CannaCare Boston?
August 19, 2014 5:52 AM   Subscribe

YANMD. I have an appointment at CannaCare in South Boston to be evaluated for medical marijuana. What to expect?

Specifically, I have anxiety and insomnia. I've tried a year and a half of talk therapy and it didn't do it for me (I also tried a few different therapists and it made no difference).

For my anxiety I've tried L-thiamine, meditation and exercise regularly.

For insomnia, I'm at the end of my rope. I've tried white noise, a fan, comfy bed things, taking hot showers before bed, cutting sugar, limit caffeine to 1 cup at 8am, I quit drinking booze a year ago, nothing backlit at least an hour before bed, melatonin, magnesium, compression socks for restless legs and assorted herb tea. Nothing works and there is nothing worse than seeing the sun come up on a Wednesday morning and marching through my day at work on an hour of sleep. And then do it all again that night.

I have an appointment at CannaCare in South Boston this week to look into medical marijuana. Does anyone have experience they can share either about this practice, being a MMJ patient or what to expect? Specific to this practice or in general?

I have a thick folder of medical record printouts and a bag of medications that I'm bringing with me.

Literally every night I take 2 klonopin tabs, 1 ambien tab, 4 Tylenol PM tabs, 4 tabs of sleepnal (OTC diphenhydramine), 3-4 tabs of legatrim for restless legs (which has the same ingredients as Tylenol pm) and 300mg of Gabapentin. Just. to. Sleep. Every night! Just the idea of pumping this much medication into my system I find alarming, so I think considering MMJ could be a good alternative option.

Am I missing anything? What should I expect? Are they just going to tell me that my problems aren't that bad and shoo me away? I'm nervous! I would love to hear any insights.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tylenol PM and Legatrin PM are both acetaminophen and diphenhydramine. That's a lot of acetaminophen for your liver and you've probably built up a tolerance to the diphenhydramine since you're taking it three different ways. If you want to keep taking the latter without including the APAP then get some generic Benadryl. MMJ might be your savior. But don't do that and keep taking all those OTC drugs AND benzos. What happens when you try to sleep without them?

And since you have an rx for Ambien have you asked your doctor about Sonata? I've found I can power through Ambien but Sonata puts me out if I want it to or not. As does a muscle relaxant called tizanidine. Bonus: it helped my RLS too.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:00 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:04 AM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

2nding Trazodone. Also, you can go higher on the gabapentin. I take 900 at night for pain. Remeron is also another option. It's an antidepressant that tends to knock people on their butts.

I can't speak to the MMJ aspect because we don't have it in Ohio, and I personally don't think it's the panacea people make it out to be.
posted by kathrynm at 6:40 AM on August 19, 2014

Tylenol PM has 500 mg of acetaminophen per tab and so does Legatrin. If you are taking 4 tabs of each per night you are taking 4000mg, which is the maximum recommended dose of acetaminophen per day, and as elsietheeel said, that's a lot for your liver to deal with. You may want to consider removing one of those.

I have not personally gone the medical marijuana route, but I have several friends who have and they said it's pretty easy. It is pretty standard as a treatment for anxiety (at least what I've seen - all of my friends who have a prescription have it for anxiety) and so I don't think they'll shoo you away or anything. Bring your records and tell them all the stuff you're taking to sleep and what you've tried and you should be fine.
posted by bedhead at 6:56 AM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I just want to echo bedhead and elsietheheel about your current medication regimen. Are you seeing a doctor regularly? Mixing over-the-counter medications that contain Acetaminophen is incredibly dangerous. Listen to this. If this is what it takes to get you to sleep every night, your problems *are* that bad, regardless of what the people at Cannacare say. I hope the medical marijuana works for you, but regardless of whether it does or not, please put yourself under a medical doctor's care, ASAP. You shouldn't have to bludgeon yourself to sleep every night with a mix of over-the-counter and prescription meds. Reading about this makes me really worried for you!
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:10 AM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]

Literally every night I take 2 klonopin tabs, 1 ambien tab, 4 Tylenol PM tabs, 4 tabs of sleepnal (OTC diphenhydramine), 3-4 tabs of legatrim for restless legs (which has the same ingredients as Tylenol pm) and 300mg of Gabapentin.

If you're getting this prescribed by a doctor, find a new doctor. If you're just getting that stuff from friends, you're need to see a doctor. That is a huge amount of drug intake per day, and not healthy.
posted by empath at 7:13 AM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

If marijuana works better than that huge pile of meds then more power to you! I wonder though if you'd (also) consider psychotherapy? This seems like an extreme level of anxiety and sleeplessness, and I wonder if starting to dig into some underlying causes might help you out in the long run? Drugs including marijuana may curb your symptoms, the bigger issue may require a different type of treatment.

