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-   -   Who is using THC for pain management? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=885045)

Cartooniverse 11-07-2019 02:33 PM

Who is using THC for pain management?
 
Hope this doesn’t get locked. I’m aware that I am soliciting Opinion, not medical advice.

Who here is successfully using THC products to manage pain? At this point I’m living 24/7 with lower spine pain, hip pain and stunningly strong and deep left knee pain.

The causes are known and cannot be treated. One is an old fracture. One is permanent damage from a hip replacement. And the knee is severe arthritis.

OTC meds are just useless. They barely touch it. Can’t sleep, affecting work, etc. After 3+ years of chronic pain, I’m trying to set my abiding dislike of all things pot aside and do some research.

Why not start here at SDMB?

I’ve tons of specific questions, but before I dive in with them, are members willing to share stories of success or failure using THC for pain management?

A few requests: No preaching for/ against the wonders of grass. No preaching for universal legalization. No slamming users of THC.

I badly need some real info from people living this situation.

Thanks in advance,
Toons


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Shodan 11-07-2019 03:46 PM

I don't have stories. The clinical evidence is sparse and mixed. Hopefully someone better qualified will be along.

Best of luck to you no matter what.

Regards,
Shodan

DCnDC 11-07-2019 03:55 PM

It's my understanding that it's CBD that has the pain-relieving properties, not THC, and it will not get you high by itself.

teela brown 11-07-2019 03:58 PM

I came down with a severe case of tennis elbow a few months ago (mousing elbow, actually), and I tried some ointment from CBDistillery - the active ingredient of which was 100% CBD, no THC. It worked quite well at knocking down the pain, but it smelled so strong I couldn't wear it at work.

I then tried a far less smelly ointment with equal parts THC and CBD. This one works, too, but not nearly so well as the CBDistillery ointment.

Then I tried actual cannabis. After smoking, the pain in my elbow pretty much vanishes. But the effect is temporary, and the pain is back in about an hour or two.

manson1972 11-07-2019 04:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 21960777)
Then I tried actual cannabis. After smoking, the pain in my elbow pretty much vanishes

Isn't this because you are high?

Ambivalid 11-07-2019 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DCnDC (Post 21960772)
It's my understanding that it's CBD that has the pain-relieving properties, not THC, and it will not get you high by itself.

It's actually both. Without commenting as to its efficacy, a lot of the pain relief products made with marijuana-derived ingredients contain both THC and CBD, often with higher levels of the former than latter.

ETA: As many of these products are salves or ointments or similar externally-used products, you still won't get high from them.

Ambivalid 11-07-2019 04:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21960800)
Isn't this because you are high?

Personally, I've never experienced the slightest pain-relieving effects from smoking marijuana.

Ambivalid 11-07-2019 04:25 PM

This is a picture of one such product:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-q-...w?usp=drivesdk

750mg THC 250mg CBD.

It actually *does* help somewhat, with minor muscle soreness and joint pain. I definitely don't see it as an alternative for prescription analgesics however.

Aspenglow 11-07-2019 04:28 PM

In my state, cannabis is legal in all its forms.

I am personally not a fan of THC effects so don't use it in that way.

I do use a CBD Cannabis pain stick from Sacred Herb Medicinals as a balm on my left knee with a suspected torn meniscus. (CBD = 0.683%, THC 0.023%) It definitely helps and makes longer walks quite bearable. The odor is pleasant, almost lavender-like.

I don't think my pain is as severe as what Cartooniverse describes in his OP, however.

Ambivalid 11-07-2019 04:30 PM

I personally dont see cannabis as being of much use to the OP. His pain issues seem to far exceed what can be relieved by use of CBD/THC.

FairyChatMom 11-07-2019 04:35 PM

My sister has had a lot of issues recovering from knee replacement surgeries (both knees, multiple surgeries) mainly due to non-knee issues. Apparently vaping pot (however that works) is the only non-opioid pain relief she gets. She doesn't use it constantly - only when the pain get unbearable. I could ask her for more specific info if you'd like.

