Chronic Pain & Drug Addiction Therapy

Reagan Houston, MS, PE

9/7/2017 Copyright by R. Houston and free to copy

Many fear pain more than death, and the lack of pain can make life worth living. Within the last decade, hospital rating systems began to emphasize the patient’s experience including how well their pain was managed by the physicians and hospital staff. Hospitals started asking patients how badly they were hurting on a scale of 1(low pain) to 10 (intense pain). Patients knew that they could ask for and get pain medicine. Doctors became more willing to prescribe narcotics for chronic pain since narcotics were often the only suitable therapy they knew for intense or chronic pain. Both doctors and patients knew about the bad side effects of narcotics—dependency or addiction–but chronic pain hurts badly, right here, right now! Many patients in hospitals or at home became addicted to prescription medications. If we had a good substitute for narcotics, we might have fewer people with addiction as a result of talking legally prescribed medications.

Ewan Cameron, Consulting Surgeon and hospital doctor in Scotland, and coworkers treated patients with advanced cancers with 10,000 mg (10 grams) per day of IV sodium ascorbate.1 Five of these patients had severe pain from cancer expanding inside bone. They requested and were given narcotics. Unexpectedly, about a week after starting the vitamin C the five patients no longer asked for narcotics! They had none of the expected withdrawal symptoms from suddenly stopping narcotics. Cameron had found a way to control pain, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms. A marvelous triple improvement!

Table 1. Vitamin C and Narcotics1

Dr. Cameron was surprised to learn that vitamin C can control pain and that narcotics could be stopped without withdrawal symptoms! He may have been among the first to know. He demonstrated how to prevent and control drug addiction and chronic pain.

In 1977, Alfred Libby, M.D., a family doctor and Irwin Stone, M.D., a researcher of vitamin C,2 were treating street drug addicts. They suggested that ascorbate mimics morphine and is also absorbed on the opiate receptor sites. Opiate receptors are groups of protein cells on the semipermeable membranes. The proteins can combine with opium-like compounds to provide pain relief and addiction.

From Cameron’s results, they knew that pain relief occurred when the opiate receptors were loaded with vitamin C. Receptors apparently neglected the pain signals when the receptors were loaded with vitamin C. When the receptors are loaded with narcotics, the receptors have enough control of the body to give us a good feeling, to decrease pain but to also give us a foggy brain, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite (except for more drugs), and loss of balance.2 Addiction is normally treated by stopping the drug intake and letting the body slowly clear the opiate receptors, a highly uncomfortable, lengthy “hangover.”

Pain Control

Vitamin C has a good but recent history for pain control. Frederick Klenner, M.D., successfully treated burns while decreasing the pain of second and third degree burns.3 He also relieved the pain of shingles with oral and IV vitamin C. Andrew Saul describes a patient with painful back pain from sciatica.4 The patient could not sleep in his bed but only on the floor. His neurologists said ‘You will just have to live with it.’ In despair the patient searched the Internet and found Klenner’s regimen for back pain.4 The patient started 3 grams of ascorbic acid 10 times a day. After four days, he was able to do some physical work. Saul showed that pain from back injuries might be controlled by vitamin C.

Vitamin C decreases pain from burns, viruses, and back injuries.

Robert Cathcart, M.D., a surgeon, often gave his patients high doses of vitamin C.5 He described bowel tolerance as the dose of vitamin C that almost causes diarrhea. Frequently the proper dose for therapy is the dose just under a dose that causes diarrhea. He also indicated that more frequent doses improved the bowel tolerance, Table 2.5

Cathcart had a corneal transplant. As his anesthesia began to wear off, he started taking vitamin C at 12 grams every 15 minutes. After 1.5 hours (72 gm) he had “absolutely no pain” 6 He continued the vitamin C at 8 to 12 grams per hour for a day or so and still no pain. Another time he fell and tore open the skin above his eye. He took 36 grams in 2 hours and then 12 grams/hour, and again no pain. Cathcart spaced his vitamin C doses every 15 minutes to prevent diarrhea. Table 2 lists a few of the ills that he has managed with high doses of ascorbic acid and the number of doses per day that usually prevent diarrhea.5 He showed that pain from surgery could be controlled by high dose vitamin C. 

