Posts Tagged ‘Treatment’

Myth Debunked VI of VI

June 6, 2021

FIBROMYALGIA DIAGNOSIS IS THE END OF THE ROAD

Many find it hard to accept a fibromyalgia diagnosis, not just because of the condition itself but because of what it means. It can feel like the healthcare professionals are saying ‘there’s clearly something wrong with you but we have no idea what it is… there’s nothing more we can do for you’.  This ties into the point of the trashcan / umbrella diagnosis.

Lack of information and fibromyalgia-specific support at the time of diagnosis can leave many feeling like the diagnosis is the end of the road, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The OP was personally told by her rheumatologist not to go online because she’d ‘fall down the rabbit hole’. I imagine the doctor wanted her to go home, give up and stop bothering doctors.

Acceptance, often a difficult and ongoing work-in-progress for many, can be done in conjunction with keeping open mind, still being open to new developments, diagnoses and tests and treatments while working to manage fibromyalgia in day to day life.

Myself, I knew my diagnosis before my doctor’s did (Did the same with my endo), so acceptance was never much of an issue for me. I think my GP had a harder time accepting it than I did.

While there’s no cure, a multi-disciplinary approach can help to some degree. The likes of pacing, pain self-management therapy, massage, acupuncture, gentle exercise, gadgets, self-help books, medication, supplements and so on will work differently for everyone; both the experience of fibromyalgia and its management will be different for each person. It’s often a case of trial and error for each individual to develop a routine and to find the tools that work more effectively for them. 

My regime is a multi-disciplinary approach as mentioned above. I have a muscle relaxer, an anti-inflammatory, low level narcotics, MMJ and a small selection of vitamins. I also regularly see a physiotherapist /osteopath, RMT, pain physician for trigger point injections, & my dentist because of my TMJ, I participate in exercise which prior to covid was Aquafit for the most part. I try to watch my dietary choices, but I know I still fail there- addictions to sugar & McDonald’s. I am also involved in chronic pain support groups in my area which are currently virtual.

What hasn’t worked for me includes Lyrica, Gabapentin, Cymbalta, Fentanyl and Codeine Contin. I have given acupuncture several tries but have not found it helpful for me & occasionally detrimental. My best friend sees a chiropractor but I found that they were less helpful for me. I also still need to be very careful in the way of exercise so it’s not to over do..

My Endometriosis Chronological Journey of Symptoms & Treatments

March 22, 2021

Over the years I have been on many medications & have tried various options for treatment. This is a list of treatments, both before & after diagnosis:

Summer 1988 – Menstruation cycle becoming more uncomfortable and occasionally painful. Treatment? Nothing.. I just figured they were just bad cramps.

Abdominal pain considered just ‘bad cramps’

March 1990 – prescribed Ortho 7-7-7 by my GP at my request for the purpose of lightening & regulating my cycles. This medications did helpat the time.

Winter 1994 – Increase of re-occurring and irregular abdominal pain, beginning in spurts. Pain usually, but not always, eased by soft bowel movement. Minimal impact on quality of life

August 1996 – Increase of re-occurring and irregular abdominal pain, still in spurts. Pain less frequently eased by soft bowel movement. Pain/discomfort had some impact on general quality of life.

Autumn 1997 – By this time, due to frequency in bouts of pain, was able to begin distinguishing between different types of pain as well as circumstance surrounding the pain. The abdominal pain and discomfort was beginning to have noticeable impact on general quality of life.

Spring 1998 – Referred to gynecologist who only adjusted my oral contraceptive to Triphaisal. This was changed back in the Autumn due to side effects ( no, I don’t remember or have record of what they were)

November 1998 – Referred to gastroenterologist by recommendation of gynecologist. Within a month I had a colonoscopy and a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. Prescribed Dicetel which alleviated some symptoms. Referred back to gynecologist in March 1999.

Laparoscopic surgery

The next three months were spent pushing my gynaecologist to perform an exploratory laparotomy to confirm, or deny the presence of Endometriosis within the abdominal area.

June 1999 – Diagnostic Laparoscopy resulted in diagnosis and initial surgical treatment, excisement of Endometriosis. She was unable to excise all of the endometrial tissue as she did not have sufficiently long tools to get to all the areas.

August 1999 -January 2020– Quick return of abdominal pain. Prescribed Lupron hormonal treatment who was an ineffective treatment.

