Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: I tried Sativex: it was no fun at all

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  • Russell Brown,

    One thing that surprised me: I went to look for Sativex user experience reports on Erowid – and there are none. I really would have expected that some crazy psychonaut would have necked a whole bottle, but it appears not.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    ordained takeaways for dinner

    holy orders?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1669 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott,

    it makes the nerve pain associated with MS manageable and allows her to get by with a low or no dose of the more-readily-prescribed opioids

    From a pharmacological point of view, I would have thought that some partial cannabinoid receptor agonists would be favourable to opioids right off the bat.

    (But then I've long been frustrated by the lack of objective science in the legal decision making around cannabis.)

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    From a pharmacological point of view, I would have thought that some partial cannabinoid receptor agonists would be favourable to opioids right off the bat.

    That's certainly what people who I've spoken to say. There's also evidence that THC improves the efficacy of opioid painkillers, allowing lower doses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Interestingly, Chris Fowlie tells me that the reason CBD was used in Sativex in the first place was to temper the THC high. It was subsequently that it was found to have its own medical benefits.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Walls,

    I just don't understand how this product "may be diverted" to other people but the traditional pain killers aren't considered to have the same risk. Without having any statistics I'd have thought that there's plenty of misuse going on there already.

    Brisvegas/Melbourne • Since May 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    You did actually prove their point about diversion.

    Since Oct 2012 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    sativexatious ponderings
    Perhaps you needed a repeatable low level nerve pain event to gauge and compare the neural feedback... - hammer on finger or similar.

    ...also you are high-functioning professional male.
    I suspect lesser mortals could be tempted to 'neck it' just in case there is a high...
    Any change of state may be preferable to quotidian life under a National Government, for some...
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7426 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    I don't think you are really meant to start using sativex at same dosage a regular user would. IIIRC a new user is meant to ramp up over several days and try to use the least amount necessary.

    Cannabis is really weird because it can push some people one way and other poeple another e.g. most people feel mellow but some people can have really scary anxiety attacks. I suspect it's due to people's natural brain chemistry and the ratios of CBD and THC.

    Since Oct 2012 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    So THAT explains those texts.

    It is deeply frustrating that Pharmac is stepping away from balancing cost/benefit relationships (and yes those include letting people die) and making the call on "risk of diversion".

    If there was genuine risk of diversion it should be dealt with in other ways and not within the purvue of Pharmac.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4335 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to mpledger,

    I don’t think you are really meant to start using sativex at same dosage a regular user would. IIIRC a new user is meant to ramp up over several days and try to use the least amount necessary.

    Yep, I know that now ….

    I just did what I was told :-)

    Cannabis is really weird because it can push some people one way and other poeple another e.g. most people feel mellow but some people can have really scary anxiety attacks. I suspect it’s due to people’s natural brain chemistry and the ratios of CBD and THC.

    I can only confirm that Sativex really did not feel recreational to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If there was genuine risk of diversion it should be dealt with in other ways and not within the purvue of Pharmac.

    I'm not sure the committee (with the possible exception of Giles Newton-Howes) really has the expertise to pronounce on likely use of Sativex in the wild. Citing its "ease of administration" seems pretty silly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Russell Brown,

    … the risk of diversion in the New Zealand setting, should Sativex be funded, is high due to the inherent nature of its active substances and the ease of administration.

    It’s pretty feeble logic all things considered, one would have imagined that as qualified professionals they would have a more functional comprehension of their remit. As I read on I couldn’t shake an encroaching sense of dread that this might be where things were headed:

    You're braver than most.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2117 posts Report Reply

  • Kay,

    The comparison that occurred to me was to when someone gave me a tablet of epilepsy medication at a party 30-odd years ago, assuring me it was a great buzz – and I wound up feeling really awful and foggy-headed and having to find somewhere to lie down. Sativex wasn’t nearly that bad, but it also wasn’t my idea of fun.

    For future reference- none of the epilepsy drugs give a buzz, even the ones on the market 30 years ago. Ask anyone who has to take them. All they'll do is make you feel really, really awful, or worse. Probably why there isn't street value out there for most of them- no buzz/high/addiction attached to a medication, then there's not a black market for it.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kay,

    For future reference- none of the epilepsy drugs give a buzz, even the ones on the market 30 years ago. Ask anyone who has to take them.

    That one experience has stayed with me, believe me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    My GP was recommending anti epilepsy drugs for nerve pain when I decided to quit the repurposed anti depressant that were clogging my brain for little relief. From what you report Sativex might be just as bad.

    A fellow sufferer told me recently that "bud was best" but only once you had "punched through the paranoia" perhaps longer term use of Sativex would provide the benefits of pain reduction without the acute effects of being drug fucked.

    Since Mar 2010 • 347 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to william blake,

    The underlying theme for a lot of patients, including those with MS is the desire to take as little as possible during the day, and to take large doses at bed time, improving pain and sleep, while sleeping through the worst/best of the effects. Even Helen Kelly did this, with large doses in the evenings, and a clearish head in the morning. My wife barely touches the stuff, as she frets about sleeping through our toddler son's midnight wake for a bottle. But when she does use, its the best sleep she can get outside of 20mgs of Morphine in an Ass Cheek.

    Since Mar 2015 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to william blake,

    My GP was recommending anti epilepsy drugs for nerve pain when I decided to quit the repurposed anti depressant that were clogging my brain for little relief. From what you report Sativex might be just as bad.

    Definitely not "just as bad", but I didn't find having a large dose of one cannabinoid and a large dose of another cannabinoid that partially suppressed the first one at all congenial.

    A fellow sufferer told me recently that “bud was best” but only once you had “punched through the paranoia” perhaps longer term use of Sativex would provide the benefits of pain reduction without the acute effects of being drug fucked

    Yes – typically new patients start low and work up the dose as they get used to the effects. My friend also takes her big dose at night, as Shane suggests.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Liam Dann,

    Hi Russell...Did you see this yarn? We are trying to develop it - I just stumbled upon the press release out of Canada...suggests someone at Middlemore sees value in prescribing more regularly and that NZ usage is about to increase markedly.


    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11801095

    Enjoyed the post by the way ...

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to Liam Dann,

    @Liam Dann, that shipment is for a special approval granted by Peter Dunne, and is for one patient only, the intent being to find a cheaper alternative to Sativex, as the product is a 1:1 ratio oil.

    Since Mar 2015 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Lumley,

    While I agree it would be amazing if anyone paid list price for Sativex to get high, the Seattle cannabis shops (eg) do seem to advertise quite a few products with as much or more cannabidiol than THC, so there may be a chacun à son goût issue here.

    It's possible that the high CBD products are for medical use, but there's a separate medical-marijuana network, so it would be a bit surprising if they all were.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Shane Le Brun,

    , and to take large doses at bed time, improving pain and sleep,

    Which is entirely consistent with the known anxiolytic, sedative and soporific qualities of cannabis, ( and of hops also) .

    So, a low- alcohol IPA and a toke should see the sandman at your doorstep :-)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 753 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Sativex has always come across as an example of big companies monopolising the market, with the full collusion of prohibitionist-leaning lawmakers.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5283 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    It simply will not do for " we the people " to be taking responsibility for our own health and well-being. That way lies . . . . freedom.
    Think of the doctors.

    Walter Last's "Heal Yourself " should be banned . . . . what would a forensic toxicologist and pathologist know about what's killing people anyway?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 753 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 753 posts Report Reply

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