Florida Guns and MMJ

Florida Guns and MMJ

Marijuana and Guns in Florida

Medical marijuana use would be so much easier if the Federal laws and the state laws were aligned. But they are not. This means that there are complicated legal questions that remain.

Let’s take guns as an example. Guns are often used by drug traffickers to protect their cargo, so the federal government takes a REALLY dim view of people using illegal drugs and owning firearms.

But in Florida, marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes. Furthermore, it’s possible to get concealed carry weapons permit (CCW permit) in Florida. How do these laws intersect? Let’s start with Florida and then look at how the Federal government might restrict you. Please note that none of this should be taken as legal advice. If you have further questions, please speak with a qualified lawyer.

Florida

Florida Guns and MMJThere is nothing in Florida’s gun laws that says you have to surrender your weapons in order to get a medical marijuana card. You don’t give up your right to bear arms just because you use medical marijuana.

Section 10 of the CCW laws in Florida state that a CCW permit can be revoked or denied if you have been convicted in the past for substance abuse or for violating other laws regarding controlled substances. Getting certified for medical marijuana now won’t overturn those rules, but if you’ve stayed within the law before and continue to follow Florida’s medical marijuana laws, there’s no reason that you can’t apply for a CCW permit.

Likewise, there is nothing in the medical marijuana laws that talk about your firearms or your firearms rights. So you can get a CCW permit and a Medical Marijuana Card with no problems in Florida.

Federal Law

Cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, even for medical purposes. This means that if you catch the attention of a federal officer you can get arrested and tried on some pretty severe charges. The government has said that they’re not going to spend resources chasing individual users, but it is something to be aware of.

However, the ATF has made it hard on medical marijuana users in another way. They are unable to buy a new firearm. Every time a new firearm is sold, a form called a Firearms Transaction Record is filled out and filed with the ATF. One of the questions they ask, 11e at the time of this writing,  states if you are an unlawful user of a controlled substance. There is a bold warning that says that the use or possession of marijuana is still illegal even if has been legalized or decriminalized in the state you reside. If this question is marked yes, the sale will be denied according to the instructions.

This form must be filled out every time a new firearm is purchased from a gun store. However, you could still buy used guns from another gun owner under Florida laws. You can buy ammunition for your current guns. You can use your current guns so long as you stay within the law (i.e. don’t use them while you’re high!)

It would be a bad idea to travel with your guns and your marijuana at the same time. Florida patients are educated about the need to leave their marijuana behind before they try to cross state lines. But it’s still possible to get the attention of a federal agent while still being in Florida. Try not to advertise that you’re a medical marijuana user or that you’re carrying a firearm.

Until the federal government finally decriminalizes marijuana and the laws are untangled from one another, traveling with your guns and marijuana is dangerous. You’ll also be forced to go to other gun owners if you want a new firearm since new sales are controlled by the federal government. But beyond these restrictions, Florida will do nothing to stop you from using medical marijuana, buying a gun, or having a CCW permit.

Florida MMJ Reciprocity and Other Regulations

Florida MMJ Reciprocity and Other Regulations

Florida MMJ Reciprocity and Other Regulations

States often have agreements between each other outside of the federal government. A good example is driver’s licenses. Other states accept out-of-state driver’s licenses for their roads. This is called reciprocity. This same idea applies in some states in regard to medical marijuana laws.

While Florida is not yet offering reciprocity – or the ability to use – for out-of-state medical marijuana cards, some states do allow for this with certain caveats. Here is your guide to where you can use your Florida MMJ Card out of state .

Florida Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Map

State-by-State Reciprocity

  • Alaska – Allows for both recreational and medical marijuana. Out of state medical marijuana cards are not recognized, but any adult over 21 can purchase at a recreational dispensary.
  • Arizona – Arizona, like many medical marijuana states, has a state-specific list of approved conditions. If you are a patient from another state with a condition approved by Arizona, you won’t get into trouble for having your own, but you won’t be able to buy from a dispensary.
  • Arkansas – Allows for the purchase of 2.5 ounces every 14 days by a patient with an approved condition. Arkansas currently allows for “visiting qualified patients” who have a valid MMJ card issued by another state to purchase and possess cannabis.
  • California – Like Alaska, California has legalized recreational use for adults over the age of 21. They can possess up to 28.5 grams of flower and up to 5 grams of concentrates. Residents may also grow up to six plants as long as local regulations allow.
  • Colorado – Like California and Alaska, Colorado has legalized adult-use recreational cannabis. Adults may possess up to one ounce for personal use – however, regulations only allow for the purchase of ¼ an ounce at a time.
  • Connecticut – Connecticut approved medical marijuana use in 2012. Adults with an approved condition may possess up to 2.5 ounces per month unless the physician indicates a lesser amount is appropriate. Currently, this state does not recognize out-of-state MMJ cards.
  • Delaware – Patients with a qualified condition may possess up to six ounces. However, Delaware does not currently recognize MMJ cards issued by other states.
  • Hawaii – Hawaii allows patients with qualified conditions to possess up to four ounces of usable marijuana at any time. Hawaii allows for “qualified patients from other states who have been verified in their home state and registered in Hawaii.”
  • Illinois – Patients with a qualifying condition may possess up to a 14-day supply of up to 2.5 ounces from an intrastate source. Currently, Chicago does not recognize out-of-state MMJ ID cards.
  • Maine – Maine is yet another state that legalized cannabis in 2016. So, whether you have a patient card or not, you can lawfully possess up to 2.5 ounces. However, patient ID cards from other states are recognized, providing the person also registers in Maine.
  • Maryland – Maryland allows for adults with qualifying conditions to possess approximately four ounces unless a physician deems more is needed. If a patient from out-of-state is in Maryland for medical treatment, they can register to receive medical marijuana, but the state does not recognize out-of-state MMJ cards.
  • Massachusetts – In Massachusetts, cannabis is legal for any resident or visitor over the age of 21. Adults with valid government-issued identification may possess up to 1.5 ounces of flower and up to 5 grams of cannabis concentrate.
  • Michigan – Michigan also recently voted to legalize adult-use cannabis. Adults with a valid ID may possess up to 2.5 ounces. The industry is also allowing one year (2019-2020) for the development of the adult-use market. Michigan does recognize out-of-state patient ID cards.
  • Minnesota – Minnesota currently only allows for certain qualified conditions, and only allows for liquid extract products only. Currently, out-of-state MMJ cards are not accepted.
  • Missouri – Missouri had voters approve medical marijuana in 2018. The law went into effect on December 3, 2018. The Department of Health will establish a limit for a 30-day supply that may not be less than four ounces. Adults with approved conditions may possess up to a 60-day supply. Currently, Missouri does not recognize out-of-state cards.
  • Montana – Medical marijuana has been approved for certain conditions, and details are currently pending. The state does not currently recognize out-of-state MMJ cards.
  • Nevada – Nevada has legalized recreational marijuana. Adults can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 14 days. While the state did formerly recognize out-of-state MMJ cards from programs that were “substantially similar,” that stopped in March 2018.
  • New Hampshire – Adults with qualifying conditions in New Hampshire may possess up to 2 ounces for use within a 10-day period. New Hampshire does recognize out-of-state MMJ cards, but only for possession, not for purchase inside the state.
  • New Jersey – New Jersey allows for adults with approved conditions to possess up to a 30-day supply, which shall not exceed 2 ounces. Currently, New Jersey does not recognize out-of-state cards.
  • New Mexico – New Mexico allows for patients with authorized conditions to have up to eight ounces in a three-month period. New Mexico does not currently recognize out-of-state cards.
  • New York – Cannabis is allowed for authorized conditions and can possess up to a 30-day supply. New York does not currently allow for out-of-state MMJ cards.
  • North Dakota – North Dakota allows for adults with approved conditions to possess 3 ounces of marijuana for a 30-day period. This state does not currently recognize out-of-state MMJ cards.
  • Ohio – Patients with approved conditions may possess up to a 30-day supply, with an amount to be determined. Currently, Ohio does not recognize out-of-state cards, but the bill approving MMJ does require the state to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states.
  • Oklahoma – Oklahoma allows for medical marijuana for approved conditions, which is determined by the recommending physician. Patients visiting Oklahoma with an MMJ card from another state may get a temporary registration from Oklahoma at a cost of $100. Possession is limited to three ounces.
  • Oregon – Another recreational state, Oregon legalized adult-use marijuana back in 2014. They don’t recognize out-of-state MMJ cards, but any adult can purchase with valid ID.
  • Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania does not approve dry leaf marijuana but does approve oils, tinctures, and liquid for those with approved conditions. Currently, Pennsylvania does not recognize out-of-state MMJ cards.
  • Rhode Island – Adults with approved conditions may possess up to 2.5 ounces of dried marijuana flower. Those with out-of-state MMJ cards may purchase and possess medical cannabis so long as they have a condition qualifying them under Rhode Island’s regulations.
  • Utah – Adults with approved conditions may possess 113 grams of unprocessed cannabis. They may also possess a product that contains no more than 20 grams of THC. Currently, it is unknown if Utah accepts other MMJ cards.
  • Vermont – Although the state legislature has approved the recreational use of marijuana, patients with approved conditions may also purchase medical marijuana. Currently, Vermont does not recognize out-of-state MMJ cards.
  • Washington – Washington legalized adult-use cannabis in 2014. Like Oregon, they don’t recognize out-of-state MMJ cards, but anyone over 21 can purchase at a dispensary with appropriate ID.