Depo Lupron

January 2020 – Full Laparotomy resulted in excision of remaining & new Endometriosis growth and a left ovarian cystectomy. Back on an oral contraceptive, Ortho 7-7-7.

March 2000 – Due to scar adhesion, approximately 12s layer of muscle fat & fascia scarred together. It took one very long and very very painful hour for my osteopath to loosen the abdominal scaring from my surgery. But OMG, the relief when she was done was phenomenal.

July 2000 – began to experience abdominal pain during and immediately before menstrual cycle., A more typical reaction of Endometriosis

Summer/Fall 2000 – Attempted to try accupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine for Endometriosis. The needles, I have found, don’t help me & usually also give me a migraine.. The herbal had zero impact.

November 2000 – began vitamin therapy to help combat Endometriosis & to improve overall health. It helped as a month later the abdominal pain during and immediately before menstrual cycle decreased.

October 2001 – Ceased oral contraceptive to participate in Endometriosis study .

January- July 2002 Participatef in study for Depot Provera. Received monthly shots of Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Subcutaneous Injections. No change in symptoms while on the medication. Returned to Orthon 7-7-7 upon completion of study.

Depo- Provera

August-December 2003 – Increase again is abdominal pain level throughout monthly cycle, missing increasing amounts of work. The ended December 25 when I went on medical leave.

February, 2004 – Laparoscopic surgery, cautery of Endometriosis & lysis of pelvis adhesions. Bowel declared ‘immobile’ likely due to IBS.

March 3, 2004 – Start Othro Evra Contraceptive Patch continuous.

April 4, 2004 – Start Othro Novum 1/35 oral contraceptive continuous as patch resulted in breakthrough bleeding..

June 20, 2004 – Start Minovral oral contraceptive continuous as Ortho Novum resulted in breakthrough bleeding

January 2005 – Change Minovral to 3 month cycle due to break through bleed

March 2005 – 3 weeks of severe abdominal pain – Thought to be endo related, as corresponded with menstrual bleed. Took Percocet.

Severe Abdominal Pain

June 2005 – Severe abdominal pain again – Thought to be endo related, as corresponded with menstrual bleed. Took Percocet. Started Yasmin oral contraceptive continuous as Minovral had negative side effects. Was told if breakthrough bleeding occured, let cycle come. Unfortunately, I had three visits to ER for abdominal pain, CT scan showed enlarged gallbladder & possibly an ovarian cyst again on right side.

August 2005 – Abdominal, gynaecological ultrasound. Negative result.

October 2005 – Abdominal, gynaecological ultrasound. Negative result.

I don’t recall what I was switch to next, but it was a continuous oral bcp. Have been on a few other continuous birth control pills since then. Been fairly well.controled since then with occasional spots of pain. Changes were due to side effects and allergies.

Mirena IUD

Currently, I am still pre-peri-menopausal & have an IUD. I was also placed on Arthroyec, an anti-inflammatory, in the late 1990’s prior to any surgery but am still on.. The only problem I currently have is the natural bleed I get due to placement of tiny veins/arteries just inside the vagina. My current gynaecologist cauterizes them once or twice a year.

Sjögren’s Syndrome

October 26, 2020

What is Sjögren’s Syndrome?
Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, where your immune system attacks your own healthy cells. . It commonly affects your eyes and salivary glands, but can also affect other parts of the body..

Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome

• Dry eyes, including a painful burning, itchy or gritty feeling
• Dry mouth, making it difficult to swallow, speak or eat dry foods
• Swelling of the glands in the face and neck areas.
• Eye and mouth dryness can also increase your risk for eye infections and dental problems.

• Joint pain, swelling and stiffness
• Dry skin
• Vaginal dryness
• Persistent dry cough
• Prolonged fatigue.

• A few people will have their liver and kidneys affected.

• A few people will also develop lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).

Symptoms of Sjogrens Syndrome

The cause of Sjögren’s Syndrome is unknown. It is more common in women, people over 40 and those who have rheumatic disease, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Diagnosing Sjögren’s Syndrome
Besides your symptoms, Sjögren’s Syndrome is diagnosed through tests, including:

• Schirmer’s test – to check whether your eyes are producing enough tears
• Blood tests – to check for antibodies common in Sjögren’s syndrome
• Imaging to test how your salivary glands are working
• Biopsy – a small sliver of tissue from your lip is checked for presence of inflammatory cells.
Sjögren’s syndrome treatment

Treating Sjögren’s Syndrome.
There is no cure for Sjögren’s syndrome however, most people with Sjögren’s Syndrome are able to live normally, without any serious complications – especially if they take care to manage their symptoms.

