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Pain. 2017 Jul;158(7):1373-1379. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000899.

Chronic pain patients' perspectives of medical cannabis.

Author information

1
aDepartment of Basic Sciences, The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, PA, USA bDepartment of Psychological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA cDepartment of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, Maine Health, Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME, USA dDepartment of Pharmacy Practice, Husson University School of Pharmacy, Bangor, ME, USA eDepartment of Community Health Education, University of Maine, Farmington, ME, USA fCenter for Wellness Leadership, Portland, ME, USA. R. M. DeKeuster is now with Calyx Concepts LLC, Sidney, ME, USA gWellness Connection of Maine, Gardiner, ME, USA.

Abstract

Medical cannabis (MC) is used for a variety of conditions including chronic pain. The goal of this report was to provide an in-depth qualitative exploration of patient perspectives on the strengths and limitations of MC. Members of MC dispensaries (N = 984) in New England including two-thirds with a history of chronic pain completed an online survey. In response to "How effective is medical cannabis in treating your symptoms or conditions?," with options of 0% "no relief" to 100% "complete relief," the average was 74.6% ± 0.6. The average amount spent on MC each year was $3064.47 ± 117.60, median = $2320.23, range = $52.14 to $52,140.00. Open-ended responses were coded into themes and subthemes. Analysis of answers to "What is it that you like most about MC?" (N = 2592 responses) identified 10 themes, including health benefits (36.0% of responses, eg, "Changes perception and experience of my chronic pain."), the product (14.2%, eg, "Knowing exactly what strain you are getting"), nonhealth benefits (14.1%), general considerations (10.3%), and medications (7.1%). Responses (N = 1678) to "What is it that you like least about MC?" identified 12 themes, including money (28.4%, eg, "The cost is expensive for someone on a fixed income"), effects (21.7%, eg, "The effects on my lungs"), the view of others (11.4%), access (8.2%), and method of administration (7.1%). These findings provide a patient-centered view on the advantages (eg, efficacy in pain treatment, reduced use of other medications) and disadvantages (eg, economic and stigma) of MC.

PMID:
28328576
PMCID:
PMC5845915
DOI:
10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000899
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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