Cannabis: Pain Relief & Management

Discussion in 'Medicinal Marijuana' started by TylerDurden, Apr 8, 2003.

  1. TylerDurden TylerDurden

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    • Since: Apr 3, 2003
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    What Level of Pain Can Cannabis Alleviate?

    Ive never smoked to relieve pain. in fact, i havent smoked in over a year.

    This back injury is something new to me, and i was wondering this:

    I rate chronic pain in increments, from mild to severe:

    1. OTC analgesics
    2.Motrin 800
    3.Tylenol #3
    4.Tylenol #4
    5.Vicodin
    6.Darvocet

    This is the gamut i have run over time, battling back pain.

    my question, to someone who can relate, is this: In your opinion, could cannabis help me?

    and if so,will it allow me to get slightly medicated but leave me alert enough to perform my daily routine?

    Example: when i am required to do some precision task that requires sharp thought/motor skills, i wont take the full dose of my painkillers. in situations like this, i am not pain free, but i am not in agony either. think i could do that with weed?
  2. CheebaMonkey CheebaMonkey

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    • Since: Dec 19, 2002
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    Chances are only you can answer this question. It can vary from person to person. You're just going to have to try it to figure it out.

    But sometimes the medical dose can be below the psychoactive dose.

    But if you are smoking weed for the medical benefits, and not to get high, you're not going to have to smoke as much like you would to get high. So if you did become impaired, it wouldn't be as bad compared to the impairment that comes from being high.

    I think that some people have been on pain medications and smoked weed. What they did was they smoked pot (obviously), and took their medication. But they could take a lower dose of the pain killers because they smoked pot versus only taking the pain killer (which would require a higher dose).
  3. G33k$m0k3r420 G33k$m0k3r420

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    • Since: Feb 25, 2003
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    I'm still figuring that out.

    I use MJ to cure the pain from my migrane headaches, and my neck and back pain. I usually have to get pretty stoned for severe pain, but it does wonders.
  4. turtle1965 turtle1965

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    • Since: Feb 24, 2003
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    It also varies a lot on the strain.
    I am still looking for the one for me.
    I have fibromyalgia and it really sucks!!!
    You cramp all over, pain everywhere, sinus probs, stomach probs, tmj, migraines and there is no cure!
    I went back to smoking 3 years ago (stopped for 10 years).
    Smoking and exercise help quite a bit.
    There are quite a few strains which are strong and alert.
    Flo is good...Bubbleberry...Hash plant...So many strains...not enough space to grow them.
    Later,
    Turtle
  5. marijane79 marijane79

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    I have been to many different doctors and have been prescribed many different drugs but MJ is the best for them!
  6. Crazy Horse Crazy Horse

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    Tyler, I also have severe back pains (from an injury at work), and in my opinion, yes it does help. When I wake up in the morning, my back is stiff all over. On days that I go to the doctor, I don't smoke right when I wake up, and that's when my back hurts the worst. So for me, yes, it helps tremedously...
  7. Merlin Merlin

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    • Since: Jul 5, 2002
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    I've done tons of experimenting with vicodin+ pills and sweet hydroponic herb after my various surgeries over the past year (car accident 2002).. and truth be told marijuana doesn't actually act as a pain killer in the sense of narcotic painkillers.... but it certainly helps take my mind OFF the pain, and that coupled with even a minor dosage of vicodin is usually enough to do the trick.
  8. mas1888 mas1888

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    a while back i pulled my groin pretty bad and had a partial tear. i was in so much pain when i tried to walk. My parents were out of town so the night it happend i took a bath to soak my leg, and smoked a couple bowls then after i got out the pain was almost gone and it allowed me to walk with out the pain
  9. firsttimer firsttimer

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    • Since: Apr 29, 2003
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    A heavy Indica for sure does pain in. Really sleepy type of High. But it blocks the Nuerons much like Vicoden and other Narcotics. So you can feel what your nerves are sending back. ITs kinda of tricking it. I notice even with Darvaset I can still feel my pain. And I can't stay awake. LOL


