HEALTH: Medical cannabis option for chronic pain sufferers – Ontario Sci Centre presentation

Do you suffer from chronic pain? Is the treatment you are currently getting inadequate.

The Ontario Science Centre is doing a presentation about “Medical cannabis” on June 9.

Do you or a loved one suffer from long-standing chronic pain that medication has failed to adequately manage?

Dr. Lionel Marks de Chabris, an addiction and pain management consultant based in Sudbury, Ont., will speak about the role medical cannabis can play in chronic pain management at The Caregiver Show in June.

Since 2007, the emergency- trained physician has prescribed medical cannabis to patients with long-term chronic pain who’ve tried multiple medications. “I think people need to know about medical cannabis as an option,” Marks de Chabris said, adding it is an “adjunct medicine” to other medications. “It’s not for everyone. It’s not a panacea. For people it seems to help, it helps.

“What we have right now isn’t great. The best medications, you get about 30 to 50 percent reduction in pain and some improved function. More options, particularly with low side-effects and no risk of a fatal outcome, are beneficial.

CanniMed and Metroland Media Toronto present The Caregiver Show on Friday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Rd. Admission is free.

Cannabis oil is Marks de Cha bris’ preference since it provides an exact dose and a slow, steady release to control symptoms for eight to 12 hours versus two to three hours with vaporizing.

There are 43 Health Canada-licensed medical cannabis producers in Canada, including CanniMed.

Medical cannabis comes in two strains: CBD (cannabidiol), and THC, which has psychoactive properties.

Finding the most effective strain, and possible combination of CBD and THC, is individual and requires patience — and is not the entire puzzle, he said.

“What is really going to make a difference is yoga, tai chi, water aerobics, walking and stretching and using the muscles, he said.

“Meditation, stress management, smoking cessation, dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD has to be done. It’s like a three-legged stool. You have medicine, but you also have the mind and movement.”Book a counselling appointment and come prepared with studies and research if you want to talk to your doctor about medical cannabis, he advised.”You could say, ‘I’ve tried several medications for my back pain or neck pain or rheumatoid arthritis.Are you open to a trial of medical cannabis for a few months?’ If your physician isn’t open to it, reassure him or her. ‘I won’t ever get in a car within four hours of using. The risk of addiction is nine percent, about the same as caffeine. I’ve never been addicted before.’ Make your doctor more comfortable and get them onside.”The stigma surrounding medical cannabis “is fading,” Marks de Chabris said.”I’m being amused and surprised by some of my patients. Twenty years ago, patients in their 60s would never tell their family physician they wanted to try medical cannabis.”

Visit caregivershow.ca

Source: TAMARA SHEPHARD
tshephard@insidetoronto.com

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