Thursday, May 26, 2011

Arizona Medical Marijuana is Helping Patients

Last year I started seeing a new pain doctor, Benjamin Venger a former neurosurgeon. I figured if anyone understood pain, it would be a neurosurgeon. The first time I saw Dr Venger, I was up front and told him I used medical marijuana. He was skeptical, but luckily he didn't have the prejudice many doctors have, and said it wasn't a problem.

After Prop 203 passed, Dr Venger asked a few questions about marijuana, but was still skeptical. He knew I was using marijuana for the shooting electrical pain in my legs and feet from neuropathy. Then Dr Venger started noticing my use of narcotic pain medications was going down, while other patients were increasing their use of pain medications.

That's when he started to ask more questions, and do some research. We talked about medical uses of marijuana for several months, then he asked if I would like to help him setup a medical marijuana certification program for his patients.

With the help of medical marijuana, I cut my use of narcotic pain medications by half, and was able to return to work part time for the first time since 1990. I now work four hours a day assisting with the medical marijuana certification process.

Everyday I see patients lowering their narcotic pain medication use. Narcotics, or Opioid pain medications have numerous side effects. I only hope our Arizona Governor will support our new medical marijuana law in the upcoming months.


  1. I only hope our Arizona Governor will support our new medical marijuana law in the upcoming months.
    Not to imply I'm not giving you the benefit of the doubt Jay, but I sure hope you're doing more than hoping.

    Hm, did that come out right? ;-) Did I just scold myself somehow? :-)

  2. I don't agree with parts of the article. Pain pills main side effect is addiction. Other than that none I can think of. Pot? As long as you don't smoke it I'd think it would be safer. The smoke isn't much different than cigarettes IMHO. I still think the drug war is an ingrained sham.

  3. mark,

    Medically speaking, the scientific research seems to clearly point out that, even though carcinogens are present, there also seems to be an anti-carcinogenic effect against lung and brain tumors. They are nothing as severe as cigarettes, a legal drug in this country!

    Pain pills have many other side effects, like constipation and over-sedation. Methadone also can have a side effect of causing heart arrythmias. As pain doctors, who use it for chronic pain, they must be very aware of this side effect. It could cause a fatal arrhythmia!

    And, yes, addiction is a side effect, it is actually very rare in real pain patients. Part of the misunderstanding is relating withdrawal to addiction. Both, are actually very different. Yet, people who are ignorant of such facts, spread propaganda that is actually the opposite of the truth. There were scientific studies that showed true addictive behavior was low. One study showed that out of 100,000 patients 8 became, truly addicted. Another study of burn patients had similar results. Out of 10,000 burn patients, NONE BECAME ADDICTED! There are studies that go from both extremes. Some report as high as 5% addiction. The true number is likely somewhere in between, but treating pain patients even if 1% become addicted, is seen as wrong, by the powers that be in this country. Yet, the DEA and the federal government would rather make the other 99% suffer in intractable chronic pain! The propaganda is hurting a lot of people. Ironically, (as a past pain doctor) after I broke my back, last year, I have experienced inadequate pain relief, because of the chilling effect the drug war has had on proper medical care. Cops should not be deciding what proper medical care is! Yet, they are!! And, gladly, I am sure the representatives here at LEAP support this view.


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