Commentary: Confusion About Medical Marijuana And Chronic Pain

Commentary: Confusion About Medical Marijuana And Chronic Pain

There is great confusion about medical marijuana (MMJ) and how it works for specific kinds of pain in the minds of many who are seeking it, especially young adults in that all important demo of 18 to 35 year-olds.

MMJ can be helpful for certain kinds of pain — for example, the ache of fibromyalgia. The anti emetic and opioid sparing properties of MMJ make it an effective adjunct to chronic opioid therapy. And because MMJ helps many to sleep, it is beneficial in a common co-condition to chronic pain — insomnia.

MMJ contains two important classes of neuroactive proteins: tetra-hydro cannabinoids (THC) and cannabidiols (CBD).

It is safe to assume that every red-blooded American who tunes into the news has understands that THC is the psychoactive compound in MMJ, but many Americans, including people seeking an answer to their pain, are unaware of the role of CBD in pain management.

CBD, especially compounds that activate the CBD-2 neuroreceptor, are believed to play a role in pain control, and may have an effect on mu-opioid receptors, which initiate the major analgesic cascade that leads to opioid agonist-based pain relief. Pain writer Zyp Czyk has an interesting article that explores the role of CBD-2 on the glial cells that have been linked to pain sensitization and chronic pain’s public enemy number 1 — opioid tolerance.

But in a state of Washington study of MMJ last year reported in the Journal of Pain Research, MMJ samples from around the state contained very low quantities of CBD compounds in a chromatographic analysis, while THC content tested very high.

In Washington, here in Colorado, and in other MMJ states, medical consumers have little if any scientific information on the fraction of CBD in their ‘medicine.’ This is a huge problem for someone like me who needs more analgesia out of a limited dose of their opioid-based pain medication due to a high tolerance developed in over 20 years of treatment.

I wrote of how people are losing their medications because of misinterpretation of UDT for the National Pain Report last month.

The other big problem experienced by many people in pain who use MMJ to help fight their pain is that urine drug testing, which is part of the “universal precaution” protocol used in virtually every pain management office in America, tests for a wide spectrum of pharmaceutical and illegal drug metabolites, and pain doctors know when their patients use MMJ.

Many pain management offices have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to illegal drugs, so the patient who is utilizing the beneficial effects of MMJ risks losing their access to opioid-based medications.

I’d suggest that people who are not clear on their pain practitioner’s policies regarding MMJ have a serious discussion with their doctor to prevent any misunderstanding and the loss of their opioid analgesics.


Authored by: Kurt W.G. Matthies

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Two spouses in pain

For Mr. Cuminale, we live in Florida, AND we own a small business, and we are licensed and insured, (workers comp too!), put the long hours in owning a small business, and use MMJ, as do some of our employees! Guess what? We are a happy business, with productive employees, and none of us are long haired hippie freaks, AND we wouldn’t be as successful as we are if it weren’t for MMJ! We wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pain. It’s closed minded people who make blanket statements like yours, that obviously don’t know the truth about pain. It’s not something that you wake up one day and say, gee, I want to be a pariah and suffer every moment of my life! The suffering can be from physical or mental pain, but trust me sir, it doesn’t matter. Pain is pain, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Enjoy your day.

Robert Cuminale

Screed? Ask around at how many people will hire drug users regardless of what they are using. i can assure you if my insurance provider knew that I was employing drug users I would lose my bonding and liability insurance. The state would also pull my workmen’s compensation as well. As it is I removed myself as an employee of my corporation and assumed dividend only payment.
But Then I’ll wager none of you own businesses or put in the long hours of a small business owner.
I don’t care what you all do with your lives but if you can’t pass a pee test you don’t work here. And if all you can do is post ad hominems those are easily ignored.


Thanks Robert, your screed is supporting evidence for the assertion that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.


I feel that the first commenter on this article has no idea what kind of relief MMJ can give those with chronic pain. I am a great-grandmother with decades of chronic pain experience. I have found that using MMJ has helped me cut my opiod medications in half. When I don’t have it, my pain level is at least three points higher than it is with it. For example, instead of being at a five, I’m at an eight. Or instead of being at an eight, I can still function to some extent. Not everyone who uses MMJ is looking for a “euphoric experience”. Most are just looking for pain relief. And yes, some young people experience chronic pain. Thank god for people like the second poster, who are aware of the benefits and that they should be made universal.

Robert Cuminale

Too many of these Medical Marijuana activists are young people looking for a legal means to smoke the stuff. Many with the barest of excuses are getting prescriptions from naive or accommodating physicians and become lie abouts doing nothing productive with their lives.
Real Chronic Pain patients want to do something. Most of us want to continue to work and the opioids we receive help us to do that without looking for a euphoric experience, I reduced my prescription of Oxycontin years ago from 30Mg to 20Mg precisely for that reason. Instead I have some Percocet that I can use for days where pain is exceptional and I use them in the evenings so they don’t interfere with my workday. The reason I remain self employed is because few employers will hire a person who uses pain killers because they fear an accident on the job that could cost them dearly. High marijuana smokers driving isn’t uncommon and people who don’t work because of it have so much more time to pursue recreation and drive.


It is a MORAL IMPERATIVE that Medical Marijuana be immediately legalized in all 50 states.

For Cancer patients, for kids suffering from Seizures, and for so many others, safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana is a matter of life and death.

Ask any American who’s gone through Chemotherapy who’s used it.
There’s a great article in the July 22nd special issue of Newsweek on CANCER, titled
“Marijuana is a Wonder Drug for when it comes to the horrors of Chemo”
According to a 2014 poll, 82% of Oncologists felt that Medical Marijuana should be included as a treatment option.

Ask the parents of any American kid with a seizure disorder who’s life its saved.

They need a special kind of Marijuana oil that’s impossible to get in the 27 states that don’t have Medical Marijuana, and for their kids, its a matter of life and death.

We need the President to cut through the red tape and take personal action on this issue right now. We need Congress to pass the CARERS act too. Americans are suffering and dying — needlessly!

Please call the whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask that the President have Marijuana removed from Schedule 1, You can email the President by going to and clicking on “contact us”

Call and email your Senators and Representative, and ask that they pass the CARERS act — IMMEDIATELY.

Call and email every day, and ask everyone you know to call and email every day, and to keep calling, and keep emailing, for however long it takes, until the President, Congress or both take action.

Please do everything you can to get as many people as possible to call and email and to keep on calling and emailing, every single day.

Do everything you can to help with this effort.

Pass it on.

With luck the effort will go viral.

The lives of countless Americans depend on it.