“I am in pain and with medical cannabis I have been able to sleep through the night again”

“I am in pain and with medical cannabis I have been able to sleep through the night again”

The subcommittee created in the Congress to analyze the regulation of cannabis Medicine works with the month of May as the horizon. You have to make a decision and take a step, in this sense, in Spain, as other countries have already done. Thousands of people already take this type of product to treat their illnesses and get relief from pain. This is a pending issue in Spain and there are many patients who want it to be regulated.

María Eugenia Alonso, 53, who lives in Vincios (Gondomar), is an example of how CBD, a cannabis compound, has managed to calm a pain that prevented her from resting. Years without sleeping a whole night. CBD is the most abundant compound in cannabis and has no psychoactive effects. The most common way to find it is in oil, which is sold for therapeutic purposes, and is extracted from the hemp leaf. There are also capsules.

– What health problem do you have?

-I have a herniated disc and osteoarthritis in the spine. I am receiving treatment for pain and I was in the Meixoeiro Pain Unit. I've been in a lot of pain for years.

-Since when?

-From the age of 35, approximately. Now I am 53. He started me with a herniated disc, it is not operable. It's an inoperable lumbar hernia.

– What kind of pain does it cause?

-I pinch my legs, my legs hurt. It is similar to restless leg syndrome. And when you notice it most is at night, when the legs are at rest. And you can't sleep. You can go all night without sleeping.

– Do you also have osteoarthritis?

-Yes. Osteoarthritis became more complicated over the years. That's why I take Palexia, which are opiates. and Diliban. It is a treatment that is regulated by the traumatologist and the family doctor. (When I return to consultation we will talk about CBD, I haven't had a chance yet; it's pending).

–How long have you been taking Palexia?

–About 8 or 9 years. I pick it up at the pharmacy. Palexia was a change, it relieved my pain during the day but not at night. And most nights I didn't sleep. As soon as I stop my physical activity, my legs are when they notice the pinching the most.

–When do you start taking CBD (therapeutic cannabis)?

–I have known Pablo Vázquez (from the Vigo CBWeed Shop) for a long time, for other reasons. He suggested that I try a few drops, a moderately low dose. Obviously it's because you already resort to whatever, it's very hard to live with pain for so long. So many years. With that dose, the first days a little better, until I changed to a higher dose and in pills. And since then: very good.

– Since when are you doing well?

-Since this Christmas. It is a capsule with water that I take at night. Since taking capsules my life changed. I needed sleep. To be able to sleep. I have spent many years getting from bed to sofa. I went to bed, an hour, an hour and a half, and got up again to go to the sofa. Stretch the legs. There were nights I couldn't even touch the bed. Now I sleep all night. I even need an alarm clock! I never remembered anything like that in my life.

–Did you previously know about CBD?

-No. It was a recommendation. I was unaware of this topic. I can't explain much, but apparently it's like a substance that they extract from marijuana and prepare it. When you take it you don't hallucinate or anything like that. It doesn't have that effect. It's like a relaxing effect and allows me to sleep.

What did all this mean for your family as well?

I have two children and a partner. Well imagine. I hadn't slept in bed for a night in a row for years. I stayed on the sofa. And on a day-to-day basis, of course, it affects you. And a lot. Having pain is an ongoing problem. If you do not rest and you are in pain, you are in a very bad mood. I admit that I am unbearable. Because when you don't rest... at work you have to perform the same and do your daily life at home, too, it's complicated.

-What do you work on?

- I am a domestic helper. Now I dedicate myself more to caring for dependent people.

Did you ever have to stop working?

I have tried and continue to try to always fulfill in my work. One specific day I had to call and say: 'I'm sorry but I can't go to work today'. But long periods without working, no.

–What do you think about the subcommittee created in Congress to analyze the experiences of other countries with the regulation of medicinal cannabis?

I don't understand much about the regulation part. At first I see it well. And it benefits me. I think that if they regulate it there may be more scope to buy it. This medication is also not available to everyone.

-Can you tell the approximate price?

-A little more than 50 euros.

– And how long does it last?

–The box contains 60 capsules. The normal thing would be to take three capsules a day and in that case the duration of the box: one month. But I am taking one or two capsules a day, nothing more. One every night. And that's how it works for me. And it lasts me longer. I meant by the price that in my case the Palexia box, which I buy through Social Security, costs me more than 30 euros. From what I'm checking, it pays me to pay 20 euros more and buy the CBD. Also, it has fewer side effects.

– Why should it be regulated?

-It's that when you go through pain like this you're wishing for something to calm you down. And if you find the remedy... I wish it on everyone, of course. It is essential to be able to rest, sleep, live... And if these treatments work, why not? It is clear that I prefer to save on other things and be able to buy this. By the way, if you go to the pharmacy there are also CBD products, such as anti-dandruff shampoo. Why for some things yes and for others no?

Remedies that represent "a relief" for patients with cancer, arthritis, sclerosis, Alzheimer's or epilepsy

On some occasion, an attempt was made to advance the legalization of medicinal cannabis in Spain, as occurred in 2016: Congress paralyzed a Citizens proposal, which had the experience of the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis (OECM). There are many people who take therapeutic cannabis, which they often have to buy on the black market, with the feeling, on many occasions, of legal limbo. Cancer patients, for example, improve their quality of life because it softens the effects of chemotherapy and helps regulate sleep. People with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, arthritis or any type of chronic pain for which they do not find relief, claim to get it through medical cannabis. CBD (Cannabidiol), for example, is the second most abundant cannabinoid, behind THC. But unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive or psychotropic effects, so it does not produce the 'high' effect. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not consider it to be an addictive substance. Yes, a set of therapeutic properties is attributed to it, but some of them have not yet been scientifically proven. There are smaller studies, according to experts. Most European countries have already taken steps in this direction, such as Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands or the Czech Republic. Also in the United States (part of the states), Canada, Australia, Israel, Uruguay or Chile. The subcommittee was created in June of last year and is now working to have a decision taken next May.

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