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Medical cannabis: Four patient perspectives

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Abstract

The use medical cannabis has been increasing in recent years. This paper provides the perspectives of four patients with very different clinical backgrounds and their reported experiences using medical cannabis. Not all patients respond the same way to cannabis and effective use requires a degree of experimentation as these patients’ perspectives illustrate. In these perspectives, it is important to note the reported effective management of specific symptoms, but also of importance is the reported improvement in general well-being and vast improvement in reported quality of life.
J Pain Manage 2016;9(4):517-519 ISSN: 1939-5914
© Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Medical cannabis: Four patient perspectives
Jeremy Friedberg*, PhD
MedReleaf Corp, Markham Industrial Park,
Markham, Ontario, Canada
* Correspondence: Jeremy Friedberg, PhD, MedReleaf Corp,
Markham Industrial Park, POBox 3040, Markham,
Ontario, L3R 6C4, Canada.
E-mail: jfriedberg@medreleaf.com
Abstract
The use of medical cannabis has been increasing in recent
years. This paper provides the perspectives of four patients
with very different clinical backgrounds and their reported
experiences using medical cannabis. Not all patients
respond the same way to cannabis, and effective use
requires a degree of experimentation as these patients’
perspectives illustrate. In these perspectives it is important
to note the reported effective management of specific
symptoms, but also of importance is the reported
improvement in general wellbeing and vast improvement in
reported quality of life.
Keywords: Cannabis, medical cannabis, case stories
Introduction
As the research into the clinical utility of medical
cannabis continues, the significant benefits of using
cannabis in patient care is becoming clear. There are
varying degrees of effectiveness that have been
reported on specific symptoms and symptom
management as it relates to particular active
components in the plant. But it has become clear that
there is more to the use of the plant as a whole than
just its constituting components. Similarly, many
patients are reporting significant benefits on specific
symptoms such as pain or nausea while also reporting
improvements in their ability to cope with their
symptoms, translating to improvements in their
general wellbeing. Not intended to provide detailed
case reports, this paper provides the perspectives of
four patients with very different clinical backgrounds
and their reported experiences using medical
cannabis. The names and details for each of the
patients has been altered to protect their privacy and
maintain confidentiality. Consent was obtained from
each patient to report on the information presented in
this article.
Jeremy Friedberg
518
Case story 1
Jon is a 32-year-old male, actively working as an
independent business owner, and has been diagnosed
with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is
currently managing both symptoms of pain and
typical symptoms related to his PTSD diagnosis. Prior
to his introduction to cannabis, Jon’s symptoms were
being managed by 8 pharmaceutical medications.
Since his introduction to cannabis, Jon reports that all
of his symptoms are effectively controlled with self-
regulated doses of up to 7-8 g of cannabis per day. He
consumes his cannabis primarily through vaporizing,
but also uses extracted oil adding it to butter to
consume with his meals tincture, and occasionally
he smokes. As a result of this shift to cannabis, he is
no longer using any pharmaceutical medications. Jon
has experimented with several cultivars (strains) of
cannabis but reports that four specific cultivars have
been most effective. These varieties include
Luminarium (26-29% THC; 0-0.2% CDB), Elevare
(21-24%; 0-0.2% CDB), Sedamen (20-23% THC; 0%
CBD), and Eran Almog (28% THC; 0% CBD). Jon
reports that his cannabis regime has helped with both
symptom management and general wellbeing. “…it
works very well, helps take the edge off, and helps
regulate symptoms of my PTSD.”
Case story 2
Michael is a retired 73-year-old male diagnosed with
a lower lumbar spine injury. As a result of this injury
he is coping with symptoms of burning sensations,
intense pain in his feet and legs, and extreme fatigue.
In managing these symptoms, his physician has
prescribed him oxycontin, however, varying dosage
regimes have had a marginal effect on pain and
produced a side effect that makes him very drowsy.
Under physician guidance, Michael began to
supplement his oxycontin regime with cannabis,
specifically the cultivars Avidekel (0-1.3% THC; 15-
18% CBD) and Midnight (7-10% THC, 10-13%
CBD), at a dosage of 1g per day. Michael’s
preference is for inhalation, specifically smoking and
occasional vaporization.
As a result of his cannabis use, Michael reported
that his pain symptoms are significantly reduced and,
when inhaled, the burning sensations are immediately
soothed. This effect allowed him to reduce his
oxycontin intake by 60%. Michael indicated that the
oxycontin was the source of his fatigue and this
reduction translated into having more energy. “I’m
not sleeping as much during the day… I fall
asleep faster at night. More active, able to dance
again.”
Most notably for Michael was his general
improvement in his perceived quality of life. “We (my
wife and I) have our lives back! I am able to go out
with my wife, I can dance, I can spend quality time
with her and do the things I have always loved to do.
It has changed my whole life. I no longer have to
sleep 16 hours a day anymore.”