Treatments to relieve symptoms can involve medications to increase the production of saliva, treat complications like arthritis with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or meds that suppress the immune system.

There are also ways to manage symptoms yourself:

For dry eyes –

• Use artificial tears or an eye lubricant.

• Regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist (eye specialist),

• wear protective eye-wear to avoid exposure to the wind or sun

For dry nose –

• Use a saline spray for a dry nose

For dry mouth –

• Drink frequent sips of water

• Avoid drinking alcohol

• Use artificial saliva, mouth rinses, sugarless gum or lozenges

• Keep your mouth very clean, limit sugar, regular check-ups with a dentist


For general dryness –

• Increase indoor humidity

• Use preservative-free moisturiser for skin

• Avoid drying conditions such as drafts from heaters and air conditioners,

• Avoid exposure to dusty or windy weather.


I’m sure you are wondering what this has to do with the price of tea in China.. Well.. I originally started this post a few months back when I first started have most of the above issues. After doing a bit of research this seemed the most likely culprit. Unfortunately, my blood test came back negative. So I’m still wondering why I’m having dryness problems. Anyone have any suggestions?

About Fibro (Pt II)

June 30, 2020

This is a long read, but if you haven’t ever seen/read it, then it is most def worth the time. Because of it’s length, I’ve made it 2 posts. Fell free to use it for your own use if you so desire.

About Fibromyalgia

Being sick doesn’t mean I’m not still a human being. I have to spend most of my day in considerable pain and exhaustion, and if you visit I probably don’t seem like much fun to be with, but I’m still me stuck inside this body. I still worry about school and work and my family and friends, and most of the time I’d still like to hear you talk about yours too.
The difference between “happy” and “healthy”. When you’ve got the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I’ve been sick for years. I can’t be miserable all the time, in fact I work hard at not being miserable. So if you’re talking to me and I sound happy, it means I’m happy. That’s all. It doesn’t mean that I’m not in a lot of pain, or extremely tired, or that I’m getting better, or any of those things. Please, don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!”. I am not better, I am sounding happy. If you want to comment on that, you’re welcome.
Being able to stand up for ten minutes, doesn’t necessarily mean that I can stand up for twenty minutes, or an hour. And, just because I managed to stand up for thirty minutes yesterday doesn’t mean that I can do the same today. With a lot of diseases you’re either paralyzed, or you can move. With this one it gets more confusing.
Repeat the above paragraph substituting, “sitting”, “walking”, “thinking”, “being sociable” and so on … it applies to everything. That’s what FMS does to you. – Please understand that FMS is variable. It’s quite possible (for me, it’s common) that one day I am able to walk to the park and back, while the next day I’ll have trouble getting to the kitchen. Please don’t attack me when I’m ill by saying, “But you did it before!”, if you want me to do something then ask if I can. In a similar vein, I may need to cancel an invitation at the last minute, if this happens please do not take it personally.
“Getting out and doing things” does not make me feel better, and can often make me seriously worse. Telling me that I need a treadmill, or that I just need to loose (or gain) weight, get this exercise machine, join this gym, try these classes… may frustrate me to tears, and is not correct… if I was capable of doing these things, don’t you know that I would? I am working with my doctor and physical therapist and am already doing the exercise and diet that I am suppose to do. Another statement that hurts is, “You just need to push yourself more, exercise harder…” Obviously FMS deals directly with muscles, and because our muscles don’t repair themselves the way your muscles do, this does far more damage than good and could result in recovery time in days or weeks or months from a single activity. Also, FMS may cause secondary depression (wouldn’t you get depressed if you were hurting and exhausted for years on end!?) but it is not created by depression.
If I say I have to sit down/lie down/take these pills now, that I do have to do it right now – it can’t be put off or forgotten just because I’m out for the day (or whatever). FMS does not forgive. – If you want to suggest a cure to me, don’t. It’s not because I don’t appreciate the thought, and it’s not because I don’t want to get well. It’s because I have had almost every single one of my friends suggest one at one point or another. At first I tried them all, but then I realized that I was using up so much energy trying things that I was making myself sicker, not better. If there was something that cured, or even helped, all people with FMS then we’d know about it. This is not a drug-company conspiracy, there is worldwide networking (both on and off the Internet) between people with FMS, if something worked we would KNOW.
If after reading that, you still want to suggest a cure, then do it, but don’t expect me to rush out and try it. I’ll take what you said and maybe discuss it with my doctor.

