April 7th, 2015 – Medical cannabis patient Nakki was born with a very rare disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a condition that affects the connective tissues in the body, causing symptoms such as dislocated limps, stomach sensitivity, and easily broken bones.
Nakki along with others who live with chronic pain will have frequent visits to the hospital and every day tasks become increasingly more difficult. Most people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, like Nakki, live with constant pain and discomfort with a daily regimen of traditional pharmaceutical drugs that often do not reduce the pain effectively.
The endocannabinoid system has a known connection to the body’s pain centers, so the ingestion of cannabinoid products have been found to reduce the pain longer and in a more gentle manner. Nakki is fortunate because she has access to medical cannabis as she states, “When you have the physical relief you’re allowed to have the mental and emotion relief as well.” Cannabis has proven to ease her joint pain and reduce her frequent spells of nausea.
Many of the patients with wide-ranging ailments are usually are on a pharmaceutical program that requires them to ingest daily amounts of drugs such as acetaminophen with codeine or oxycodone, which can be hard on the system and often while reducing pain, introduce new discomforts. Ones quality of life is lowered due to the lethargic after-effects of a traditional drug regimen.
Medical cannabis, whether in the form of edibles or vapor, works as a way to reduce the pharmaceutical drug intake and greatly reduces the pain and suffering of some of these patients. Some may prefer smoking; others vaporizing and there are those that would rather ingest edibles, which seems to be the most sustainable option. Nakki however had an aversion to ingesting edibles due to the specifics of her ailment and thus preferred to vaporize or smoke a Sativa strain.
Though this is greatly helping those who have access to the cannabis dispensaries, there is a necessity for the personalization of medical marijuana programs. Specific strains with medicinal properties need to be matched appropriately and applied consistently to each individual patient’s needs.
At the current moment there are still many problems with accessibility, i.e. it may not be affordable to the majority of people in need. The most cost-effective way for people to acquire this medicinal alternative is to either have a third party grow it for them or turn to the black market. The downside of the black market though is that organic options or specific medicinal strains may not be readily available. In addition, the preferred method of ingestion of the medicine may differ with each individual based on their specific condition and needs, which also has cost implications.
Many people like Nakki, who live with chronic pain, must often do without their most helpful medicine until the costs are lowered to a more affordable level. It is time to explore this safe, effective and more cost efficient alternative for pain relief to bring increased quality of life and overall well being to those suffering chronic pain.