How do you feel about the use of medicinal marijuana for chronic pain?
Yes, I'm considering it.
I want to hear what you think.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will confess I might have inhaled, once-upon-a-time, back in the day.
If my mom is reading this: It's okay Mom – everybody was doing it.
Even though I live in California, (the land of peace, love, and weed), it has been forever a lifetime since I've been anything but proper and law abiding. (Concert-attending not withstanding … because if you even breathe at a concert, you're getting a little high regardless of your intentions.)
The use of medicinal marijuana is legal in California.
A good chunk of California college students have medicinal marijuana licenses even though there's nothing physically wrong with them. (And to be honest, it isn't just college students, California, is it?)
I've had friends with cancer and other terrible maladies and I've never blinked an eye while fully supporting their use of pot to deal with pain and/or nausea.
I've lived with pain for over five years since my accident, and I haven't thought seriously about using it to relieve my own pain.
First of all, I always thought my pain would be going away sometime really soon - after the next surgery, or in just a few weeks …
But, of course, it never has gone away.
And now I know – it never will.
For another reason, I've had (and still have) teens in the house. Kids I've told to stay away from drugs, abide the laws, and blah, blah, blah.
I'm re-thinking things now though.
A few months ago, a man I knew online for a couple years died of cancer. Gregg lived here in Orange County and he was a photographer. We met on Twitter, and he began reading Twenty Four At Heart. We became online friends, communicated frequently, and planned to meet up in person for a few photography outings.
Then Gregg was diagnosed with cancer.
We never did meet "in person."
I regret it, so much.
I think about Gregg a lot.
Shortly before he died, Gregg gave me two pieces of advice.
The first was to buy the 400mm lens I'd been looking at. (I did.)
The second, was to start using medicinal marijuana. It had helped him tremendously with pain. He believed it would help me too.
I've thought about what Gregg said a lot since he died.
This week, my pain management specialist prescribed Fentanyl Patches for me.
I tried wearing a patch for five hours.
It worked. It helped tremendously with my pain. I couldn't believe the relief I felt just to get a break from pain for awhile.
Then I took it off.
During the five hours I wore the Fentanyl Patch, I read everything I could about the drug Fentanyl. What I read, scared the crap out of me.
If I use Fentanyl patches, I will become physically dependent on them.
Not maybe become dependent- it is a medical fact, I will.
"Physically dependent" means addicted, but without the psychological desire/need. In other words, a person doesn't get high off the patches, but they cause changes in a person chemically and if I were to stop using them – I'd go through horrible withdrawls.
I've spent over five years of very concentrated effort to avoid addiction to pain meds.
I can't just throw that all away.
Do I just give up and accept I will be dependent on hardcore narcotics for life?
I am agonizing over this ….
And if you (or a loved one) is using Fentanyl Patches I'm not saying they're bad, or you're wrong …
I know the patches have helped SO many people deal with horrible pain. (They helped me a lot for those five hours. It would be wonderful to have that degree of pain relief all the time.)
I would never, ever, feel negatively towards anyone trying to cope with the crap life deals us.
I'm just having a hard time determining if they're right for me.
I also discussed the use of marijuana with my pain doc.
He said hundreds of his patients use it and report it helps.
Would it help me?
I don't know.
Would it help enough to cut down on the use of pain meds?
I don't know.
Is it less addictive than Fentanyl Patches?
Yes, it is.
Do I try it as my last resort before using Fentanyl Patches?
What do you think?
© Twenty Four At Heart