Medical Marijuana-vs-Workers Compensation 

Following is an article posted on 9/19/16 by the Huffinton Post which talks about a study that looked into the states with approved medical marijuana laws and how they compared to the states that have yet to approve it.  The study is very interesting and could mean a change in how doctors look at medical marijuana and chronic pain relief.  

About six months ago I broke down and actually tried smoking CBD twice, using an electronic cigarette device.  What’s CBD you ask, “Cannabidiol—CBD—is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC.”  So people are getting the pain relief by taking CBD but not getting the stoned effect which comes from the THC in marijuana. If the study can obtain further data and confirm all of their finding this could lead to a new pain killer.

Marijuana May Alleviate America’s Opioid Crisis, New Study Suggests

In 2014, more than 14,000 people ― nearly 40 per day ― died from overdoses of prescribed opiates.

Chris D’Angelo Associate Editor, HuffPost Hawaii

 Access to medical marijuana may be cutting down on the overall use of opioids, including prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet, new research suggests. 

In a study, researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed traffic fatality data from 1999-2013 for 18 U.S states. They found that most states that passed medical marijuana laws saw an overall reduction in fatal crashes involving drivers who tested positive for opioids.

“We would expect the adverse consequences of opioid use to decrease over time in states where medical marijuana use is legal, as individuals substitute marijuana for opioids in the treatment of severe or chronic pain,” lead author June H. Kim, a doctoral student at Mailman, said in a statement.

The study, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, is among the first to look at the link between state medical marijuana laws and opioid use. Medical marijuana laws, the authors concluded, are “associated with reductions in opioid positivity among 21- to 40-year-old fatally injured drivers and may reduce opioid use and overdose.”

The United States is currently facing an epidemic of opioid painkiller abuse. Since 1999, opioid prescriptions and sales have quadrupled in the United States, a boom that the CDC said has “helped create and fuel” the current opioid abuse crisis. In 2014 alone, more than 14,000 people ― nearly 40 per day ― died from overdoses of prescribed opiates.
The Columbia study adds to a growing body of evidence showing cannabis can be an effective, alternative treatment for pain relief.
A 2014 study, for example, found that states with medical marijuana had fewer prescription painkiller overdose deaths than those without. And in July, researchers documented that states with medical marijuana saw a drop in prescription drugs, saving an estimated $165.2 million in Medicare costs.
In March, federal health officials issued new guidelines for opioid prescriptions in an effort to curb the crisis, urging doctors to largely avoid prescribing highly addictive painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin when treating patients for chronic pain.
But the Drug Enforcement Administration has stopped short of embracing alternative painkillers, recently declining to loosen restrictions on marijuana and announcing plans to criminalize kratom, an herbal supplement that many say is effective at treating chronic pain and fighting opioid addiction.
At the state level, however, the tide is turning. Twenty-five U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana. Four of those, plus the District of Columbia, have also legalized recreational use of the substance.
“As states with these laws move toward legalizing marijuana more broadly for recreational purposes, future studies are needed to assess the impact these laws may have on opioid use,” Kim said in a statement.”

Now what does this have to do with me trying CBD for the first time ever.  About six weeks after trying it I had a regular 5-1/2 week follow up to get my Intrathecial pump refilled and it seems that the FDA now requires random spot checks on everyone taking opioids and now it was my turn and at the next appointment my pain management Doctor walked into the room, took a scan of my pump and looked at my papers, turned to me and said you showed positive for marijuana and there are two choices, continue with the marijuana which we then can not help you or stop it and we can keep on our treatment plan.  Which way would you like to go?

Since I had only tried it twice and even though I did notice a minor change it was not enough (yet) to get the full effects.  I had to think that being a workers compensation case I realize how long it takes it get approved do I really want to lose it and then wondered what it would be like to lose it and then try to get it back?  Do I really want to go through all of that and even put Trish my wife through it.  

This is what people with chronic pain are faced with, follow the western medicine directives and still stay in 5 or 10 pain, daily or step away from that and try using medical marijuana (which I’m approved for) and hope it gives you pain relief. I’m not happy with my choices as the pain management doctors I’ve been with for eighteen (18) years now and who has put a Intrathecial pain pump upside down once, dry pocketed my pump once, which is when they put the Fentynal directly into my abdomen and not my pump which caused the ICU to pull out the crash cart, four times.  The issue is so far there is only three doctors agencies that work with the Intrathecial Pain Pump in the Sacramento area and who knows it workers compensation will even approve the change in doctors.  We’ll just have to find out.

Thank you for reading my blog,

Richard Kreis

iCare Consulting 

Certified Caregiving Consultant

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