Interest in Medical Cannabis Continues to Grow

Interest in Medical Cannabis Continues to Grow

By Ed Coghlan.

For any number of reasons, the use of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain is expanding.

A recent CNN special—anchored by Dr. Sanjay Gupta—was sympathetic to the use of cannabis. It positioned cannabis as an alternative to opioid use for pain relief, which drew the ire of many National Pain Report readers.

Here’s the National Pain Report story and reader comments on the CNN Special.

But the momentum toward more use of cannabis—and perhaps even more U.S. based research—is hard to ignore.

Currently 29 states have approved the use of medicinal cannabis. More are considering it.

Ellen and Stu Smith live in Rhode Island and are co-directors of the US Pain Foundation Medicinal Cannabis Program. Ellen Smith saw the CNN special as a further indication that medical cannabis is increasingly becoming mainstream.

“He is so well respected, so his words go a long way and are being taken seriously,” she said, pointing out that there are just four states with no pending bills to try to include a medical cannabis program. “The people living in Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota are not able to dream of even being able to consider turning to any legal use of CBD or Cannabis.”

The recent Illinois Cannabis Education Expo drew over 1,100 people outside Chicago. People from across the East and Midwest attended the Expo, which was also seen live on the internet. For conference organizer Gracie Bagosy-Young, it’s a sign that people with pain and other chronic ailments and those who treat them are looking for alternatives.

“I strongly believe that people are looking for more natural ways to relieve their pain,” she said. “I believe that the robust turnout of professionals at our CME and CEU sessions is a testament to the fact that cannabis is a viable, medicinal option for chronic illnesses.”

The Expo is expected to become an annual event and may expand to other states.

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

newest oldest
Notify of
sandy auriene sullivan

Hey Sharon, I tried the 1:9 pens by Suterra and found it a huge waste of cash. Bought 4 on sale and 2 weren’t filled fully I found out later. Still took my high THC mgs from me tho…. Oh and the battery died on 2 out of 4 [prefer to the self charge not one and dones] of those 1:9 pens! Suterra’s ‘blends’ are not for everyone. 4 choices of blends in all forms available blows too. But again if it’s working for you and you don’t mind paying more? Then buy all means.

Just don’t forget to try Trulieve and Curaleaf when they get to your state and/or if you are located in Florida. [Curaleaf due any day]

Why I don’t like suterra has to do with my strain sensitivity. I use the 850mg x 2 a day *Concentrate* indica in 9lb hammer and Grandaddy purple for pain/anxiety.

Too many doctors are unaware of how to PRESCRIBE those THC mgs and put it all on ‘vape’ for inhalation but that’s the IR version of THC. The LONG ACTING is in the high THC unadulterated oil and the price is fantastic as you can bake with it too. 60$ for 1g which last me 2 weeks if it’s in indica and a week in all other strains.

I buy CBD tincture for 70$ and get 1 fluid ounce of pure CBD – the two items my preferred dispensary cannot keep on shelves is the CBD Tincture and High THC whole plant concentrated oil – indica.

100k people now have MMJ cards in Florida. The most common ailment I run across is CRPS and/or PTSD/anxiety. Many in our pain community would qualify here even if they think they don’t.

Sharon, do encourage your doctor to make sure you have enough MGs to go beyond Suttera and taste the rainbow of strains to find that which works BEST. [many make their own blends at home with CBD/concentrate + blend hybrid, sativa or indica strains together depending on what works best. 5000mg on all 4 options is NORMAL/Average 1st time order.

My official second order is coming up and I’ll end up with 7-8000mg on oral ingestion. That’s average for longer term patients. Remember if your vape has CBD and THC like the 1:9 that doesn’t come off 50% from CBD and 50% from THC. IT ALL GOES OFF THE THC SIDE! Which means you need wiggle room if pure CBD oral/inhale isn’t available. Even 1% is enough to put the entire bottle of CBD onto your THC count.

sandy auriene sullivan

It’s almost time for another ‘My Story’ as my journey has shifted; when I hit 90mme, my doctor suggested zubsolv for the latest in so called ‘safe’ opiates. [it works better than 90mme! At 180mme with naloxone; which prevents uphoria not overdose in these tablets, one still needs naloxone in epipen form for OD; but some doctors are not getting that message…leading to another dangerous med snatch in the future]

As wait times and the process to get medically legal marijuana in my state – Florida; became shorter and easier – I took the plunge with the support of my primary and pain management specialist. I did NOT expect much as I’ve smoked very good quality medical grade ‘flowers’ for 20 years. Becoming daily – depending on pain levels.