OK, So What’s the Deal with the Recreational States Who Are Also the Medical States?

States that have recreational and medical marijuana programs allow for medical patients to buy marijuana with their card issued by a state with a certification from marijuana doctors. In some states, and at some dispensaries, prices may be somewhat lower for those possessing medical marijuana cards. Some states also allow those with medical marijuana cards to pay a lower tax rate than those who are purchasing for recreational use.

The medical and recreational marijuana laws vary greatly state-by-state. For more information on which states have reciprocity as well as an in-depth look at current laws, there is a good resource here. This site is a good reference for the individual laws in each state as well as whether or not there is reciprocity. Always be sure to check with individual states before traveling if you are a medical marijuana patient to ensure you are abiding by the local laws.

Marijuana and Meditation

Marijuana as an Aphrodisiac? Studies Say “Yes!”

Marijuana as an Aphrodisiac? Studies Say “Yes!”

Looking to spice up your sex life? Cannabis may hold the answer!

Of course, conditions such as “erectile dysfunction” don’t exactly qualify you for medical marijuana use. But if you do have a qualifying condition, there’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of marijuana’s other medicinal properties.

And this could be good news for men and women who don’t want to pay outrageous prices for sexual enhancement drugs. Viagra and Cialis costs $50 a pill without insurance. The enhancement drug Addyi, specifically designed for women, costs $800 for a one-month supply.

In this post, we’ll discuss why marijuana can work as an aphrodisiac. We’ll also give you some tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking about bringing cannabis into the bedroom.

People Have Used Marijuana as an Aphrodisiac for a LONG Time

The use of marijuana as an aphrodisiac goes at least as far as back as the seventh century. Cannabis was used by the ancient Indians as part of their tantric sex rituals. Instead of smoking it, however, cannabis was mixed with milk and various herbs, spices, and nuts to create a drink called bhang.

Bhang not only helped increase sexual pleasure, but it was also used as an aid to spiritual enlightenment. Talk about getting more bhang for your buck!

(Come on. That one was too easy).

In 1930s Russia, virgin brides used a mixture of cannabis and lamb fat to help ease the pain of first-time sex. And, of course, it also made sex a lot more enjoyable!

Why Marijuana Works As an Aphrodisiac

More research is needed on the aphrodisiac effects of marijuana, but here’s what we do know:

  • Marijuana works directly with our body’s endocannabinoid system, which controls, among other things, our coordination, memory, and our feelings of pain and pleasure.
  • When we consume marijuana, chemical compounds known as cannabinoids enter our bloodstream and bind with receptors in our brains.
  • This is why people typically experience euphoria when they use marijuana. And it may explain why sex feels even better than normal when we’re under marijuana’s influence.

What Studies Say About Marijuana as an Aphrodisiac

  • Business Insider published a report on a study which found that 50 percent of participants felt “aphrodisiac effects” after using marijuana. 75 percent said that marijuana increased their overall sense of pleasure.
  • These findings are fairly consistent with other studies. In 1970, Former sociology professor Erich Goode conducted a survey on this subject. He found that 50 percent of marijuana users felt aphrodisiac effects, whereas two-thirds said it increased their feelings of pleasure.
  • In 1983, a study performed by the Journal of Sex Research got nearly the exact same results as the 1970 Goode survey.

3 Things You Should Know Before Using Marijuana as an Aphrodisiac

  1. Marijuana Enhances What You’re Already Feeling

Marijuana isn’t an aphrodisiac in the sense that, once you take it, it automatically makes you more interested in having sex.

Rather, marijuana tends to enhance what thoughts and feelings you’re already experiencing. If you’re in the presence of someone who you already find attractive, marijuana may enhance that feeling and make sex with that person more pleasurable.