And as stated above, please don't take all that acetamenophen at once. Your liver can suffer severe damage.
posted by latkes at 7:17 AM on August 19, 2014

It's called CannaCare. It doesn't sound like their business model is about turning people down.

What were the results of your most recent sleep study?

That is a dangerous, unreasonable amount of medication you are taking to sleep. This is not anxiety/talk-therapy/white noise stuff, and it's not today's-potent-weed stuff. Something is wrong. With the exception of glaucoma, marijuana is only a palliative and is not going to fix what sounds like a serious sleep disorder.

So go on and get your card but please have a sleep study if you have not had one in the past year. Taking that much acetaminophen means you are daily risking the much more serious problem of not waking up.

You're taking so much dyphenhydramine that you are most assuredly having a reciprocal effect similar to taking amphetamine, and you're probably only sleeping because you're literally overdosing to unconsciousness. Which isn't sleep. Maybe you are doing this not-okay drug routine because you are too sleep-deprived to think straight, but please take the shock of everyone here seriously.

Go ahead and go to your appointment but seriously consider then going to the doctor that prescribed you all the prescription drugs that you are not taking per instructions, show them this concoction you're taking, and don't leave until they put steps in motion to get you sleeping and you get your sleep disorder diagnosed.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:19 AM on August 19, 2014 [7 favorites]

MMJ was a game-changer for me for quality and duration of sleep. I have bad joints and I roll over on them and wake myself up and... Anyway, yeah, and I have tried a ridiculous number of Rx and OTC stuff to try to address that with no luck. If it works well enough to keep me asleep, I'm a groggy mess the next day. Not so with the MMJ.

Hassles: it does not make me fall asleep. It keeps me asleep and the quality of my sleep is great, but it does nothing to make me nod off. Also, toking on a joint would be useless; it wouldn't last, so I make 'cannacaps' (Googling will get you lots of DIY instructions), and that can be kind of laborious.

Hopefully you can get some relief, even if you end up pairing it with one or two of the pills on your list.
posted by kmennie at 7:22 AM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree that you need to talk to a doctor about tapering off of your current meds. Adding anything to that situation is not a great idea. Benzodiazepines need to be tapered slowly, you likely have built up a tolerance and I doubt they're working for sleep. You also need help getting off of the various forms of benadryl. It actually gives me restless leg syndrome like symptoms.

To echo other comments, I'm shocked by this medication regimen and I think getting a qualified MD to help you off of it is priority number one.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go ahead and say outright what I and others seem to be dancing around. This seems way more like an addiction problem than an insomnia problem, and if you keep taking more and more drugs to get to sleep, you are going to kill yourself. This is not something to take lightly. See a doctor.
posted by empath at 12:54 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

MMJ person here. I will echo people in saying that you are taking a scary amount of prescription and OTC medications to sleep. Medical cannabis can help but before you start using it I think you need to wean off, at the very least, the OTC medicines just for starters. Remember Heath Ledger? All of the stuff they found in his system was stuff he had prescriptions for or bought over the counter. He took each of them exactly as prescribed. The combination killed him.

I got my evaluation at MediCann. I brought in medical records to prove that I had medical problems. The staffperson made copies for my chart. I met with the doctor for about 45 minutes. I had a basic medical exam and as she reviewed my chart she would ask me questions about my diagnoses. She had me do range of motion exercises to confirm what was in the chart. I then got my recommendation. Now, MediCann is one of the more reputable clinics out there - there are a lot of deep discount MMJ Recommend Mills in my city and I wanted to make sure that my recommendation would hold water. I have no idea what CannaCare is like but if it's legit your appointment would be pretty much the same, I imagine.

I used MMJ to wean myself off of Klonipin and it worked pretty great. The downside is that it can get tricky to find just the right strain to target the problem. For me, the majority of strains just get me high, which is fun if you're doing it recreationally but a real fucking drag if you're trying to address a health issue. It can get really expensive trying out stains to find one that really works and because we're talking about an agricultural product, you're not always going to have consistent access to your special strain once you find it. You might have to sign up at a couple of dispensaries in order to hunt down the stuff that works for you. As far as I'm concerned, that's the real downside to using Cannabis as medicine.

For sleep and nighttime pain I need a pure Indica strain - it's seems like the slightest bit of Sativa in the genetics will do the opposite of what I'm looking for and keep me up all night. Sometimes I'll add 3 mgs of Melatonin if I'm having a particularly tough time falling asleep.

Hope that helps.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:31 PM on August 23, 2014

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