I spend about three hours a week on various fora for people with types of chronic pain. It’s not atypical for people to include their condition and medication profiles in footers to every forum comment, so you get used to 90% of the folks you interact with wearing their medical business on their sleeves. The TYPICAL footer looks like this:
“Osteoarthritis, Type 2 Diabetes, Gout, Ankylosing Spondilytis, CRPS [*Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome], Hashimodo’s Disease, Reynaud’s Syndrome, Fibromyalgia. Percocet, Humulin N, Esterese, Soma, Tramadol, Lyrica, Valerian Root, Vitamin D.”
These people (like me) collect diseases and medications the way my husband collects Grateful Dead recordings.
Lately, though, I’ve been reading more and more conversations where these folks are open about the stuff they take off the books. As more and more press comes out about how much of a good thing Marijuana is for people with chronic pain, more and more patients are taking matters into their own hands.
I cannot blame them. I know what this life is like, how hard it is. I’m far from the worst off in the Chronic Ailment Sweepstakes and I suffer to a saddening degree. I can’t imagine the suffering of people whose spine is held together by the medical equivalent of knitting needles. I also know many people aren’t as stubborn or as raised by rampant ethicists as I am. So I can fully see how the pressure of living this life can lead them to say “screw it. I’m buying some pot.”
So here’s the problem–if you haven’t already pieced it together. We’re all taking enough drugs to start our own cartel. Many of these drugs DIRECTLY AFFECT the chemistry of the brain that influences your mental processes. They require a lot of fine-tuning; it took me about 40 months (that’s three 1/3 years) to get a workable cocktail together.
In a conversation recently one of my friends admitted to taking “natural supplements” along with the regular Rx–which included both Tramadol and Lyrica. Just yesterday another friend mentioned enhancing their routine tramadol with cannabis. Both of these people were also expressing that their pain was out of control and they were also struggling with depression and fatigue.
The interaction of the chemicals in the THC can cause that if your brain is already on the mild anti-depressant found as a booster in the Tramadol. But folks don’t know that because they aren’t doctors. And they won’t tell their doctors they’re taking illegal medication.
If marijuana is legal we can finally get doctors to manage those who are using it already and who may be complicating their situation.
And if you don’t care at all about marijuana, just know that this is also the same argument I use when they talk about making oral birth control available without an Rx.