Everyone who has read Parkinson's Focus Today knows that Steve has arthritis in his knees. It is very unpleasant in his left knee - his PD side. He has trouble walking, hates to kneel because of the constant pain and has a real problem rising from a kneeling position. Which means, no more plumbing repairs around the house; no display of that plumbers' butt crack. Because he needs a cane to walk, that means no more toting things that need to be moved around. That's kind of inconvenient for me because it means there's just one of us to do the lifting. He is the consultant now.
So a few weeks ago we were trying to snake a graywater drain and I managed to cut up my arms and hurt my thumbs repeatedly and badly. Long boring story but suffice it to say, I had blood dripping, deep abrasions on my thumbs - the wound on one thumb just stopped hurting this morning. (Note: vitamin A & D works better than vitamin E when applied directly to the scabbed area.) The snaking process took place over two weekends during which I managed to reopen the abrasions on both thumbs. I sprayed painkiller every hour to thumbs and arms for several days before easing off to a couple of times a day. And I have a high pain tolerance.
At some point I dug my nails into my palms to try to determine my pain level...or something. That gave me an idea. I wanted to find out how much that knee hurt him. So I took out my trusty hand, pushed those nails into his arm and asked him to tell me when the nails hurt more than the knee. I'm still strong but it took a lot of pressure - far more than the thumb test. So I would say that his pain level is moderately high. Not as high nor as consistent as pains from other conditions but far more painful than my raw burn-like skin which healing and would end.
Which brings me to the point...at last...I'm not one of those old hippy-dippys - I was a Girl Scout leader before I had children...so I didn't do drugs (unlike a former President)...but I am a believer in the use of Medical Marijuana to deal with a variety of conditions, diseases and pain. I know that mj relieves some asthma symptoms quite effectively. I know that it is effective in dealing with glaucoma, cancer agonies. It is effective in nausea and vomiting, in wasting syndrome and appetite stimulation as well as neurological symptoms and muscle spasticity.
Just last week after recommendation by a Medical Advisory Board, New Mexico added the following conditions to the list of those who can apply for the Medical Marijuana Program run by the New Mexico Department of Health:
Severe chronic pain
They did not add the following inflammatory and/or neurodegenerative conditions:
Severe osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Reactive arthritis
Inclusion Body Myositis - chronic muscle inflammation and weakness as well as severe chronic pain
The Board under Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD did not feel there was enough clinical evidence to substantiate the inclusion of the above conditions.
The above conditions would have been added to the list which included:
Painful peripheral neuropathy
Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity
Hepatitis C infection currently receiving antiviral treatment
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS-Lou Gehrig's disease)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
The application for the New Mexico program can be found at http://www.nmhealth.org/marijuana.html You must have a debilitating condition and one which is not helped by standard treatment. Your physician must have informed you of the associated potential risks and benefits. While I know that my husband wouldn't qualify by any current standards as the hinged knee brace offers some assistance for support which relieves some pain; I also know that there are hundreds of thousands of people who are in much worse condition and should qualify.
Only 47 of the 295 applicants have been approved since the New Mexico program inception in July 2007. By contrast in Colorado there are 5,920 patients with registration cards. California, New Mexico and Rhode Island will be the only states which actually allow medical marijuana dispensaries. States with pending legislation, however limited include: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee
The Supreme Court declined to hear the challenge the validity of the California law.
One last observation. Forget that old "if they try it they'll move on to..." the above symptoms are horrendous and some patients are hoping that they can reduce their morphine and other very strong stuff with some unpleasant side effects and to improve their quality of life. We'll be revisiting this topic.
Sources and resources I'll bet you never thought you'd see here:
A map showing states which have legalized marijuana and those which have legalized its use for certain medical conditions only