ask again is this the best course of action to rehabilitate an addict?

I really don’t know since I’ve never been incarcerated, or exposed to these rehabilitation programs.  However, I believe any government run programs are inferior to a third party source.  Really, what am I to think?  Our government has proved time and time again it only knows how to spend money with inefficient government service programs.  It would appear our government is more interested in taxing the American people for unnecessary or inefficient services to grow government.  If the financial rewards and power out weight any human benefits then “We the People,” will come second to power and corruption.  It’s all about power, control and a human trait that cannot be tamed, ‘greed!”

With any drug, “ANY Drug,” there is always the potential for substance abuse.  Cannabis will eventually be fully legalized on a national level, first as is occurring through medical marijuana permits.  The major marijuana composition THC is already legally sold (Marinol) & prescribed by our medical providers.  However, most consumers don’t know this information.

Marinol is listed and classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), as a class III legal prescription.  So instead of smoking the cannabis which is the illegal part, you are legally able to ingest the THC oil prescribed by most HMO’s for pain management.  Maybe our government within its infinite wisdom determined it would be easier to control marijuana distribution to our children in this format.  In fact, since Marinol must be refrigerated, it seems to me, it would be easier for our children to get their hands on the tiny capsules, conceal and consume.  If the government was truly concerned about a chronic pain patient wellbeing they would fully legalize cannabis and provide the choice to ingest, or inhale their script.

Part 2, “Marijuana Addiction, Lay Your Bet!” is continued and will be published within July09 issue.  I will post information regarding legal marinol and government greed that will knock your socks off!  You’ll not want to miss the continuation of this article!  Really, is this multi-billion dollar industry concerned about our children’s potential addiction, or is it really about government greed, power and control?

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Medical Marijuana & Pain Relief, Scientific Support Data

19 05 2009

    Below are citations with appropriate references to give credit to those that have provided medical marijuana research data information with unique supporting and correlated data.  It appears obvious, or apparent within these controlled studies and citations, cannabis shows a unique medicinal composition with unique pain blocking properties that could replace in part, or whole other pain management prescriptions without the additional pharmaceutical health risks.  Standard prescription medications or outpatient services that ease pain, spasms and inflammation may be accomplished through medical marijuana use at a fraction of the cost.  The Compassionate Use Act, 1996 was established to provide physicians the ability to recommend chronic pain patients medical marijuana at first for cancer patients.  Through years of research science is seeing a whole range of potential use for cannabis as an alternative treatment for many types of chronic pain disease.

“Persistent and disabling pain can have numerous and sometimes multiple causes, including cancer; AIDS; sickle cell anemia; glaucoma, cancer, shingles, multiple sclerosis; defects or injuries to the back, neck and spinal cord; arthritis and other rheumatic and degenerative hip, joint and connective tissue disorders; and severe burns.  Pain is not a primary condition or injury, but rather a severe, frequently intolerable symptom that varies in frequency, duration, and severity according to the individual (Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana, ASA PDF Brochure# 888-929-436.  See end of article for brochure details).

“A recent study conducted at University of California at Davis, 17 April 2008, 38 patients experiencing neuropathic pain from varying diseases; diabetes, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS-related neuropathy, etc., were given marijuana cigarettes, some patients with zero% THC, 3.5% and 7%.  Students through each session took the same number of puffs to ensure uniformity.  Thereafter, it was determined marijuana reduced pain intensity significantly over a 5 hour period/per trial.  It should also be noted, memory tests and cognitive skills appeared to decline, but not more, or less significantly than narcotic pain killers (Complete Study, Contact MPP “Marijuana Policy Project Director of communications Bruce Mirken, 202-215-4205, or visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org).”

“The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health….”  So began a 1995 editorial statement of Great Britain’s leading medical journal, The Lancet.  The long history of human use of cannabis also attests to its safety—nearly 5,000 years of documented use without a single death.”

“Substances similar to or derived from marijuana could benefit more than 97 million Americans who experience some form of pain each year (U.S. Society for Neuroscience, 1997).”

“The role that cannabis can play in treating chronic pain.  After nausea and vomiting, chronic pain was the condition cited most often to the IOM (Institute of Medicine) study team as a medicinal use for marijuana.”The study found that “basic biology indicates a role for cannabinoids [a group of compounds found in cannabis] in pain and control of movement, which is consistent with a possible therapeutic role in these areas. The evidence is relatively strong for the treatment of pain and intriguingly, although less well established, for movement disorder (Commissioned Study by the White House, by the Institute of Medicine, 1999).”

“Inhaled cannabis provides almost immediate relief with significantly fewer adverse effects than orally ingested Marinol (the only legal THC hemp extract pharmaceutical, DEA Class III authorized drug schedule prescription).  Inhalation allows the active compounds in cannabis to be absorbed into the blood stream with greater speed and efficiency. It is for this reason that inhalation is an increasingly common, and often preferable, route of administration for many medications.

“One problem with cannabinoids is that they are very fat-soluble, so that makes them very difficult to formulate the drugs into pills or injections.  One way that’s being looked at by some pharmaceutical companies is using the kind of inhaler that asthma sufferers use.” Smoking is obviously a big health hazard and scientists are looking at ways of delivering the drug to the body (ASA Americans for Safe Access, www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org).”

