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Posts Tagged ‘nausea’

By Candace McNaughton, ND

I am not an alarmist. But this is alarming. Through a subtle messaging campaign, the prescription of opiate medications has increased fourfold in the last ten years. Drug companies like the makers of OxyContin pay groups like the American Pain Foundation much of their annual income. The messaging came from the drug manufacturers through position statements, clinical guidelines, books, and seminars at conferences. Opiates are no longer just being used for severe post-surgical pain or pain associated with cancer or its treatment. They’re being prescribed for chronic pain issues like headaches, low back pain, and fibromyalgia. The gist of the message? Opiates aren’t addictive if used as prescribed, and there’s essentially no limit on dose. So prescribe away.

Except they are addictive. They cause tolerance (needing more to have the same effect) and addiction (going through withdrawal symptoms if you stop them suddenly). I see patients like this in my practice every day. Mothers who tearfully say they can’t take care of their kids while on Oxycodone. Construction workers who can’t work because they can’t drive, let alone operate machinery on the job while on these meds. I see kids who are still in school saying they were given no treatment options other than an opiate script and now they’re still in pain and falling asleep in school and scared of addiction. (more…)

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by Candace McNaughton, ND

It is time to separate the stigma of recreational use of marijuana from the benefit of medical use of cannabis.  Many conventional medications (such as opiate pain medications) are harmful, intoxicating, and carry a risk of dependence.  There is so much more to the cannabis plant than the intoxicating properties of THC.

Naturopathic physicians in Washington State can authorize their patients to use cannabis to treat certain conditions which are debilitating or terminal.  This includes cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. It also includes chronic severe pain, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and hepatitis C if they are unrelieved by standard medical treatments.  Diseases which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments, may also benefit from the medical use of cannabis.

I am familiar with medical cannabis law and naturopathic physicians’ role in the legal recommendation of its use.  I am becoming increasingly convinced that not only is it good medicine, but NDs are the most qualified to understand it as medicine, in that botanicals are much more complex than pharmaceuticals.  Botanicals contain hundreds to thousands of chemicals, where pharmaceuticals contain just one.  I use the word medical cannabis rather than medical marijuana because that is the scientific name.  We refer to our medicines by scientific names to avoid the confusion that can arise with many common herb names.

I do not write authorizations for conditions that do not clearly fall under the law.  I do not believe in making many brief appointments with patients simply to fit many in one day.  I only authorize qualifying patients of mine to use medical cannabis after a complete understanding of their medical record and condition.  This means that they understand and have tried other options.  In accordance with the current law, I do not advise patients to buy the medicine, only authorize them to use it.

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