U.S. Pain supports all avenues for individuals to obtain pain relief. Without effective pain management, many living with pain lose hope as well as a sense of meaning. It is therefore the mission of the foundation to share credible information with you that is solely directed at improving pain management.
U.S. Pain understands medicinal cannabis is a hot-topic issue. While it is not legalized in all states, momentum is growing to make cannabis a legitimate tool in the fight for relief against many chronic pain conditions. U.S. Pain supports these efforts – and with the help of our Advocacy Directors of Medicinal Cannabis, Ellen and Stu Smith – have compiled resources to educate you on this valuable option to control pain.
Do you know where your state stands?
Presently, the following state have legalized medical cannabis:
District of Columbia
To check the status of your state: http://norml.org/legal/medical-marijuana-2
The first step in helping your state approve the legalization of medical cannabis is to check the current status and position of your state.
Medical Cannabis is not legal yet?
Steps to Help your State Move Forward with Approval:
- Contact local state legislatures to find their position on this issue. Locate the right individual willing to submit a bill.
- Make it easy for your legislature by providing samples of other successful state laws already established across the country.
- Contact The Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) to request their support and help funding a campaign for your state.
- Help advocate for this important cause, encouraging as many co-sponsors to sign on in support of the bill as you can.
- Submit letters to the editor, articles to local newspapers and inquiries to radio stations in order to create more awareness. Make sure to include stories of success in people who have been able to use this medication to relieve pain.
- Watch for the bill number, making sure you have a group of people ready, and willing, to testify on behalf of the proposed bill.
- You want people with positive experiences using marijuana medically to be present. Dress appropriately and articulate at the hearing. Remember, hearings move quickly and with little warning, so you must be organized and have people ready to talk on a moment’s notice. FYI-Some states hold training sessions to make sure those testifying are prepared.
- If you are unable to find people from your state to testify, consider asking others from legal states to attend the hearing. The personal experiences and heartfelt stories connect with legislatures.
Something Worth Nothing
You want to be sure the bill is worded correctly to ensure all pain conditions would benefit from this form of therapy. Unlike Rhode Island, where the lawmakers who crafted the legislation were clever and all-inclusive with the wording of the bill, many states have limited conditions approved for medical cannabis. I encourage you to review the wording used in Rhode Island’s bill. Consider fighting to have similar wording in your state’s proposed bill.
The typical conditions listed:
- Cancer or the treatment of this condition
- Glaucoma or the treatment of this condition
- Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or the treatment of this condition
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or the treatment of this condition
- Hepatitis C or the treatment of this condition
Wording that allows rare conditions to qualify:
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe, debilitating, chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures, including but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease
- Agitation related to Alzheimer’s Disease
- Finally, any other condition or its treatment approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Final Note: Many legal states allow a process where you can submit a condition for consideration. Complete proper documentation and submit your condition … or try submitting the wording from Rhode Isand that covers many conditions.
Below is a list of scientific research pertaining to Medical Cannabis:
In Her Own Words: “Why I Turned to Medicinal Cannabis”
By Ellen Lenox Smith
My name is Ellen Lenox Smith, and I reside in North Scituate, Rhode Island. For my sixty-three years of life, I have endured negative reactions to medications. I also live with two incurable conditions, sarcoidosis and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, classical type.
From the moment my pediatrician first gave me medication, he told my mother that I seemed to be allergic to my own body. Whenever I needed medicine, including aspirin or Tylenol, I seemed to have issues with metabolizing. I just found a way to live through one negative reaction after another.
It was not until 2011, before having my twentieth surgery to stabilize my leg with cadaver tendons, that a surgeon suggested DNA drug sensitivity testing. His hospital in Wisconsin was at a loss as to help me cope with the surgical pain as well as the issues I suffered due to reactions from medications. Through a simple process of swabbing the inside of my cheek and sending it to the lab, I received a final report that did confirmed what my pediatrician felt all along: I barely metabolize any medications on the market.
However, now I needed to know what I could use, since my body was destined to experience more and more pain from my serious medical conditions.
I was sent to a pain clinic for a doctor to review my records. He reported there was nothing to offer me for pain relief except trying medical marijuana. I laughed. My whole life I had been told to stay away from “drugs” such as marijuana. Like many, I had tried it once in college but had a bad reaction and spent the rest of the day in bed. Marijuana did not seem like a good suggestion, and yet I was desperate for pain relief. Maybe I needed to try it one more time.
Due to the sarcoidosis in my chest, I would not be able to administer the medicine through conventional smoking. Instead, I was instructed on how to extract the THC into an oil base. The first night I measured one teaspoon of the oil and mixed it with applesauce. I took it an hour before going to bed, forewarning my husband to expect another reaction to a medication. To my amazement, I woke up to a new day. Not only had I slept the entire night, something I hadn’t done in months, I also woke feeling clear-headed.
I have been a medical marijuana user for over six years now. I know there is a misperception that constant use can cause cognitive issues, but my husband and I disagree. Since taking it for medicinal use, we have noticed that my vocabulary has improved along with my mental clarity. I have better control of my pain levels, which is allowing me to advocate for pain-related issues.
Today, my husband and I are Rhode Island Ambassadors for U.S. Pain Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation. We are also serving board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIAPC), and I have been appointed for the advisory committee for Adaptive Telephone Equipment Loan Program (ATEL). It means a great deal to my husband and me to do what we can for those who suffer, to share our experiences in hopes of generating change for others.
With that said, the most important part of our day is speaking with other patients, referred by Rhode Island doctors, that need help managing, coping and living with pain. Being able to help others is the most rewarding part of my life, which would not be possible if I did not have pain relief myself … relief that has allowed me to function and make a difference in this world.
And that relief comes from taking medicinal marijuana oil.
Education about the use of this form of pain relief is vital in order to change attitudes in our society. People need to know that no one dies using this medication or suffers organ damage. Society must understand that those living with pain do not get stoned or high: we receive pain relief.
Because of marijuana, I rarely need to take medication during the day. This is because the oil stays in the system, providing peace and calm I have not known in years. When I do have tougher days, I choose a vapor, tincture or marijuana lollipop to administer some relief. In the state of Rhode Island, the support for the medical need of this medication has been amazing. It took time to educate people on the benefits this drug brings those suffering, but now that people have information pertaining to this medication, I hardly hear negative comments about this form of medicine.
I feel we all deserve pain relief, and if this drug treats pain, we all should have the right to obtain it. With pain relief, comes renewal and hope. Days become brighter again, and the chance to live a more meaningful, productive life returns.
To those of you reading who feel compelled to connect or have further questions about, please contact me. It is my goal to help others.
-Ellen Lenox Smith