What does cannabis withdrawal feel like?

If you want to know how a medication is affecting you, you can always stop taking it. Having to go without will definitely show you if the medication was helping or not. And it will also show you how dependent you are on that medication.

I use cannabis every day to treat my intractable pain. So, when I don’t have it, I go through a type of withdrawal. I get really sad and cry a lot, often for no apparent reason. I smoke cigarettes like there’s no tomorrow. My insomnia gets worse. I see no point in making any kind of plan for the day because I have no pain relief waiting for me. I lose my appetite, even for chocolate. I don’t want to eat because eating hurts my jaw joints, face, head, and neck. Don’t even try to ask me to smile.

After 3 or 4 days without bud, the sadness dims and is replaced by anger. I’m always surprised at how much anger there is inside of me, so closely contained, just waiting to burst free. Anger, frustration, irritation, and sometimes, even hate. I absolutely hated having to depend on a doctor for my pain relief, and it’s no fun now, having to rely on an underground bud connection.

Yes, bud helps me control my anger. It helps to manage my dark and suicidal thoughts. It puts me in the mood to find just about anything funny. It distracts me from the constant pain. It makes chocolate taste better, if that’s even possible. And it even helps me cut back on smoking cigarettes.

Even though I’m a non-violent person, right now, without bud, I could seriously punch someone. Being poor really sucks, but being in unrelieved, constant pain sucks more.

But is this withdrawal, or is this just my normal, painful state of being? If it is withdrawal, it’s not that bad. Doesn’t last that long. I’ve taken a lot of different drugs to treat pain in the past 30 years, and I’d have to say that the withdrawal from cannabis is no big deal. As long as I know that I’ll have access to it again in the near future, I’ll be okay…

But seriously, right now, stay the fuck out of my way.

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When doctors lie

http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2016/8/4/survey-opioids-stopped-or-reduced-for-most-patients

“My doctor said I cannot be cured so there is no point in treating me for pain,” wrote one patient.

Cancer can’t be cured. Schizophrenia and asthma are also incurable. Then there’s AIDS.

The treatments for these medical conditions can also cause pain, including chronic pain. Why suffer through expensive, painful treatments when there is no cure? What kind of doctor would say there’s no point in treating cancer or AIDS? (Doctors suck.)

Yes, cancer and AIDS can be fatal. (Actually, being human is a fatal condition.) But chronic pain can take a long time to kill you, so the medical industry thinks the danger isn’t imminent. And I think chronic pain isn’t really considered a medical condition, like cancer.

When patients die from suicide or an overdose, it’s the patient’s fault. When a cancer patient dies, it’s the disease’s fault (or the fault of the medical industry). Because drug war.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/06/18/the-other-side-america-war-opioids/i9YYLR0bGWFdP9z1T1pwjI/story.html

But Lussier said her doctor was concerned that opioids would actually increase her sensitivity to pain, and informed her three months ago that she would get only three more monthly prescriptions for the drug.

If you suffer from chronic pain, your body is already sensitive to pain. Duh. Can opioids increase that sensitivity?

I suppose it’s possible, although it doesn’t seem very logical. It makes more sense to say that not treating chronic pain would increase a person’s sensitivity to pain. That’s why pain progresses from acute to chronic — you can’t suffer from chronic pain unless you’ve suffered from acute pain first.

Think of a dial for volume, zero to ten. Similar to the pain scale, each number represents a different level of pain. When you stub your toe or burn your finger, you’ve felt pain at the level of a 1 or 2. Let’s say a root canal or a broken bone would be a 4. Having a baby is like a 6, while cancer is around a 6+.

The purpose of this dial is not to rate a person’s pain — it’s to mark the different levels of pain you’ve been exposed to and have experienced. If you’ve never broken a bone, then your brain doesn’t know of or understand that level of pain. But once your brain has experienced pain at the level of a 6 or 7, there’s a greater chance that you will experience that level of pain in the future. It’s easier for your brain to reach that level after you’ve already reached it once.

