Patient Profile – Mike Rudichuk – Replacing High Doses of Opioids with Cannabis for Back Pain

As the Strainprint community grows, we have the pleasure of meeting different people from across the country who rely on the app daily for their medical marijuana dosing and information.

Last Patient Profile, we featured the story of Jennifer Raymond, who suffers from psoriatic arthritis who found that cannabis was the key to helping her manage her regular pain while maintaining a high-degree of function as a busy working mother.

This month, we’re pleased to feature the story of Mike Rudichuk, who was generous enough to share his journey with cannabis and Strainprint with our team.  

Mike’s Journey

Mike became a medical cannabis patient 2 years ago as a result of chronic and debilitating pain due to herniated disks in his lower back that were impacting his daily life. As a young father of just 36 who has a full-time job, hobbies, and a household to run, Mike needed something to help take the edge off from the back pain that was impacting every aspect of his life. Like many other Canadians, he turned to opioid painkillers to help manage his pain.

He found that his body was becoming highly tolerant of the pain medications, requiring an increase in his doses regularly. His pain wasn’t being managed as much as just masked, and he was feeling that the strong chemicals in the pharmaceuticals were taking a negative toll on his overall health. The side effects he experienced didn’t seem worth the struggle. Concerned about this, when found that if he tried to lower his doses, or even take time away from the prescriptions, he’d experience withdrawal. He began to be concerned about his long-term health and how his body would be able to manage going off the opioids entirely. It was time to look for an alternative.

Through open dialogue with his own Family Doctor, Mike decided to try medical cannabis as an alternative to the strong opioids he was using. Luckily, his doctor even committed to walking this journey with him so that he could understand how medical cannabis would make a difference in his pain management.

Within a few months, Mike found that he had made more progress managing his pain using certain cannabis strains than he ever had over years of using pain pills. Mike prefers to use low-THC high-CBD strains like Zen’s Garden from Emblem.

He vapes, usually in the mornings and afternoons to help get through the days. The lower THC in small doses helps him attack his pain without a loss of clarity, whereas he felt like he was in “outer space” with opioid use.

When asked about his journey in pain management, Mike says, “If there is one thing I could change, it would have been to start using medical cannabis sooner.”

Mike & Strainprint

Mike was an early user of Strainprint and recalls a time where customer service exceeded his expectations. After sending a Tweet to Strainprint making some suggestions about the app, he was connected with Strainprint’s CEO, David Berg, where there was an acknowledgment of feedback and an intentional effort to address upcoming software updates for the continuous improvement of the app. “Anytime a CEO takes time to personally respond to clients, you know you’re in the right place,” Mike says about his experience, “The wonderful people at Strainprint are patients like us, so they take feedback very seriously.”

Mike finds that tracking his daily regime helps him greatly to feel in control of his pain management, which is incredibly big deal to someone who has come off opiods.

Mike’s Advice

Mike has the following advice for those interested to try medical cannabis for the first time:

“Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. It’s your body and your life, and you should be well aware of all treatment options including cannabis. I can use cannabis at any point of the day and not impair me to the point of not being able to function, whereas there were times with pain medications where I was so zoned out and not able to function properly. I’ve been given a better quality of life and have felt much better in general health overall since being off opioid pain-killers and using medical cannabis.”

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