Thursday May 23, 2013
Pain Therapy and the Paramount Painkiller - MarijuanaDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
Aspirin was the first breakthrough about 1880. Because TIME only brushed the surface I have elected myself to present a brief overview of the subject of painkillers.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Most of my readers know that I am a retired Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and I have been an avid student of the subject for 50+ years. Back in the old days Opium and Alcohol were the leading painkillers. Things have changed a little since those days.
TIME Magazine just featured Chronic Pain with their Cover UNDERSTANDING PAIN in its March 7, 2011 issue. It was really strange that TIME had featured Marijuana in its Nov. 22, 2010 issue, see Salem-News.com Nov. 29, 2010, but for some incomprehensible reason thought it caused Schizophrenia. It doesn’t, it actually successfully treats it. In addition to that Marijuana is one of the best new treatment for chronic pain and acute pain such as headaches.
Aspirin was the first breakthrough about 1880. Because TIME only brushed the surface I have elected myself to present a brief overview of the subject of painkillers:
1 – NSAIDS such as aspirin, were the first followed much later by Ibuprofen. Too
much will eat a hole in your stomach.
2 – Tylenol followed much later. It will destroy your liver. Tramadol related in
action is lesser used.
3 – The Narcotics, really sleep producers, represent the largest class with about
a – The Opiates, literally from opium, are Morphine, Codeine, Hydrocodeine,
oxycodone, and heroin.
b – The Opioids, like the opiates in function, are Demerol, Methadone, and
Fentanyl, the first two are addicting like Morphine.
4 – Steroids such as Medrol and Prednisone are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs
Inflammation is painful.
5 – There is a very large OTHERS class which wanders all over the place:
a – Valium-like drugs are brain depressants.
b – Nitrites are used for angina pain.
c – Neurontin is a powerful brain depressant.
d – Cocaine’s main action is as a brain stimulant but it is a potent local
e – Alcohol has been used for thousands of years.
f – Caffeine as a brain stimulant is used with many other painkillers.
g – Amphetamine and similar brain stimulants enhance painkillers.
h – Anti-histamines are effective in histamine induced pain.
i – Anti-depressants are a weird brain “zombifying” drug used with other
j – Clonidine is another brain depressant sometimes used to get patients off
k – Ketamine seems to be a similar brain depressant.
6 – Marijuana/Cannabis is the last and certainly the best painkiller. It is very
effective for about 100 very different types of pain. The adverse side effects are
minimal and the addiction liability compared to the opiates and opiods is minimal.
It is the safest, most effective and useful of the whole bunch of painkillers.
Their article didn’t help much or probably ANY to understand pain except to point out that 76 million Americans suffer chronic pain and that State Medical Boards do not want doctors to treat chronic pain with either opiates like Morphine, opioids like Methadone but want to treat them with anti-depressants which make them goofy so they quit and become alcoholics or use Valium-like drugs which are even worse and more addicting.
They did point out that pain is a danger signal that sometimes is wrong whether it is a pinched nerve (bad back) or low oxygen (angina). One of the weirdest quotes was by a Dr. W. Michael Hooten of the Mayo Clinics Pain Rehabilitation Center who said he finds “opioids wholly unnecessary” and “It’s very clear to me that long-term opioid use for chronic pain doesn’t provide long-term benefits”. I would hate to be one of his victims!
Another doctor Dr. Pouya Mahajer who readily prescribes Lortabs and Percocet both very strong opiates and also prescribed physical therapy and psychological support neither of which offer much pain relief. He did point out it was very costly. It was also pointed out that legal and illegal useof strong painkillers had increased 50% from more than 10 years ago. For the patients severe chronic pain is much worse than addiction. Besides that hundreds of thousands of patients are on legal Methadone which is about as addicting as any of the morphine-like drugs.
The TIME article had some very interesting inserts.
Some hurts are forever.
Science is now pushing back (?)
Pain is not merely a symptom but a disease in itself.
Chronic pain is a disease of the central nervous system (brain). It affects all body systems. We don’t know much more about pain than we did 200 years ago (amen).
Time did introduce some new unproven therapies: Massage has been used for centuries, it’s probably useful for only low grade pain. Others are Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, tai chi, mineral baths and they barely touch Marijuana as herbal remedies. This is pathetically ignorant. For the probably several million legal and illegal Marijuana users they use it very successfully for chronic pain. This is called Complementary or Alternative Medicine (C A M) or folk medicine.
Other herbs like Echinacea, Ginkgo, Billberry, Cats Claw, Chasteberry, Feverfew, Evening Primrose Oil, Golden Seal and Thunder God Vine. As a Pharmacologist, I’m whelmed! They do say, few of them actually ease pain.
TIME does mention TENS units (Transdermal Electrical Nerve Stimulator). These may work for some patients but I have similar chronic pain problems (burning feet). Even turning on high it didn’t relieve pain but I couldn’t feel where my feet were without seeing them. TIME reported on a Magnetic Wave to the brain instrument which “resets neural circuits” but it most likely causes release of endorphins, enkephalins, endo cannabinoids which are the brains own analgesics.
I’M ASTONISHED TIME DIDN’T MENTION MARIJUANA
EVEN DR. OZ SAYS IT WORKS!!!
Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 2 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.
Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon. Do you have a question, comment or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole". Order the book by mail by following this link: DOGFACE SOLDIER OF WWII If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.
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