While I’m focusing on physical pain for my pain dial, the same applies to mental pain and anguish. Unless you’ve experienced grief or suffered from Major Depressive Disorder, your brain can’t understand that level of pain. But once you do experience different levels of mental pain, it’s not hard for your brain to feel it again.

So, maybe the risk of developing chronic pain includes experiencing high levels of acute pain. Like if you were a gymnast or a football player. It’s no wonder women are more prone to chronic pain because so many of us have experienced the pain of labor. Like the risk of suffering from drug addiction climbs after someone experiences physical or mental trauma.

Where would the experience of chronic pain fall on this pain dial? It’s one thing to experience level 6 pain during labor, but that pain goes away.

Let’s say you have a toothache that registers around a 5 on the pain dial. After treatment, most if not all of that pain goes away. (Who could function with a constant toothache?) My TMJ causes a level 5 toothache in every one of my teeth. Does that mean my pain level is a 5? No, because TMJ is not the only thing that causes me pain. And because my pain is constant.

Constant/chronic pain should have a place on the pain dial, just like a broken bone or root canal. Because no matter what level of physical (or mental) pain you’re suffering from, when that pain is constant and incurable, the volume on your pain dial increases.

Intractable pain is not a symptom of my TMJ — not like addiction can be a symptom of trauma. No, intractable pain is a condition all on its own. Maybe I could even call it a cancer of the soul.

Doctors lie all the time. Of course they do. I know it’s hard to stand up for yourself when you feel like shit, and when you need and depend on your doctor. Just be prepared for when your doctor repeats information that’s biased and untrue. Don’t let him or her get away with it.

Cloudscapes

The title of this post was given to me by Sir Derrick, gracias.

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I visited Walmart at dawn this morning.

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I watched the sun rise from the parking lot.

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Although it may be hard to believe, I’m getting a little tired of Dilly Bars. So, I also stopped at Krispy Kreme. The doughnuts were good, of course, but I think they’ve shrunken in size since the last time I indulged. And I would be surprised if the doughnuts were made in-house, as they weren’t that fresh. (Did I mention how small they were?)

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Then I had to go to Albertson’s, because they’re the only store that carries the kind of straws I like. Yes, I’m very picky about my straws. They have to be the skinny ones, not the fat ones. Because TMJ.

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Finally on my way home. Even at 7am, I was still sweating.

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It’s too damn hot. The End. 🙂

Is this the future for pain patients?

http://nyketamine.com/

NY Ketamine Infusions, LLC., offers ketamine infusion therapy treatments for those throughout the Tri-State area as well as NYC suffering from chronic pain syndromes and depression…

Chronic pain can be dramatically altered or even eliminated by ketamine infusions. Certain types of pain considered to be “neuropathic” in origin are considered to be most responsive to ketamine therapy. Examples of these kinds of pain are trigeminal neuralgia, complex regional pain (CRP), diabetic neuropathies, phantom limb pain, post herpetic neuralgia and fibromyalgia. However, other types of chronic pain such as chronic temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) pain, some headaches, and musculoskeletal pain may also benefit from ketamine infusions.

The few stories I’ve read from patients who have used ketamine treatments have been mostly positive, with the caveat that the treatments don’t last very long. It’s similar to how steroid injections can work, lasting for weeks or months, until it’s time for more.

Cost? Covered by insurance? You won’t find that information on the above website.

Alternatively, here in Albuquerque, there’s oxygen therapy:

http://www.pro-oxygen.com/

We offer a recreational Oxygen Bar as well as Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy and portable Boost Oxygen cans to enhance your body’s ability to heal, reduce swelling, relieve joint pain, improve recovery time, increase athletic performance and promote an overall feeling of wellness.

$1 a minute, or $150 for 90 minutes.

Breathing has become expensive, lol.

Buttered Snapdragon

I think I found the elusive snapdragon. (And if I’m wrong, I don’t want to hear it.)