    Edit didn't even see both of those threads where created by the same person....:)
  10. TylerDurden TylerDurden

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    • Since: Apr 3, 2003
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    yeah, since i first posted this thread ive experimented a bit and found that one decent hit along with a half dose of either vicodin or ultram makes all my pain go away.

    but for the last 2 days ive been in awful pain...prior to this, id get stabbing pains of this magnitude evey once in awhile, but nothing so constant as this.

    ive been debating with myself about going in and getting a cortisone shot, my doc has suggested them, and up to this point i havent even considered them because the pills had been doing a great job...

    man, if i felt like this all the time id go crazy.

    pain sucks.


    has anyone ever had a cortisone shot for back pain? and did it work? any side effects?
  11. freemonky freemonky

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    • Since: May 18, 2003
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    I think someone hit it on the head in that it works to relieve pain in a very different sense... Rather than dulling the pain (and everything else),which is *aware* of the source without the *unpleasantness* we normally associate with pain, so you're actually less likely to cause additional damage. (er, did that sound right?) But sometimes, it isn't as effective as I'd like, and I'll have to hit the medicine chest.

    I had a series of cortisone injections about a year and a half ago for spasms, and only speaking for myself, they weren't helpful. (But they were mighty expensive, and insurance covered roughly 5%... call first!!) But we probably also have a lot of variables in play... ---If I may ask, what type of pain are you trying to relieve?
  12. TylerDurden TylerDurden

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    "what type of pain are you trying to relieve?"

    a sharp, constant pain in my lower back that increases with movement/bending.

    it increases when i move, increases when i bend to do anything, even to lean over a table so as not to spill food while eating..

    basically, if i do anything besides sitting still, it hurts worse.

    if i just sit or lie still it hurts, but not to the point where it takes my breath away.
  13. SacredNaCl SacredNaCl

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    • Since: Jul 3, 2002
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    Pain Relief...

    I've lived with chronic pain for awhile now, and in a few months I'll have the money to finally get the surgery to end it. I have severe tendonitis and carpal tunnel in one hand, and milder in the other. Switching to voice input software, redesigning my work area, getting a keyboard with a built in mouse pad, tried a wireless mouse to use with the other one, different chairs, taking 6 weeks off of work...and the like.. All of those helped to some degree, but wont completely alleviate the condition. The last option on the table for me is surgical, and I'm taking it to finally get permanent relief even though it scares the crap out of me. I've been in pain since December of 2002. I've had my days of wondering whether I will be able to keep working, pay off my student loans, have to find another career..etc Scary when it happens to you.


    So over the course of these months I've had several different medications for pain and inflammation. Everything from ibuprofen to MS-contin to steroids to muscle relaxants. Here is what I have found:


    As far as muscle-relaxant properties, for me, marijuana is slightly inferior to skelaxin. It probably would help some people in certain kinds of pain that are caused by muscle spams, or muscle tension. It was pretty decent at this.

    As far as anti-inflammatory properties: Less than aspirin, less than even ibuprofen. I expected a little more in this area than it delivered. It did help a slight bit, and had mild effects for a couple of days after.

    Best anti-inflammatory I have tried is good ol' aspirin. Unfortunately it beats the hell out of your stomach to take it for long. Second best was sodium naproxen -- which is even worse than aspirin on my system. Third in that line was Celebrex, it last long enough (about 18-20 hours for a 400mg dose which is twice what doctors want to give most folks) but it doesn't beat the hell of your system as badly. Vioxx was less than Celebrex but lasted about as long. As far as pain fighting abilities, Celebrex and Vioxx don't offer much, but they are decent AI's.

    Pain relief: Best pain medications for me: Vicodin, and Percocet. Marijauna did okay at this, but it wasn't even equivalent for me to taking ibuprofen. However, taking it on top of opiate based pain killers seems to add to the effect. Indicas work better than sativas for this use.