Ambivalid 11-07-2019 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FairyChatMom (Post 21960865)
My sister has had a lot of issues recovering from knee replacement surgeries (both knees, multiple surgeries) mainly due to non-knee issues. Apparently vaping pot (however that works) is the only non-opioid pain relief she gets. She doesn't use it constantly - only when the pain get unbearable. I could ask her for more specific info if you'd like.

But she uses this vaping in conjuction with narcotic pain relievers, correct?

Cartooniverse 11-11-2019 08:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 21960853)
I personally dont see cannabis as being of much use to the OP. His pain issues seem to far exceed what can be relieved by use of CBD/THC.

I am in agreement. I've been using 1500 Mg CBD for quite a while now. Perhaps 8+ months. Not as religiously as I should. It's the sub-lingual tincture method. ( Swallowing CBD reduces any efficacy to +/- zero ).

Far as I can tell, I get a small amount of pain relief. I know because if I forget to tincture for a day or two, the pain is up a bit. Not a huge amount. But look, it's legal and I'll take what I can get. So I do it.

But Ambivalid is correct. The pain far exceeds what CBD can relieve. Hence my O.P.

Inigo Montoya 11-11-2019 09:17 PM

I've got some chronic low level arthritis in neck and shoulders, and a recently reconstructed elbow. Individually, they're tolerable, but they all tend to wind each other up and when they are all at their worst, it's quite distracting. Topical CBD keeps things in check, and when it's on top of me a hit or two on a pipe (equivalent to me if 4-5 beers, for a couple hours) makes it go away. And that lasts anywhere from a day to a month.

But, my stuff is annoying and not at a level deserving opiates. It is a distraction that is nice to be rid of, but tolerable if not. And the effects vary from person to person.

Cartooniverse 11-11-2019 09:33 PM

The effects, like the Pain Rating Scale, is entirely subjective.

Cannot imagine how medical people can evaluate pain in groups of patients.

Inigo Montoya 11-11-2019 10:15 PM

Exactly. Could do nothing for you, could do enough to make it worth ditching milk of the poppy. Only one way to find out.

Joey P 11-11-2019 11:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cartooniverse (Post 21967796)
Cannot imagine how medical people can evaluate pain in groups of patients.

The same way you do with objective tests, but in this case you just understand that the tests are subjective and will vary wildly from person to person.

There's no reason you can't take a group of 1000 people that have some type of pain, ask them to rate their pain, then give some meds and some placebos and ask again.

If 80% of the people that get the real med have lower pain levels and only 10% of the placebos have lower pain levels, the med likely works. It might not help any one specific person, but there's a better than not that it will.

Cartooniverse 11-12-2019 07:00 AM

You're right.
That was a foolish thing for me to say.

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kayaker 11-12-2019 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 21960777)
After smoking, the pain in my elbow pretty much vanishes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21960800)
Isn't this because you are high?

And if it is? I'm not sure I understand your point.

I'm a medical marijuana patient with a certification diagnosis of PTSD. I haven't touched NSAIDs in years. If my shoulder pain flares up and I want to not be in pain, I reach for my pipe or pen. Works for me. Manson, would you prefer I suffer?:confused:

kayaker 11-12-2019 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cartooniverse (Post 21967796)
The effects, like the Pain Rating Scale, is entirely subjective.

Cannot imagine how medical people can evaluate pain in groups of patients.

There are ways to objectively evaluate performance/pain even if the patient cannot articulate. In horses, one way joint pain is studied is by measuring stride length. The horse is walked on a long piece of pressure sensitive material and the length of each step is measured. A painful horse takes shorter steps.

Dinsdale 11-12-2019 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21960800)
Isn't this because you are high?

