Tag Archives: pain

Why Is Big Pharma Fighting Legalizing Marijuana?



It’s obvious.

We all know by now that most prescribed pain killers (especially opioids) are addictive, and yet, our government bows down to Big Pharma and continues to allow clinicians to prescribe them indiscriminately.

Many, many committees, commissions, agencies , etc., have been holding meetings to discuss this problem.  Has anything been done?  Of course not.

All the “conclusions” of these “get-togethers” have amounted to: ZERO.

Now, we have something else to throw into the “pot.”

There’s a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. These studies have generally assumed that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. But that’s always been just an assumption.

Now a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs, validates these findings by providing clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Ashley and W. David Bradford, a daughter-father pair of researchers at the University of Georgia, scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013.

Medical marijuana is being used for medicinal purposes and not for “recreational” purposes.  There is this misconception held by very conservative groups:  medical marijuana will be used for recreational purposes or will lead to recreational marijuana use in order to get “high.”  Medical marijuana is used as medicine to relieve pain and other symptoms of chronic and/or serious medical conditions.

fewer pills

The graph above, published by Bradford and Bradford, Health Affairs, July 2016, sheds much light on the impact the use of medical marijuana has had and continues to have, on addictive drug use.

Let’s get on with it, elected officials!  Let the light shine through, and give our ill citizens availability to this plant that has many healing qualities, especially relief from many types of pain.  Some of your colleagues have seen the light and passed state laws allowing prescribing of medical marijuana.  Until the federal government passes a national law or properly amends the scheduling of marijuana, I hope more states will join the almost 30 states which have already passed marijuana laws.

Source:  Article in the The Washington Post by Christopher Ingraham

[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]


Meet Professor Jarred Younger


It looks like we have a new rising research hero for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.  His name is Jarred Younger.  He is currently at University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB), and his bio more than measures up:

Jarred Younger

Professor Jarred Younger

“Jarred Younger received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychophysiology in 2003 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He then completed postdoctoral fellowships at Arizona State University and the Stanford University School of Medicine before taking an assistant professor position at Stanford. In 2014, he joined the faculty at the University of Alabama Birmingham, with a primary appointment in the Department of Psychology and secondary appointments in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Rheumatology. Prof. Younger’s goal is to end the chronic pain and fatigue that is caused by inflammation in the brain. He is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and several non-profit agencies to develop techniques for diagnosing and treating neuroinflammation, pain, and fatigue.”

Younger and some other ME/CFS and FM researchers are taking a very different approach to these illnesses.  Cort Johnson introduced us to Professor Younger in his “Health Rising” blog.  Please click on the “Health Rising” link to read Cort’s in depth report on Professor Younger’s experiments involving the hormone, leptin and the main immune agents in the brain – the microglia.  I, personally, found Cort’s report very clear and I became excited about this new approach in trying to find the cause of the brain inflammation, the pain, the fatigue and the impaired cognitive functioning.
The notes below, taken from Professor Younger’s UAB research site, are a synopsis of the work projects ongoing in Professor Younger’s lab at the University of Alabama Birmingham:

“Current Projects

Short descriptions of our active research projects are provided below. If you have any questions about our projects, feel free to contact us by email at youngerlab@uab.edu. You may also call our main line at 205-975-5907.

Discovering the source of chronic pain and fatigue

We have found specific chemicals in the blood that may cause chronic pain and fatigue in many women. These chemicals are part of an immune system that may not be working correctly. We have received funding from the National Institutes of Health to contiinue testing the role of these chemicals in disease. If we are successful, we may not only produce an objective test of fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, but we may also be able to develop more effective treatments for those disorders. Women participating in this study have blood draws over multiple days and record their symptoms on a handheld computer.