    The one area that I find it useful is that I can take it on top of other medications when I have breakthrough pain. I smoked near daily while I was on celebrex, percocet, steroids, and skelaxin. My constant pain went down over 4 weeks from a 7-8 to 3. It just never fully goes away.

    The hardest part with pain is finding decent doctors who are willing to treat it. I had to go to 4 before I found one who had a clue how disabling chronic pain is and was willing to use the tools he had available to help.

    I have a word of caution for folks about this though. If you are on anti-inflammatory drugs, marijuana can mask some of the stomach side effects. All of the AI's, even the new ones like Celebrex and Vioxx still cause ulcers, erode away your throat, acid..etc Marijuana mask the beginning of those symptoms (so do opiate based pain killers). So you need to be extra careful to avoid that, lest you find yourself not able to take them for a period of time while your stomach heals. This is my firsthand experience and in no way constitutes medical advice, I'm not a doctor. :)
  14. a modified dog a modified dog

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    • Since: Jun 16, 2003
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    do you mean Epidural steroid injection?

    or just a local shot in the area of the pain. A local of cortizine may take the swelling down, but will do nothing for the pain unless coupled with lidocaine or some other -caine. If the pills are working for you, I recommend you do not ramp up to a next step for pain management.

    I've had chronic pain since 1995... or was it '94? Whatever, I'm baked. Anyway, that type of shotwould probably just feel a little uncomfortable for a while, feels like pressure. If there's an anesthetic on board, and if you get some relief, it will be partial relief and very temporary.

    Epidural injections are where they stuff steroids and anti-inflammatories into the space of the disc itself. It can be unnerving, and if poorly executed could lead to temporary or permanent paralasys. I'd had 5 done, and 4 of them were a great relief and helped with rehab. My wife had about the same number, but it was a disaster in her case. Make sure if you get this that the staff where you go is more than competent.

    The meds you're taking tell me you have moderate pain and discomfort. I'm not minimizing your pain, believe me. It's relative. I'm being prescribed heavy narcotics, I can't work or do much of anything I used to, and there's a good chance I have another 30 years of it to go.

    Anyway, in light of where your pain is, I'm really glad it's doing the job for you. This is one of those times you can thank evil drug companies for making the stuff. I'd advise you to ratchet down your doses over time, with your doctors advice, of course.

    Or, don't listen to me. It's entirely possible I've got my head planted firmly up the old poop chute. It's been known to happen.

    Seriously, best wishes, get well soo, and spark a doob.
  15. TylerDurden TylerDurden

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    • Since: Apr 3, 2003
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    i dont think youre talking outta your ass, Modified, thanks for your input.

    as for your question, im not sure what my doc meant by "cortisone shot", if it is to be combined with painkillers or AIs or what..and what it was, epidural or local..he never frikin called me back yesterday..

    though it WAS sunday AND fathers day..but still, people are in need of docs on family holidays too..SOMEONE couldve been left in charge.

    my pills stopped working (darvocet, tramadol, motrin and skelaxin all taken together) so i took an oxy-contin someone gave me a while back and i passed out itching...those things are something else..not sure which is worse-the pain or the itching..but at least the itching takes your mind off the pain..hey!
  16. SacredNaCl SacredNaCl

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    • Since: Jul 3, 2002
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    TylerDurden wrote:

    "my pills stopped working (darvocet, tramadol, motrin and skelaxin all taken together) so i took an oxy-contin someone gave me a while back and i passed out itching...those things are something else..not sure which is worse-the pain or the itching..but at least the itching takes your mind off the pain..hey!" End Quote.


    Benadryl helps a lot with the itches. I get them from Vicodin pretty badly sometimes.

