Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Retirement Health: Me and my Medical Marijuana Card
I have a bum knee. Actually I have a bum leg. For years I had severe arthritis in one knee (no cartilage at all). Then, within the last couple of years (after having pain so bad I could not walk for exercise), a leg sonogram showed leg degeneration in the thigh and ankle. While some of this was certainly caused by my more than optimum weight, my military time was equally to blame. Running in combat boots on the fight line tarmac daily will do that to ya.
Because I have a bad knee and degeneration, it's not just the knee that hurts. I walk unevenly, meaning that I get a knot in my back, and since I don't always walk normally, I get that pain behind the knees-the kind that hurts when you sit down much more than getting up. My leg also simply aches, severely when I am sitting in a recliner or trying to sleep. Don't get me wrong, I am not "handicapped". I walk in and out of the water for exercise, I walk in the mall. I do almost everything except get down on the floor-which is probably why I admire those gymnasts who can get up from a kneeling position in one fell swoop on a two inch beam.
Having a normal lifestyle during the day means discomfort at night, pure and simple. Which is why, some time ago, I shared with readers my plan to explore marijuana as part of my lifestyle. Folks, cannot tell you how much it has improved my life. There are, literally no words.
The first time I went to my local pot store, I made my twenty something come with me. I had no idea what to expect. I bought edible pot and edible topical lotion to treat my knee instead of Ben-gay-at the recreational price. As we left, my son looked at me and said (I swear to God), "So, are we a big girl now? Can we go by ourselves from now on?" I said yes, and life has progressed.
That was quite sometime ago, and I recently realized that since I had gone over to the dark side, it was time to make it official. I went and saw a doctor and got myself medically certified. Even Colorado is not perfect. One can get medical pot for a variety of illnesses and conditions including chronic pain. But it is not approved for PTSD or Crohn's disease.
Now someone might ask, why a medical card in a state where it is legal. The first answer is money. I am the frugal retiree after all. I can get larger amounts for less and pay less taxes (recreational marijuana is taxed at 25 percent and gave me a tax refund last year). The second answer is form and substance. Instead of ten cookies at ten mg each for thirty bucks, I purchased five large cookies at 100 mg each for less than thirty bucks. My medical card also gives me access to marijuana that has no THC-helpful because the THC is generally what seems to cause the drowsiness. I could even grow plants by choice, legally (never going to happen).
My bottom line folks, is that pot is a wonderful drug. It puts me to sleep-so deep that I rarely have dreams (which is not unhealthy, but when I stop the dreams are frighteningly vivid). On the other hand, the sleep is not so deep that if I need to wake up for a middle aged trip to the restroom, I cannot do so.
It is important to note that marijuana is not just about pain, although I believe that opioid addiction would go down by half if medical pot was legal everywhere, and I am not the only one. Marijuana helps diabetes, as well as my arthritis. Marijuana can calm the stomach, it stabilizes sugar, it acts as an anti spasmodic, and greatly improves restless leg syndrome. Also, our joints contain cannaboids, and pot can help replace that. Marijuana, by the way, is especially effective on Rheumatoid disease, even beyond osteo-arthritis.
When I first wrote about this, at least one person suggested that they were in favor of recreational pot, but not it's medical use because of lack of research. The thing is though, there is research. Just not as much as I might like, and most of it done outside this country. Canada has done studies. There are European studies on osteo-arthritis and other diseases, and finally in America we have at least some studies, and many pre-clinical trials..
In this country, the NIH pretty much funds and approves almost all research. And so far they have refused much of the needed research because of it's drug classification. New studies are slowly appearing, including one funded by a pot consortium in Colorado (but not managed by them, by a study group), investigation the effect on PTSD. It should be noted that study was approved fully by that agency known as the DEA.
We also have other information though. I mean, a full generation at least of Americans have used pot. Sometimes regularly, sometimes occasionally and some times medicinally. Although much of that information is anecdotal, I would say that there are a few consensus agreements, especially when it comes to things like side effects.
We know that edibles and topical treatments have almost no side effects. While I may get drowsy (in my case that's the point), or get the munchies (I do not), my pot edibles don't affect my liver. They don't give me a hangover. I can take pot with almost all regular medication including aspirin.
A small percentage of pot users experience addiction according to the Harvard Medical Revue (but the same is true of alcohol and other pain drugs have a much, much higher incidence). I went to Texas for two weeks and while I had restless sleep, and some pain (I refuse to take Tyleonol PM), I functioned as my normal crazy self. There is probably more research to be done on marijuana that is inhaled. Part of that however, is because many folks of my generation smoked AND smoked, if you get my drift.
Just for a quick look, this is a medical marijuana article that links to some studies on arthritis and marijuana.
Of course while this missive is about medicinal pot, I would be remiss if I did not at least address recreational use among boomers. I ingest, rather than smoking. I have friends who smoke, not because of medical reasons but because it is their version of a glass after dinner or a beer on football Sunday. It works for them, and I say more power to the proverbial people.
A couple weeks ago I met up with an extremely conservative, just say no type of guy, a thirty years in the military and still has his haircut type of guy. Who smokes a bowl of weed before bed. Every single night. As he would say, "You can keep the beer".
I agree wholeheartedly. I just wonder how I'm going to explain those medical pot receipts on my taxes next year.