Pain and Pot


I wrote a month ago about some digging I was doing, and how well I seemed to be tolerating it. Well, that came to an end, and as a result of that work, I’m in constant pain, especially in my right shoulder which grinds with every movement and often feels as if it’s about to slip out of joint. I was prepared for the pain, but I wasn’t prepared for the noises and the loss of motion that makes everyday activities (opening blinds, making beds, lifting a coffee cup) angst-laden and downright scary.

Marijuana is the only drug that helps much (both with my pain and my attitude), and it’s the only drug that doesn’t put me in fear for my life (the chart only lists a smattering of the side-effects of my current narcotic), so I’ve been high pretty much all day everyday for weeks. The pot relaxes me, although it also makes my mind leave the vicinity of my body rather easily. For example, I took my first hit of some new bud while making breakfast yesterday, and immediately wanted to listen to music. There I was in the kitchen recalling that the iPod was in Peggy’s room when, voila!, I was holding the remote to her iPod player. Unless thought alone moved that remote, I had gone to her room and gotten it, yet I had no memory of doing so, and it wasnt even what I wanted. “Oh, well,” I said to myself (it’s good to stay relaxed at such times because the other option is to feel as if a malevolent force had yanked your brain right out of your head and buried it) as I poured honey on Peggy’s oats, forgetting that Peggy doesn’t like honey on her oats. 

These are extreme examples, but they point to the nature of marijuana-induced forgetfulness. What I usually find is that when I want to concentrate, I can (sometimes better than normal), but when I’m doing mindless chores, my thoughts are more likely to be somewhere other than on the task at hand. This is good in that it makes boring work agreeable, but it also means that I can’t hold myself to quite so high a performance standard because I’m really not “all there.” As for work that requires concentration, I can conduct business, balance the checkbook, use power tools, and figure out how to get back into my Blog when Google locks me out. I’m high as I write this blogpost, so you can see that the drug doesn’t make me altogether stupid. In fact, it can make me smarter, at least in understanding my own perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. Sometimes, I won’t even know I’m mentally or emotionally stuck until I use marijuana, and I feel as if I’m standing in a room dimly-lit by the setting sun on a gray day, when suddenly a huge bank of fluorescent lights come on. 

Being high on a relatively innocuous drug is hardly the worst of the possibilities when my desperation to do real work (meaning physical work) has resulted in my inability to do so much as drink coffee without pain. If the choice is between being high versus being in more pain than need be and despondent to-boot, I’ll choose being high. It’s a strange way to live, but with luck, my shoulders will recover somewhat, and I can become active again. If not, I’ll probably become active again anyway because I don’t do well with sitting around.

18 comments:

PhilipH said...

Hope your shoulder pain recedes very soon Snowy.
I remember some severe shoulder pain in my right side some 25 years ago. Couldn't raise my right arm more than four or five inches. Had to get out of the car to pull a parking ticket out of the machine; couldn't reach it from in the car (right hand drive in UK).
Doctor called it 'frozen shoulder' and prescribed TENS sessions at the hospital (electrical impulses). Made no difference even weeks later.
Then one morning it simply stopped being a problem. Just went back to normal.
Never tried cannabis but would like to experiment with it, but just have no idea where to get it. Canabis is being portrayed on a UK soap called Coronation Street right now as something that helps certain characters with pain. It is in the form of a tray-bake type of cake. Quite surprising really.

Stephen Hayes said...

You don't need to convince ME of the medicinal properties of pot. I once had rectal surgery and experienced the worst pain of my life. The doctors gave me all kinds of drugs in an attempt to control the pain but nothing worked. My son gave me some pot and within minutes I was getting relief.

Joe Pereira said...

I'm not altogether sure whether you're using pot as a medicinal or recreational aid - whichever, enjoy it Snow. Better to be high and cheerful than low and in pain, any time. Get well soon :)

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

I used to not be good with sitting around... But the depression I feel since my sister passed is overwhelming. I have spent way too many dayson the sofa feeling overwhelmed by everything and nothing at all.

Snowbrush said...

" It is in the form of a tray-bake type of cake."

