Yesterday, I connected with a patient who has serious medical issues. I cried after ending the call with them because the difficult treatment she continues to experience resonated with me and my past experiences. I was moved by her heartbreaking story and was stunned by what she revealed to me about her experience at an access point.
To protect the privacy of our patient, I obviously will not reveal the name but I will state that they have a series of medical problems of which include pancreatitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It’s an organ that produces several enzymes that aid in the digestion of foods, as well as the hormone insulin that controls the level of sugar in the blood. It’s located in the upper abdomen behind the stomach and when there is inflammation, the body is not able to absorb the nutrients it needs.
A pancreatic pain attack can last hours, days or years and the disease can transmute into pancreatic cancer. The common symptoms are severe abdominal burning pain that radiates to the back causing nausea, and vomiting. The top three causes of the disease are alcohol, gallstones and abdominal surgery but smoking and certain medications have also been listed in the list.
The patient suffered for numerous years, and exhausted all forms of traditional medicine before her treating physician explained to her that there is no cure for some of her medical conditions. The patient’s doctor provided her with a recommendation to use cannabis for alternative treatment. She took her recommendation and went to a Seattle access point to pick up medicine to help alleviate her symptoms. The bud tender recommended she use cannabis concentrates and sent her home with an Isopropyl alcohol oil extract in a syringe.
I’m not a doctor but research conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that a person with pancreatic disease should NOT take any medicine or drink that has alcohol as an ingredient; it could be dangerous and even deadly. Sadly, the people who helped the patient did not know what they were talking about when they recommended she take the Isopropyl alcohol oil in a syringe home with her. She trusted them and consumed it only to become extremely ill from it.
You should not pretend to know what you think may work on a patient with serious medical issues, if you haven’t done your research on their illness or the medicine you recommend they use. If you know that someone has pancreatic disease, you should do your research and find out what you need to avoid so that you don’t hurt the patient by making them feel sicker or worsen their health condition or worse; kill them.
I sat and listened to the patient tell me her horrifying story and it broke my heart. It’s important for patients to understand that not all individuals who work in access points know everything about cannabis treatment and the products they hold on their shelves. We are all just learning and some of us hold a vast knowledge of cannabis, treatment options and the products while others do not.
I think that it’s important to understand our own limitations and be honest to the patient about what we know about their medical conditions. It is equally important that the patient consult with a physician about the ingredients in certain cannabis products so they are not hurt by them. It is our ethical and moral obligation to educate ourselves and the patients while providing them with the purest and safest medicine to consume.