On the other hand, if you’re with someone that you’re not attracted to, marijuana is just as likely to make you want to get away from that person, sit on the couch, and eat Fritos.

2. Different Types and Strains Will Have Different Effects

Marijuana isn’t a “catch-all” aphrodisiac that has the same, consistent effect on everybody.

We all have different bodies and temperaments. As a result, we all respond differently to marijuana, depending on the type and strain we’re using.

Two very basic examples are:

  • The “body high” you get from using indicas, which make you more relaxed
  • The “head high” you get from sativas, which make you feel more energized and alert

It’s possible that both of these types of marijuana could be useful for sexual activity. It all depends on you and how you react to them. You may have to experiment. If you’re not too shy, ask your budtender for a recommendation.

3. Less is More.

A woman sent in a letter to Leafly, saying that she and her boyfriend had both eaten a 120 mg edible and smoke two joints over the course of two days. They tried to have sex on the second day, only to find that their “nether regions” had become numb.

The lesson here is pretty clear: too much marijuana can kill the romance. The main culprit was probably that 120 mg edible, which most likely overwhelmed their nervous systems and caused their private parts to “go dark.”

But when it comes to sex, there’s also such a thing as using too little marijuana. Former professor Erich Goode observed that consuming 50 joints over the course of six months (a little more than two joints a week) can enhance sexual performance. On the other hand, smoking less than a joint a week can actually hurt your performance.

In other words, you’ll need to find your own personal “Goldilocks zone” – not too little but not too much!

What do you think about marijuana as an aphrodisiac? Have you ever used it for that reason? Or do you prefer to keep cannabis out of the bedroom? Share your comments with us on Facebook!

Vape Pen Tutorial For Beginners

Vape Pen Tutorial For Beginners

Vape Pen Tutorial For Beginners

Not every medical marijuana patient likes the burnt, skunky smell of cannabis in their living room. And if you live with other people who aren’t medical patients, they may not like that smell either.

Also, you’re bringing that smoke directly into your lungs. Smoking marijuana may be safer than smoking tobacco, but that doesn’t mean it’s great for you.

“There’s always edibles,” you may say. “ I don’t have to smoke marijuana if I can just eat it.”

Awesome! We love edibles. They’re very useful to patients who don’t mind waiting 30 minutes to two hours for them to kick in. But for patients who need immediate relief, the “edibles wait-time” can be frustrating.

Then there’s the issue of edible dosage: how well can you control it? You may need more medicine on certain days than on others, but it’s hard to be precise when you’re cutting up a brownie.

Patients who don’t want to smoke or eat marijuana should consider vaporizers – specifically the vape pen. And for those of you who have no idea what that is, keep reading our vape pen tutorial for beginners!

What are Vaporizers?

Marijuana vaporizers do just that: they turn your marijuana into a vapor that you can inhale.

  • The vaporizer will heat your marijuana at a temperature anywhere from 175 to 210 degrees.
  • At this temperature, the cannabinoids and terpenes in your marijuana will evaporate, allowing you to inhale them.
  • The experience is similar to smoking, but remember: you’re not bringing smoke into your lungs. You’re bringing in vapor. That means no harsh toxins or carcinogens, for the most part. It’s a smoother, cleaner experience that may generate a more powerful “high,” because you’re inhaling pure cannabinoids.
  • Vape pens, in particular, give off a slight, almost unnoticeable odor, so you don’t have to worry about smelling up the whole house.

So What Are Vape Pens?

Vape pens are portable vaporizers that are shaped like pens. Because of their shape and small size, they can be carried anywhere and used discreetly.

Boom, there’s your vape pen tutorial right there! That was easy, wasn’t it? Thanks for reading and good luck figuring the rest out!

Just kidding. We know it’s a little more complicated than that.

There are four main components to a vape pen: the battery, cartridge/chamber, mouthpiece and the charger.

The Battery

Don’t let the name “battery” fool you. It’s not the kind of battery that you insert into a device.

A vape pen battery is actually the main body of the pen. Once you attach the cartridge/chamber and mouthpiece to the battery, you have a fully formed vape pen.

The Chamber / Cartridge and Mouthpiece

If you have a vape pen that vaporizes dry herb/flower, then it will typically come with:

  • A chamber to hold the plant material
  • A mouthpiece through which to inhale the vapor.

On the other hand, oil vape pens either have a refillable oil cartridge and mouthpiece, or they use a pre-filled, disposable cartridge with a mouthpiece already attached.

The Charger

Eventually, your vape pen battery will run out of power, and you’ll need to recharge it. Your vape pen should come with a USB charger that you can attach to your battery. Then you just plug it into a wall socket or a computer.

How to Use a Vape Pen

1. Do your research

There’s a lot of different kinds of vape pens out there.

First, decide which type of pen you want (dry herb or oil). Once you’ve narrowed it down a bit, start researching different brands. Compare and contrast their benefits and downsides.

Things to consider include:

  • Price
  • Whether or not the pen is easy to use
  • Oil quality – How was it made? Does it contain any toxic chemicals?
  • Battery quality – How long does it hold a charge? Does it break often? Does it come with a warranty?
  • Reviews – What are people saying about the product? Are the reviews mostly positive or negative?

2. Once You Have Your Vape Pen, Figure Out How It Works

You’ll notice we said, “Figure out how it works” and not “Read the instructions.”

That’s because your vape pen might come with instructions, but you shouldn’t take it for granted.

One of our team members recently purchased a popular brand of vape pen, and it didn’t come with instructions. Luckily, a dispensary staff member gave him a thorough tutorial. Also, the vape pen company had instructions on their website.

Instructions may vary when it comes to vape pen, but you’ll definitely need to…

3. Charge the Battery

Attach your USB charger to the battery. Plug it into a wall socket or a computer. A red light will appear, indicating that the battery is charging. The red light should turn green once the battery is fully charged.

How long will it take to fully charge? Again, the exact time may vary, but you should expect to charge it anywhere from two to four hours.

4. Attach Your Cartridge / Chamber

We included videos further down below to show you how this step works with three different kinds of vape pens.

5. Inhale

Some vape pens turn on automatically the minute you start inhaling. Others have a button on the battery that needs to be pressed.

When you inhale for the first time, don’t overdo it, especially if you’re vaping with a concentrated oil. That oil may be more potent than dry flower, so use your initial puff to figure out just how strong it is.

Inhale for a period of about two to three seconds. Then wait 10 minutes to gauge the effects. If you feel you are ready for another dose, inhale again.

We Promised Vape Pen Tutorial Videos. Here They Are.