    I've known a couple people who have gotten shots in their back into the disk itself with lidocane and cortisone, and my personal opinion would be don't do it. There is a really high incidence of scaring that can make the condition dramatically worse. Any benefit you would get from it wouldn't last long either. If they want to use steroids, ask them about using steroid creams instead. It will still take it down a bit, and might not lead to the scaring problems. Ask your doctor, and then get a second opinion. I've known a few who say it worked good for them as well and I really don't know what the difference was between the people in one group and the other.. I just know more in the first group than the second.

    As far as pain management goes, maybe just stepping up to a better class of pain killers would do the trick for you. Ultram isn't all that great, darvocet is for mild pain unless they have you on a dose that the tylenol in it would probably beat the hell out of your liver and kidneys. It's no wonder you are having to take motrin on top of it with those two. If I was in your shoes, I would start looking for a new doctor, or at least get a second opinion. The combination you are on will have some serious side effects over time, and it's obviously not giving you the relief you need to get on with living. What else have they offered to correct the underlying problem? Seriously, shop around for a second opinion from a different doctor. You'll probably find one more willing to treat your pain better, and to use less risky combos to do it with. It's your body! You kind of need it, eh?

    The sedating effects of the heavier pain killers go away with time. I was pretty out of it the first few days using MS-Contin and Vicodin together with Skelaxin, Celebrex and steroids, that lasted about a week, then I killed the MS-Contin and got Percocet and it was easier for me to tolerate and do useful things. Instead of laying in bed with pain, or laying in bed because I was sleepy, I was up and doing my daily routine and even went back to work. For me, marijuana is more impairing than the pain killers. At least for doing task that require heavy thought and fine motor skills.

    Is it the spasms causing you the most pain?
  17. TylerDurden TylerDurden

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    no, the spasms arent the major thing lately (prior to this, id get occasional flashes of pain, but they were infrequent) ..

    im not sure what IS the problem, i just know that my back is visibly swelling, and everything hurts(moving, bending, even slightly)

    hell, even sitting still hurts.

    and my goddamned doctor isnt answering his phone. im just gonna mosey on over there and express my displeasure in person.

    ..ill be back..
  18. freemonky freemonky

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    • Since: May 18, 2003
    • Posts: 40
    Tyler,

    Your situation sounds a lot like the trouble I've had with my back... After a car accident, I chipped a couple c vertebrae, and they were missed in the first xray. So six months later, I had surgery, but the shards had damaged the tissue around the area and caused a lot of scarring, partly thanks to six months of intense PT. So a few years later, the consensus seems to be that there's pretty much nothing more to do at this point about the pain, except stretch fanatically, monitor the spine itself (it keeps trying to fuse curved in on itself), and try higher doses of my arthritis meds.

    But it's not the arthritis so much as the swelling around the area that's bothersome/ tortuous... It's a visible muscle contraction involving the top right quarter of my back, sometimes more- and it's relatively permanent. Like a charlie horse that just won't work itself out, knotting and cramping everything around it trying to relieve that one spot. This was the reason for the cortisone treatments-- unfortunately, the needles did cause more scarring, and only helped as long as the lidocaine lasted.

    The muscle relaxants I've taken helped for a while, but I couldn't drive, and sometimes I couldn't stay alert in any sense of the word, then I'd wake up in contortions, so it didn't make any sense to increase the dose anymore. MMJ seems to "chill out" the problems for a day or two, though I kind of accepted that constant stretching can be *good* (sigh!), even when it's mistaken for twitching...

    Cutting a long story short(er), I'd say it's definitely worth a shot. And whether you'll be able to keep up with your curent schedule is up to you and your reactions. For the most part, I can; though I'd rather have a quick smoke before bed so I can sleep and still have the effects the next day, and although I know I can drive, I'm more comfortable not *having* to while high. I have to say I do feel a lot better not dealing in all those pills...