Now, as I said, didn’t expect ‘great’ results because of previous experience and I do not like being ‘high’ all day either. My MMJ doctor rec’ed a very high dose of concentrate. CONCENTRATED WHOLE PLANT OIL! [I also use CBD tincture from the Cannabis not HEMP plant. HUGE difference but trace THC prevents it from being sold OTC like HEMP based CBD]

Besides DDD and many herniated discs, nerve problems and now tumors/neuromas from head to bottom of foot as well as repeat shingles. Ok. Been autoimmune since 1996 and 47yrs old now. But the left nerve damaged my foot so bad I now have CRPS in that limb.

Which as one knows who has it; walking is impossible. Even with orthopedic products …. it still stings like hell to walk. UNTIL I started using the concentrate every day.

One large dose daily is enough to get me thru the day and night. I don’t feel high like I would if I vaped or even smoked a jay again. What I don’t feel is the neuroma. What I don’t feel is pain; I mean it works on pain in a way that pain meds don’t and I still USE prescription medication for pain too. But forget to take it because the concentrate works so well.

PLEASE, try it. It’s the best kept secret in the US Pain community where people have access to legal medical marijuana. They know a joint won’t help so why get legal, right? Now prices are below black market for low income in FL!


I saw the MM doctor yesterday and it was probably the longest doctors appointments I’ve ever had. I’m not kidding. I absolutely LOVE this doctor!
I went into this process with what I thought was a lot of knowledge. As a former nurse, I can’t help but want to learn as much as I can. I wasn’t very informed about the fact that we all have an ENDOCANNABINOID system, but knew a little. She explained everything about it. I suggest everyone do a bit of research on that whether you have, or would like to try MM.
She explained the ratios of THC and CBD in each strain and for which ailment. She didn’t push MM on me at all only stating she takes MM very seriously and does not approve of high THC, but it is needed in certain situations.
For those of us who cannot sleep due to pain, anxiety or whatever keeps you up, a couple of ‘hits’ of a vape pen with a ratio of 1:9 CBD:THC Indica was recommended. Yes, I will get “high” but I should be able to actually sleep. And as we all know, lack of sleep will never let us feel any better.
No, insurance doesn’t cover the cost of any of this, which is ridiculous considering it costs less than the monthly cost of all of the pills I take. And as I no longer work and have no health insurance and have yet to be approved for SSDI, I will actually be saving money every month.
I may not only one day be able to come off of the opioids I am currently on (which my doctor cut my dosage down for some reason), I may also be able to no longer have a need for the three blood pressure meds a day and may no longer need the high dose of Xanax I’m on as well. If I still need a small dose of opioids, I’m okay with that. Just as long as I no longer have a need for the high dose I currently take, along with Gabapentin, muscle relaxers, anti anxiety meds, Cymbalta for depression and pain and my sleeping pills. All of which help minimally. I want out of the pill game altogether! I know that may be an unrealistic expectation, but after 5 years of all of this, I’m ready!
And to you, Susan Simpson, I wish you luck and pray that maybe with the help of MM, you have years left, not months. And btw, with all of the narcotics we’re all on, we are all addicts!


I love it! I am one! stage 4 cancer/terminal the docs took my pain meds! I suffered 2yrs, hospice in, it was medical marijuana or heroin, meth? I as a recovering addict, 1st chose meth , costing me my 9yr clean! I wised up, tried marijuana and hospice pulled out, a surgery cancelled “metz tumors gone” my 1st cancer appointment to go from 3mo to 6mo, I no longer vomit, live in pain! I do believe opiates should be returned but I do not believe it should come to opiates vs medical marijuana! I stand for both but will continue marijuana until days left!!!!! Yes I am an addict in recovery, proud of it and terminal cancer patient! I should have a choice! Opiates killed the pain, marijuana did too and helped my cancer! I never turned to heroin, the DEA needs to clean their facts up…

Cindy Deim

My pain doctor passed away, so while I’m looking for a new one ( because of course, you can’t use marijuana while participating in a pain clinic) I am trying some pot. It has helped greatly for sleep. I can’t say as it does much for my pain and I really don’t like to get stoned. I have used some patches with CBD/THC in equal amounts which seems to help with pain some.
As others have said it doesn’t work as well as opiates. I would like to be able to use both. As soon as I have another pain doctor they will start urine tests and I won’t be able to use the pot anymore. What’s the point of having it be legal if your doctor won’t let you use it?

