“Doctor, never in my life would I have thought I might end up here asking you about medical Marijuana to treat my pain. I don’t know what else to do. I am at the end of my rope. I can’t keep taking the pain medicine my doctors want to prescribe…its sucking the life right out of me.”
That’s how my conversation with Mary, a 64-year-old Naples, FL resident began.
Mary has been an athlete, avid golfer, swimmer and all-around participant in the joys Naples has to offer her own life, but that was not her story a few months ago.
Due to arthritis in her joints and spine, Mary was reduced to a mostly sedentary life. Unable to sleep through the night due to pain, ensuing depression crept into her whole being.
“The medicines simply don’t work the way they used to,” Mary said. “My doctor wants to keep increasing my dose of Oxycontin and muscle relaxers. He says that’s the only option I have.”
Mary told me she was tired of being constipated and feeling like she’d been drugged.
“I am living in a fog – the weight gain, fatigue and depression – far too much,” she said. “The pills only seem to make it worse.”
As a physician that recommends medical cannabis in Naples and southwest Florida, this is a cry I hear almost daily in my practice.
Mary wisely chose to try two different types of medical cannabis – one to make her finally sleep through the night and one to take during the day that offered pain relief and as well as a sense of calmness she had not experienced in years.
After four months – with tears of gratitude in her eyes – Mary told me she now sleeps seven hours and wakes up feeling refreshed. She has also decreased her OxyContin dose by two-thirds and looks forward to getting off it altogether.
She no longer uses Ambien or Restoril to sleep. She simply takes a dose of cannabis Indica an hour before bedtime. Mary said she’s finally able to dream again.
Two years ago, the people of Florida said enough is enough and voted overwhelmingly to approve Amendment 2, which allows doctors – with proper training – to recommend medical cannabis to their patients seeking other options.
Mary’s story is anything but unique; It is far too common in fact.
As one of a handful of physicians in Collier and Lee County that recommends cannabis for many types of conditions – from cancer to Parkinson’s disease – it is my pleasure to offer my patients an alternative to “standard pain management,” which can lead to overwhelming side effects, and frankly, not much pain relief after a period of time.
It’s all about the neurobiology of the medicinal cannabis; That’s why it works.
We have much to learn together. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but at least I can offer my patients another option.