    I'm rambling, I know... I hope I got to my points already.. Hmmm..
  19. TylerDurden TylerDurden

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    • Since: Apr 3, 2003
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    on monday i went in because i was in bad pain and my back was swelling..

    they gave me vicodin 7.5's:rolleyes:

    i called em today and told em the vic's werent doing SH!T for me except making me constipated...theyre calling in something stronger to my pharmacy right now..i think they said percoset or percodan....who knows...they cant very well SUCK any more than the vicodins..

    this REALLY sucks, this is the highest level of pain ive ever been in for any signifigant amount of time(broken bones hurt more, but pain meds cleared that RIGHT up)

    my whole back is cramped and twitching, and my back is swollen out almost a full inch in the vicinity of my injured discs...ive found myself laughing and talking and gibbering to my empty house to keep from crying.

    i feel so focking lame right now. this is wrong. i hate being broken.
  20. SacredNaCl SacredNaCl

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    • Since: Jul 3, 2002
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    Tyler,


    See if they will write you a steroid cream like triamcolone (and I hope you are married or have a girlfriend or something to put it on for you a couple times a day). It's pretty amazing stuff for reducing swelling in a hurry, and the more inflammed you are, the faster it seems to work. It's only a temporary fix though, unless you can fix what causes the swelling it's not going to make it go away. But it should give you some relief "NOW". Plus, doctor shouldn't have a fit with writing it.

    Start out the day with a big bowl of rasin bran to help with being blocked up. I didn't get that from vicodin, or percocet, but I did from MS-Contin (also got severe itching from that one and some nausea).

    I know how god damn awful it feels to be helpless, and not able to do the things you want or even need to. I was at a point several months ago when I couldn't floss my teeth, cook my own food, drive, get the mail, carry in groceries, even tying my shoes took 20 minutes of agony (and I eventually broke down and got sandles with a strap). I felt absolutely useless, and the people around me were not terribly supportive (at least I still had an income from royalties...so they didn't suffer financially while I was completely down). Even getting them to not lock a door (because it was a struggle for me to turn the lock) was a challenge. I hope you have some better folks around you. You married?

    My entire day was get up, scramble to find something to eat that didn't require any effort to cook so I could take meds, take antacids to cope with meds, hit the ice packs and watch 40 minutes of TV, try to lay down to cope with pain, and repeat. I didn't need an alarm to wake me up to remind me to take meds. I woke up every time they wore off, and had to be up another hour to get enough relief to go back to bed. My hands and arms were the size of boxing gloves. I was fighting with doctors every day, running out of money because the first two I saw didn't want to do anything helpful, and ended up having to file a formal complaint on one of them for abuse. Was in it with my boss as I was working as a contractor and had to hire someone else to finish it up because I physically couldn't and that guy was f'ing it up, and just pretty damn miserable. It wears you down, makes you moody, every moment of that was like a damn torture. The one you know is it's going to hurt, and it seems like you are hitting a brick wall to get it to go away or get help. Add in the serious worry if I was ever going to get any better, ever be able to go back to work, that I might lose the use of my hands... I have some really not nice things to say about doctors from this experience.

    I'm still bitter at the way one doctor treated me --it was like putting a band aid on a gun shot wound. When I didn't get results from his totally inappropriate treatment and called back he said "We don't treat pain patients, and I have to bill you for this consult". I sold 2 computers to get the money to see another doctor, and then went back up to his office with a big orange sign about his services, also filed a formal complaint with the state & BBB. If I wasn't in that level of pain I wouldn't of bothered with seeing a doctor.

    Two more trips and I found someone decent -- and it only took me another $500 to do it. That was $500 I really didn't have to spend, but it was the only way to get enough relief to be able to go back to work and keep from being *homeless*. Every one of these guys wants to do another set of redundant test, and sometimes unnecessary ones. Going through that this year, my rage level was pretty high. I'm still struggling with the money from the time off and paying for the meds but at least I'm not in that kind of pain. I'm not quite back to full time yet, but I see some light at the end of the tunnel and just hope this surgeon doesn't mess it up.

    I wish you the best of luck, and hope you have a better experience with the doctors and everything than I had. I know it's rough to be where you are at.

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