Chronic pain is one of the conditions for which some doctors recommend medical cannabis. Other conditions include cancer, seizure disorders, and PTSD. If you are a chronic pain patient, perhaps you are thinking about trying medical cannabis yourself. But should you? Is doing so in your best interests?
The only people truly qualified to answer that question are you and your medical provider. You know how you feel better more than anyone else. Likewise, your medical provider has insights into why you feel the way you do. Definitely have a conversation with them before making any kind of decision.
To get you thinking in that direction, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to sort of gauge where you are. They are complements of Beehive Farmacy in Brigham City and Salt Lake City, UT, a medical cannabis pharmacy.
1. Is medical cannabis legal in my state?
The starting point for this entire discussion is legality. Bear in mind that federal law still does not recognize medical cannabis as a legal substance. Still, some three dozen states have defied federal law and made medical cannabis legal. Is it legal in your state? If so, proceed to the rest of the questions. If not, you already have your answer.
2. Have I tried traditional treatments without success?
Trying traditional treatments before going to medical cannabis certainly isn’t a prerequisite. However, if you have tried things like prescription medications and over the counter (OTC) pain relievers without success, it is kind of foolish to keep going down that road. You need something different. Medical cannabis might be the right solution.
You should understand that medical cannabis is not an effective pain reliever for everyone who tries it. But then again, neither are OTC pain relievers nor prescription meds. Like those other treatments, the only way to know for sure if cannabis will work for you is to try it.
3. Am I merely trying to treat symptoms?
Next up, ask yourself if you are merely trying to treat symptoms rather than getting to the root cause of your pain. For example, a person might be experiencing debilitating back pain that is being caused by spinal compression. There are a variety of procedures that can correct the condition, thus alleviating the pain. Any one of those procedures might be a better option than medical cannabis.
4. Am I concerned about opioid medications?
Perhaps you are considering medical cannabis because you are currently taking an opioid prescription and are concerned about that. First off, your concerns are valid. It is no secret that opioid medications come with plenty of baggage. That is easily seen in the ongoing opioid crisis.
You’ll be happy to know that numerous studies suggest that some chronic pain patients are able to reduce or eliminate opioids altogether by transitioning to medical cannabis. You might want to look at those studies before making a final decision.
5. Can I afford to pay for medical cannabis out-of-pocket?
Finally, consider your financial situation. At the current time, health insurance does not cover medical cannabis purchases. Neither do Medicaid nor Medicare. So if you’re going to go the medical cannabis route, be prepared to pay for your medicine out-of-pocket. Also be prepared that it can get expensive.
Chronic pain is difficult to live with. It wears on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. For some people, the best way to treat it is medical cannabis. That might be true in your case as well. If you have been considering it, be sure to sit down and talk with your medical provider first.