How my friend avoided chronic pain thanks to cannabis

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How my friend avoided chronic pain thanks to cannabis

The only side effect of cannabis based treatment to the chronic pain that my close friend had do deal with, was a stereotype of cannabis as a recreational drug.

The only side effect of cannabis based treatment to the chronic pain that my close friend had do deal with, was a stereotype of cannabis as a recreational drug.

He is not terminally ill – his condition won't kill him. The pain he has to endure, however, is so terrible, that it makes life unbearable and so much more difficult to enjoy. What he always wished for was not much – to go through a single night without being woken up by the numbing pain, to live a full day being able to go on just like everybody else.

The pain clinic that takes care of him made him an appointment once, when he complained of an increased suffering. In nine months time. They expected him to wait nine months – 270 sleepless nights. Even having been seen by a number of private doctors, which cost him a small fortune, he did not get any answers, any solutions, just nods and more questions.

All they offered him were ever stronger analgesic and painkilling medicines. Those had to be taken several times every day and in increasing doses to have any effect. The problem with pills, however, is that those that work, have terrible side effects and stop working after some time anyway. They can be used after a surgical operation, for days or weeks, but certainly not for months or years, as they destroy your kidneys and liver, not to mention blurring your everyday concentration.

Having tried and failed with conventional medicine, he turned to acupuncture, laser treatments, physiotherapy, Feldenkrais and almost everything that non conventional medicine can offer – without any progress. For a short while he thought he found an answer in hydrotherapy – a sort of exercise on floating mat in a pool of warm water. The remedy, however, was only short lived and actually got even worse after some time.

Despite being an obvious answer and probably the most patient friendly substance, medical marijuana was not once proposed to him by any of the people he talked to about his chronic pain. Cannabis does not wreak havoc in your vital organs, if used properly allows you to function normally and have had positive feedback from a growing number of happy patients that have seen their pain go away after they started using cannabis.

One example is the state of Israel, where the medical marijuana community is quite strong and number over 10 000 people that benefited from this treatment. Cannabis, however, could only be prescribed if life threatening cases. In other words, if there is no other chance of saving your life, well then the Health Ministry will kindly authorize marijuana use. If your condition is stable, however, you have no chance for it, no matter how strong the pain might be. As it often happens with bureaucratic procedures, the access to the least damaging solution is made most difficult.

Well why bother with the legal path, you might wonder, if you can just go around the corner and come back with a nice, fat spliff? Just like almost all recreational users do? The problem lays in the quality of the stuff – what you can get from the black market is hardly ever the sort of weed that works best for medical conditions, not to mention that it is much more expensive. And why, on Earth, should someone that on wishes for his pain to go away, have to break the law? What laws is my friend breaking for being in pain?

Now his hopes are high again – all thanks to Yael German, a person he believes is capable of leading a real revolution on the matter. She stopped a decades long procedure of adding fluoride to the drinking water, which was longed deemed pointless and dangerous. She had the courage to finally said STOP. As the Israel's Health Minister, she has the guts to break another taboo by allowing cannabis to be deployed much wider.
The true absurd became obvious to my friend, when he finally received the cannabis prescription from one of his doctors. Despite having a doctor's recommendation, he also required a special Health Ministry authorisation, which is almost impossible to achieve. If his application will be successful, they „will get in touch”. Unfortunately, no one can tell him when, if ever, that will happen.

For many months now, my friend does not part with his phone, not for a second, hoping they will finally call. He sleeps with it, takes it with him to bathroom, and waits for the call, that is getting more and more obvious, will never come...