Marijuana Gaining More Acceptance—What About Chronic Pain?

Marijuana Gaining More Acceptance—What About Chronic Pain?

300px-MarijuanaA majority of Americans support making marijuana legal.

That’s the gist of a national survey released this week by the General Social Survey.

52% said they favored legalization, while 42% are against it. That’s a big change from just two years ago.

We’ve been measuring public attitudes toward legalization of marijuana since the ’70s,” Tom W. Smith, director of the GSS, said in an interview with Yahoo News.  “In 2012, you had a plurality of Americans against legalization. Now, in 2014, you have a majority in favor of legalization.

What does this mean for the chronic pain community? For many, it would be seen as good news given that many chronic pain sufferers use marijuana to help manager their condition.

One pain doctor, who preferred not to be quoted, told us that there is no serious science on marijuana’s impact on chronic pain because the government has not allowed any serious study on the issue given marijuana “illegal status.” But the doctor believes that any study would show marijuana has positive effect on chronic pain sufferers.

There was a study in Canada released five years ago, and it reported that taking three puffs of cannabis (marijuana) each day helps people with chronic pain feel better and sleep better.

”It’s been known anecdotally,”  researcher Mark Ware, MD, assistant professor of anesthesia and family medicine at McGill University in Montreal told WebMD in 2010.. “About 10% to 15% of patients attending a chronic pain clinic use cannabis as part of their pain [control] strategy.”

We spoke with Morgan Fox, who is communications for the Marijuana Policy Project who said that many states are considering some type of marijuana legalization. (Here’s their list of states and pending action so you can see where your state ranks.)

The General Social Survey poll results didn’t surprise him.

“Americans are tired of laws that punish adults for using a substance that is undeniably safer than alcohol. Hopefully their elected officials are paying attention and preparing for the inevitable. The failures of marijuana prohibition are too obvious to ignore forever, which is evidenced by the growing support for ending it,’ said Fox.

Fox said his organization, has argued for the last decade that chronic pain sufferers would benefit from medical marijuana law reform because of the palliative effect it has on people who suffer with pain.

He too, bemoaned the lack of serious scientific research of marijuana’s impact on relieving chronic pain.


Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Nell H

One huge problem is forcing pain patients on opiods to do random urine tests. After being with the same pain clinic for ten years, and on a stable dose of morphine for four years my husband tested positive for THC and was refused any more pain meds. Not even a plan to taper him down.

The cannabis helps him with appetite and nausea as well as pain and sleep.