Barbara Thurman

I don’t want to use cannabis, why can’t they leave me alone. Think I did every treatment known to man before opioid , finally got a small part of my life back. Have had to many years of side effects or didn’t help. Now just want some peace in my life. Afraid to see Doctor now each time wants to cut pain med down, really not him taking out of Doctors hands. So guess we will be using cannabis some choice. Sure many of us are
going to get hurt.
Not right I didn’t do anything wrong


I have taken CBD gummies, it helped my mood, but did nothing at all for pain or anything else..expensive also.

Lori T.

I am so happy that the topic of cannibis for pain patients is expanding. The more we learn about its effects and uses the better. However, it probably will not be a cure-all. That is why I strongly believe that opioids need to remain on the table especially for the chronic pain sufferers. Variety truly is the spice of life especially as it relates to pain relieving medicines and herbal therapies. I am a firm believer that cannibis and its buddy, hemp, have a role to play in modern pain management. I feel as the years tick by and the clinical trials stack in favor of this misunderstood miracle plant, many users, both new and old, will be able to have a new way to keep their pain in check and have more semblance of life. Expanding public interest in marijuana is a positive thing and is definitely worth looking into. Thank you Mr. Coghlan for your fine article.

The sad truth is that the poppy, like the cannabis plant, is a natural source of medicinal substances that have been viciously slandered.

We would never consider holding a debate, on whether Vitamin C is “better” than Vitamin A.

People need both of those vitamins to be healthy.

Why, then, is there a “Cannabis vs Opioids” argument?

The same people who slandered both the hemp plant and the poppy plant, are attacking patients who need them. Patients should be working together, not against each other.


Cannabis does help with my personal pain from spine surgerires. I don’t feel as if cannabis could replace opioid medications though. With canabis use, I am unable to concentrate on completing a task plus, it is not legal in my state except for VERY limited medical issues of which spine pain management is not included. I believe that further study of cannabis for medical use needs to be funded. Possibly a cannabis/opioid medication therapy will effectively help manage intractable pain issues? I do beleive that cannabis growers and those fully committed to cannabis use have learned a great deal about the percentage of THC in it and can produce an effective combination of THC and CBD along with other cannabis produced qualities intoand effective combination so that the “anxiety” and paranoid effects are minimum. CBDmoil does not effectovely manage moderate to severe pain. I have tried MANY different CBD oil products along iwtjh Kratom amd persoally I can not get effective pain management with just CBD “oil”. Maybe some do. Pain is subjective and very personal. It needs be managed with a tailored dosge of opioid medication with cannabis as a supplement to it. It seems dot/gove and Jeff…….is determined to wipe out opioid medication along with cannabis use just because “good people don’t smoke marijuana”. Jeff has NEVER experienced real, pain OR continuous lifetime pain. Maybe he is superman in disguise. Clark Kent to the rescue!


After weaning myself off of Oxycodone close to four years ago and now on MMJ for two years, in my case MMJ does not compare nor is a replacement to the actual pain relief I got from Oxycodone. MMJ helps a great deal with the spasticity I suffer from at night but does nothing for my pain. Oxycodone helped with my pain but did not help with the spasms.

Cost of MMJ is a problem for many also, my wife pays three hundred dollars every three weeks so I may have three vape hits at night. What good is access to MMJ if one can not afford it? I am very grateful to have relief from the spasms since Celebrex ruined my stomach long ago and I hoped that MMJ would be the answer for me, but like many medications I took in the past it does not help with the pain I suffer from.


