Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Medicinal Marijuana For RA?

Marijuana has always been a touchy subject for me. I have to admit that I had my experimental times as a teenager(but hey, who doesn't?) and was turned off the idea of marijuana. Yet when I sit and think about the possible side effects/long term effects of the prescribed medications vs marijuana, I have to admit, the idea of the green plant doesn't seem as bad.

I am not saying that marijuana has no side effects, because it does. It just hasn't caused any deaths, unlike NSAID's. I was interested to find that a mouth spray developed to treat people with MS called Sativex is a cannabis based drug that has also been shown to be effective in managing pain and inflammation in people with RA.

I wanted to take a quick look at some of the possible side effects of both Sativex and we'll use a generic NSAID: Nu-Naproxen.I chose Nu-Naproxen because it was the medication I had first been put on when I was originally diagnosed with JRA.

The possible side effects of Nu-Naproxen are as follows:
  • abdominal or stomach cramps, pain, or discomfort (mild to moderate)
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • headache (mild to moderate)
  • heartburn or indigestion
  • itchy skin
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • skin rash
  • spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • vomiting
Above list of side effects is from http://chealth.canoe.ca

The possible side effects from Sativex are as follows:
  • abdominal pain
  • burning sensation in the mouth
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • flushing
  • forgetfulness or poor concentration
  • headache
  • increased appetite
  • mood changes
  • nausea
  • sore throat
  • soreness or stinging sensation in mouth
  • tiredness
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual taste in the mouth
  • vomiting
  • weakness
The above side effect information was found at http://chealth.canoe.ca

Both of these drugs have similar side effects, although the Sativex has several more side effects than Nu-Naproxen. Both of these drugs can also cause problems for people who have heart problems, or issues with other organs such as kidney or liver problems. The one thing that makes me personally believe Sativex would be better than Nu-Naproxen is that stomach ulceration, bleeding and perforation can occur at any time in patients that are using  Naproxen, and this is not an issue with Sativex(although possible intoxication is an issue).

So when it comes down to it, I guess it is just another drug to choose from. I would love to know if anyone has used medical marijuana(or a drug made from marijuana like Sativex) and how you did with it.

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