“Cannabis may also be more effective than Marinol because it contains many more cannabinoids than just the THC that is Marinol’s active ingredient. The additional cannabinoids may well have additional and complementary antiemetic (effective against vomiting and nausea) qualities. They have been conclusively shown to have better pain-control properties when taken in combination than THC alone (U.S. Society for Neuroscience Conclusion).”

    “The Compassionate Use Act passed in 1996 expressly provides that “chronic pain” is a condition for which physicians are authorized to recommend marijuana without threat or fear of punishment for providing a full range of treatment modalities to care for patients in pain.  However, Federal policy on medical cannabis is filled with contradictions.  Cannabis is a Schedule I drug, classified as having no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse, yet its most psychoactive component, THC, is legally available as Marinol and is listed in DEA Drug Schedule III Classification for physician prescriptions.  For those that don’t know, Class III prescriptions fall under the same legal prescribed DEA classification, such as Tylenol.  To add insult to injury an average month supply of Marinol will cost you ~$500.00.  A medical marijuana script-license provides you the right to produce and self medicate without the outrageous cost to alleviate chronic pain but has a double jeopardy possibility of imprisonment at the federal government’s discretion!  Is the government trying to figure out a way to make money by controlling a multi-billion dollar industry at the expense of suffering people in pain?  How much lower could we stoop as a nation?

    Currently, laws that effectively remove state-level criminal penalties for growing and/or possessing medical cannabis are in place in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.  Thirty-six states have symbolic medical cannabis laws (laws that support medical cannabis but do not provide patients with legal protection under state law).  Reference,  Compassionate Use Act, 1996 – Key organizations; Drug Enforcement Administration, (DEA) Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Americans For Safe Access (ASA).

“By comparison, the side effects associated with cannabis are typically mild and are classified as “low risk.” Euphoric mood changes are among the most frequent side effects. Cannabinoids can exacerbate schizophrenic psychosis in predisposed persons. Cannabinoids impede cognitive and psychomotor performance, resulting in temporary impairment. Chronic use can lead to the development of tolerance. Tachycardia and hypotension are frequently documented as adverse events in the cardiovascular system. A few cases of myocardial ischemia have been reported in young and previously healthy patients. Inhaling the smoke of cannabis cigarettes induces side effects on the respiratory system. Cannabinoids are contraindicated for patients with a history of Cardiac ischemia.  In summary, a low risk profile is evident from the literature available. Serious complications are very rare and are not usually reported during the use of cannabinoids for medical indications (Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana, ASA PDF Brochure# 888-929-4367).”

“Institute of Medicine, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety… All can be mitigated by marijuana… For patients, such as those with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad spectrum relief not found in any other single medication (Marijuana and Medicine; Assessing the Science Base, 1999).”

“Where morphine fails, marijuana may work. That’s the major finding of British research into the pain caused by nerve injuries, a pain known to be somewhat resistant to morphine and similar drugs that are the gold standard for treating just about any other kind of serious pain.  It’s known that if you injure a nerve, the morphine receptors in the spinal cord disappear and that’s probably why morphine isn’t a very effective pain killer for such conditions as shingles, people who have had an amputation or perhaps if cancer has invaded the spinal cord (Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Report & London’s Imperial College, Andrew Rice).”

“One of marijuana’s greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions.  There is no known case of a lethal overdose; on the basis of Animal models, the ratio of lethal to effective dose is estimated as 40,000 to 1. By comparison, the ratio is between 3 and 50 to 1 for Secobarbital and between 4 and 10 to 1 for ethanol. Marijuana is also far less addictive and far less subject to abuse than many drugs now used as muscle relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics.

The Chief legitimate concern is the effect of smoking on the lungs. Cannabis smoke carries even more tars and other particulate matter than tobacco smoke. But the amount smoked is much less, especially in medical use.  The technology Dr. Grinspoon imagined in 1995 now exists in the form of “vaporizers,” which are widely available through stores and by mail order.   (Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet editorial, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, 1995).”

“There is indeed great concern in the medical community about the need to find better pain relief for damaged nerves, but that progress is being made (Dr. Kenneth Mackie, an associate professor in anesthesiology and physiology at the University of Washington in Seattle).”

“The use of medical cannabis has been endorsed by numerous professional organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Public Health Association, and the American Nurses Association. Its use is supported by such leading medical publications as The New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet.”

    Although I’ve cited main points on pain relief through cannabis use, there is much more information with regard to the legality, use, risk and benefits of such use.  I found this brochure (referenced below) very informative where I decided it and other scientific references would be best to highlight cannabis information in a citation format.  I highly recommend you read this report in its entirety if you believe cannabis use would benefit your chronic pain problem.  Below I’ve left references for you to further your research on the topic.

Most of the citations I listed above can be found in (Chronic Pain and Medical Marijuana Brochure#888-929-4367) put out by ASA (Americans for Safe Access), Free PDF report file: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/pain_brochure.pdf.  Brochure# 888-929-4367, ASA).

