THE FLOG

Distraction from the PAIN

Local lupus suffer explains how marijuana helps manage symptoms of the disease

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There are many different types of pain that respond to treatments other than opioids or Tylenol. As someone suffering acute systemic autoimmune disease, often referred to as Lupus, for over a decade, I've had to experiment on myself to find effective ways to manage my condition and the different types of pain I suffer.

Honestly, the best painkiller I have found is an absorbing book. Newspapers work the same way but they have to make you really angry to have any analgesic effect. Human-interest stories can make you uncomfortable but rarely transport you to the pain-free realm of total distraction. But a person cannot read every waking hour. If something interrupts my reading (like a phone call from a doctor’s office), the spell is broken. Mundane appointment schedules and unpaid bills rush into my mind – along with all that pain.

Marijuana is effective for me to manage the pain caused by my disease. It helps me focus. Under the influence of pot I can only concentrate on one thing at a time.

Pot distraction can be helpful as a treatment for sympathetic nerve disorders. If you feel cold and your extremities are turning blue from lack of circulation, like mine, it is because your nervous system is trying to save your life from hypothermia, even though it is a balmy 80 degrees. The sensation of extreme cold is painful and probably accounts for some of Florida's success as a tourist and retirement destination. Opioid painkillers are not effective for treating pain caused by cold. A case of the shivers combined with opioid painkillers, which commonly cause nausea and vomiting, would be one of those suitable tortures for an eternity in hell.

Like many people, I've had my stomach sewn up, although not for cosmetic reasons. I was making so much stomach acid because of my disease that it was literally burning holes in my throat. Opioids were great for the post surgical trauma but they did nothing for pain from the internal acid burns. Lack of appetite when I desperately need nutrition is one of the ironies of my human condition.

One of my doctors prescribes a concoction called Magic Mouthwash, which combines a numbing medicine along with antacids and antihistamines. Combining this mouthwash with appetite enhancing marijuana makes it possible for me to get back to my life, whether I’m merely working on an adult coloring book and eating a sandwich or running errands and taking care of other necessaries.

The list of things that are not caused by trauma but involve severe pain includes conditions which are directly related to nutrition, such as gout. Gout is sometimes called the worst pain there is. In my case, it is another symptom of my autoimmune disease. Gout treatment generally calls for a heavily restricted diet, which avoids specific proteins and sugars. Here is another case where appetite enhancement and distraction from pain courtesy of marijuana are key to my having a nice day.

The list of non-trivial medical applications goes on, but in conclusion let me say the following: When it comes to modern medicine, the most important goals beyond mere survival are being able to enjoy a quality of life that allows you to return to your normal day to day schedule. Marijuana can make a significant contribution to comfort during illness, especially in the realm of pain that is resistant to painkillers.

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