marijuana

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We don’t learn from history.  America sounds like it is starving with several stories on food bank cuts that have just started.  A lot of people seem to skimp and save to be able to eat.  Some of my marijuana patients tell me it is the only medical care they can afford.  One asked me where the nearest food bank was, and if I knew any good ones.

Vintage Veterans PostMy Grandmother-Of-Blessed-Memory had a couple of raspberry bushes in the back yard, and some very aggressive strawberries that sent runners under the sidewalk to the garbage can, pushing up the already fragile cracked concrete. This infuriated my Mother-Of-Blessed-Memory who always had to do such repairs, as my father of blessed memory had “such delicate hands.” At least that is what his mother would lament as she stroked them.  He had an honored place in our household for being a composer and choir director and music teacher and supporting the lot of us. Read more on Is This How We Thank Our Veterans?…

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I used to say I was not a political animal.  Pharmacology has become political.  Not my fault; that’s for sure.

Marijuana has suffered a legal setback.  This has not been covered by a lot of the media.  I had a heck of a time finding it. Read more on Rescheduling of Marijuana Suffers Legal Setback…

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This thing might work for some.  Proof of its working is thin, but that tends to be a chronic problem with this kind of device.  The patients studied with Cefaly had migraines not over a few times a month. My patients — who use marijuana, generally of the sativa type — have the most intense migraine headaches I have ever seen or heard of and have them on a daily basis.  This is pretty amazing, since I worked for one year in a major Midwestern university headache clinic. The major questions are what causes migraine headaches, and whether this device indeed nips them in the bud. Read more on Cefaly, the Anti-Migraine Device…

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When a marijuana patient visits me for permission to use that drug, I have to ask them, gently, how long they have used it.  Most, if they are old enough, do not give me an answer that I can quantify.  Instead, they start with something like, “It seems like yesterday I used it for fun.  Now, I need it just to (fill in the blank).” Survive, live, walk, or keep from throwing up.  They wonder about how and when it changed from a form of recreation to a form of drug treatment.

They never seem to believe it has already been a drug, for thousands of years, in other cultures.  If I give them enough time, they count their own age and their own problems by how they use it.  With a few thousand papers published every year, mostly in other countries, it would be crazy at this point to try to believe it wasn’t a drug.  For an amazing number of folks, it seems to be the way they reckon the passage of their lives. Read more on The Passage of Time…

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Waylon and Willie said it best.  “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to play football.”  Wait, maybe they said cowboys.

Actually, it was a soccer player who came to visit me regarding chronic pain of the knee and ankle on one side, from soccer injuries.  He was only semi-pro, but so loved the game he could not and would not stop playing.  I suggested marijuana balm, instead of just knocking himself out with smoking.  He did have to work at his customary job as some sort of electrician on most days and could not “medicate” with marijuana until he got home.  This produced some pretty painful days. Read more on When Will the Footballers Ever Learn About Concussion?…

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At some time in our lives, we all need to be told we’re good or shown the way.  A simple story about giving kids from Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods a chance to rise above the violence in their communities strangely touched me and compelled me to write.  As I do this, I am not that far from Oakland.  I have heard enough to tell you that the culture of violence described is not exaggerated. Patients who see me for marijuana permission are happy and delighted they do not have to drive there.

So there are children who grow up in a culture of violence.  I see adults.  Not too long ago, I was seeing adults for social security evaluations in Los Angeles. Many of them had been caught in crossfire, perhaps shot on their way to the supermarket or even in front of their own homes.  They told me they did not know why or by whom, and sometimes they still had bullets in them somewhere.  Other times it was just a memory that so overwhelmed them that the quality of their post-traumatic stress disorder was like the sort of thing that you see in Vietnam veterans. Read more on It Takes So Little…

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A few days ago one of my patients called me “Dr. Pollyanna.”  He told me this was a reference to the fact that I would not validate that his pain, from old injuries, would be lifelong and without useful treatment.  This is what his primary doctor had told him. “Dr. Pollyanna” was not wrong; but maybe, not quite subtle enough.  I try to sneak ever so gently into patient’s thought patterns and convince them there is a way out of their problems.  There always is, especially since I have been dishing out marijuana permissions. Read more on A Positive Message for Veterans…

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Nobody, but nobody, including a president of the United States, can tell a doctor what to ask about in an assessments.

Assessments are supposed to be in the strictest confidence, for openers.  Anything else would be against the rules of medical confidentiality.  Patients have a right to be seen alone.  The doctor has a right to decide what needs to be said.

Picture Of Elmer Fudd HuntingI can imagine the 2nd ammendment rights activists bursting a blood vessel if doctors are reqiured to survey patients about the guns they own and how they use them.  The requirement to have doctors do this would be — most everyone will agree — anti-American.

This being said, a question about firearms is and should be standard psychiatric practice.  When you are dealing with suicidal patients, which happens all too often in psychiatry, and the patient says that he or she is thinking about this, then it is absolutely essential to know if that

Read more on Doctors Asking Patients About Guns…

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In this life, everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.  That includes this questionnaire study about marijuana as an exit” drug for substance abuse.    This article hit a nerve because there are issues here I have come up against before.  And I mean “against.”  I don’t mean to say it isn’t “good science;” it is. I’m talking about the emotional resistance to the idea that detoxifying from a medication can be comfortable, painless, and effective.  I see this coming like I see the sun rising in the morning, because I have been to this place. A few years ago, I found myself in an informal banquet room across the parking lot from a hotel type establishment in a touristy part of San Diego.  There was a woman rep from the drug company, Hythiam.  She wasn’t an ex beauty queen like most reps, but a fairly credentialed therapist who actually knew what she was talking about.  My husband was there with me; a younger, chubbier, and more naïve me – therefore, less authoritative.

These Hythiem/Prometa folks had a great schedule of IVs that removed physiological cravings for various substances of abuse, including methamphetamine.  Basically, they use safe and older type drugs intravenously for a lovely pharmacological intervention.  The cravings stop, and the person does not “need” to use the drug. Neither they nor I was stupid and naive enough to think that was all you had to do.  Aftercare was important and I was ready to jump in.  They recommended vitamins — I recommended lots of vitamins, high dose, and chelated to cross the blood-brain barrier. But these addicted folks needed “prosthetic lives.”  When all you can muster goes to satisfying a craving or a need, there are not many hours left in the day for work or relationships.  I helped with this, too. Some people had problems, but they were mostly because of the psychosocial void left when they did not go for drugs, and their inability to fill it.  I worked my damnedest with these folks; and like the company, was eager to be accepted into the addiction community. There was this reception, and they had invited people from every substance abuse program in town.  I was there and ready to go to bat as the only physician who had experience with these folks locally. Two people showed up.  One was an older, fatherly type. The other was a young sidekick who was presumably learning from him.  This older guy said something that rings in my ears now. “You got to earn your sobriety.” Read more on Time to Stop Judging and Start Healing…

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My husband and I don’t have children – much less “tweens” – but even I know who Hannah Montana is.

Hannah Montana and Miley CyrusOkay.  I only have a little idea about what is going on in this specialized world except when some of the women with whom I tend to associate (the mental health field is almost all women) told me that their little daughters loved Hannah Montana.  But I would have to be Helen Keller not to see her image on blankets and jewelry and plastic stuff the exact nature of which is unidentifiable to me, and to hear her recordings in public places where they blare so-called “popular” music indiscriminately.

This should be understandable.

I will admit I had to look up the information that Miley Cyrus plays Hannah Montana on a Disney network TV show that has all the tweens twittering or tweeting or whatever. Read more on Hanna Montana Gets High — And Tweens Follow…

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