DISCLAIMER: We don’t officially endorse any of the products or dispensaries shown in these vape pen tutorial videos. We like these clips simply because they offer short, clear examples of how different types of vape pens work.

 

Dry Herb

 

Refillable Oil Cartridge

 

Pre-filled, Disposable Oil Cartridge

We hope you enjoyed our vape pen tutorial for beginners!

Vape pens are a great, easy way to get into the vaporization world, but don’t take our word for it. Check them out for yourselves.

Do you use vape pens? Do you have a particular type or brand that’s your favorite, or do you dabble in all kinds? Visit us on social media and let us know what you think!

And, as always, if you’re ready to become a medical marijuana patient, give us a call at (702)-707-2414 or click here to schedule an appointment today!

 

Medical Marijuana And Opioid Addiction

Medical Marijuana and Opioid Addiction

Medical Marijuana and Opioid Addiction

Over 30,000 Americans died from opioid overdose in 2015.

That’s 600 people a week. It’s rightfully being called an “epidemic.”

The thing is…we didn’t just get here gradually. The body count didn’t go up, one by one, over the years, until we finally reached over 30,000.

No, opioid use has skyrocketed within a very short period of time. And the pharmaceutical industry deserves a lot of the blame.

The irony? Medical marijuana could be a viable treatment for opioid addiction and prevention.

That’s right: marijuana. The drug that has been demonized for decades as a “gateway” drug.  Some researchers, doctors, and journalists believe it could be a gateway that leads away from harder drug use.

Anti-drug crusaders like AG Jeff Sessions don’t believe medical marijuana and opioid addiction belong in the same sentence.

The science says otherwise, and so do we. Medical marijuana and opioid addiction do have a connection: just not the one people immediately assume.

If you’re currently struggling with opioid addiction, keep reading to learn how medical marijuana might be able to help you.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are drugs that act on our nervous system in order to relieve pain.

Remember: many of the opioids responsible for this epidemic are perfectly legal and can be prescribed by doctors. This includes drugs such as:

  • oxycodone
  • hydrocodone
  • codeine
  • morphine
  • fentanyl (which is sometimes 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin)

The most commonly-known illegal opioid is heroin.

How Do Opioids Work?

Opioids bind to opioid receptors in your brain and throughout your body.

  1. Your Limbic System – The limbic system manages your emotions. When opioids affect the limbic system, you feel pleasure, relaxation, and contentment.
  2. Your Brain Stem – Your brain stem controls automatic body functions such as your breathing. Opioids can slow down your breathing rate and eliminate coughs.
  3. Your Spinal Cord – By affecting your spinal cord, opioids reduce pain sensations that are sent to your brain

What Are the Side Effects of Opioids?

Side effects can include:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • respiratory depression

Why are Opioids Addictive?

Withdrawal

Your body produces its own natural opioids. When people take high dosages of opioids, their bodies don’t produce as much of their own natural opioids.

After all, why should it keep making something that it’s already getting for free?

And that’s why people can experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. Their bodies don’t make enough natural opioids to pick up the slack.

Withdrawal symptoms  include:

  • muscle pain
  • anxiety
  • excessive perspiration
  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • high blood pressure
  • rapid heartbeat

For some, these withdrawal symptoms are enough to drive people back to opioids.

Tolerance

Over time, opioids lose their power. A single dose doesn’t pack the same punch as it did when you first started taking them.

So you have to take higher doses in order to order to get the desired effects. As you take more and more, you put yourself at greater risk of overdosing.

Non-Medical Use / Recreational Use

Let’s not beat around the bush: opioids make us feel good when we use them. That’s part of their job: take away the pain and make you feel better.

In fact, opioids make us feel so good, they can become addictive for that reason alone. People might want to keep using them, even if they’re no longer feeling chronic pain.

And that’s how people wind up using them in ways they were never intended to be used.

Some opioids, such as oxycodone, have an  “extended release” function. This allows the drug to work over a long period of time and prevents you from being overwhelmed by euphoria and intoxication.

But some opioid users want an instant, powerful high, so they crush and snort their pills. Or they inject them directly into their bloodstream. Users get a stronger high after doing this, but they’re also putting their lives in danger.

Why Are Opioid Overdoses So Dangerous?

Opioids affect your brain stem, which controls your breathing. If you overdose, you could stop breathing and die from asphyxiation. That risk goes up if you mix opioids with alcohol.

Some opioid users experience irregular heartbeats, which also have the potential to be fatal.

What Caused the Opioid Crisis?

This Vox video offers a great breakdown of how the opioid epidemic got to where we are today:

Here are the most important facts:

  • During the 90s, the federal government and advocacy groups pressured doctors to treat pain as a “serious medical issue.” At the time, almost 100 million Americans were suffering from chronic pain.
  • Drug companies like Purdue Pharma claimed that opioid painkillers were safer, more powerful, and less addictive than other types of painkillers.
  • By 2012, doctors had given out 259 MILLION prescriptions for opioid painkillers; that’s enough for every adult American to get a bottle.
  • Millions got hooked. In 2014, almost 19,000 people die from opioid overdoses.
  • Doctors tried to pull back on these prescriptions but the damage was already done. Patients had already become addicted, and when they were unable to get more opioids from their physicians, they turned to an illegal opioid: heroin.
  • Heroin overdoses have gone up by 500% since 2000. 10,000 people died of heroin overdoses in 2014.
  • In 2007, Purdue Pharma pled guilty to misleading doctors, regulators, and patients about OxyContin’s potential for abuse. They shelled out  $634.5 million in fines.
  • Federal and state governments are finally responding. They’re funding opioid prevention and treatment programs, but we still need an alternative treatment for chronic pain.

And that’s where medical marijuana comes in.

Medical Marijuana and Opioid Addiction: What the Research Shows

  • Studies show that medical marijuana can effectively treat chronic pain. Remember: it was chronic pain that got us into this mess in the first place. At the end of the day, people were searching for a powerful, effective treatment for pain. Medical marijuana offers that.
  • Medical marijuana and opioid addiction are connected because of the issue of chronic pain. However, the connection ends there. Marijuana is nowhere near as a lethal as opioids. To date, there are ZERO cases of fatal marijuana overdoses. Ever. Compare that to over 30,000 opioid deaths in 2015 alone.
  • Medical marijuana can ease opioid withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for people to quit them. A clinic in Massachusetts reported that three-quarters of their patients stopped using opioids after switching to marijuana.
  • Opioid-related deaths dropped by 25% in states with legalized medical marijuana, as opposed to states that still outlaw it.

