Thinking About Drugs

The very word drug, immediately conjures a multitude of connotations that reflect our many views of the pharmaceutical and herbal substances we ingest. We characterize drugs as hard, soft, performance enhancing, mind expanding, toxic, synthetic, natural, addictive, dangerous and miraculous. Personal experience and exposure to information about drugs colour the way all of us (including […]


I’ve already defined as a drug, anything you swallow, inject, inhale or absorb through body tissue to modify some mental or physical function. (See Drug Therapy). Drugs work at the molecular level. Regardless of whether a drug has been synthesized in a factory or picked from a plant, it is made up of molecules. A […]


There are really only two main ways to determine if a drug does what it is supposed to do. One way is to give the drug to people and observe what happens. This method has been used for as long as we have taken drugs. Naturopathy and practices such as traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine […]

Risk and Benefit

What if there was a drug that could completely relieve your pain but carried a 1 in a hundred thousand chance of killing you? Would you try it? What if the chances of death were 1 in a million or 1 in 10,000? Regardless of what you decide, your decision would likely be based on […]

Opioids – Threat or Menace?

Please forgive me for paraphrasing the title of an article about drug use published in the humor magazine the National Lampoon more than 30 years ago. I couldn’t resist the temptation. Opioids are a class of drugs that are either derived from opium or synthesized to be chemically similar to it. These drugs range from […]

Using Drugs

If you want to be a carpenter, you’d better learn how to use a hammer and saw. If you’re going to be a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, naturopath or other health care provider, you’d better learn how to prescribe, dispense or administer a drug. Without adequate training the chance of causing serious problems is great. There […]

A Drug User’s Guide

Using drugs is like using doctors. When done correctly, you can benefit, sometimes greatly. Done poorly, you’ll just add to your problems. Be rational. Act wisely. At the beginning of this series, I listed 3 questions I ask myself about drugs (see Thinking About Drugs): What does the drug do? How is it used? What […]

Going Beyond Results

Just because a treatment of some kind may produce results doesn’t mean the theory behind that treatment is true. Psychoanalysis certainly helps some people but at least some of Freud’s theories have been surpassed by evidence-based science. I’ve seen positive responses to nerve blocks and meditation but have yet to see a strong theory backed […]

Cortisone and Injections for Chronic Pain

Jan Carstoniu (J) responds to a question from a participant (P) during one of our sessions. This was condensed and edited from an audio recording. P: I have a question. Last week you and I spoke about injections that people get. You were saying that you felt that injections of local anesthetic was something that […]

Nerve Blocks and Chronic Pain

A nerve block is an injection of local anesthetic close to a nerve. The drug attaches to the nerve and blocks any nerve signals travelling to or from the brain. The blockage occurs where the needle is inserted. Depending on the kind of nerve being blocked, the patient may feel numbness (no nerve signals going […]