I have long supported legalization of most (all?) drugs, including pot. Used to be a pretty serious fan myself. Personally, I am quite dubious of many (not all) claims of medical benefits. But yeah, smoking pot generally cures what ails ya. :cool:

I regularly encounter people who claim to either self medicate or have rx to treat pain w/ pot. For me, getting high made me feel better, whether I happened to be perceiving pain or mental distress, or not. Smoke it if you got it.

manson1972 11-12-2019 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 21968239)
And if it is? I'm not sure I understand your point.

I'm a medical marijuana patient with a certification diagnosis of PTSD. I haven't touched NSAIDs in years. If my shoulder pain flares up and I want to not be in pain, I reach for my pipe or pen. Works for me. Manson, would you prefer I suffer?:confused:

Of course not. It just seems like common sense that "I'm high" = "I feel less pain"

I once used 12 ozs of Rum administered orally over 2 hours to stop the pain of sunburn, so I'm cool with it :)

Joey P 11-12-2019 09:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 21968239)
And if it is? I'm not sure I understand your point.

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21968295)
Of course not. It just seems like common sense that "I'm high" = "I feel less pain"

I understand what you're saying, but in some/many cases it doesn't matter. As long as I'm not in pain, and whatever ails me isn't something that can be fixed easily, what's the problem if I'm high or not? Don't forget, opiate/opioid meds are doing the same thing. As they say 'it doesn't get rid of the pain, it just makes you not care'.
Yes, in many cases if you can use a med that'll knock down some inflammation or help you overcome a painful issue, that's probably a good course of action. But as long as you feel less pain, that's generally the goal.

ETA it's like when I mention something or another I do that fixes some type of pain I have and they reply by saying 'it's the placebo effect'. My response to that is 'so what, if it works, it works'.

Quote:

I once used 12 ozs of Rum administered orally over 2 hours to stop the pain of sunburn, so I'm cool with it :)
If drinking away a sunburn makes you feel better and you're not putting others in danger, why on earth would anyone else care?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dinsdale (Post 21968249)
I have long supported legalization of most (all?) drugs, including pot. Used to be a pretty serious fan myself. Personally, I am quite dubious of many (not all) claims of medical benefits. But yeah, smoking pot generally cures what ails ya. :cool:

I said for years and years and years, here even, that if you want weed to be legalized, don't use MMJ as a stepping stone, just fight for legalization. My fear was always that if it became legal for medical reasons, then you'd need a prescription and where does that get you? It would be treated the same way as oxycodone. One person even brought up the point that that would open the doors to big pharma grabbing it and really reduce the chances of it getting legalized for recreational reason.
While I do still feel that way, so far, the way things are heading, it would appear that I'm wrong.

manson1972 11-12-2019 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joey P (Post 21968326)
I understand what you're saying, but in some/many cases it doesn't matter. As long as I'm not in pain, and whatever ails me isn't something that can be fixed easily, what's the problem if I'm high or not?

There is no problem. Not sure why everyone thinks I have a problem.

Just seemed strange to me that someone would post "Hey, I smoked weed and my pain went away!"

Seems like a no brainer, that's all :) Smoke away.

In fact, this whole thread is kind of strange. "Hey, who gets high so they don't feel pain?"

It's as strange to me as someone starting a thread "Who is using 100-proof vodka for pain management?"

kayaker 11-12-2019 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21968375)
There is no problem. Not sure why everyone thinks I have a problem.

Just seemed strange to me that someone would post "Hey, I smoked weed and my pain went away!"

Seems like a no brainer, that's all :) Smoke away.

In fact, this whole thread is kind of strange. "Hey, who gets high so they don't feel pain?"

It's as strange to me as someone starting a thread "Who is using 100-proof vodka for pain management?"

It's not quite that simple. Depending on the strain of cannabis, I've smoked weed that amplified pain and made me worry that something truly serious was going on. Shoulder pain quickly became undiagnosed shoulder cancer, that kinda thing.

Similarly, if 100 proof vodka is being used for pain management, one concern would be if the pain were due to a gastric ulcer and the treatment aggravated the pain. Or if the patient over-consumed the vodka and is now in a coma from alcohol toxicity.