What This Means for Nevadans

Nevada has the fourth highest number of fatal drug overdoses in the country.

If you’re a Nevadan who’s struggling with an opioid addiction because of chronic pain, know that you’re not alone. There is hope.

Our team is available to answer any questions you may have about using medical marijuana to treat your chronic pain. Please feel free to give us a call anytime.

And if you’re ready to receive the healing benefits of medical marijuana, schedule an appointment with us today! We look forward to helping you get the right treatment.

Is Marijuana A Gateway Drug

Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Many people still call marijuana a gateway drug. Not just everyday people either. We’re talking about our political leaders.

Back in 2015, New Jersey governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie said that he was against marijuana legalization and would like to see a federal crackdown on states like Washington and Colorado.

His reasoning? “Marijuana is a gateway drug,” he said.

Even more recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed that marijuana is only “slightly less awful” than heroin, dismissing the notion that marijuana could effectively combat opioid addiction (we’ll tackle this subject a little bit later in the post).

If high-profile government officials still don’t believe in the medicinal value of marijuana, it’s no wonder that people still call marijuana a gateway drug.

But is that even true? Is marijuana a gateway drug?

We at Dr. Green Relief believe in giving patients the information they need so that they can decide whether or not medical marijuana is right for them. We also believe that calling marijuana a gateway drug is not only wrong; it’s potentially harmful.

  • Politicians who believe that marijuana is a gateway drug create and maintain laws that make medical marijuana consumption illegal, depriving many worthy, qualifying patients of necessary treatment.
  • Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, qualifying patients may refuse to consider medical marijuana as a viable treatment because they’re afraid it will somehow lead them down the road to cocaine/heroin/meth addiction.

So if marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, how did this myth become so popular? Where did it even come from?

The Origin of the Gateway Drug Theory

In the 1970s, the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded a study conducted by Dr. Denise Kandel of Columbia University. The institute wanted Kandel to find evidence that marijuana use led to harder drug use.

It was Kandel who eventually coined the term “gateway drug.” But when she did so, she wasn’t talking about marijuana.

Kandel was only supposed to study the effects of marijuana, but she expanded her research to include nicotine and alcohol.

It’s a good thing she made that choice.

She found that young people typically use legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco before using marijuana.

Furthermore, Kandel concluded that nicotine is the true “gateway drug; its effect on the brain actually “primes” the brain for harder substances like cocaine.

If this is all news to you, it’s probably because anti-marijuana propaganda has been extremely effective at ignoring/burying this information for decades. However, the truth is starting to come to light

Nicotine and Alcohol: the “Real” Gateway Drugs

Last year, the Washington Post reported a study conducted by the University of Florida and Texas A&M.

The study focused on teenage drug use. 12th graders were asked, “What was the first drug you ever tried?” Here were the results:

  • Alcohol: 54%
  • Tobacco: 32%
  • Marijuana: 14%

These findings are similar to Dr. Kandel’s study on gateway drugs.  Not much has changed in four decades.

But Aren’t Marijuana Users More Likely to Use Harder Drugs than Non-Users?

Yes, that is true.

But it’s important that we make a distinction between correlation and causation.

Correlation means that two events are connected to one another.

Causation means that one event actually causes the other event to occur.

When anti-marijuana groups call marijuana a gateway drug, they’re suggesting that there’s something about marijuana that makes people want to try harder drugs. Take away the marijuana, and supposedly, fewer people will use more dangerous substances.

But there’s no evidence that this is the case. In fact, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences debunked this theory back in 1999 – which goes to show you how stubborn and persistent the theory is.

Although people who use marijuana are more likely to use harder drugs than people who’ve never used marijuana, that doesn’t mean marijuana makes you want to try those drugs.

A Simple Analogy

Look at this way: children who play with toy swords are probably more likely to grow up and become sword-fighting instructors than children who never played with toy swords.

In other words, if you asked a sword-fighting instructor, “Did you play with toy swords as a child?” the answer will probably be “Yes.” You’d have a difficult time finding a sword-fighting instructor who never touched a toy sword as a kid.

But that doesn’t mean that toy swords are a gateway to becoming a sword-fighting instructor.

We’re willing to bet that most children who play with toy swords don’t become sword-fighting instructors.

Here’s the question we really need to be asking: do the majority of people who use marijuana typically go on to use harder, more addictive substances?

Here are the facts:

  • A little less than half of all Americans over the age of 12 have used marijuana
  • Less than 15% have used cocaine
  • Less than 2% have used heroin

Does it still seem reasonable to call marijuana a gateway drug? Because if it were true, there would be far more people using cocaine and heroin in this country.

But there aren’t.

Socioeconomic factors, mental illness/trauma and genetics play a far more pivotal role in determining whether someone might become addicted to drugs – more so than whether or not they’ve used marijuana.

So Is Medical Marijuana 100% Safe?

People can and do abuse medicines of all types. Marijuana is no exception. Part of our work is to ensure that our patients use medical marijuana in a safe and responsible manner.

Context is everything. For example, the coca leaf has been used as a natural medicine for thousands of years; it’s only when it’s processed and turned into cocaine that it becomes something extremely dangerous and addictive.

The irony is that there’s currently an opioid epidemic in America, and yet, from a legal perspective, it’s easier for patients to get an opioid prescription than it is for them to get medical marijuana!

And although Attorney General Jeff Sessions believes marijuana is only “slightly less awful” than opioids, the evidence suggests otherwise. You can fatally overdose on opioids. It is virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana.

Marijuana Could Help Fight Opioid Addiction

A small group of addiction specialists and pain doctors are using medical marijuana to help transition their patients away from harder substances, like opiates.

Studies suggest that cannabinoids can help reduce opiate withdrawal symptoms. Another fact to consider is this: fewer people die from opioid overdoses in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Now it’s only fair to say that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.

But the research looks promising, and if marijuana can help people overcome opioid addiction, it could literally change millions of lives for the better.

Unfortunately, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, meaning that the federal government doesn’t recognize marijuana’s medicinal value. Until the law changes, it will be difficult to conduct the kind of research necessary to verify these claims.

A Gateway to Healing

For decades, marijuana has been stigmatized by the political, medical and media establishments. Calling marijuana a gateway drug has been right up there with the “Just Say ‘No'” campaign.

Thankfully, our country is undergoing a massive cultural shift. Most Americans now support the legalization of medical marijuana.

Rather than being a gateway that leads to drug addiction, marijuana has the potential to lead patients into a pain-free, addiction-free and anxiety-free way of life. We only need to question the “War on Drugs” propaganda that we’ve been exposed to for so many years. Then we’ll be able to see what’s right in front of our faces: a truly beneficial, medicinal plant.

