In the wake of the opioid controversy, it’s important to understand that some patients will do just about anything to resolve their pain. Without stronger medications, most will suffer in silence. Some are even being told to take Tylenol for pain that was once treated with much stronger drugs. The options for pain control are sparse, and many patients are looking for more natural alternatives.
A new (old) alternative
One alternative available for some is medical marijuana. Luckily for me, here in California, medical marijuana has been legal since 1996. It recently was legalized for recreational use. Today, 29 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana and for good reason. Although more research needs to be done, patients have been shown to gain control of pain while using it. It has shown promising responses in patients with lupus, reducing pain and inflammation. It can help regulate mood, appetite, sleep, pain, and even our immune systems.
Before I began experimenting with medical cannabis, I was taking a myriad of pain pills, ranging from Tylenol with codeine to morphine. At the height of my pain, I was on a prescription dose of 200 Norco (acetaminophen and hydrocodone) tablets each month. While the pills did control most of the pain, they came with unwanted side effects. The nausea, constipation, and overall feeling of malaise were enough to have me looking for other options. I also experienced toxic poisoning from methotrexate and wanted a more natural approach. I was told by a few other lupus patients that medical marijuana had helped them immensely.
I enlisted the help of another, more experienced patient and began to do my own research. I talked to my doctors and we agreed that it would be a viable option for me. The relief I received from marijuana was nothing like I had ever experienced. Not only was my pain under control, but also I was not experiencing the awful side effects of the prescribed pain meds. My nausea lessened and the migraines stopped. The marijuana also had the added benefit of sleep, which was something that I had trouble with for years. It also helped to lessen my anxiety and gave me an overall sense of well-being.
While some may regard those who use marijuana as lazy and unproductive, it has quite the opposite effect on me. With my pain gone, my entire quality of life improved. I am able to do things that I used to be restricted in doing. Things that most people take for granted, like walking the dog or doing chores around the house, I was finally able to do again.
The many forms of marijuana
Most people believe that you can only smoke marijuana, but there are a variety of ways you can ingest it. Vaping is a popular form, as are edibles and capsules. For those who experience joint or muscle pain, lotions and salves also prove helpful. Whatever your preference or need, there are ways to administer cannabis. It may take some experimenting, but it is possible to find relief. Marijuana has helped me, and I will continue to use it. Whatever you decide, be sure to consult your physician and always be honest about your use.
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.