In many ways I depend on you – people who are not sick – I need you to visit me when I am too sick to go out… Sometimes I need you help me with the shopping, cooking or cleaning. I may need you to take me to the the doctor, or to the physical therapist. I need you on a different level too . You’re my link to the outside world… if you don’t come to visit me then I might not get to see you. … and, as much as it’s possible, I need you to understand me.

No Cure but Remission

June 16, 2020

It’s amazing the number of times someone has come up to me and said oh I used to have Fibromyalgia and I did this to cure it. Well.. first of all there is NO CURE. They can not determine a cure if they don’t have a cause.

There-Is-No-Cure-for-this-Disease

They can, however have treatments. Some of these treatments, while working for some but not for others. For example I have several Fibri Friends who say that Gabapentin was s saviour for them. I, however, found the opposite effects for that medication resulting in dramatically increased pain and a long-term flare.

Some treatment s for some people put us Fibromites into REMISSION. If you are cured, you didn’t have Fibro and were misdiagnosed. Your symotons are the result of something other medical condition.

Remission can but a full remission when, yes your pain and symptoms are gone, but they can return – and they will. There’s also partial remission where pain levels drop, fatigue levels drop, functionality increases and you are feeling ‘better’..

I was on this path when COVID19 hit and I lost almost all of my supports. So, I’m back several years, but still trying day by day.

Yoga for Breakfast: 15 Minutes to Free Your Mind

June 8, 2009

Yoga for Breakfast: 15 Minutes to Free Your Mind

By Walter Armstrong

It’s morning in America, fellas, so wake up and shake your asana! Not your style, you say? You’ll take a power-aerobics class and a sauna after work instead? We don’t think so.

Come on, Madonna does it. And your instructor is a total stud and way enlightened. Meet Robert Young, one of Toronto’s top fitness gurus. Yogi Young’s specialty is Fusion Yoga, a unique workout he developed fusing aerobics, Pilates, gymnastics, and dance with different types of yoga.

“I came to yoga like a lot of gay men,” Young says, “after years of doing aerobics, weights, cardio, Jane Fonda-type stuff. I reached a point where improving my flexibility was an issue.” But unlike a lot of gay men, Young wasn’t just looking for a little cross-training add-on to prevent the injuries or boredom so common among devoted gym bunnies. A world-class aerobics competitor, Young had placed as high as fifth in international championships and wanted to break into the winner’s circle. Flexibility was an issue. So he took up the Byzantine study of ballet in his late 20s, but needed a more immediate payoff.

That’s when he turned to yoga and never looked back. “At first, for me, yoga was the fastest, most efficient flexibility training. You sink into a pose, and the tension just dissolves,” he says. “Its yang side was all I was after. But as my commitment got deeper, I began tuning in to its yin, the subtler, spiritual aspects beyond the goal-oriented level.”

Out went the bling bling of global competition, in came the om of personal compassion.

But here at RealJock, we know not everyone is logged on for a total life transformation. So let’s start slow, with 15 minutes in the morning, two or three times a week. Just try our yoga-for-breakfast program for one month. We’re not talking marriage. We promise you’ll be back for more.

While there are thousands of yoga poses (asanas), as befits any 5,000-year-old discipline, Young advises beginners to stick with a few basic, classic postures. “These are symmetrical and incorporate each body part, and both right and left sides,” he says. “Yoga means ‘yoke’ or ‘uniting,’ and you can come to it to develop one capacity—flexibility, say, or strength, balance or breathing—but you quickly learn that you need to develop all the others at the same time. These poses help you feel that.”

Young recommended that RealJock contact Ronnilyn Pustil, one of Toronto’s top yoga instructors and a professional writer, for a how-to for these four a.m. asanas. Pustil has the prose for pose, and she was all about sharing with her gay brothers at RealJock. Check it out:

Photo 1 – Cow

Photo Credit: Kevin Caudill
Photo 2 – Cat

Photo Credit: Kevin Caudill

1. Cow/Cat Pose (see Photos 1 and 2)
This starter will wake up your spine, centering your body for the rest of your routine. It’s actually a combo (yoke!) of two poses, one flowing into the other. This will give you a feel for how to master moving from pose to pose through your yoga breakfast over the month—but first you have to nail each one.

