Au Naturel

Medical marijuana safely eliminates pain, need for opioids.

Like many transplanted northerners, New Jersey native Helen Forte moved to Florida primarily for the weather, and wisely so. After all, it’s a lot easier to live the lifestyle Helen prefers in a climate that is perpetually warm and sunny.

Like many transplanted northerners, New Jersey native Helen Forte moved to Florida primarily for the weather, and wisely so. After all, it’s a lot easier to live the lifestyle Helen prefers in a climate that is perpetually warm and sunny. “I’m a nudist,” Helen reveals. “My husband and I were nudists in New Jersey, but our time to enjoy that lifestyle was very limited there. We only had the summers, so we moved to Florida in 1987 to enjoy the lifestyle year-round.” Helen’s husband has since passed away, but Helen, a 67-year-old retired banker, continues to live her preferred lifestyle. For several years, however, chronic leg pain kept her from enjoying the lifestyle to its fullest. “The pain in my legs was actually a result of a problem in my neck,” Helen relates. “I had spinal stenosis, but that was fixed by a surgeon who performed neck surgery where he took out a couple of vertebrae and actually built a cage in there. “That worked fine until a few years later when all I did was turn my head one day and something back there cracked. All of a sudden, the pain in my legs came back, and this time, no matter what I tried, it just wouldn’t go away.” Helen’s leg pain persisted through a series of treatments, including back surgery. Her only relief, and it was limited, came from the use of opioids, which she took in varying degrees for seven years, or until medical marijuana first became legal in Florida in 2014. “I had been on two different pain medications, and I wanted off of them,” Helen explains. “So as soon as I knew medical marijuana was coming, I started reaching out to some of the companies that were advertising it. The one that became such a good fit for me is Affinity Wellness and Aesthetic Center.” Living Outside the Box Affinity Wellness was founded by Michael B. Austin, DO, who is board certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and specializes in anti-aging, regenerative and functional/metabolic medicine. His goal with all his patients is to find the root cause of their problems and correct them in a way that allows the patient to function normally. Dr. Austin focuses largely on the diagnosis and treatment of functional issues in both men and women, which include hormones, low thyroid, gastrointestinal and cholesterol issues, including a weight-loss program. In addition, he provides treatment for Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues. One of the treatment options he offers for the latter is medical cannabis, or medical marijuana. When it first became legal in the state of Florida in 2014, medical marijuana’s use was restricted to patients diagnosed with cancer and epilepsy. Since then, the usage law has been expanded to include more than a dozen conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and PTSD. To obtain the legal right to use medical marijuana, a patient in the state of Florida must first be diagnosed by a physician as having one of its qualifying conditions, or a condition of the same kind or class. The physician then writes a recommendation for the medical marijuana, which can only be obtained through a state-approved dispensary. Currently, in the state of Florida, medical marijuana cannot be obtained in any form that can be smoked. It is available in capsule form, as a topical preparation, as an extract that can be vaporized, or in a liquid drop that can be administered by the patient sublingually, or under the tongue. The three marijuana compounds that have provided significant medical benefits are cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and terpenes. In Helen’s case, Dr. Austin recommended a medical marijuana product that contains all three compounds, noting that products containing all elements of the marijuana plant have proven to be the products that work best, particularly for patients seeking pain relief, because it provides what Dr. Austin refers to as a “synergistic” or “entourage” effect. “When you take CBD alone or you take THC alone, they do their part,” Dr. Austin explains. “But when you have even just a little THC mixed in with the CBD, they work much better. Each individual has to find out what works best for them but generally, that combination works a lot better, and that’s what we found with Helen.” Relaxed and Relieved Helen confirms that the special mixture of CBD, THC and terpenes that Dr. Austin recommends for her is working. She says she has finally returned to living a comfortable, pain-free lifestyle. Even better, she says that for almost a year now, she has been living an opioid-free lifestyle. She adds that she’s not surprised by the change. “I had a good feeling about Affinity Wellness right from the very first time I called them,” Helen explains. “The first person I talked to was Dawn Graham, their office assistant, and there was such a friendliness in her voice. I knew right away we were going to work well together. And when I met Dr. Austin, I felt even better. “The thing that impressed me about Dr. Austin was how much he cared. I knew he wasn’t going to just write me a recommendation and push me away. He’s a holistic doctor who really cares. I know lots of people who get their recommendation to use medical marijuana and nothing else. Dr. Austin isn’t like that. He pays attention to everything that’s going on with me.” Helen says Dr. Austin paid particular attention early on to Helen’s desire to reduce her dependence on opioids. She says he offered advice on a series of specific supplements and medications she could get through her primary care physician that would aid her in that endeavor. Those recommendations did just what Helen hoped they would. “There was a time when I would wake up in the morning and I couldn’t even get out of my bed because the pain was so great,” Helen says. “But now I get up, and I don’t have that pain. I feel great, and I’m completely opioid free. A lot of that is because of the care I’m receiving from Dr. Austin. He’s even helping me get my thyroid in shape. “My primary care doctor had been having a heck of a time getting that to be steady and stable, but Dr. Austin did a much more thorough examination, and he has me on the right track with that. Dr. Austin and Affinity Wellness have given me my life back.” FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz Header and leaf graphic from Pixabay. mkb

Helen Forte

“I’m a nudist,” Helen reveals. “My husband and I were nudists in New Jersey, but our time to enjoy that lifestyle was very limited there. We only had the summers, so we moved to Florida in 1987 to enjoy the lifestyle year-round.”