Do you qualify for medical marijuana use in Florida but have safety concerns? Feel free to give us a call, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. And if you’re ready to apply for a medical marijuana card in Florida, schedule an appointment today!

Marijuana And Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Marijuana and Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Marijuana and Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

We still don’t know what causes fibromyalgia.

But we do know that it’s a chronic pain disorder that affects 5 million people in the U.S. The most common symptoms are muscle and bone pain and fatigue. Other symptoms include

  • Points of tenderness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

After seeing that list, you can imagine why fibromyalgia is such a devasting disease. Often, the pain is so overwhelming that it impacts a person’s emotional and mental well-being as well as their physical health. It can feel as if the disease is taking over your life, and it’s no wonder that some patients invest hours and hours of research into their condition, trying to find an effective way to treat the pain.

But what are the options?

FDA-Approved Drugs For Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Milnacipran (Savella)

For some, these drugs can effectively treat fibromyalgia. But anecdotal evidence suggests that many patients don’t get the relief that they need from these medications.

Another problem is that all three of these drugs come with potentially serious side effects; your kidneys and liver can take a huge beating when using these drugs.

In some cases, doctors will prescribe opioids for fibromyalgia pain relief. But as we’ve written before, opioids also have serious side effects like constipation, sexual dysfunction, and dependency/addiction.

Why Medical Marijuana Could Help Fibromyalgia Sufferers

For patients looking for a natural fibromyalgia pain relief treatment, medical marijuana may offer them the solution they’re looking for.

Meet Juliet Hopper, a management consultant who suffers from fibromyalgia and cervical cancer. She moved from Ohio to California so that she could have access to medical marijuana. Here’s her story, as reported by National Geographic:

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The video includes a nifty animation that depicts cannabinoids (marijuana’s active compounds) binding with cannabinoid receptors in the human body. These receptors are part of the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating important functions like

  • Motor control
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Pain

That’s how marijuana is able to work its magic: when it binds with the receptors in your body, it “calms down” the pain signals sent to your brain.

Marijuana May Be More Effective at Treating Fibromyalgia Than FDA-Approved Medicines

In March of 2014, the National Pain Foundation and National Pain Report did a survey of over 1300 fibromyalgia patients.

Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Cymbalta

  • 60 percent said the drug had no effect
  • 32 percent said it worked mildly well
  • 8 percent said it worked very well

Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Lyrica:

  • 61 percent said the drug had no effect
  • 29 percent said it worked mildly well
  • 10 percent said it worked very well

Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Savella

  • 68 percent said that the drug had no effect
  • 22 percent said it worked mildly well
  • 10 percent said it worked very well

Of the Patients Who’ve Tried Medical Marijuana:

  • 62 percent said that it worked very well
  • 33 percent said it worked mildy well
  • 5 percent said that it had no effect

When you compare the FDA-approved drugs, their numbers are about the same. But when you compare those numbers to the medical marijuana numbers, they practically flip. More people are getting fibromyalgia pain relief through marijuana than the standard prescription drugs.

In the video below, Teri Robnett of Colorado talks about how she initially used prescription drugs for fibromyalgia, but she grew worried about the side effects and drug interactions. She switched to medical marijuana, and now things are looking up:

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A couple important things to note here:

  • Because the symptoms of her condition change from day to day, Teri is able to create a highy individualized treatment regimen based on her needs at the moment. Vaporized medicine gives her immediate relief before going to bed; edibles help make sure she gets a good night’s sleep; and CBD-based medicines provide her with pain relief during the day while allowing her to remain clear-headed.
  • Because of the effectiveness of the medicine, she’s able to continue doing the things that are important to her: spending time with grandchildren and being actively involved in her community.

What About You?

Have you tried using medical marijuana to treat your fibromyalgia, or are you thinking about it? We want to hear what you have to say, so write to us in the comment section below.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia or any other type of chronic pain condition, schedule an appointment with our doctor to find out if medical marijuana is right for you!

Can You Overdose On Marijuana

Can You Overdose On Marijuana?

Can You Overdose On Marijuana?

Will too much marijuana kill you? Can you overdose on marijuana just as easily as you can on cocaine, opioids, or even alcohol?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems to think so. According to him, marijuana is only “slightly less awful” than heroin. And if marijuana is really that dangerous, then a marijuana overdose could definitely kill you, without question.

Right?

Our goal at Dr. Green Relief is to keep our patients up-to-date on the latest science surrounding medical marijuana. We want you to be able to separate fact from fiction, truth from propaganda.

We also don’t want to minimize the potential risks that come with using this medicine.

Which is why, in this post, we’ll be tackling the issue of marijuana overdosing: does it happen and is it fatal?

Here goes.

Here is the Number of People Who Have Died From an Overdose on Marijuana

Zero.

We’re not making this up. The CDC reports that, as of January 17, there has still been no record of any fatalities due to marijuana overdose.

On another section of their website, the CDC goes on to say that dying because of a marijuana overdose is “unlikely.”

Now, why is that?

Maybe it’s because you’d have to smoke 1500 pounds of cannabis in 15 minutes to achieve a fatal dose.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that it’s virtually impossible to consume that much marijuana. You’d most likely pass out before even making it through the first half-ounce.

(And readers, please don’t consider that to be an official challenge because it’s not. We advocate responsible use of medical marijuana!)

Now Compare That to These Other Drugs Overdose Death Rates

  • Alcohol Poisoning: Over 2,200 deaths a year
  • Opioids (prescription and heroin): 33,000 deaths in 2015 alone
  • Acetaminophen: 980 deaths a year

Even aspirin is more toxic than marijuana!

Why is It So Hard to Fatally Overdose on Marijuana?

Cannabinoids, the active ingredient in marijuana, bind with cannabinoid receptors found in your brain and nervous system. The receptors are part of your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for your motor control, memory, appetite, and sensations of pain and pleasure.

According to the National Cancer Institute, cannabinoid receptors are not found in the area of the brainstem that controls respiration.

Opioid receptors, on the other hand, are found in this area, which is why an opioid overdose can lead to asphyxiation.

The same goes for alcohol poisoning. Alcohol affects the nerves that control breathing and your gag reflex. In the case of an alcohol overdose, your breathing could stop. Or if you vomit, you could wind up choking to death on it.

Sorry, Mr. Attorney General. Marijuana isn’t “slightly less awful” than heroin…or alcohol, for that matter.

But It IS Possible to Consume Too Much Marijuana

It may be unlikely that you’ll die from an overdose on marijuana, but you can still consume more marijuana than you’re physically and psychologically comfortable with.