Now, pass to your left.

ETA: Strain recommendations for pain management.

SmartAleq 11-12-2019 12:57 PM

I take blood thinners so basically all NSAIDs are a no-go for me. I also have a bad knee that I don't want surgery on and spent well over a year with massive pain from a frozen shoulder (it's better now but still not pain free, just better) along with the other various aches and pains of age. I also get migraines. You betcha I medicate with cannabis because it works and doesn't, y'know, kill me from bleeding out if I get a scratch.

I've discovered that a high-CBD strain like Harlequin that also has a decent THC load works the best for me--the THC relaxes me and reduces the pain quickly then potentiates the slower acting CBD so I get good relief for at least as long as Tylenol would last. I also keep cartridges of pure CBD oil around to bump things if needed, say if my pain is such that enough THC to knock it out would also have me asleep on the couch but I still need to be alert.

One thing that makes pain worse is anxiety and tension and the THC helps knock that right out, assuming you find a good strain that works for you and doesn't induce paranoia of course. I've been dealing with chronic pain from various sources ever since I was twenty and if I'd been using pharmaceuticals all this time to treat pain I'd either be a junkie or my liver would have turned to gravy--cannabis is obviously the better choice. I remember the days when I spent most of my time in an opioid fog--I don't remember them WELL, mind you, but I remember how dull and absent I was most of the time and I'll be damned if I go back to THAT. Cannabis allows me to function in the world while managing pain more than adequately and that's something Purdue and Pfizer can't say of any of their products.

thorny locust 11-12-2019 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21968375)
Seems like a no brainer, that's all [ . . . ].

In fact, this whole thread is kind of strange. "Hey, who gets high so they don't feel pain?"

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 21968385)
It's not quite that simple. Depending on the strain of cannabis, I've smoked weed that amplified pain and made me worry that something truly serious was going on.

Indeed.

Old anecdote: many years ago, I used to have bad period cramps. I heard some people saying smoking weed was good for pain, and hey, there was plenty of weed around in my life at that time. So one day when I had bad cramps I got stoned. And everything was fine indeed . . .

until I remembered about the cramps. At which point I had terrible cramps; because I was thinking about them; and, for me, marijuana increased apparent perception of whatever I was thinking about at the time. Great for listening to music. Not so great for thinking about pain.

-- that certainly might have been strain related. I had no way at the time (close to 50 years ago) of telling what strain anything was.

manson1972 11-12-2019 08:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thorny locust (Post 21969483)
Indeed.

Old anecdote: many years ago, I used to have bad period cramps. I heard some people saying smoking weed was good for pain, and hey, there was plenty of weed around in my life at that time. So one day when I had bad cramps I got stoned. And everything was fine indeed . . .

until I remembered about the cramps. At which point I had terrible cramps; because I was thinking about them; and, for me, marijuana increased apparent perception of whatever I was thinking about at the time. Great for listening to music. Not so great for thinking about pain.

-- that certainly might have been strain related. I had no way at the time (close to 50 years ago) of telling what strain anything was.

Of course. But I doubt you would go on a message board and proclaim "Hey, I took drugs and miraculously my pain went away"

"Using THC for pain management" just seems a strange way to put it. "Smoking weed takes my pain away, anyone else?" seems a more realistic topic. But then, again, it seems to be a known truth. Similar to if I started a thread "Who is using alcohol for stress management?"

thorny locust 11-12-2019 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21969580)
But then, again, it seems to be a known truth.


What I just posted was that in my case it wasn't a truth at all.

I took the OP to be asking whether people in similar situations (which mine wasn't really) were actually getting significant pain relief from marijuana products containing THC. You seem to be taking it for granted that of course everybody would. I don't think that is a "known truth".

manson1972 11-12-2019 08:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thorny locust (Post 21969644)
What I just posted was that in my case it wasn't a truth at all.

