This week I have been reminded how different integrative thinking in medicine is compared to the conventional thinking. It makes me sad to think how hard it is to enlighten some people in the medical society. Sometimes something is so clear to me, but people around me “just don’t get it”.
CANNABIS FOR PAIN
Cannabis continues bringing in blessings and gratitude of patients with all sorts of conditions. I am already used to patients reporting great results with chronic pain. It’s a great drug for pain. Minimal if any side effects, essentially no side effects dangerous to health, no overdose risk. People are able to reduce their pain, get on with their life and be more active. “I got my life back” is a common refrain.
Many patients that try cannabis for pain are able to dramatically reduce or stop their drugs, including NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, Opioids, GABA agonists like Gabapentin or Lyrica and others. Benzodiazepine (Klonopin, Xanax and others) use for these patients is decreased due to reduced anxiety and improved sleep. This is truly something to rejoice about.
Not everyone is rejoicing about cannabis however. One patient who reported cutting his Klonopin (tranquilizer) and Vicodin (narcotic) doses by 75% since going on medical marijuana reported that his pain doctor told him she’ll cut him off his Vicodin altogether if he does not stop using cannabis and producing positive THC urine tests. Apparently, this is her clinic’s policy.
The patient was very concerned. He is addicted to the narcotic and being totally cut off from it is scary, yet cannabis is extremely effective for his pain, and it allowed him to reduce the narcotic use dramatically.
And this effect is real; I know it for a fact because he is paying big money out of pocket to buy the cannabis which is not covered by his medical insurance, unlike his prescription for Vicodin. And no, he is not doing it to get high. He does not get the high, he does not like it.
In essence, the pain clinic he goes to would rather that he continue on his narcotics and keep increasing the doses. Apparently they do not care about the risks and side effects they produce, just as long as the patient stays away from cannabis, which is way safer and more effective. This situation is very frustrating to me and to the patient. I told him that I would be very happy to testify on his behalf at the Medical Board hearings or in court, if he decides to complain.
CANNABIS ADVERTISING; SPREADING THE WORD
Our clinic, Life Medial recently placed a full page ad in City Pages, in their April 20 “Pot Day” issue. It featured my very positive view of success of treatment of pain with cannabis. We’ve had great response to the ad.
A colleague recently saw the ad and said: “Aren’t you afraid of publishing your picture in this context?” Why should I be afraid of practicing the best and most ethical medicine and letting people know about it? Because unfortunately most of my profession has their heads in the sand about the truth and are afraid of saying or doing anything that does not conform to their perceived notion of what they are supposed to do? I am done being afraid! I was afraid in communist Russia, then we escaped. Now I live in the US, the Land of the Free. Why should I be afraid of doing the right thing and be proud of it? Sure, some people will try to maintain what their little minds perceive as the “correct” status quo. They may even try to cause us trouble. But they are doomed to lose, because America is still a free country and progress goes on.
CANNABIS FOR TOURETTE’S SYNDROME
Since we are on the topic of cannabis, I’ll mention this interesting follow up I saw this week. A woman in her 30’s with Tourette’s Syndrome came in for her annual medical marijuana re-certification. I remembered her from last year. The condition was unmistakable at first glance. She had constant ticks and grunts, and was very tense trying to control her mind in order to remain civil.
For those who don’t know, this condition causes ticks, jerks and a strong desire to swear in the most foul way: not very acceptable in public. Well, she is now on cannabis and doing great. The tension is way down. She sat in front of me calmly and told me how medical cannabis changed her life. I almost feel like I develop an acute case of Tourette’s myself when I see a follow-up like this and think of the “respected” “proper” doctors out there who think cannabis is evil. This woman has had life-changing results using cannabis for Tourette’s Syndrome.
CANNABIS FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS/HOMEOPATHY FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
I saw another re-certification case this week; this one for a woman with multiple sclerosis. Cannabis has proven to be very helpful to control her spasms. And that in itself is great. But cannabis is not curative in most cases. So I asked if she is doing anything else for her MS and whether it is progressing. She acknowledged that it was indeed progressing.
I asked if she looked into homeopathy as I suggested a year ago. She said that she looked into it briefly but never acted on it. I explained to her that MS is a condition that can be reversed in many cases because the affected cells can regenerate given favorable conditions in the body, and homeopathy can often create such conditions. I have treated at least two cases of MS myself, both in initial stages, which were completely reversed by homeopathic remedies. Let’s hope she sees a homeopath soon.