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Dr Gifford JonesThe Doctor Game - Marijuana for Gifford-Jones?

by W. Gifford-Jones, MD

Why would I, at my age, want to start smoking pot, when I’d much prefer a glass of chardonnay? It’s because I’ve suffered annoying neck pain for years due to an old injury which happened in Japan. Besides, my experience with the plant may help others who suffer from chronic pain day after day, and find no relief from other painkillers.

My interest in marijuana dates back many years. At that time several readers asked for my support to obtain medical marijuana. Some patients had found that marijuana decreased nausea while undergoing chemotherapy. Others with spinal cord injuries, accompanied by painful muscle spasm, also reported relief. But many could not find a doctor to prescribe marijuana. So I argued in my column, without success, that the government should make medical marijuana available for patients.

Now, Dr. Margaret Gedde, a Stanford University trained pathologist, relates how she became disenchanted with conventional medicine. She reports that when medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado, a sizeable influx of patients moved to the state, even though many had never previously used it! She added that data suggests the increased use of medical marijuana resulted in fewer people dying from opioid overdoses.

What shocked Gedde the most was her discovery that this natural remedy helped so many patients. She knew that patients who continue on painkillers too long suffer increasing risk of complications. But, according to Dr. Gedde, patients can stay on marijuana for months or years without adverse effects.

Why is this the case? In 1992 the Journal of Science reported that in all tissues of the body there are receptors to marijuana. This means that, unlike prescription drugs, our bodies are prepared to make good use of this ancient plant.

There are two kinds of marijuana. The THC type creates a “high”. The other, CBD, is associated with pain control. Gedde, and other experts, refer to the “sweet spot” when discussing the effects of marijuana. Namely, that in some cases, a combination of the two provides the best relief of pain.

So it becomes a matter of finding the right dose and combination of strains of marijuana that are most effective for the individual. In other words, the shoe does not fit all feet. Or, as it’s been aptly said, “different strokes for different folks.”

My research shows that the medical use of marijuana has been underestimated, underused and grossly misunderstood by the majority of North Americans, including doctors who remain resistant to natural remedies. And one has to ask why it has been so vilified.

Some reports say that smoking pot was looked on as an act of disobedience during the Vietnam War. That it was heavily targeted by the U.S. government to get rid of hippies who were looking for a “high”. Some even suggest that it provided a reason to put questionable elements of society in jail.

So, am I going to be smoking pot while writing this column? Hell will freeze over before that happens. Inhaling smoke in any form is an unhealthy habit. In fact, those still smoking tobacco should see a psychiatrist. But I could easily accept marijuana in my smoothies, if it relieves pain.

Luckily, there are more ways to get the benefit of medical marijuana than smoking it. For instance, marijuana oil can be rubbed on the skin. And there’s an oral oil preparation as well.

I have recently completed my personal medical documentation for the application of legal, medical marijuana. As you might suspect, I can hardly wait to see if it has any effect on my neck pain. But I admit to being highly skeptical that it will ease pressure on a nerve. After all, I’ve tried acupuncture, manipulation by chiropractors. I’ve had repeated red and infra-red therapy and massage without relief. In fact, I’ve joked that the only cure for me would be the guillotine! But I keep an open mind for new ideas. One thing is certain. Regardless of what happens, you will be the first to know the result.

For more information see his web site www.docgiff.com . For comments, info@docgiff.com