I took the OP to be asking whether people in similar situations (which mine wasn't really) were actually getting significant pain relief from marijuana products containing THC. You seem to be taking it for granted that of course everybody would. I don't think that is a "known truth".

I would bet most people who smoke weed experience less pain. I doubt people would continue to smoke if it caused them more pain. It's the conversation using phrases like "marijuana products containing THC" that amuses me. "Anyone drink liquids containing ethanol to control stress?" seems similar to me. I just find it amusing that's all. I've nothing against anything that people what to smoke, drink, inject, ingest, whatever as long as they aren't hurting anyone else.

thorny locust 11-12-2019 09:28 PM

I don't think most people who smoke weed are doing so for reasons having to do with pain. They're doing so because they want to get stoned: which is a state of mind that has a whole batch of effects, varying with the person and to some extent with the particular weed. Most people IME are after some of the other effects. Some people searching for pain relief of course don't want to get stoned, but will take it in preference to the pain if it actually does control pain for them and that's the only way they can control their pain; but I don't think that applies to most marijuana users.

Being under the influence of alcohol and being under the influence of marijuana aren't all that similar, even if some people do refer to both of them as being "high". But lots of people drink alcohol for reasons that have nothing to do with pain, also. And people use both of them when they aren't in pain in the first place, because they're after the other effects; and some people would use them even if they did cause some degree of pain, if they wanted the other effects more than they didn't want the pain.

I'm puzzled by your apparent assumption that "stoned" is automatically the same thing as "numbed". It's often rather the opposite.

manson1972 11-12-2019 09:34 PM

That's fair. I'm similarly puzzled by your assumption that "pain" is only the physical kind.

Ambivalid 11-12-2019 09:43 PM

Nm

thorny locust 11-13-2019 12:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21969721)
That's fair. I'm similarly puzzled by your assumption that "pain" is only the physical kind.

I wasn't assuming that.


But I do think it's physical pain that the OP was talking about.

nelliebly 11-13-2019 01:32 AM

Lots to say, so I hope bulleted points will keep me concise.

• Friend with chronic, debilitating pain from complications of childhood polio switched from opioids to cannabis. The relief was total, and five years later, he's still using it--no opioids or NSAIDS. (Not sure if he smokes it or what.)

• I tried pure CBD capsules. No noticeable effect. Guy I knew who owned a large grow operation said a little THC (not enough to get high) helps activate the CBD.* Eureka! However, it tanked my BP. No THC for nellie.

• Topical CBD does zero to help my lupus pain. That's probably because the salve I used doesn't contain a high enough concentration of CBD. The stuff that does is, again, out of my price range.

• Retired MD friend with lupus said CBD works only when taken in sufficient quantities and in higher concentrations. Friend with fibromyalgia says the same. Problem: it's VERY pricy. We're talkin' $400/month. I don't have that kind of cash. Also, fibro friend said the effectiveness started to diminish. I think she's going to go off it for a bit and then try again.


*It's legal here.

Nava 11-13-2019 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21968295)
Of course not. It just seems like common sense that "I'm high" = "I feel less pain"

It doesn't necessarily follow, though. When my mother was put on opioids for her back pain, the pills didn't do anything for the pain while shattering her inhibitions to Hell. Before that scrip, she'd complain and moan; on the scrip, she yelled insults and threw things. She also tried to hit people but given her mobility she succeeded only once with each person. For several months at that point, she'd required Dad or me to feed her; during that time, we refused to let her "try to feed herself" after a couple of incidents involving trying to hit or stab us with the cutlery. I didn't let my brothers get close to her.

Taking her off that scrip required a five-week hospital stay, with the back pain still unsolved (eventually, it required surgery; the source of the pain was a nerve being pinched because its canal was too narrow).

FairyChatMom 11-13-2019 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 21960881)
But she uses this vaping in conjuction with narcotic pain relievers, correct?

As far as I know, she rarely uses the narcotics - she doesn't want to become dependent. I know she does a lot of physical therapy, and she gets some sort of electro-shock treatment - I saw a photo she posted on FB.

teela brown 11-13-2019 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nelliebly (Post 21969943)
. . .