I bake cookies with leaves, but smoke the flower buds. The advantage of eating pot is that it's stronger that way, plus I hate smoking it. When I do smoke, it's usually to adjust the effect of the cookies. You can cook it in pretty much any recipe, but you need to simmer it in butter for a half day first.

"My son gave me some pot and within minutes I was getting relief."

Yet, the DEA classifies it as a dangerous drug with no known medicinal applications, and discourages research with endless red tape.

"I'm not altogether sure whether you're using pot as a medicinal or recreational aid"

I'm not altogether sure either. Is it desirable to take a drug for physical pain but not for the emotional symptoms that accompany that pain, and if so, where does that leave anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants, drugs that are often prescribed to change the mental outlook of people who suffer from physical pain? Damn if I know where the line is.

Snowbrush said...

"But the depression I feel since my sister passed is overwhelming."

I didn't know you were having such a hard time. My most intense grief was over my mother, but I would think that the loss of a close sister would be harder to live with than the loss of a close mother. I can but say that is that I care, and that time will help considerably, but it can take years.

Marion said...

I'm so sorry, Snow-man, that you're having worse pain again. There's a motherfucker. I know I want to go dig in the dirt and plant stuff, but I can only do minimal work with no kind of lifting at all. It makes me very, very depressed. Oh, if I had the pot, I think it would revolutionalize my life. I'm SICK of taking the drugs and SICK from taking them and SICK from being ripped off my my ins. co. who doesn't want to pay for a couple I've been on for years suddenly that I cannot afford otherwise.

So many side effects and angst over the drugs. Pot could not be any worse....no way!! And then I'm getting major crap from my insurance who doesn't want to pay for half my meds after paying for them for years. I just want to scream most of the time.

I hope you'll take it easy and get better really soon. Love to you and Peggy. xo

Helen said...

Dear Snow,
Sorry to hear all of that work ended in significant pain. I had NO idea pot needed to be simmered in butter for half a day ~~ that explains why the 'brownies' my sister cooked up years ago tasted like dried weeds (pardon the pun.) Whatever it takes is my motto ........

lotta joy said...

All the Indian doctors where I live, prescribe Tylenol for intense pain. My surgery was performed this week by an american who sent me home with Hydrocodone. I was unhappy at first, wishing it was stronger, then I doubled the dose and became VERY happy with it in spite of the warnings.

I don't need colace since I do not have a large intestine, but I sure wish there was a way I could feel like this all the time, without becoming addicted or tolerant. I'd choose better living through pharmaceuticals in a heartbeat.

kj said...

Still, I think you should cool it with the power tools

:-)

Elephant's Child said...

I am so sorry that the pain is back to those levels. And yes, if it helps - do it. And take as much care of yourself as you can.

rhymeswithplague said...

Well, if your illustration isn't enough to scare anyone away from Oxycodone I don't know what could.

I have never tried marijuana, medicinally or recreationally, but I have a different set of aches and pains to keep you company with nowadays: shingles (left side and back and abdomen), sinusitis, chest congestion, and now, to top it all off, an infected toenail on my right big toe. It is soaking in hot water and Epsom salts as I type.

As we are increasingly aware, old age ain't for sissies.

ellen abbott said...

whether you smoke (or eat as the case may be) pot for pain or for attitude adjustment, I don't consider it a strange way to live at all. Where did that concept even come from, that adjusting your attitude is bad? I smoke pot and have since I was 17 (I'm 63 now) though there have been years when I did not for various reasons. If you are a religious person then I would say the good lord put it here to help us and our current social attitude towards it, as in keeping it illegal, hurts everyone and helps no one. besides being good for pain, for nausea, attitudes and it's many other good properties, I also read that it helps keep cancer cells at bay.

Deb said...

Snow, I'm so sorry about all the pain you suffer from. I only WISH I could use pot to relieve my own excruciating pain, but sadly, I get paranoid and develop really bad anxiety attacks from it. It's the most natural way to relieve pain. You know, the benefits weigh out the bad (forgetfulness, etc) --- because the negatives of the pharmaceutical meds are much more dangerous.