You can also make inquiries by mail to: Americans for Safe Access (ASA), 1322 Webster Street, Suite 402, Oakland, California 94612.  Visit their home page for much more information on current medical marijuana use, advocacy, dispensaries, legislation, etc., at www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org, or call ASA @ 1-888-929-4367.

    Be sure to check with your state public health division laws to find out more about medical marijuana use, grow site & use rights… e.g., possible zoning grow site, use, geography restrictions, limitations, etc.   State reciprocity, card issue and federal- state law use conflicts, etc.

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Medical Marijuana & Pain Relief, Pain Benefit

23 04 2009

I’ve been asked this question many times “what do I think about the use of medical marijuana to relieve pain?”   I believe that chronic pain patients have a unique physical and mental pain challenge regardless of pain disorder that most don’t understand, or could relate to unless they experience something similar.  Relating to a chronic pain patients problem daily is difficult for those that have never walked in their shoes.  It is also common for loved ones to pass judgment and become frustrated with decisions that are made, “or not” by those that are trying to find pain relief.  The best example to make a comparison… Most would begin to understand, or relate to a pain patients dilemma if you’d ever experienced an acute and severe low back pain episode.  For those that have been fortunate enough not to have experienced a low back strain let me provide a different analogy.

Imagine if you could never get pain relief from a cough or head ache.  Instead the cough or headache became more chronic and would not go away for days, weeks, or even months!  How would you feel if you couldn’t get relief?  Can you imagine going to work each day, taking care of your family, let alone yourself?  I know you’ve had this experience and can imagine if you could not get rid of this bug, what would you do, how would this change your life?  Most of you have experienced a terrible bout of the common cold or flu.  So there is some common ground in relating to what would you do if you had to learn to live with these symptoms on a daily basis.  You’d look for all options that are legally available to you to remove, or alleviate this pain.  If you can’t find relief your quality of life suffers and so does all around you.

Let’s continue on with this example, when the symptoms are really bad, what do you do?  You go to the doctor, they give you antibiotics, you then might also go to the local drug store, load up on cough syrup-drops, AM/PM relief medications, Tylenol, aspirin.  Some do all of this while hitting the local sauna in hopes of sweating out the bug, then take a couple of days off of work.  Others may do all of this while suppressing the cough by sipping on brandy until they fall asleep.  Okay, now you get the ideal.  You search out pain alleviation modalities that are legal and available to you that suppress any number of pain type flue, or cold symptoms.  When pain exceeds physical and mental tolerances, humans will always look for the best way to customize a pain alleviation program that works best for them.  All legal choices should be available for consideration and use within a pain management program.  In many cases, chronic pain patients suffer far worse than those that have infrequent bouts with the flu, or common cold. Chronic pain for a pain patient does not go away and varies with frequency- severity dependant on pain disorder and daily work load (activity, exercise, daily tasks, etc.).   Those that don’t experience chronic pain daily are typically not able to understand why a person would choose to smoke medical marijuana.

It must be noted I don’t, or would never advocate a 100% use of any pain modality application, but instead advocate combinations, or a balance of holistic approaches for chronic pain relief and customized differently within each pain management program.  As such, a chronic pain patient requires all the information possible, understanding benefits and risks in order to make an informed decision to live the “best” quality of life style possible.  Pain management programs may consist of any treatment modality combination(s) that may, or may not include pharmaceuticals, herbal, alternative modality treatments, supplemental, exercise; activity program(s) that will provide pain relief.  Medical marijuana choices to treat chronic pain are now “legal” (dependant on state).

Medical marijuana has been better than a “quasi” legal pain alleviation alternative since the birth of the “Compassionate Use Act,” passed in 1996.  I’d say better then quasi-legal because, although 13 states authorized medical marijuana cards, this does not mean there aren’t conflicting federal laws with regard to each state “use” authorization.  Currently, laws that effectively remove state-level criminal penalties for growing and/or possessing medical cannabis:   Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.  Let’s dig up some facts first by providing some scientific data, testimonials, risk to benefit and finally legal aspects of medical marijuana use.  Without going into the physiological depth of how pain receptors work, or doesn’t work, depending on your pain injuries, or diagnosis, let me break this down for you the best way I know how.

People that suffer with chronic pain either have severed, or damaged pain receptor nerve endings.  Scientifically proven, if an opiate nerve receiver is not available to block pain because of nerve damage, or severed nerves, opiates such as morphine, or codeine would have little to no effect on the pain area. Scientific studies further point out, although an opiate nerve ending receiver may be  severed, or damaged, the THC (marijuana nerve receivers) are intact  and do benefit the pain patient by alleviating pain.  This is because the nerve cannabinoid receptors appear to maintain functional pain blocking receivers regardless of damage at a pain trigger point which also benefits neuropathic radial pain (radiating pain to distal portions of the body through neural conduit highways).  Continued…

Be sure to look for Medical Marijuana and Pain Relief, Part II which focuses more on the science through medical journal citations as medical Marijuana studies strongly support the pain patients benefits through daily cannabis use.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.