1. Begin in tabletop posture on a yoga mat or exercise mat (on all fours, with wrists directly under shoulders, knees under hips). Don’t let your shoulders sag. Press into your hands and lengthen, strengthening through your arms.
2. As you move through this, let the movement begin in your pelvis and follow through your spine like a wave. Your head is the last thing to move. Now, inhale Cow: Flare your butt toward the wall behind you. Arch your back. Let your belly sink toward the ground. Reach your heart away from your sitting bones, slide your shoulders away from your ears. Your neck is part of your spine, so don’t crank it back—leave a little room so if someone wanted to kiss you on the back of your neck they could.
3. Now, exhale Cat: Tuck your tail end round your back like the scared cat on Halloween. Tuck your lower belly in toward your spine. Let your head hang. Make it round.
4. Do six to nine sets, moving to your own breath. Then, from tabletop, tuck your toes to look into the floor and press your sitting bones up into Downward Dog, coming into an upside-down V shape.

Photo 3 – Downward Dog

Photo Credit: Kevin Caudill

2. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) (see Photo 3)
This classic-as-Lassie pose, Downward Dog is another spinal stre-e-e-e-e-etch from tip to toe that strengthens the arms and wrists and the legs and ankles, making it an all-purpose favorite. D-Dog is also part of the Sun Salutation sequence, so why not start the day with a full-body bark to the great ball of fire?

1. Start in the upside-down V shape with your feet hip-width apart and your hands flat on the floor at the front of your V. Spread your fingers open and root your palms and knuckles into the floor. Pull up in your wrist, arms. Open and soften your shoulders, creating some space on either side of your neck.
2. Lift your lower belly up and in. Lift your sitting bones; feel the sensation of flaring your butt open. Root your heels so that they’re yearning for the ground.
3. Press the tops of your thighs toward the wall behind you. Lift your kneecaps up toward your thighs, so quads are active. Feel the entire backside of your body lengthen and open.
4. Do five to seven sets. D-Dog will eventually become a resting pose once you build the strength in your arms and get the alignment right.

Photo 4 -Mountain Pose

Photo Credit: Kevin Caudill

3. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) (see Photo 4)
Just as Cow/Cat Pose is a warm-up for Downward Dog, Mountain Pose will get you hot for Warrior—and all of yoga’s many standing asanas. So Mountain is a must-do…anytime, anywhere. “You can do Mountain while waiting for the bus,” Young says, “and instead of being negative about the wait, you bring balance and awareness into it.”

1. Standing straight with your arms at your side and your palms facing forward, come up onto tippy-toes. Lift you toes off the mat and spread them wide, then lower them down, one by one, beginning with the baby. Feel your weight distributed evenly on both soles of your feet. Send roots down to the earth’s core; send energy up your legs.
2. Once you feel grounded down, begin to grow tall, reaching the crown of your head up to the sky. Drop your tail down, lengthening the lower back. Make sure your palms are faced forward so there is an uplifted feeling across the front of the chest. Slide the shoulder blades down your back. Relax your face.
3. Do six to nine sets. There should be a whole lot of effortless space between your head and your feet in this pose. You are exerting effort, but your body should not be tense. Note the difference between effort and tension.

Photo 5 – Warrior II Pose

Photo Credit: Kevin Caudill

4. Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II) (see Photo 5)
Not just any old grunt, this warrior is an incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva the Destroyer, who, with his 1,000 heads, eyes, and feet, wearing tiger and breathing fire, may seem a bit much before your first coffee. Don’t panic: The spin is spiritual, as in making war on delusion and desire, the source of human suffering. But feel free to substitute your boss or ex-boyfriend as you stretch and strengthen in this pose.

1. Stand in Tadasana. Step your right foot back three or four feet and turn your right toes in at a 45-degree angle. The left foot is pointing straight ahead, heel aligned with the arch of your right foot.
2. Root your back foot into the floor, sending energy down that leg into the foot, strong back leg. Inhale, take the arms out to your sides in a T-shape, with the palms facing down. Gaze out over your front fingertips. You are gazing off into the horizon, ready for whatever may lay ahead in your day.
3. Exhale, bend the front knee. Make sure the knee is directly over the ankle. Your intention is to have the front thigh parallel to the floor. It may not happen, but that’s your intention, and sometimes the mental intention behind an action is more important than the action itself.
4. Reach through the middle finger of each hand and keep your torso right in the middle. Lengthen the inseam of your front thigh so the knee does not track inward. Tuck your tail in slightly. Lift the front side of your body (your heart) and allow your shoulder blades to melt down your back.
5. Hold Warrior pose for six to nine breaths. Come out carefully, inhaling and staying balanced as you straighten your front knee. Now, do it again, same steps, other side. Do each pair five to seven times.

