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posted by mrpg on Sunday April 08 2018, @11:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the king-of-pain dept.

Medical Marijuana's 'Catch-22': Limits On Research Hinders Patient Relief

By the time Ann Marie Owen, 61, turned to marijuana to treat her pain, she was struggling to walk and talk. She was also hallucinating. For four years, her doctor prescribed a wide range of opioids for transverse myelitis, a debilitating disease that caused pain, muscle weakness and paralysis. The drugs not only failed to ease her symptoms, they hooked her.

When her home state of New York legalized marijuana for the treatment of select medical ailments, Owens decided it was time to swap pills for pot. But her doctors refused to help. "Even though medical marijuana is legal, none of my doctors were willing to talk to me about it," she says. "They just kept telling me to take opioids."

Although 29 states have legalized marijuana to treat pain and other ailments, the growing number of Americans like Owen who use marijuana and the doctors who treat them are caught in the middle of a conflict in federal and state laws — a predicament that is only worsened by thin scientific data.

Because the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, research on marijuana or its active ingredients is highly restricted and even discouraged in some cases. Underscoring the federal government's position, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recently pronounced that there was "no such thing as medical marijuana."

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  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Sunday April 08 2018, @01:30PM (2 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 08 2018, @01:30PM (#663924) Homepage Journal

    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofin are more effective than opiates for a lot of pain. They should be the drug of first resort against pain.

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  • (Score: 2) by Entropy on Sunday April 08 2018, @01:52PM (1 child)

    by Entropy (4228) on Sunday April 08 2018, @01:52PM (#663930)

    My sample size is of course small on this, but I don't know anyone who would say Ibuprofin would work better for relief of pain for any reasonably distracting form of pain. It may be preferred for other reasons(ability to drive, less distracted, ..) but I think it's well established which one is stronger. If the pain isn't a big deal, then Ibuprofin all the way, of course.

    This isn't even considering that Hydrocodone often comes mixed with Ibuprofin.

    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Sunday April 08 2018, @03:29PM

      by Immerman (3985) on Sunday April 08 2018, @03:29PM (#663963)

      Agreed - I was laid up for a week or so after surgery, and opiates are what made motion and sleep possible. I'm the sort that usually only needs a half-dose of Ibuprofen for normal pain, but after surgery even the huge (800mg? bigger?) prescription Ibuprofen did nothing.

      For normal pain though - Ibuprofen all the way. Fewer side effects, and the anti-inflamatory effects can often help relieve the source of a lot of pain, rather than just interfering with your ability to feel it.