Daily immune monitoring in men with Gulf War Illness

After the 1991 Gulf War, many individuals in the military returned home with a range of unexplained symptoms. Most of those individuals experience chronic pain and/or fatigue. We believe that environmental exposures while in the Persian Gulf region may have sensitized the immune system, causing the symptoms of Gulf War illness. We are testing that hypothesis by measuring several inflammatory chemicals in the blood of people who suffer from the condition. Our goal is to learn more about Gulf War illness so we can develop effective and safe treatments.

Using botanical anti-inflammatories to treat Gulf War Illness

We now know that several botanical agents, such as mushrooms, nettles, and herbs, have anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit individuals with chronic pain or fatigue. Most of these products are available without a prescription, but they have never been tested in Gulf War illness. We are currently funded by the Department of Defense to test some of these supplements in individuals with Gulf War illness. If these anti-inflammatory products reduce symptoms, then we will learn more about what is wrong in people with Gulf War illness and make progress in treatments that make patients function and feel better.

Developing better methods for detecting inflammation in the brain

We believe that low-level inflammation in the brain may be the cause of many cases of pain, fatigue, problems with thinking or memory, and depression. Unfortunately, no tool is currently available that allows us to determine if someone has low-level inflammation in the brain. We are working on several solutions to that problem, using neuroimaging techniques such as diffusion tensor imaging, positron emission tomography, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. We hope to make a safe, non-invasive and accurate test available for neuroinflammation. For these studies, we are currently recruiting people with chronic pain and fatigue, and healthy people.

Exploring the effects of opioid painkillers on the brain

While strong painkillers are important in managing pain, they may cause problems in some individuals when used for a long period of time. Some of those problems include addiction, changes in mood, and even increased sensitivity to pain. We are conducting brain scans on people who are starting or stopping opioid painkillers to determine how the drugs affect the brain and cause problems. With the information we gain, we hope to find ways to improve pain treatments and minimize their unwanted side effects.

Low-dose naltrexone and other microglia modulators for pain

Our lab has shown that low doses of naltrexone can be effective in reducing the chronic pain associated with Fibromyalgia. We believe the medication works by suppressing the activity of immune cells in the brain (microglia) that have become hypersensitized. We are now further testing this medication to see who it helps best. We are also testing other medications that may work even better than low-dose naltrexone.”

[Professor Younger’s photo is from University of Alabama Birmingham site]

P2P and The Mess with Pain Medications

M.E. patients need relief from the pain they suffer 24/7.  What happens when they run out of their medication, and go to the ER?  Normally, they would be treated like a drug addict who is looking for more drugs.

Controlled substances must be prescribed for 30 days, with 2 refills.  Original prescriptions must be picked up at the doctor’s office and then hand delivered to the pharmacy.  This puts a great hardship on the patient, especially when that patient has to travel many miles to see the doctor every 3 months, and the patient is disabled by the disease and/or other physical disabilities.

Chronic pain and opioid use is a fact of life with patients who suffer from different chronic illnesses; such as MS, Fibromyalgia, etc.

The video below discusses this topic in detail.  A good listen.



Statement from Stanford University School of Medicine on Symptoms of ME/CFS

A statement cited from the Stanford University School of Medicine on the blog, “Living With M.E.” said of the illness known in the United States as ME/CFS was: “Its symptoms often include not only overwhelming fatigue but also joint and muscle pain, incapacitating headaches, food intolerance, sore throat, enlargement of the lymph nodes, gastrointestinal problems, abnormal blood-pressure and heart-rate events, and hypersensitivity to light, noise or other sensations.”

Quite an accurate, albeit, brief description, without going into the issues in a more deeply manner.

When Stanford University speaks, the HHS, NIH, CDC, the IOM and all those other departments under HHS charged with direction and regulation of the health of citizens of the United States, should listen.

blue ribbon for me


[image from bingdotcom]


A Self Portrait Blog Post By Louise


Louise Shepherd, from the UK, is severely ill with M.E.  Below is her self-interview on her blog, Chronic Fatigue & ME:

What is your name & how long have you had ME / CFS?

I’m Louise and I was diagnosed with CFS back in August 2013 but I’ve been suffering the onset of the illness for a number of years.