Helen’s husband has since passed away, but Helen, a 67-year-old retired banker, continues to live her preferred lifestyle. For several years, however, chronic leg pain kept her from enjoying the lifestyle to its fullest.

“The pain in my legs was actually a result of a problem in my neck,” Helen relates. “I had spinal stenosis, but that was fixed by a surgeon who performed neck surgery where he took out a couple of vertebrae and actually built a cage in there.

“That worked fine until a few years later when all I did was turn my head one day and something back there cracked. All of a sudden, the pain in my legs came back, and this time, no matter what I tried, it just wouldn’t go away.”

Helen’s leg pain persisted through a series of treatments, including back surgery. Her only relief, and it was limited, came from the use of opioids, which she took in varying degrees for seven years, or until medical marijuana first became legal in Florida in 2014.

“I had been on two different pain medications, and I wanted off of them,” Helen explains. “So as soon as I knew medical marijuana was coming, I started reaching out to some of the companies that were advertising it. The one that became such a good fit for me is Affinity Wellness and Aesthetic Center.”

Living Outside the Box

Affinity Wellness was founded by Michael B. Austin, DO, who is board certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and specializes in anti-aging, regenerative and functional/metabolic medicine. His goal with all his patients is to find the root cause of their problems and correct them in a way that allows the patient to function normally.

Dr. Austin focuses largely on the diagnosis and treatment of functional issues in both men and women, which include hormones, low thyroid, gastrointestinal and cholesterol issues, including a weight-loss program. In addition, he provides treatment for Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues. One of the treatment options he offers for the latter is medical cannabis, or medical marijuana.

When it first became legal in the state of Florida in 2014, medical marijuana’s use was restricted to patients diagnosed with cancer and epilepsy. Since then, the usage law has been expanded to include more than a dozen conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and PTSD.

To obtain the legal right to use medical marijuana, a patient in the state of Florida must first be diagnosed by a physician as having one of its qualifying conditions, or a condition of the same kind or class. The physician then writes a recommendation for the medical marijuana, which can only be obtained through a state-approved dispensary.

Currently, in the state of Florida, medical marijuana cannot be obtained in any form that can be smoked. It is available in capsule form, as a topical preparation, as an extract that can be vaporized, or in a liquid drop that can be administered by the patient sublingually, or under the tongue.

The three marijuana compounds that have provided significant medical benefits are cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and terpenes.

In Helen’s case, Dr. Austin recommended a medical marijuana product that contains all three compounds, noting that products containing all elements of the marijuana plant have proven to be the products that work best, particularly for patients seeking pain relief, because it provides what Dr. Austin refers to as a “synergistic” or “entourage” effect.

“When you take CBD alone or you take THC alone, they do their part,” Dr. Austin explains. “But when you have even just a little THC mixed in with the CBD, they work much better. Each individual has to find out what works best for them but generally, that combination works a lot better, and that’s what we found with Helen.”

Relaxed and Relieved

Helen confirms that the special mixture of CBD, THC and terpenes that Dr. Austin recommends for her is working. She says she has finally returned to living a comfortable, pain-free lifestyle. Even better, she says that for almost a year now, she has been living an opioid-free lifestyle. She adds that she’s not surprised by the change.