Case story 3
Rose is a retired 67-year-old female that has been
diagnosed with diffused systemic scleroderma and
pulmonary fibrosis. The primary symptoms of her
condition are muscle and nerve pain and sleep
deprivation. To manage these symptoms she is
currently on a prescribed drug regime that includes
myfortic, dexilant, motilium, pentoxifylline,
oxycontin, dimenhydrinate (gravol), and
hydroxychloroquine. Under the guidance of her
family doctor, Rose is orally consuming cannabis oil
extracts that she adds to her food and drinks. She
primarily prepares her cannabis oil doses from
cultivars including Avidekel (0-1.3% THC; 15-18%
CBD) for daytime, Eran Almog (28% THC; 0%
CBD), Stellio (22-25% THC; 0% CBD), Sedamen
(20-23% THC; 0% CBD), and Luminarium (26-29%
THC; 0% CBD) for nighttime. For her symptoms,
Rose has reported that cannabis is providing
exceptional pain management to the extent that she no
longer requires the oxycontin. Her cannabis regime is
also effectively managing her nausea and she no
longer needs dimenhydrinate. In terms of her quality
of life and wellbeing, Rose is reporting a significant
improvement and attributing it to the cannabis. “It’s
given me a bit of my life back. The pain relief is
amazing. I had been on so many different kinds of
medications that were not touching on the pain.
Avidekel has really helped with my daytime
wellbeing.”
Case story
519
Case story 4
Cole is 25-year-old male, currently employed. In
January 2014 while on vacation, Cole dove into water
from a height of 30 feet and hit his head. He was
carried out of the water and couldn’t walk for several
weeks. He has been diagnosed with post-concussion
syndrome, spinal concussion, injury to his upper
cervical atlas bone, a shifted C1 vertebra, and
inflammation in the brain. As a result of these
injuries, he is coping with several symptoms
including migraine headaches, severe neck pain, and
back pain, all of which are causing depression. In
coping with these symptoms, his physician prescribed
several pain medications that Cole reported had little
effect and actually made him feel worse. When low
on traditional options, his physician suggested trying
medical cannabis. Cole began experimenting with
CBD cultivars, specifically Avidekel (0-1.3% THC;
15-18% CBD), but eventually switched to cultivars
containing THC as well. He found that the presence
of the THC resulted in a more immediate and
effective reduction of his pain. Cole also reported a
general loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss on
traditional pain medications, and that cannabis use
provided the pain management without affecting his
appetite. In his own words, “Normal everyday
activities that are extremely easy for everyone, like
talking or walking, making a bowel movement, or
sexual intercourse, used to be extremely painful.” In
addition to his reported success with pain
management from cannabis, his improvement in
general wellbeing is also of note. “As soon as I use it I
feel immediate relief… Cannabis has affected my
general wellbeing by helping me live almost
completely normally, which at one point I thought
would never be possible.”
Conclusion
Medical cannabis is now an established option in a
physician’s medical toolkit. Its utility is derived from
the whole-plant mixture of active components and it
is the relative proportion of these components that
differentiates cannabis cultivars from one another,
their subsequent effects on symptom management,
and how the active components are processed by the
patient’s physiology. However, like all medications,
not all patients will respond the same way. Thus,
cannabis requires a degree of experimentation as these
patients’ perspectives have illustrated. It is important
to note the reported effective management of specific
symptoms, but also of great importance is the
patient’s reported improvement in general wellbeing
and vast improvement in quality of life.
Conflict of interest
The author is a consultant to MedReleaf, an
authorized grower and distributor of medical cannabis
in Canada. The perspectives presented in this article
are from individuals who obtain their medical
cannabis from MedReleaf.
Acknowledgments
We thank the four individuals who shared their
perspectives for this editorial.
References
None.
Submitted: August 07, 2016. Revised: August 26, 2016.
Accepted: September 04, 2016.
... La medicina, como una ciencia basada en evidencia, ha estado abordando el tema del UMC con mucha cautela debido a la falta de datos clínicos suficientes y de apoyo (Tellioğlu & Tellioğlu, 2017;Friedberg, 2017;O'Hearn et al., 2017;Cheung & Clarke, 2017). ...
... Ademas, se refiere en la evidencia que el UMC en la adolescencia puede provocar una serie de síntomas físicos, tiene una fuerte asociación con la esquizofrenia, puede afectar el desarrollo neurocognitivo en el cerebro de un adolescente que no está completamente maduro y puede llevar a problemas escolares, de relación y de trabajo, así como a accidentes automovilísticos. Además, no todos los pacientes adolescentes responden de la misma manera al UMC (Compton et al., 2017;Friedberg, 2017). ...
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Resumen Este estudio pretende reportar la evidencia actual sobre el uso medicinal de cannabis existente en la base de datos Scopus. Se llevó a cabo una revisión sistemática de las publicaciones científicas, entre el periodo 2013-2017, disponibles en Scopus sobre el uso medicinal de cannabis. Estados Unidos es el país con mayor cantidad de publicaciones, seguido de Canadá e Israel; existiendo un aumento progresivo y constante de la evidencia entre los años 2013 y 2017. Los contenidos de las publicaciones versan sobre efectos beneficiosos y adversos para la salud, consecuencias de la legislación del cannabis y su asociación con diversas variables. Existe una falta de estudios en uso medicinal de cannabis respecto a tratamientos y enfermedades, su estandarización, vías de administración y dosis, dando cuenta de la necesidad de un volumen mayor de investigaciones al respecto.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.