Where do you live?

I live in the county of Lancashire, in the North West region of the UK.



Tell us 5 things about you that the people in your life probably don’t know (non-illness-related):

1) I know all the words to the Disney film Aladdin
2) I don’t remember my dreams.
3) Most of my childhood memories are what other people have told me, or from photographs. I hardly remember anything from being young myself.
4) Number 3 is likely the reason why I’m struggling to think of anything else.
5) Despite how I may seem, I’m actually very quiet & find it hard to talk to people.

Tell us 5 things about you that the people in your life probably don’t know about your life with CFS / ME:

1) I experience pain & exhaustion every single day. No amount of pain killers completely takes the pain away, I’m usually left with a dull ache that just won’t go. No amount of sleep takes away the exhaustion.  I have days where I am so exhausted that even the simple act of breathing (that you don’t even have to think about doing) can be a struggle. Sometimes I wonder where my body finds the energy to still keep my heart beating.

2) I have days where my staircase may as well be Mount Everest, I have at times stood at the bottom of them & cried because I can’t get up them.

3) To make my own cups of tea, I either have to sit on the kitchen side or on a chair as I can’t stand long enough most days to wait for the kettle to boil. I also can’t fill the kettle too full as it gets too heavy, my hands shake & I’m likely to burn myself.

4) I have Hyper-Sensitivity to Light, Sound & Touch. I rarely open my curtains (or the blinds in the lounge if I’m in there) as it’s even too bright on dull days for my eyes. I have to have the TV on a low volume or not on at all. Even my own voice is too loud for me some days. My skin is so sensitive to touch that it is now too painful for me to have my cats sit on my lap & I have bruises on my legs from where they’ve stood on me. Somedays even resting my own hands on my lap can cause me pain.

5) For the most part, I’m pretty housebound. The times I do go out, the simple act of getting ready – shower, getting dressed, doing my hair & make-up leave me feeling incredibly unwell & exhausted before I’ve left the house. Then being out takes even more out of me so that when I do get back home, I have to go straight to bed. But if I didn’t push & put myself through that, to get out even if at times it’s only once that week, I wouldn’t see or speak to anyone at all expect for my parents.

What one thing do you think most people wouldn’t know about living with ME / CFS that you’d like them to know?

That having ME/CFS can be a very lonely existence. In most cases this illness stops you from having a normal social life. It stops you from spending time with your friends or family or people in general as most of us can’t manage to get out at all & it’s not through a lack of wanting to, or being lazy, the fact is, most of us a simply too ill to manage any kind of social interaction. So if you know someone with this horrible illness, please don’t just give up on them because in your eyes they no longer want to spend time with you because that is far from the truth, they would love too! Maybe instead of asking them to go out somewhere, ask if you could go see them. A drink & catch up doesn’t have to be in a cafe, I’m pretty sure we all own a kettle & can get hold of some cakes!

What is the most frustrating aspect for you of living with ME / CFS?

I think for me the most frustrating part is how it affects my memory & general brain function. I used to have a great memory & could absorb & learn things incredibly quickly. Now I’m thankful that I can no longer get out of the car to go into Asda as there’s no way I can remember where it was if I did! My concentration level is very low, I can be talking to someone & part way through I find myself thinking “what am I talking about?” The memory issues cause me to use unnecessary energy – trips up & down the stairs because even though I’ve filled my hoodie pocket with everything I need for the day if I’m staying downstairs, you can be sure I’ll have forgotten something. I’m also very thankful for auto correct as I often struggle to remember how to spell even the simplest of words.

Anything else you’d like to say before finishing?

That I’ve honestly forgotten what it feels like to wake up refreshed, pain free & ready to face the day one job after another. This illness has taken my life without killing me & I want it back so desperately! Even though there’s no cure, I cling to the fact that recovery can be possible & so I keep smiling, try to keep positive & keep fighting for my everyday.
Thank you very much, Louise.