Like many transplanted northerners, New Jersey native Helen Forte moved to Florida primarily for the weather, and wisely so. After all, it’s a lot easier to live the lifestyle Helen prefers in a climate that is perpetually warm and sunny. “I’m a nudist,” Helen reveals. “My husband and I were nudists in New Jersey, but our time to enjoy that lifestyle was very limited there. We only had the summers, so we moved to Florida in 1987 to enjoy the lifestyle year-round.” Helen’s husband has since passed away, but Helen, a 67-year-old retired banker, continues to live her preferred lifestyle. For several years, however, chronic leg pain kept her from enjoying the lifestyle to its fullest. “The pain in my legs was actually a result of a problem in my neck,” Helen relates. “I had spinal stenosis, but that was fixed by a surgeon who performed neck surgery where he took out a couple of vertebrae and actually built a cage in there. “That worked fine until a few years later when all I did was turn my head one day and something back there cracked. All of a sudden, the pain in my legs came back, and this time, no matter what I tried, it just wouldn’t go away.” Helen’s leg pain persisted through a series of treatments, including back surgery. Her only relief, and it was limited, came from the use of opioids, which she took in varying degrees for seven years, or until medical marijuana first became legal in Florida in 2014. “I had been on two different pain medications, and I wanted off of them,” Helen explains. “So as soon as I knew medical marijuana was coming, I started reaching out to some of the companies that were advertising it. The one that became such a good fit for me is Affinity Wellness and Aesthetic Center.” Living Outside the Box Affinity Wellness was founded by Michael B. Austin, DO, who is board certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and specializes in anti-aging, regenerative and functional/metabolic medicine. His goal with all his patients is to find the root cause of their problems and correct them in a way that allows the patient to function normally. Dr. Austin focuses largely on the diagnosis and treatment of functional issues in both men and women, which include hormones, low thyroid, gastrointestinal and cholesterol issues, including a weight-loss program. In addition, he provides treatment for Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues. One of the treatment options he offers for the latter is medical cannabis, or medical marijuana. When it first became legal in the state of Florida in 2014, medical marijuana’s use was restricted to patients diagnosed with cancer and epilepsy. Since then, the usage law has been expanded to include more than a dozen conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and PTSD. To obtain the legal right to use medical marijuana, a patient in the state of Florida must first be diagnosed by a physician as having one of its qualifying conditions, or a condition of the same kind or class. The physician then writes a recommendation for the medical marijuana, which can only be obtained through a state-approved dispensary. Currently, in the state of Florida, medical marijuana cannot be obtained in any form that can be smoked. It is available in capsule form, as a topical preparation, as an extract that can be vaporized, or in a liquid drop that can be administered by the patient sublingually, or under the tongue. The three marijuana compounds that have provided significant medical benefits are cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and terpenes. In Helen’s case, Dr. Austin recommended a medical marijuana product that contains all three compounds, noting that products containing all elements of the marijuana plant have proven to be the products that work best, particularly for patients seeking pain relief, because it provides what Dr. Austin refers to as a “synergistic” or “entourage” effect. “When you take CBD alone or you take THC alone, they do their part,” Dr. Austin explains. “But when you have even just a little THC mixed in with the CBD, they work much better. Each individual has to find out what works best for them but generally, that combination works a lot better, and that’s what we found with Helen.” Relaxed and Relieved Helen confirms that the special mixture of CBD, THC and terpenes that Dr. Austin recommends for her is working. She says she has finally returned to living a comfortable, pain-free lifestyle. Even better, she says that for almost a year now, she has been living an opioid-free lifestyle. She adds that she’s not surprised by the change. “I had a good feeling about Affinity Wellness right from the very first time I called them,” Helen explains. “The first person I talked to was Dawn Graham, their office assistant, and there was such a friendliness in her voice. I knew right away we were going to work well together. And when I met Dr. Austin, I felt even better. “The thing that impressed me about Dr. Austin was how much he cared. I knew he wasn’t going to just write me a recommendation and push me away. He’s a holistic doctor who really cares. I know lots of people who get their recommendation to use medical marijuana and nothing else. Dr. Austin isn’t like that. He pays attention to everything that’s going on with me.” Helen says Dr. Austin paid particular attention early on to Helen’s desire to reduce her dependence on opioids. She says he offered advice on a series of specific supplements and medications she could get through her primary care physician that would aid her in that endeavor. Those recommendations did just what Helen hoped they would. “There was a time when I would wake up in the morning and I couldn’t even get out of my bed because the pain was so great,” Helen says. “But now I get up, and I don’t have that pain. I feel great, and I’m completely opioid free. A lot of that is because of the care I’m receiving from Dr. Austin. He’s even helping me get my thyroid in shape. “My primary care doctor had been having a heck of a time getting that to be steady and stable, but Dr. Austin did a much more thorough examination, and he has me on the right track with that. Dr. Austin and Affinity Wellness have given me my life back.” FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz Header and leaf graphic from Pixabay. mkb

“Dr. Austin and Affinity Wellness have given me my life back. He’s a holistic doctor who really cares.” -Helen

“I had a good feeling about Affinity Wellness right from the very first time I called them,” Helen explains. “The first person I talked to was Dawn Graham, their office assistant, and there was such a friendliness in her voice. I knew right away we were going to work well together. And when I met Dr. Austin, I felt even better.

“The thing that impressed me about Dr. Austin was how much he cared. I knew he wasn’t going to just write me a recommendation and push me away. He’s a holistic doctor who really cares. I know lots of people who get their recommendation to use medical marijuana and nothing else. Dr. Austin isn’t like that. He pays attention to everything that’s going on with me.”

Helen says Dr. Austin paid particular attention early on to Helen’s desire to reduce her dependence on opioids. She says he offered advice on a series of specific supplements and medications she could get through her primary care physician that would aid her in that endeavor. Those recommendations did just what Helen hoped they would.

“There was a time when I would wake up in the morning and I couldn’t even get out of my bed because the pain was so great,” Helen says. “But now I get up, and I don’t have that pain. I feel great, and I’m completely opioid free. A lot of that is because of the care I’m receiving from Dr. Austin. He’s even helping me get my thyroid in shape.

“My primary care doctor had been having a heck of a time getting that to be steady and stable, but Dr. Austin did a much more thorough examination, and he has me on the right track with that. Dr. Austin and Affinity Wellness have given me my life back.”

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