Monday, July 20, 2015

Taking The Next Step in Pain Management for Arthritis/Fibromyalgia-Medical Marijuana

 Hello everyone, I've started the Living Richly In Retirement Facebook page!  I'm still adding photo and content but please do stop by and "like me" as I will have other notes and comment besides things that are on this page!!

By now, most regular readers know that I have pretty bad arthritis in my knees.  Six years of old style army physical fitness (running in combat boots on the tarmac) will do that to ya.  Add the sports of my younger years, and a severe post widow hood weight gain, and there you have it.  I also have external nerve damage from a severe fall (down stairs onto cobblestones) years ago, and fibromyalgia symptoms brought on by taking my cholesterol drugs (there seems to be no such thing as a side effect free drug).

I've written about this previously, of course. I explained why I was not getting a knee replacement anytime soon,  as well as about my exploration of natural treatments for the knee.  I also briefly, previously talked at one time about marijuana use in mid life, and here in the Mile High City.

Recently, my knee has become more painful. One knee especially. This is in spite of increased exercise (walking, using the pool to exercise and even taking advantage of the hot tub spa).  I have made a new orthopedic appointment, and will consider treatment such as injections as a last resort. I have also asked for an physical therapy referral.

Meanwhile, I need to get the pain under control. For those who are wondering, this is NOT a work through the soreness when you exercise phenomenon. This my friends is pain-pain that 600 milligrams of Arthritis strength Tylenol does not necessarily eliminate.  Being my experimental self, I decided a little self experimenting was in order.

By now I think most of my readers know that I live in Colorado, a state which had both legalized medical marijuana for quite some time, and now has legalized the stuff for recreational use. I decided to see about taking advantage of one (or the other) of these legal situations. For those who are wondering, most medical marijuana is now legal to sell with out a prescription-a prescription can simply make it cheaper or allow a larger purchase at a single time.  Without a prescription, one can still purchase many so called medical options.

Since I recently had my general physical I discussed this with my doctors.  While they don't necessarily disapprove of either edibles or topical treatments, they are licensed to prescribe drugs by the federal government, not the state and in the current climate are unwilling to step into that arena.  However, they actively discouraged me from going to a specifically medical marijuana doctor at this point, for my needs, and said I would be much better off gently experimenting on my own.

And so my friends, that is exactly what I did. Today I took myself to a local dispensary that also sold recreational marijuana.  After a long discussion with the young lady behind the counter, I left with a few purchases, and with the knowledge of the other options available to me. In the end I purchased large medicated pad that can be cut and put on the leg, a massage lotion with THC and three edibles which have been scored and can be scored further.

My research tells me that the pads and lotion can be used on my knee, and then I can drive, because the amount of TCH is small and topical (obviously I will research that and try it times when I am at home). The edibles are only for at home use, and will be used in the evening (I suppose I have to try and figure out the numbers of sugar and carbs).

For those who may be curious, this particular location had a waiting room like any office or doctor's waiting room, with two consultant areas, one for medical treatment with a script and another for non prescription (recreational, even though these were medicinal items) buying. There was no front room with bottles of different leaves, and this was not like the head shops of my (our) youth. Since I had do idea what to expect, I did take my twenty something son with me, much to his chagrin. I will however, not do that again. After this experience, I expect I will have no problem going into this or any other store alone.

I've just gotten home, and plan to begin experimenting at bedtime, or in front of the TV after dinner.  I expect that for awhile at least, dealing with my pain will be a moving target, if you will. There are lots of options out there, from infused olive oil salves to marijuana candy.

I may post an update here or there above other blog posts as to my successes and (possible I suppose) failures. I promise to do an update this week, along with my medical treatment costs.

 I realize that this is not a choice everyone can make, or would make, or even needs to make. But for me, at this point in my life, frankly, it would be crazy not to take advantage of what is a low risk, basically non-narcotic, legal option for comfort.

And so it goes!  Coming later in the week, pictures of my refurbished car and review of the entire accident, insurance and repair experience!

Meanwhile, what about you. Do you experience pain, mild or sever?  General discomfort?  How do you deal with it. Would you use pot if you could?


