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Topical Cannabis Based Lotion For Chronic Pain? Can It Really Work? Yes, It Does!
Sleep and Chronic Pain? Forget About It!
If you suffer from severe arthritis, fibromyalgia or any other chronic pain disorders, you are constantly searching for pain relief. You become willing to try almost anything that promises to ease the pain. Just one night of real sleep becomes the goal of anyone suffering and in pain! Not just two hours, not just four, but is there any way a sufferer of chronic pain can get one night of uninterrupted, deep sleep? Usually and in most cases, the answer is no! Forget about sleeping like a normal person. It just isn't going to happen! By the time you receive whatever diagnosis you are going to have to learn to live with, whether it is arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or any other number of chronic pain diagnoses, you already know that your sleep patterns have changed significantly. Well before the diagnosis comes, the possibility of ever being able to sleep through the night occupies many of your thoughts.
Opoids generally interfere with sleep, believe it or not. So, the very medication that you may be taking to control the pain may worsen sleep disturbances. Hard to believe? Do a little bit of research and you may be surprised to learn that this is true. But then on the flip side, pain itself interferes with the ability to sleep, so you are caught in a Catch 22 situation: damned if you do and damned if you don't. Adequate pain control and sleep do not necessarily go together. In fact, they don't go together at all. If you have chronic pain to the point that simple Tylenol or Advil cannot control your pain, you understand what I am saying. If you have been suffering for years, the outlook is not good that anything will change anytime soon.
Too Stubborn To Try It!
Since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2007, I have been prescribed a myriad of medications to control the symptoms, never able to cure the disease itself. Prior to that time, there was the diagnosis of severe arthritis of the spine, and a spinal surgery to replace vertabrae in the neck with bone grafts. Pretty heavy duty stuff and a change of lifestyle, for sure. The sleep disturbances or lack of sleep began in 2006, just prior to the spine surgery. It has continued until now. Occasionally, there have been nights that I have been able to sleep for as many as four hours straight.
I keep a pain diary, because anytime I am able to reduce the pain or increase the amount of good sleep, I want to be able to repeat whatever I did to produce the positive change. Up until now, I have been unsuccessful. My doctors have tried everything, from opoids for the pain to prescription strength pain patches. I have been moderately successful in the area of pain control. I have been unsuccessful in the area of sleep. I have been evaluated by sleep specialists and pain specialists. My doctors have not failed me. They have been with me every step of the way and they know that I have tried everything they have suggested. Nothing has worked, up until now.
Someone I love very much has been advocating that I try a topical pain reliever that contains cannabis. I have been very vocal in my disapproval of this approach. No way was this going to work! No way was I willing to try this! No way! No way! No way! I didn't fight the doctors when they prescribed oxycontin, hydrocodone or even synthetic morphine, but this topical lotion was not going to become one of my medications. I researched the product. It is widely prescribed in Canada, the United Kingdom and many other European countries. What do they know? If the FDA and the federal government says it is illegal, then it is illegal and that satisfies me. Even though Canada and the UK have clinical studies that prove this lotion works, I remained opposed.
Well, I caved. For the last few weeks, the pain has been unbearable! Call it peer pressure or whatever you want, I tried it. One time and I was sure I would discredit all of those European studies. This particular product is called Pain Eraser and is sold legally in California to anyone who has a medical marijuana card. It is not cheap. But the person that wanted me to try this, bought it for me. Now I know that just because this person has a medical marijuana card doesn't mean that I am allowed to use it. I understand the possible legal implications. The morphine I use is okay, but topical cannabis is not. Sounds kind of silly, doesn't it?
I Don't Want To Say It Works, But It Does!
The first night I tried this, I applied it to my neck and left shoulder, as well as my mid-back at around 6PM. I had taken my scheduled medications at 7 PM. My next dosage was due at midnight, but at 11 o'clock, I was tired and went to bed, figuring I would wake up in a couple of hours because of the pain. I woke up, but not until 6 in the morning.
Seven hours of sleep? Unheard of! I had not slept seven hours in over four years! I woke up and I had some pain in my neck, but it was not intense pain. I would even say it was closer to moderate pain. I had also gone almost 12 hours without any pain medication. That means I cut my pain medication by 50%. That is a significant decrease. I have now used this topical lotion for three nights and the results have been the same each night. I am not sure that it will continue to be effective, but so far I have to admit that I think it works.
Placebo effect? I don't think so. I was vehemently opposed to trying this. I was fully expecting and wanting it not to work. It is hard for me to admit that it is effective and might work in the long term. But I have to be honest. If this Pain Eraser can take the place of morphine, hydrocodone or oxycontin, that would be a great thing.
I will continue to use this lotion and I will be informing my doctors at my next visit. I may end up getting a medical marijuana card. If you suffer from chronic pain, you know that just one night of uninterrupted sleep would be wonderful! Three nights in a row is more than you could ever wish for!
I will update this hub periodically and revise the results as I continue to use this product. Eventually, I might even be able to discontinue many of the medications I currently take. That is my goal. It is also my hope that other people with chronic pain find some way of decreasing the pain and increasing good sleep. If other people with chronic pain have something that works, communicate that to the rest of us. Even if, like me, you really don't want to admit that something works, help the rest of us.