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Anyway, it looks like popcorn to me. (From Leafly:  “popcorn buds, used to describe poorer quality cannabis harvested towards the bottom of the plant…” Some dispensaries sell popcorn buds at a cheaper price, although I’m sure they don’t use them for cannabis testing.)

Can you see the popcorn, coated with fresh, creamy butter? (Yes, there’s a strain called Popcorn Kush, and it’s supposed to taste like popcorn. But in my experience, bud tastes like… bud.)

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Dude, there’s a bug in my popcorn. (I miss popcorn.)

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Look, Chiclets! (I miss gum.)

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It appears the buttered snapdragon is trying to communicate with me…

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I give you the most recognized symbol in the world:

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For you, Sir Derrick. LOL.

Drugs are a treatment, not a cure

Current Survey on MedPageToday.com:

A group of medical organizations has written to the Joint Commission, urging it to drop pain as a 5th vital sign in the wake of the opioid abuse epidemic. Is it time to get rid of pain as a 5th vital sign?

Under comments:

numa turner
Apr 16, 2016
The problem as I saw it was it was totally subjective. We don’t ask people what their blood pressure is. Granted that there is no objective way to measure pain, treating it as a vital sign can cause confusion for doctors and patients. I worked for the VA and our performance was often based on this “fifth vital sign ” and how we responded. I often saw patients on large doses of opioids who still claimed 8 out of 10 on the pain scale. What do you do with that?

This is all about money, not patients. Medicare is trying out different programs to reduce healthcare costs, and performance-based pay is one of them. How to determine if a doctor is doing his job? Ask the doctor or the patients? But PFROP is using the media- and government-hyped opioid “epidemic” to cozy up to all the doctors who hate patient reviews, especially if it’s costing them money. It’s a lesson on how to gain power and influence by increasing the number of people who support anything close to your agenda.

It’s like doctors think the only reason for a patient to give them a low score is because the doctor wouldn’t prescribe painkillers. Of course, the 400,000 patients who die every year due to the mistakes of doctors don’t get a chance to fill out a performance review. I’m guessing that many more doctors will be getting low scores because they will refuse to adequately treat both acute and chronic pain. And don’t you think they know that? This isn’t about patients, this is about money. And ideology.

Just think, if every tooth in your mouth constantly ached and throbbed, what would your pain levels be? My current pain levels average about a 7 on the 1-10 scale, but that hasn’t always been the case. I’m talking about the progression of an intractable pain condition over a 30-year period. How do you track that on a 1-10 scale? Even when I was on opioid therapy, my pain levels progressed, albeit more slowly than during the times when the pain was (and is) under-treated or untreated.

I also estimated that I received, on average, a 25% reduction in pain with opioid therapy. Did that change my average pain levels? Did my pain levels go from a 7 to a 5.25? No, that’s not what happened. The prescription drugs mostly kept me stable at a 7 (and away from a 10 and thoughts of suicide). After all, drugs are a treatment for pain, not a cure.

Let’s also acknowledge that rating pain on a scale of 1-10 is a very basic and inadequate measure of pain. Many things can affect how you rate your pain, like fear, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and anger. And also things like age, gender, and DNA.

“I often saw patients on large doses of opioids who still claimed 8 out of 10 on the pain scale. What do you do with that?”

As a doctor, you should try to understand all of these nuances, and that the pain scale is not an x-ray or blood test (none of which are 100% accurate). And as a doctor, stop putting so much pressure on pain patients to improve — why are you expecting miracles from drugs? Do you think drugs can stop the aging and degenerative processes? Do you expect all of your patients to improve from one treatment option? What kind of improvements are you demanding from your patients?

Patients are afraid to report any improvement in their pain levels. How are doctors going to change that dynamic? I’m guessing that doctors are now understanding how dentists feel, since most patients hate and fear going to the dentist. And do you know why? Because it’s freaking painful, that’s why.