Signs that you’ve consumed too much marijuana include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dryness of mouth

Some people have exercised poor judgment while under the influence of marijuana, such as getting behind the wheel of a car, and they’ve died because of it.

It’s important that patients understand the risks and negative side effects of medical marijuana, just like they would with any prescription drug.

How to Avoid Overdosing on Marijuana

Go Easy on the Edibles

One of the easiest ways to overdose on marijuana is via edibles. Some people, especially first-time users, may not know their tolerance level, and so they might consume an entire brownie when all they really need is a small piece.

A standard dose of THC for a beginner is between 5 to 10 milligrams. If you use that as a window, you should be okay.

Always check to see how many milligrams of THC is contained in the entire edible. Then divide the edible up into the dosage level that you’re most comfortable with. This can be a little difficult when you’re dealing with a sticky, chewy edible, but do the best you can.

Smoking and Vaping

You can control your dosage a little easier when you’re smoking. After your first hit, wait about 15 minutes to let the marijuana affect you before taking any more.

Vaping is easier on your lungs than smoking, but you’ll want to use caution here, especially if you’re vaporizing marijuana concentrates.

Some concentrates contain up to 90 percent THC. In those cases, you definitely don’t need to inhale as much vapor as you would regularly smoke.

Take a small, “baby” hit first. Then wait 15-30 minutes before dosing again.

What to Do If You’ve Overdosed On Marijuana

Sometimes, even the most experienced patient can make a mistake and wind up with more marijuana in their system than they know what to do with. Here are some tips to help you get you through to the other side of an unpleasant high.

  • Know that it’s only temporary. Eventually, you’ll come down from the high.  You may not come down as quickly as you want, but you will sober up. Remembering this can help you stay calm.
  • Breathe deeply. Our anxiety and stress levels are linked to our breathing patterns. When we take shallow breaths, high up in the chest, it’s hard to relax. Instead, take deep breaths, expanding your belly as you breathe. This style of breathing, which is used in meditation and yoga, helps to calm us down as well as lower our heart rate.
  • Put on some music. If your mind is racing, music can give you something pleasant to focus on. Try whatever type of music relaxes you. If you can’t think of anything, reggae is always a good choice!
  • If you feel like you need medical attention, go to the emergency room. Don’t drive to the hospital. Ask a friend to take you there. If there’s no one available to give you a lift, call 911.

Have you ever taken too much marijuana? If so, how did you handle it? Let us know on Facebook!

Using Marijuana During Pregnancy

Using Marijuana During Pregnancy: Is it Safe?

Using Marijuana During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

Congratulations! You’re pregnant!

In nine months or less, depending on when you’re reading this, a bouncing bundle of joy will enter your life and change it in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.

In fact, it’s probably already changed your normal morning routine.

Nausea. Vomiting. Yep, that’s right: we’re talking about morning sickness. Which is usually pretty standard.

But if your symptoms are extremely severe, you might be considering using medical marijuana to alleviate them.

But is it safe to use marijuana during pregnancy? What are the risks, and are they worth taking?

When Morning Sickness Turns Really Ugly

50 to 90 percent of women experience nausea and vomiting during the early stages of their pregnancy. Not exactly something you’d voluntarily sign up for, but hey, you’re having a baby! You know it comes with the territory. And at least it’s manageable.

However, up to 2% of pregnant women suffer from a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum or HG.

HG is not like your typical morning sickness. The vomiting and nausea are so severe that you can become dehydrated and start losing weight. This could potentially harm you and your developing infant.

In addition to the physical stress, the condition can be mentally and emotionally taxing, interfering with your ability to perform your daily activities. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women with HG to experience depression and PTSD.

Now that is a price that is far too high to pay.

What About Medical Marijuana? Can It Help Treat HG?

Stories like this one from the Daily Beast seem to suggest “yes.” After all, many MMJ patients use marijuana to treat their nausea, pain, anxiety and depression.

In fact, the New York Times reported back in February 2017 that the number of women using marijuana during pregnancy is going up. Why? Mostly because they’re trying to treat their nausea and vomiting symptoms.

But what do medical organizations have to say about using marijuana during pregnancy?

We have to be honest: the official word isn’t great.

Medical Organizations Tell Women “Don’t Use Marijuana During Pregnancy” Because the Risk Level is Unknown

Unfortunately, little research has been done on whether or not medical marijuana is safe for pregnant women.

Researchers can’t conduct randomized controlled drug studies on pregnant women because it would be unethical to expose an unborn baby to something that’s potentially harmful.

For this reason, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) both recommend that expecting mothers refrain from marijuana use.

The New York Times Report On the Risks of Marijuana for Pregnant Women

The report covered a Pittsburgh study of pregnant women who smoked one or more joints a day during their first trimester.

They found that:

  • When the children turned 6, they had more difficulty learning reading and listening skills.
  • At age 10, they had difficulty focusing and were more impulsive.
  • At age 14, they scored lower in reading, math, and spelling than the children of mothers who didn’t smoke.

Other studies show that marijuana can impact the brain development of fetuses 18 to 22 weeks old. That might be because our body’s endocannabinoid system plays a major role in managing our brain functions. Our brains already produce their own natural cannabinoids, such as anandamide.

If marijuana’s cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and others) make their way into a developing fetus, that could affect a child’s brain development.

There’s also concern that marijuana use could affect the birth weight of babies, which is the same reason why pregnant mothers are also encouraged not to smoke cigarettes.

BUT…There are Two Major Problems With Medical Marijuana and Pregnancy Studies

  • Because it’s unethical for researchers to give marijuana to pregnant women and test the results, they have to rely on either animal studies, which aren’t 100% reliable, or reports from pregnant women themselves, which aren’t 100% reliable either.
  • Pregnant women who roll and smoke joints are more likely to also use tobacco and alcohol. That makes it difficult to know for certain whether marijuana is directly responsible for these prenatal development issues. It could be another substance altogether.

These Women Used Marijuana While Pregnant and Claim Their Children Are Fine

After publishing their initial story, the New York Times received hundreds of stories from women who used cannabis during their pregnancy. They published a follow-up article highlighting several of these accounts.

Here’s what some of these women had to say:

  • Margaret was taking Zofran to treat her nausea, but it felt too unnatural. She turned to marijuana instead. She reported that her children had a healthy birth weight and showed no noticeable negative effects.
  • Diana Donath used cannabis while pregnant, and reported that not only did her two children have a normal birth weight, they also had an “above-average” intelligence. Both children are college graduates.
  • Jane, mother of three, was a pharmaceutical researcher who extensively studied the effects of marijuana on pregnant women. At the end, she concluded that the risks associated with marijuana couldn’t be any worse than taking Zofran. She started using marijuana and later gave birth to a healthy daughter, who Jane claims is “her smartest.”

