HERNANDO COUNTY, FL, UNITED STATES, November 28, 2017 — Anthony David is a volunteer who works mostly with chronic pain sufferers in impoverished parts of the city. Over the years, he has realized how devastating the effects of pain medication can be.
Few people know that most of the medication for chronic pain sufferers contain strong opiates that can lead to addiction.
Medical marijuana is not as addictive as opiates. It can be used effectively as a part of pain management therapies. The problem is that many people associate marijuana with irresponsible, immature teens.
Anthony David explains that even medical practitioners are a little bit reserved when it comes to advising patients to take medical marijuana, mostly because of the insurance companies and the bias against it.
“Medical marijuana is inexpensive and insurance companies have a hard time justifying the big prices for insurance packages for people suffering from chronic pain when the medicine is cheap. Another problem is the bias that even medical practitioners have against medical marijuana, they are afraid they might ruin their reputations if they prescribe it. Unfortunately, the people who can’t afford expensive pain medications are the ones who lose the most.”
The volunteer has been working on a number of projects aimed to raise awareness about what medical marijuana is and how it can be used.
He dedicates his free time to designing flyers and creating social media awareness campaigns hoping that more people will be more open to the idea of embracing the drug.
“Usually, people respond positively to my social media posts related to medical marijuana, mostly because online the stigma is not as big. When I hand out flyers on the street many times I get my flyer back, simply because some people are alarmed by the word “marijuana” and they don’t even want to read the flyer, they automatically believe I am trying to promote recreational use.”
During his work as a volunteer he realized that most chronic pain patients weren’t getting better over time after using opiates. They often had to increase the dose, which made the treatment even more dangerous.
Many times chronic pain patients increase the dose not only because the current dose is not bringing relief but also because the euphoric feeling after taking opiates dissipates and they need a higher dose to experience it again.
Anthony David speaks about how hard it is for doctors to figure out whether a patient needs a stronger dose because the pain is becoming a problem or because they got addicted to the opiates.
“I’ve witnessed this a lot during my work as a volunteer. It’s so easy to get addicted to something that makes you happy within seconds. The problem is that we can’t really know the amount of pain the patient is suffering from. When someone gets addicted to opiates but the body got used to the dose and no longer impacts the brain as it used to, they can easily lie to their doctors and say the pain is unbearable. I saw many lives being destroyed this way.”
Medical marijuana, on the other hand, is not nearly as addictive as opiates and is more effective at treating the pain, not to mention that it’s less expensive.
Anthony David speaks about what made him volunteer in the first place and how the accident of his cousin changed his life:
“When I was 18 years old, my cousin was diagnosed with a rare nerve disease that couldn't be cured, just managed with pain medication. My cousin had excruciating pain in his left arm and was prescribed opiates. Two years later, he became addicted and there was nothing we could do about it.”
The volunteer hopes more people will be open to the idea of medical marijuana simply because it’s safer than the opiates when used in pain management.
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