Finding enjoyment through pain

Being in constant pain takes all the fun out of life.  It’s hard to find happiness or joy when your body is constantly saying “OUCH!” and “stop doing that.”  And just about the time you laugh at a joke, smell homemade bread, or relax with a favorite tune, your brain on pain quickly reminds you how unimportant all those things are…  I AM PAIN.  I AM THE BOSS.  YOU SHALL NOT WORSHIP OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.

I was just remembering how hard it was to find enjoyment in life while I was on opioid therapy. Yes, the drugs allowed me to be more physically active, until… I wasn’t.  The stress of living under the constant threat of my medications being taken away — the fear of being unable to manage the pain — took a toll.  I believe, without that stress, opioid therapy would have worked better and longer for me.

But there was a difference in my ability to find those little moments of enjoyment that make life worth living while I was in the medical cannabis program.  I don’t know why there’s a difference, but I was thinking that opiates may crowd out other feel-good sensors in the brain.  If these drugs are strong enough to relieve pain, maybe your brain thinks that’s all it really needs, and decreases connections to those chemicals that are involved in feeling happiness and joy. Perhaps our brains can’t distinguish between a lack of physical pain and the emotion of joy.

The entourage effect in cannabis seems to allow for some pain relief, but also… something else. Yes, the THC can cause a similar effect like an opioid, but all the other CBDs keep the THC from being harmful or toxic.  It’s all about balance, which is something that opioids need to get. Maybe they should add some chocolate to Vicodin…

So, perhaps the benefits of cannabis lie not so much in its pain-relieving properties, but more in its ability to allow patients to enjoy life again… even if only for a moment or two.  Enjoyment is important.  Laughter is important.  If your pain is keeping you from these things, maybe it’s time to try cannabis.  Until then, here are some brainy quotes (and an emoticon) for your enjoyment… 🙂

“I have always said and felt that true enjoyment can not be described.”  Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches.”  Adam Smith

“Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.”  Epictetus

“Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth – look at the dying man’s struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment.”  Soren Kierkegaard

“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”  Alfred North Whitehead

“I am just learning to notice the different colors of the stars, and already begin to have a new enjoyment.”  Maria Mitchell

“Life is pain and the enjoyment of love is an anesthetic.”  Cesare Pavese

“A youthful mind is seldom totally free from ambition; to curb that is the first step to contentment, since to diminish expectation is to increase enjoyment.”  Frances Burney

“Getting older is a struggle. I always feel that just under the surface of acceptance and enjoyment of the ageing process is a terrible hysteria just waiting to burst out.”  Michael Sheen

“It may be added, to prevent misunderstanding, that when I speak of contemplated objects in this last phrase as objects of contemplation, the act of contemplation itself is of course an enjoyment.”  Samuel Alexander

“We no longer sing and dance. We don’t know how to. Instead, we watch other people sing and dance on the television screen.”  Tom Hodgkinson

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