Ive tried it too for about 4 months. It help me cut back on percocet but only about half. Too much THC (psycho-active) componet can cause anxiety. You only need a small amount of THC in the CBD oil (pain relief compnent); ex. 16 to 1 in a sublingual. If you go to a reputable dispensary; recommended by a cannabis clinic (where you get the medical card), they know their stuff. They dont even recommend that you replace it with opioids. Half of the employees at the one i went to, lost family members from Cancer; so they were very compassionate. The experience was a trial and error, because everyones metabolism is different. I would rather trial and error with them, than any option the pharmaceutical co.s would come up with. However, I guess that the only way the cost will be covered by insurance companys is if the pharmaceutical companys are involved. After trial and error I evetually found what was right for me but was forced to stop; because of cost. A bottle of cbd oil with a small amount of THC (wont get you high) cost around $60,00 for a two week supply, maybe longer. Even with a discount of 15% I had to stop if i wanted to eat. Too much THC (sativa or indica strain) can cause either anxiety or fatigue. I learned to be more careful with the edibles. I wasnt smoking it, only using the sublinguals. Im certainly no expert but I did start to understand after trial and error; which can get expensive. The employess in the dispensaries do the best they can to figure out whats right for you personally.


So Virginia, I’m curious as to how many different strains you’ve tried? Did you experiment with the various strains higher in Indica that help with anxiety and do not cause paranoia? If you only tried strains higher in Sativa, I can understand why you may have felt the way you did. This is why, in the beginning, they tell you to experiment. Only purchase small amounts until you find the one that’s right for you.
I, personally, cannot wait to try it for my RSD, Fibromyalgia and arthritis. I’m sick of taking so many pills that make me sick and damage my liver. Not to mention the expense of all of those pills monthly.
I have done an incredible amount of research regarding the various strains and hybrids of medical marijuana and am going into this process with as much knowledge as I possible can. I smoked actual “weed” a few months ago as sort of an experiment to see if it did anything at all for my pain and was stunned at how much better I felt! That experience is what made me start looking into possibly getting a medical marijuana card, doing a ton of research and finally making the initial appointment to see if I qualify. Obviously, I do qualify and will be seeing the doctor this week to do the formal paperwork to get registered with the department of health and get her recommendation regarding which strains may be best for me. I’m praying I get the same effects from most likely vaping, as I did when I smoked a few months ago. If I do, I will never touch another pill again. No fear of running out of pills, or if I leave the house worrying if I brought meds with me, no need for increase in dosage due to building up a tolerance and no more monthly visits to the pain management doctor.
I’m praying that after nearly five years of living this way, I may actually get my life back, or at least more of a life than I have now. Just laying in bed all day propped up by pillows unable to even tolerate a shower every day.
I’m not anti-opioids at all, I’m just hoping for a better, more natural and less harmful way to live.
And btw, the amount of THC is low and CBD is high, so no, you will not have to live your life any more “high” than 60 mg or so of Percocet daily combined with Xanax, muscle relaxers and god knows what else we’re all taking that we are severely addicted to. I have yet to meet anyone who has ever gone through withdrawals from stopping pot smoking and I’ve known many “potheads” in my life.


I’ve tried marijuana, smoked it.And like Dr. Grupta, I too felt very anxious. And bit paranoid even, and very much more aware of my pain to the point of actually needing more opioids in order to calm down the now excaberated pain caused by my intake of the marijuana.
So, unless there’s a better way, a better strain of marijuana, a person who knows what they’re talking about, or someone who can help me find what might possibly help my pain instead of make it worse, I’m all for my opioids and I for one say NO WAY CAN MARIJUANA TAKE THE PLACE OF OPIOIDS FOR PAIN!!!!!


As I have said before, trials done by Glasgow Pain Faculty Glasgow Medical School UK found disappointingly that medical cannabis ie, CBD without THC does not work for chronic pain states ie, where Central Sensitisation of the CNS is imvloved. They are truly disappointed they cannot offer it to,their patients. THC makes you high so,you cannot function and only gives pain relief for about two hours, both of which are substantial drawbacks to its use and certainly are a I would have though a less good choice than long acting opioids. In addition THC has a vicious withdrawal syndrome so if you travel outside an area where it is legal you,are gong to be very sick and in high pain for two weeks, I was a great supporter of cannabis myself and although it works apparently for RA, Chrohns and some other pain conditions sadly the truth prevents me supporting it for Chronic Central Pain States for which it certainly won’t replace the role of opioids.