Has Pain Pushed You to Embrace Medical Cannabis?

Cannabis legalization proponents have done yeoman’s work over the last decade or so, working to ensure that medical cannabis is legal in thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia. They have also managed to push through recreational marijuana in nearly two-dozen states. Here is my question: on the medical side of things, has pain pushed more people to medical cannabis than otherwise would have gotten on board?

We know that pain is the most commonly cited reason for obtaining a medical cannabis recommendation. That is certainly the case in Utah, where Salt Lake City’s Beehive Farmacy says that more than 68,000 of the state’s 86,000+ medical cannabis card holders cite persistent pain as the qualifying condition.

Already Using Cannabis Perhaps

My question is one born out of curiosity. I am interested to know if the majority of persistent pain patients who also use medical cannabis only started using because other treatments failed. The other option is that they were already using cannabis when it was legalized in their respective states. I can clearly see both possibilities.

Based on my own research, I would be willing to bet that a certain segment of the persistent pain group never even tried cannabis until it became legal. Previously, they had tried everything from prescription narcotics to physical therapy to surgery. A failure to find adequate relief made medical cannabis seem incredibly attractive once legalized.

I can also see another group potentially using black market cannabis long before legalization was a thing. Their reasons for doing so were the same: traditional pain treatments failed to deliver. In essence, the motivation is the same. Just the route to medical cannabis differs from patient to patient.

Skipping Over Traditional Treatments

Another thing I am curious about is the number of medical cannabis patients who completely skipped over traditional treatments and went right to the cannabis option. I am sure it happens. I know in Utah, a qualified medical provider (QMP) licensed to recommend cannabis to more than 1,000 patients can make such recommendations after just one visit. They don’t have to possess a thorough understanding of a patient’s medical history to make a recommendation.

Because QMPs in Utah consider medical cannabis cards and treatments their bread and butter, it would be in their best interests to recommend cannabis rather than suggesting more traditional treatments. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, by the way. I am simply stating the realities of for-profit medicine.

I’m also not necessarily against skipping traditional treatments. I personally know several people living with chronic pain who have tried virtually everything their doctors offered to no avail. If I ever found myself in a chronic pain position, their stories would probably discourage me from trying traditional treatments. I could see myself heading directly to the cannabis clinic to get a recommendation for a medical cannabis card.

Pain Is a Real Problem

One last thing I wanted to bring up is the fact that chronic pain is a very real problem. An estimated 21% of all American adults have experienced chronic pain at some point. Nearly 7% report high-impact chronic pain, which is to say it disrupts daily life. The reality of chronic pain, combined with medical cannabis statistics, would explain why so many people are now in possession of medical cannabis cards.

Has pain pushed you into the medical cannabis camp? If so, you are by no means alone. Millions of people now rely on cannabis to find some measure of pain relief. It appears to be working, so I can’t imagine medical cannabis suddenly not being available.