• Retired MD friend with lupus said CBD works only when taken in sufficient quantities and in higher concentrations.

. . .

That seems to jibe with my experience. The smelly, all-CBD salve I ordered online says "500 mg" on the label, and the less smelly stuff I get at a dispensary says "150 mg".

The 500 mg stuff works quite well, and the 150 mg stuff, even though laced with THC, only works slightly.

ETA: THC tanks your BP? As in lowers it?

Darryl Lict 11-13-2019 10:15 PM

I live in California, and went to the grand opening of the first pot store in town. They had a boatload of salespeople, and they seemed to be well informed. If you live in a legal medical marijuana state, it might be worthwhile to go and chat them up to get some recommendations.

Dinsdale 11-14-2019 08:16 AM

Reviewed a file the other day in which a young man was self prescribing pot for purported pain. Of course, then he claimed he still had pain, but also lacked motivation! :smack:

Qadgop the Mercotan 11-14-2019 08:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darryl Lict (Post 21971683)
I live in California, and went to the grand opening of the first pot store in town. They had a boatload of salespeople, and they seemed to be well informed. If you live in a legal medical marijuana state, it might be worthwhile to go and chat them up to get some recommendations.

As a physician, I learned long ago to not trust drug reps.

Ann Hedonia 11-14-2019 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 21960818)
Personally, I've never experienced the slightest pain-relieving effects from smoking marijuana.

Ditto. I don’t have chronic pain problems, but I have smoked marijuana when I happened to be experiencing pain. It did not relieve the pain. If anything, it caused an increased awareness and possibly a slight intensification of the pain.

kayaker 11-14-2019 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia (Post 21972352)
Ditto. I don’t have chronic pain problems, but I have smoked marijuana when I happened to be experiencing pain. It did not relieve the pain. If anything, it caused an increased awareness and possibly a slight intensification of the pain.

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 21968385)
It's not quite that simple. Depending on the strain of cannabis, I've smoked weed that amplified pain and made me worry that something truly serious was going on. Shoulder pain quickly became undiagnosed shoulder cancer, that kinda thing.

Double Afghan Chunk #24
This Chunkdawg x ( Lashkargah x 9A95 ) cross produces a great blend of afghan and chem flavors. Great for reducing inflammation, pain, and depression.
THC: 0.615%, THCa: 23.064%, CBG: 0.266% b-Caryophyllene: 0.466%, b-Myrcene: 0.280%, Humulene: 0.145%

Ambivalid 11-17-2019 11:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 21968385)
Depending on the strain of cannabis

"Depending on the strain of cannabis, you might get something sounding wild and crazy called 'Gorilla Glue' or you might get something with a super relaxing name like 'Dark Star'. :)

Ftfy

kayaker 11-18-2019 07:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 21979161)
"Depending on the strain of cannabis, you might get something sounding wild and crazy called 'Gorilla Glue' or you might get something with a super relaxing name like 'Dark Star'. :)

Ftfy

I realize you're joking around, but I've experienced both Gorrila Glue (I believe I've had #1 and #4; there are a few different G.G.s) and Dark Star.

From what I recall (and I'll warn you my short term memory ain't all that), Dark Star is a really heavy indica that I'd toke right before bedtime. It would help with pain. Gorilla Glue is a strain created by crossing different diesels/sour diesels. IIRC G.G. Is a hybrid, maybe sativa dominant, and more of a daytime choice, not particularly good for helping with pain.

FollowMeDown 11-18-2019 09:21 AM

I know you didn't ask but have you ever researched Kratom? It's legal too.

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/kratom There's plenty of literature and testimonials online. I have used it in the past and it has helped me. The biggest drawback as far as I can tell is in that it's unregulated so can probably vary from supplier to supplier. Also, it tastes pretty awful. The best way to take it is in capsule form.

Good luck.


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