                     Table 2. Therapies &

                   Usual Bowel Tolerance Doses5

Condition        Ascorbic acid

Grams/day        doses/day

Normal                       4 – 15              4 – 6

Mild Cold               30 – 60               6 – 10

Severe cold               60 – 100+          8 — 15

Influenza                100 – 150             8 – 20

Cancer                     15 – 100             4 – 15

Rheum.. arthritis    15 – 100              4 – 15

Viral pneumonia  100 – 200           12 — 25

Beth Han and her cohorts report that based on a 2015 survey, 60 million Americans use narcotics to control pain and about 71% of these people are addicted.7 About 33 million take narcotics for relaxation, relieve tension, to get high, or feel good.

Our basic aim is to replace narcotics for pain control. Cameron and Cathcart have given us that therapy. Treatment of chronic pain is simple. If the patient has normal digestion, he or she can start taking vitamin C (either ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate) at 10 to 15 grams per day in 3 or 4 divided doses while continuing the narcotics. After about a week, the narcotics can be stopped without pain, drug cravings, or withdrawal symptoms. The vitamin C dose can be lowered to about 8 to 12 grams a day and then adjusted to the point where it almost causes diarrhea. If the initial vitamin C dose is higher, even up to 12 grams every 15 minutes for about 1.5 hours, then pain and craving probably stop and the lower dose of vitamin C can be started. These steps have been demonstrated but timing may vary for each patient and diarrhea may occur.

Hospices, nursing homes, and home patients with chronic pain may consider high dose vitamin C to control pain. Patients in pain or expecting pain could well take high dose vitamin C. Cameron gave 10 grams per day and found that pain and narcotic side effects stopped in about a week.1 Vitamin C can be in the form of ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate in 4 to 8 divided doses per day. Vitamin C can be dissolved in water if desired. Cathcart showed how to shorten the time to stop pain by giving large daily doses divided into small frequent doses.

For patients starting a long surgical operation, the patient could be initially treated with narcotics as the surgery is started. Then IV vitamin C could be administered to gradually load the opiate receptors. When the patient is fully on vitamin C pain control, the narcotics can be slowed but maintained enough to keep the patient sedated. At the end of surgery, the sedative would be stopped and the patient could be awake quickly. The vitamin C patient will have fewer narcotic side effects. and less chance of chemo brain. The vitamin C could be continued after surgery and through recovery so the patient needs no narcotic for pain relief.

Patients with chronic pain that is not well controlled by narcotics may consider oral sodium ascorbate at one gram every waking hour for 3 or 4 days along with their regular narcotics until craving stops. This dosage is often used to control the common cold.3 For safety the patient may work with a doctor and keep him or her informed.

Drug Addiction

Drug addiction control is part of chronic pain control. The procedure is to purge the opiate receptors with    ascorbate for a short time, often 5 to 7 days until the body no longer craves narcotics.

For patients with a poor digestive system such as from drug addiction, consider the procedure of Libby and Stone.2 Extra care is necessary to reestablish the digestive system with minimum side effects. Libby and Stone immediately stopped all drugs and started high doses of sodium ascorbate at 25 to 85 grams per day for 5 to 7 days to purge the opiate receptors of drugs. They also gave vitamins to reestablish good nutrition. Help from social workers and follow up is a must for all those with substance abuse disorders.


Vitamin C is extremely safe. Cathcart gave many of his patients 100 or 200 grams of oral ascorbic acid per day.6 Cameron and Linus Pauling, PhD, estimated a safe maximum dose of 350 grams per day based on tests with small animals.8 Sick patients can safely take higher doses than well patients.5


Cathcart did not get addicted when he took narcotics because he received heavy narcotics for only a few hours before starting vitamin C. Patients having pain can sometimes start vitamin C instead of narcotics and hopefully not become addicted. Cameron’s patients received both narcotics and vitamin C, sodium ascorbate, at the same time until the opiate receptors were loaded with vitamin C and the narcotic was no longer desired.1 Patients who have a ruptured disk or other long term illness may expect chronic pain. They can avoid addiction by starting high dose vitamin C early, even immediately after surgery.