Before hitting the shower, just sit for a minute, concentrating on the rhythm of your lungs breathing and your heart beating. That’s you, babe, your divine spark of life. Namaste.

Walter Armstrong is a freelance writer and editor in New York who served as the editor-in-chief of POZ magazine for six years. Armstrong has also worked at Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, Us, GQ, OutWeek and numerous other magazines.

Source: http://www.realjock.com

Medical evidence on marijuana blows both ways

June 4, 2009

Medical Evidence On Marijuana Blows Both Ways
Legalization debate is waging in America once again, but what does the research say?

By Sam McManis

+ Enlarge This image
A customer holds up marijuana bought from a San Francisco, California medical marijuana dispensary in this February 2006 file photo. –McClatchy Newspapers
+ Enlarge This image
Medical evidence on marijuana blows both ways –Bloomberg

Sparked anew by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call for the state to study the legalization of marijuana, both sides in the smoldering pot debate point to research to bolster their positions.Such recitation of conflicting marijuana studies can be manipulated and selected buffet-style to serve whatever political and health agenda is being touted.

Even governmental findings can be contradictory. In 1999, for instance, the Office of National Drug Control Policy asked the Institute of Medicine to review evidence. The institute found that, “except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications.”

Yet in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that marijuana has no health benefits and has known and proven harms. It is classified a Schedule 1 drug – the highest risk of addiction – in the Controlled Substances Act.

Wading through the medical literature, though, makes those conclusions less cut and dried.

“When I was a resident in Kaiser in San Francisco in 1978, I gave a lecture to physicians on marijuana, and I remember my conclusion at that time was that you can find in the literature whatever you were looking for,” says Dr. Donald Abrams, a University of California, San Francisco, oncologist and leading medical marijuana researcher. “‘Marijuana is good for asthma.”Marijuana’s bad for asthma.”Marijuana causes schizophrenia.”Marijuana (decreases) schizophrenia.’ And, the evidence is still like that.”

There are many factors, of course. As noted by UCLA pulmonologist Dr. Donald Tashkin, who has studied marijuana’s effects on the lungs for three decades, “That’s just the nature of medical science. You have to deal with variability. The population studied may be different or the methods used to study may differ.”

Yet when the arguments for legalization of marijuana, both for medicinal and recreational use, are put forth, solid medical science often gets clouded in an ideological haze.

“Although we like to say we separate politics from science, with medical marijuana, that’s really difficult,” Abrams says. “It depends on who does the study, where it’s published and their agenda.”

Bearing in mind those caveats, here is a look at the research on marijuana’s effect in areas critical to health.

Lungs

UCLA’s Tashkin studied heavy marijuana smokers to determine whether the use led to increased risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. He hypothesized that there would be a definitive link between cancer and marijuana smoking, but the results proved otherwise.

“What we found instead was no association and even a suggestion of some protective effect,” says Tashkin, whose research was the largest case-control study ever conducted. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Tobacco smokers in the study had as much as a 21-fold increase in lung cancer risk. Cigarette smokers, too, developed COPD more often in the study, and researchers found that marijuana did not impair lung function.

Tashkin, supported by other research, concluded that the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has an “anti-tumoral effect” in which “cells die earlier before they age enough to develop mutations that might lead to lung cancer.”

However, the smoke from marijuana did swell the airways and lead to a greater risk of chronic bronchitis.

“Early on, when our research appeared as if there would be a negative impact on lung health, I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use and that would lead to increased health effects,” Tashkin says. “But at this point, I’d be in favor of legalization. I wouldn’t encourage anybody to smoke any substances. But I don’t think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm.”

Cognitive function

A 2006 study in the journal Neurology found that speed of thinking, attention and verbal fluency were affected as much as 70 percent by long-term heavy use (four or more joints per week).

But a 2003 review of literature in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society found that marijuana smoking had a “small effect” on memory in longtime users.

