A fair number of customers who visit Utah marijuana dispensary Beehive Farmacy in Salt Lake City, UT are looking to buy medical cannabis to help ease chronic pain. Ditto for Beehive’s location in Brigham City. Beehive staff are not surprised, given the fact that chronic pain is the most often cited condition on Utah medical cannabis card applications.
It turns out that chronic pain is the number one reason medical cannabis users around the country choose the drug. It is not just a Utah phenomenon. Nonetheless, you might be curious as to why. After all, don’t chronic pain patients have less controversial treatment options?
Less controversial, yes. More effective, not so much. Chronic pain patients choose medical cannabis over other treatments for a variety of reasons. Here are just three of them:
1. They Want More Relief
Someone who has never experienced chronic pain over many years might have a challenging time understanding how much of a toll it takes on the mind and body. Chronic pain can be completely debilitating if a patient doesn’t get adequate relief. Enter medical cannabis.
Plenty of medical cannabis users have tried all the traditional chronic pain treatments and not gotten the relief they desire. They have tried over the counter (OTC) pain meds, prescription pain pills, physical therapy, and even cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). They turned to medical cannabis as a last resort.
There are cases in which patients can switch exclusively to medical cannabis and get the desired relief. More often than not however, medical cannabis is used in conjunction with other treatments to maximize relief.
2. They Aren’t Pain Pill Fans
When chronic pain does not respond to OTC medications and various types of therapies, doctors almost always turned to prescription pain pills. You probably know what that means. It means opioid medications that come with a lengthy list of risks and unpleasant side effects.
Chronic pain patients want relief. That much is true. But they do not necessarily want all the baggage that comes with prescription pain pills. They don’t like the addiction risk. They do not like how prescription pain meds make them feel. They certainly don’t want to use the meds for the rest of their lives.
Some patients find they can completely stop using prescription pain meds after starting medical cannabis. Others may not be able to stop completely, but they are able to reduce the amount of prescription pain medication they need to take.
3. They Have Heard Cannabis Can Help in Other Ways
Finally, chronic pain patients are often attracted to medical cannabis after hearing how it can help them in other ways. For example, plenty of patients claim that medical cannabis helps them relax to the point of sleeping better. That’s big. When chronic pain patients get quality sleep, they feel better during their waking hours.
Other patients say that medical cannabis makes them feel less anxious about their circumstances. Those whose chronic pain is a result of cancer often say that using medical cannabis eliminates or significantly reduces chemo-related nausea.
In essence, medical cannabis can do more for chronic pain patients than just relieve their pain. You don’t get that benefit with other types of pain treatments. For example, if you are using an OTC pain reliever to make you more comfortable, you might still need a sleep aid to get a good night’s rest.
Medical cannabis may not be a cure for chronic pain, but millions of patients successfully use it as a treatment. It is hard to argue against its success as an alternative to OTC medications, prescription pain pills, and other traditional chronic pain treatments.