Vitamin C for pain control was discovered by Cameron in 1974. Addiction occurs when the opiate receptors in the brain get loaded with narcotics. Loaded receptors make a person feel good but often addicted.1,2 Cameron purged the receptors of narcotic by flooding them with vitamin C. After he stopped the narcotics, the pain signals probably continued but were rejected by the vitamin C-loaded receptors.2

Cameron showed that drug addicts taking both narcotics and vitamin C might be controlled without withdrawal symptoms.1 Patients with good digestion, whether taking narcotics or not, may be controlled by enough vitamin C (either ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate) to load their opiate receptors. Different dosages give fast or slow pain relief.

The low cost of the therapy benefits the patient. Although all steps appear to be safe, tested, and demonstrated; the dosages, time to alleviate addiction and possible diarrhea may vary with each patient.

Many doctors hesitate to use vitamin C since they never studied high dose vitamin C.

A patients can ask if the doctor will cooperate as the patient continues to take high dose vitamin C. The doctor gets less peer pressure if the patient starts the vitamin C.

To check if vitamin C can replace your pain and narcotics add 10 grams daily of vitamin C to your regular routine. Either sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid is suitable. In about 7 to 10 days the pains should decrease and narcotics are no longer needed. The vitamin C must be continued to control pain but the amount may be decreased to minimize diarrhea.

Since receptors loaded with vitamin C appear to reject pain signals, phantom pains may also be rejected by these receptors. This has not been tested.

People can take narcotics for relaxation and then clean up with vitamin C. People with pain may profit from using vitamin C directly.

The drug addiction problem should decrease.


  1. High doses of vitamin C can often control pain even of patients who may or may not be drug addicts.
  2. Vitamin C with other vitamins and minerals can control pain and drug addiction for most types of narcotic drugs.
  3. Addicts with poor digestion may consider stopping addiction by taking vitamin C with other vitamins, minerals and protein as described by Libby and Stone.
  4. High dose vitamin C is generally considered safe.
  5. Diarrhea may be controlled by daily doses divided into frequent small doses of vitamin C.
  6. A person whose opiate receptors are loaded with narcotics can take vitamin C to purge the narcotics and load the receptors with ascorbate.
  7. 8. High dose vitamin C will probably control phantom pain. This has not been demonstrated.
  8. Doctors rarely suggest high dose vitamin C for pain relief but will often work with patients who are already taking high dose vitamin C.


Reagan Houston, MS, PE.

Professional Chemical Engineer

600 Carolina Village Rd. Apt 389

Hendersonville, NC 28792


  1. Cameron E and Campbell A. The orthomolecular treatment of cancer II. Clinical trial of high-dose ascorbic acid supplements in advanced human cancer. Chem.-Bio. Interactions. 1974;9:285-315.
  2. Libby AF and Stone I. The Hypoascorbemia-Kwashiorkor approach to drug addiction: a pilot study. Orthomolecular Psychiatry. 1977; 6(4): 300-308.
  3. Klenner, FR. Observations on the administration of ascorbic acid when employed beyond the range of a vitamin in human pathology. J of Applied Nutrition. 1971; 23(3&4):p61-89.
  4. Saul, Andrew W. Spinal stenosis and related painful back problems. 2008. Downloaded 4/22/2017
  5. Cathcart, Robert. Vitamin C, Titrating to Bowel Tolerance, Anascorbemia, and Acute Induced Scurvy.. Medical Hypotheses. 1981;7:1359-1376. Downloaded 4/12/2017.
  6. Cathcart, Robert, Vitamin C in high doses provides significant pain relief. Downloaded 8/12/2015,
  7. Han, Beth, et al. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adm. Rockville MD. August 1, 2015.
  8. Cameron E & Pauling L. Cancer and Vitamin C. 1993, Camino Books. Philadelphia.

2254 words.



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