Just in case you missed it, Utah lawmakers added acute pain to the qualifying conditions list for medical cannabis in 2022. That’s a pretty big deal. Being able to treat acute pain with cannabis gives medical providers and their patients another option. If you don’t know why this matters, keep reading.
As you read, bear in mind that there are conditions attached. One such condition stipulates that the acute pain in question would otherwise be treated with opioid medications. Therein lies the key. It is the very reason that adding acute pain to the qualifying conditions list matters so much.
Acute Post-Surgical Pain
Acute pain is pain that comes on suddenly and is expected to only last a short time. By contrast, chronic pain lingers for at least a few months. It can last a lifetime. But that is a different topic for another day.
The perfect example of an acute pain scenario involving medical cannabis would be surgery. Imagine a patient that has knee replacement surgery. The procedure typically involves a lengthy recovery time and no shortage of pain. Doctors traditionally prescribe opioid medications to manage pain during recovery.
Our fictional patient could ask his surgeon about treating with medical cannabis instead of opioids. If the two agreed, the patient could apply for a temporary medical cannabis card prior to surgery. Being approved means being able to limit opioid consumption or avoid it altogether.
Cannabis Is a Viable Alternative
Recommending cannabis instead of prescription opioids is not something that came out of left field. Numerous studies, including one published recently, demonstrate that chronic pain patients are able to reduce or completely eliminate opioid consumption after beginning medical cannabis therapy. If it works for chronic pain patients, why would it not work for acute pain patients?
The data proves that cannabis is a viable alternative to prescription opioids. That’s why this matter so much. Adding acute pain to Utah’s qualifying conditions list gives patients and their medical providers an alternative to prescription opioids. Knowing what we know about the opioid crisis, why would we not want to make this option available?
Everything Else Remains the Same
Just so you know, everything else about obtaining a medical cannabis card and using cannabis products remains the same. Acute pain patients must still consult with medical providers who have prescribing authority in Utah. Providers must still recommend medical cannabis as the most appropriate treatment.
A patient wishing to use medical cannabis for pain must still go online and complete an application form. That application form must still be approved by the state. If approved, the patient receives their medical cannabis card electronically.
To purchase medical cannabis, the patient would visit a licensed Utah dispensary. Here at Beehive Farmacy, we have two locations: one in Salt Lake City and the other in Brigham City. The patient would need only bring a valid medical cannabis card with them to purchase products from our pharmacy.
Opioids Aren’t the Only Choice
Adding acute pain to Utah’s qualifying conditions list is a clear demonstration of opioids are not the only choice for managing pain. If doctors and their patients agree that opioids are the best bet, so be it. But if either one has reservations, medical cannabis is another option.
Lawmakers are to be commended for adding acute pain to the qualifying conditions list. It was the right thing to do. With any luck, it will help reduce the number of opioid prescriptions written in the state. That can only help in the effort to end the opioid crisis.