However, users had no lasting effects in reaction time, attention or verbal function. “Surprisingly, we saw very little evidence of deleterious effects,” Dr. Igor Grant, researcher at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, said in a statement.

A 2002 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that heavy users did worse on recall memory tests. A 2006 study in Greece showed users had slower mental-processing speed than the control group. Then again, a 2007 study at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found that students who smoked marijuana had better grades than those who used only tobacco or those who did not smoke any substance.

In terms of brain development, a 2000 study in the Journal of Addictive Diseases found changes in brain structure in those who started using marijuana before age 17 but not in those who started at an older age. A 2009 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia study used brain imaging to show that heavy adolescent users are more likely to have disrupted brain development in regions involving memory, attention, decision making and language. But a 2008 Ohio State University study found that marijuana can reduce brain inflammation and perhaps reduce memory impairment that could delay Alzheimer’s disease.

Psychosis

Yes, there is an increased risk in psychotic behaviour and long-term risk of mental illness from marijuana use, according to a 2007 review of literature commissioned by Great Britain’s Department of Health and published in the Lancet.

But the risk is small, because the risk of developing psychosis in the general population is 3 percent over a lifetime and rises to 5 percent for marijuana users, lead researcher Stanley Zammit told the Los Angeles Times. “So 95 percent of the people are not going to get psychotic, even if they smoke on a daily basis,” he told the paper.

In 2005, New Zealand researchers studied a group of people with a gene variant the researchers believe predisposes that group to developing psychosis. Those in the group who smoked marijuana as teens had a tenfold increase in risk of psychosis than those who abstained.

Depression

A study published in 2001 in the American Journal of Psychiatry followed nearly 2,000 adults over 15 years. It found that marijuana users who had no symptoms of depression at the start were four times more likely than non-users of developing symptoms during that time frame.

In 2008, the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy stated that early marijuana use could increase the likelihood of mental illness by as much as 40 percent later in life.

However, researchers at McGill University in Montreal in 2007 reported in the Journal of Neuroscience that THC in low doses actually serves as an antidepressant similar to Prozac, producing serotonin. But at higher doses, they found it could lead to depression and psychotic episodes.

Source: Taiwan News

Top Anti-Drug Researcher Changes His Mind, Says Legalize Marijuana

June 4, 2009

Top Anti-Drug Researcher Changes His Mind, Says Legalize Marijuana

Posted in Chronicle Blog by Scott Morgan on Wed, 06/03/2009 – 9:52pm

For 30 years, Donald Tashkin has studied the effects of marijuana on lung function. His work has been funded by the vehemently anti-marijuana National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has long sought to demonstrate that marijuana causes lung cancer. After 3 decades of anti-drug research, here’s what Tashkin has to say about marijuana laws:

“Early on, when our research appeared as if there would be a negative impact on lung health, I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use and that would lead to increased health effects,” Tashkin says. “But at this point, I’d be in favor of legalization. I wouldn’t encourage anybody to smoke any substances. But I don’t think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm.” [McClatchy]

We’ve been told a thousand times that marijuana destroys your lungs, that it’s 5 times worse than cigarettes, and on and on. Yet here is Donald Tashkin, literally the top expert in the world when it comes to marijuana and lung health, telling us it’s time to legalize marijuana. His views are shaped not by ideology, but rather by the 30 years he spent studying the issue. He didn’t expect the science to come out in favor of marijuana, but that’s what happened and he’s willing to admit it.

Here’s the study that really turned things around:

UCLA’s Tashkin studied heavy marijuana smokers to determine whether the use led to increased risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. He hypothesized that there would be a definitive link between cancer and marijuana smoking, but the results proved otherwise.”What we found instead was no association and even a suggestion of some protective effect,” says Tashkin, whose research was the largest case-control study ever conducted.

Prejudice against marijuana and smoking in general runs so deep for many people that it just seems inconceivable that marijuana could actually reduce the risk of lung cancer. But that’s what the data shows and it not only demolishes a major tenet of popular anti-pot propaganda, but also points towards a potentially groundbreaking opportunity to develop cancer cures through marijuana research.

Over and over again, all the bad things we’ve been told about marijuana are revealed to be not only false, but often the precise opposite of the truth. So the next time someone tells you that marijuana is worse for your lungs than cigarettes, you might want to mention that the world’s leading expert on that subject happens to be a supporter of legalization.