Sooooo…Is It Okay to Use Marijuana During Pregnancy?

Obviously, we can’t say with 100% certainty that it’s safe for you to use marijuana if you’re pregnant. But if you’re thinking about it, here’s what we suggest:

Talk to your doctor about it

We know this might be scary, especially if you want to avoid getting a lecture or are afraid of getting reported to Child Protective Services (which is an unfortunate possibility). However, if you’re having that conversation with the doctor who recommended or prescribed your medical marijuana use, you probably don’t have to worry about that too much.

But if it’s a non-recommending doctor, calmly explain your reasons why you want to try medical marijuana and ask them, given your medical history, if there are any exceptional risks that you should be aware of.

Do your research

Make the time to find reputable studies on the subject of marijuana and pregnancy. There’s lots of information on the web; some good and some not so good. Be discerning and make sure that any claims you read are backed up by evidence.

Remember that the decision is yours alone

Medical professionals can only advise you on the best decision to make. Ultimately, you have to weigh the risks and make a decision based on what you believe/feel is right for you and your baby.

Do think that medical marijuana is safe for pregnant women? Have you ever used medical marijuana while you were pregnant? If so, what was the outcome? Please share your story with us on any of our social media accounts listed above.

And, as always, if you have a qualifying condition and don’t yet have a Florida medical marijuana card, there’s no reason to keep suffering. Schedule an appointment.

Using Marijuana To Treat Chronic Pain

Using Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain

Using Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain

You wake up in the morning. Roll out of bed. You’re ready to start your day, but you can already feel it.

Severe, chronic pain.

Maybe you felt it before you even got out OF bed. Or maybe it was so bad, you hardly slept during the night.

Whatever the case, you know this much: you want the pain to go away.

Well, there’s good news:

Studies show that using medical marijuana to treat chronic pain might actually work!

Why We Feel Pain In the First Place

In a previous post, we discussed anxiety. Furthermore, we said that anxiety was like having your own personal alarm system inside your body, warning you of possible danger.

But if anxiety is an early-warning detection system, pain is like an intrusion alarm. Pain means your body is taking damage, and you need to do something about it quickly.

It’s a good system. After all, it keeps you from touching hot frying pans, cactuses or other things that could potentially harm your body.

In fact, pain is the reason that most of us go to the doctor in the first place. We want to find out why we’re in pain and how to make it stop. And we expect our physician to give us those answers.

So yes, pain has a purpose: it helps us stay alive.

But What Do You Do When the Pain Won’t Go Away?

Even after you’ve removed yourself from the harmful situation…

And after you’ve seen the doctor, followed his/her advice and taken the necessary medication…

And even after you’ve had the operation that was supposed to fix the condition you were suffering from…

Sometimes, the pain just won’t go away.

And if it’s left untreated, chronic pain can

  • Prevent you from being able to perform daily activities
  • Affect your job performance
  • Disrupt your sleep pattern
  • Cause mental and emotional distress/depression

In other words, chronic pain can ruin the quality of your life.

At that point, your pain is no longer helping you function safely. It’s not warning you of an underlying condition.

Chronic pain itself becomes the condition that needs to be treated.

Why Not Just Take Over-The-Counter Pain Medication?

Oftentimes, over-the-counter painkillers aren’t strong enough to treat the severe, chronic pain.

You should never increase the recommended dosage of an over-the-counter pain medication in order to treat your chronic pain. Especially without consulting your doctor.

  • The #1 reason people call Poison Control centers is due to of acetaminophen overdose.
  • Acetaminophen overdoses lead to 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,6000 hospitalizations and 458 deaths a year as a result of liver failure.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen aren’t entirely risk-free either. Overdose risks include gastrointestinal ulcers, heart attacks and strokes.
  • 41,000 older adults are admitted to the hospital each year because of NSAIDS.
  • 3,300 people die each year from NSAIDs-related ulcers.

The Problem With Opioid Painkillers

In certain cases, physicians may prescribe opioid painkillers to treat patients suffering from severe, chronic pain

But opioid drugs come with significant side effects such as

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Dependency/Addiction

We’ve written in the past about the opioid epidemic that is currently sweeping our nation. Over 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2015.

Medical Marijuana: A Potentially Safer Solution to Chronic Pain?

  • For thousands of years, people have used marijuana as a medicine because of its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory powers.
  • Marijuana works directly with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for managing your pain.
  • When you consume cannabinoids, marijuana’s active ingredients, they bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system, reducing the level of pain you’re experiencing.
  • Veterans, NFL players and fibromyalgia patients have reported success in using medical marijuana to treat chronic pain.

Here’s what Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal has to say on the subject:

Is It Safe to Use Marijuana to Treat Chronic Pain?

  • Marijuana does have side effects such as
    • Increased appetite
    • Drowsiness
    • Dry mouth
    • Impaired motor skills
    • Increased anxiety
  • However, these side effects depend heavily on the amount of marijuana you use as well as the type and strain. You should consult your doctor and dispensary staff member to find the best type of marijuana for your condition.
  • There is ZERO evidence of fatalities directly caused by marijuana overdose. The same can’t be said for acetaminophen, NSAIDS or opioids.
  • We’re not saying that people shouldn’t use acetaminophen, NSAIDs or opioids to combat their pain. These drugs can be effective if used properly. However, given marijuana’s relative safety, you should definitely factor it in when thinking about pain relief options.
  • Medical marijuana is not as powerful as opioid painkillers, but the two can be used together in a low-dose combination if done under the instruction and supervision of a qualified doctor. Working this way, marijuana can counteract the opioid’s addictive qualities, making it easier for people to wean themselves off of the opioid altogether.

In this video, medical marijuana patient Wendy Hart shares her own experience of using medical marijuana along with opioid medication (her interview begins around the 1:34 mark):

If You’re a Nevadan Who Suffers From Severe, Chronic Pain, You Qualify for Medical Marijuana

Don’t wait any longer! If you suffer from severe, chronic pain schedule an appointment with us online. We want to evaluate you and help you get back on the road to healing and wholeness!

And if you’re a current patient who uses medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, give us a shout on social media and share your experiences!

SOURCES:

Blesching, U. (2015). The Cannabis Health Index: Combining the Science of Medical Marijuana with Mindfulness Techniques to Heal 100 Chronic Symptoms and Diseases. Berkeley (California): North Atlantic Books.