Medical Marijuana: From Laughable Suggestion to Legitimate Option

Medical Marijuana: From Laughable Suggestion to Legitimate Option

So, I live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. I’d never thought much about it before, always assuming treatments would work for me, and also because, well, I’m not the marijuana type. I’ve never smoked it, not even during college, when many people tried it. I don’t drink or use any recreational drugs. Not that I have anything against either; they’re just not my thing.

But my friend, who lives in the same state as I do, has decided to try marijuana for relief from her multiple sclerosis. She’s in the process now of getting cleared. It seems like a very long process of going to various doctors, obtaining a license, choosing from among many varieties, etc. It’s also quite costly as insurance won’t pick up the cost. She’s started a GoFundMe page to help with her expenses. This is after years and years of treatment for her disease, with constant relapses. I admire her ability to look confidently in another direction.

It got me thinking. Would it help me? In the past, I’ve kind of laughed when people suggested it. My mother-in-law used Marinol, the prescription version of cannabis in a pill, during the last months of her life. It made her incredibly high, unaware and sleepy. She didn’t like what it did to her, and I didn’t either. I remember going to her house one day when we couldn’t get her on the phone and finding her basically incoherent and passed out on the couch. I rushed her to the hospital, and she was fine by the end of the day as the drug eased out of her system.

These days, when I’m in pain, I take Percocet, a drug prescribed to me by my gastroenterologist. Not all GIs will prescribe pain medication for Crohn’s, which really bothers me. We’re not all going to become addicted to it. I use mine only when the pain becomes unbearable, at the height of my flare-ups, and I use a quarter of a pill at a time, doling it out to myself like I’m rationing my favorite food, chocolate.

When I mentioned medical marijuana to my doctor, he was against it. That seems to be the stance of many doctors. My doctor said it won’t do anything to abate my symptoms; it will just make me high enough to not care. But I’ve read articles that show that if you get the right mix — a certain kind of compound — you can avoid getting high from it.

I’ve done all of the medications we can think and none of them have worked. They’ve caused a lot of pain and expense and time and energy and I can’t seem to get into a remission unless I’m taking prednisone, which has been a staple of my medical diet for the past four years. I cringe when I think of what I’ve done to my body with prednisone. And though it’s a drug with a whole lot of issues, it’s prescribed over things like Percocet and, obviously, medical marijuana. Yet, according to the Mayo Clinic, Crohn’s is one of the diseases medical marijuana can help.

I don’t think I’ll act on it just yet, but my husband said he didn’t blame me for thinking about it. I’m now coming off another two-week flare, after getting down to a 5 mgs. dose of prednisone.  I’m back up to 30 mgs and now we’re questioning the ability of Stelara to put me in remission. My doctor wonders if I should — if my insurance will let me — increase it to every four weeks instead of every eight, or do another IV infusion of it. But the insurance will never agree.

So, I’m enjoying time on my prednisone, while I have decent energy, want to eat, and all is well in the bathroom, only to know that in a few weeks, that will likely all end.

Would medical marijuana be better? I really don’t know.

Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to inflammatory bowel disease.

2 comments

  1. Tim Hindes says:

    Hi Judy,

    Our stories are somewhat similar I am a 54 year old male whom never even tried marijuana but drank my fair share of beer. I had a terrible flare last June that had me losing 30 pounds , required two blood transfusions and in the words of my local GI I almost lost my colon. He said there was nothing I can do holistically and had to do Remicade. I had an allergic reaction to remicade that included whats called syrum sickness that brought about the most debilitating pain I have ever encountered, it was that day I tried marijuana only to find my bowel slow down, I became intrigued and took myself off of everything accept the nightly marijuana before bed. I went to Mayo and had a before and after scope and the results show no active signs of the disease. I am at one to two normal bowel movements a day since 8 months ago. I am taking Balsalazide daily and also am eating a combination of the Stanford & Mediterranean diet. In the evening I can sometimes feel my stomach get what I call squishy / gassy feeling like I might have to go, I smoke 3 to four inhales and no more feeling to go until the next morning. I do not want to take Remicade or Humera and am very grateful for what the cannabis is doing (and prayers too). That’s my experience hope it helps

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