Hang in there!!!

Strayer said...

It's puritanical, this live pure and suffer thing, (purity being a fluid conjured concept) this only get drugs from a pusher with an M.D. degree thing. Why should doctors, hospitals and insurance companies get all the kick backs while you or I still suffer? Cancer clinics are closing all over the country due to sequestration cuts affecting cost of drugs that must be administered by a doctor, leaving medicare patients hanging with terrible painful diseases. Smoke your dope. Smoke anything you want. Power to the people!

Snowbrush said...

Thanks everyone for the encouragement.

"I had NO idea pot needed to be simmered in butter for half a day"

I just learned it two years ago when I started medical marijuana and was looking for the best way to use it (before that, I never had enough at one time to cook with). Here's what you do to make the butter. You put your marijuana in a blender and grind it to the consistency of flour, and then simmer it with the butter. I bought a crock pot for the job. If I had to smoke pot, it would drive me crazy. A hit or two a day is okay, but I develop a cough with more than that, and it's not like the smoke tastes good.

Rhymes, marijuana might help the shingles pain, but as with all conditions, it's hard to get solid medical information because so little testing has been done. All I know is that some shingle's sufferers report that pot helped them much more than narcotics, although others said that mixing the two made them feel a little crazy. I've combined them many times without having such a problem, although some might wander if I would notice.

"Where did that concept even come from, that adjusting your attitude is bad?"

Being high so much does tend to mess with my self-concept, although anti-depressants can do the same thing to an even greater extent. Years ago, when I took Zoloft, I spent time wondering who is the "real" me, the one who's sensitive, depressed and shy or the one who isn't.

"I get paranoid and develop really bad anxiety attacks from it."

Been there, done that, but found that it is often situational, which means that if you were with the right people in the right environment, you might not experience that effect, although nothing is guaranteed. I have simply gotten used to it. The more pot I do, the more comfortable I get, so even when bad feelings arise, they don't freak me out like they once did because I know their limits and I know they will go away on their own if I don't try to push them away. It's a little like having a phobia and getting beyond the fear through familiarity. Years ago, I dealt with the intensity of marijuana by only using it on sunny days when I was alone or with people I felt good about. Now, I don't care.

Snowbrush said...


"if your illustration isn't enough to scare anyone away from Oxycodone I don't know what could."

The fear of liver or kidney failure impress me a lot more than anything on the chart because everything on the chart will go away when the drug is stopped.

"I think you should cool it with the power tools"

I know that running saws sounds like a bad idea, but I love running saws; I find it relaxing; and I've had decades of experience. The only only power tools I ever hurt myself with were a circular sander and a drill.

"I was unhappy at first, wishing it was stronger, then I doubled the dose and became VERY happy with it in spite of the warnings."

Yes, the starting doses they prescribe are usually pretty low. I used to wonder how I could be taking a kick-ass narcotic for severe pain and still be in severe pain. I found this fact horribly discouraging, and it took me a lot longer than it took you to realize that I simply needed to increase the dosage, and with that realization, I started to rely more on the Internet than on doctors for drug dosages. Of course, the downside is that you can burn right through your narcotics and be left with nothing for pain relief. Also, your hydrocodone surely comes mixed with acetaminophen, and you definitely need to monitor how much of that you're getting. If I were you, I would tell my doctor that I'm allergic to acetaminophen (look up the side-effects and report that you're experiencing one of them) so that he would give me straight-up oxycodone. My reason for this is that doctors continue to prescribe a mixture despite the fact that it puts you at extra risk without any extra benefit, yet if you come straight out and tell them you're afraid of acetaminophen, they might conclude that you're just wanting to up your dosage of narcotics, and even if this is true, it's not a good thing to say because once a doctor suspects you even might be an addict, you're screwed as far as pain control.

"Oh, if I had the pot, I think it would revolutionalize my life."

I wouldn't go that far, but others would. You can't know until you try it. You like to grow things, so I'm wondering what they do to you in Louisiana nowadays if you get caught with a few plants.

Charles Gramlich said...

Very sorry to hear of the increased pain. Hope that does get better soon.