  1. Pain has been a frequent companion of mine. The year following my cancer surgery, I struggled horribly with the side effects of the drugs. More recently, a bad fall on concrete resulted in a knee injury that made everything more difficult. Couldn't even turn over in bed at night, without hurting. There might have been a time when I would not have considered pot for pain control, but at this time in my life, I've experienced many negative side effects of legalized medications, and believe many of those options are significantly more dangerous than marijuana might be. I'm doing well now, but in the future, if pain disrupts my life, I might consider doing exactly what you're doing. One thing I know for sure...pain can cripple one's life and halt even the basic activities. Anything that is safe, legal and gives relief should be considered.

    1. Yes, that is my general philosophy as well. Sometimes I think people who don't ave chronic pain are just unable to understand, ya know.

  2. Okay first let me thank you for making me smile (very much needed as I am having a rought day) at the "head shops of my (our) youth and the "After this experience, I expect I will have no problem going into this or any other store alone.".
    I guess you've seen the warnings about the anti inflammatory and anti cholinergic and other drugs that are being warned about for older people. This is going to be a challenge.
    I would use marijuana in a heartbeat but not available that I know of here in Indiana.
    I have arthritis in my hips and knees. Right now I'm just using exercise to help relieve the pain but it doesn't always work. I've stopped taking Naproxen and do take aspirint a couple of times a day. I do take supplements and vitamins occasionally.

  3. So sorry you are having a less than great day. I have to exercise...more for the type two than the arthritis. Well see how successful I am with these alternatives!

  4. I'm in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana -- it's no worse than alcohol -- but I'm skeptical of the notion of "medical" marijuana. It has not gone through the comprehensive tests for efficacy and safety that drugs typically go through before they are approved. So, as you say, you're experimenting. Would love to know how it turns out, b/c as I outlined in one post on my own blog -- "Don't Overdo the Pills" -- even the most innocuous pain medications like aspirin and Advil can have side-effects. But the most important thing is -- I hope you relieve that pain!

    1. See Tom, and I am just the opposite. George Washington grew marijuana for medical use. From my perspective the proof is there especially when it comes to seizures, nausea, and pain. I only wish it had been available to me when my husband was ill. And I think the problem is the government refuses to fund the research.

      Now that I am off that soapbox, let me say that I do think smoking pot probably has its own issues.

      But yes it has already relieved my pain-more on that later.

  5. Although I live in Texas and doubt that it will be legal here anytime soon, I am very interested in your response to it. Hope it works.

    1. I am sure it will, but I am experimenting with the dosage. I have tried all the topical I bought now and I love the muscle pain cream. I am holding off on the edibles at least for now until I don't have to drive.

      Yes, Texas has it's issues, and since I'm driving to Dallas on Friday, I'm not sure how I'm gonna deal with that. Put the cream and pads in unlabeled containers?

  6. I would have given almost anything for edibles when my husband's hip surgery went septic! It needs to be legal- everywhere. He agrees (and he is way more conservative than me).
    The VA struggles because it cannot prescribe it- but feels it would be very useful in a number of situations that they are giving out Oxy.

    1. My understanding is that it is very helpful with PTSD although my brother in law is loath to take it.

  7. NY state has legalized medical marijuana, and dispensaries are in the works.

    Chronic pain is truly debilitating, and someone who has not experienced it should not be judgmental in efforts to manage the pain.

    Hopefully this will work for you Barb. I'll be interested in hearing how the topical works, as well as the edible.

    In college my friends made fun of me because I couldn't inhale! (I feel like Bill Clinton). My non-smoker lungs never allowed me to indulge in what was a popular recreational drug of the 70's.

  8. Barbara -
    I have been in severe pain all over my body, in addition to fibromyalgia, for the past approximately 6 years. the pain increases and the only relief I have for my NON-fibromyalgia pain is steroids. Unfortunately, steroids have some very nasty side effects. But my quality of life without the steroids is horrendous. Right now our state does not allow marijuana use. However, should the time ever come...I will be one of the first people in line! I worked in the medical field and know for certain that marijuana helps numerous medical conditions, even when patients were using "weed" obtained by their high school age children! It is such a shame that a potential health benefit to so many is denied because of politics. Good luck with your experiment!

  9. I would try it if I had chronic pain. I hope you get some relief.

  10. Great post! I m surely sharing this with my friends!  NicotineResources


Things I'm Enjoying This Monday-And A Couple Things That Are Frustrating Me!!

One of the many reasons I don't do serious (other than visiting family) travel during the summer is the chance to stay at home. Warm w...