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Can Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain Work for You?

Read our expert guide and easily connect with a private pain doctor for a personalised care plan and effortless medical cannabis prescriptions.

Exploring Cannabis for Chronic pain: A Script Assist Insight 

For patients who feel frustrated with persistent chronic pain, and desperate not to continue with ever increasing levels of opioids in response to their rising tolerance levels, the following question is often discussed – is there an alternative with a potentially more favourable side-effects profile? 

Medical cannabis for chronic pain is becoming more and more prescribed when traditional licensed medications have failed, with millions of patients worldwide reporting life changing impacts.  

If you’re considering medical cannabis for chronic pain, then read on. We will dive deeper into understanding exactly what chronic pain is, the ever-emerging published research suggesting that medical cannabis for chronic pain is a viable alternative if traditional medication has failed, real life stories and how Script Assist can help you by connecting you with a doctor that can prescribe medical cannabis for chronic pain.   

Considering Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain? Consider Script Assist 

Script Assist connects chronic pain patients to private pain doctors for personalised care and access seamless medical cannabis prescriptions.

Complete this 2-minute quiz to check whether you’re eligible for medical cannabis for chronic pain.

Head over to our Find a Doctor page – our Digital Doctor Directory.  

You’ll find a number of pain doctors able to seamlessly prescribe medical cannabis for chronic pain.

Read each doctor’s biography, understand their costs and then choose whichever you feel is best for you .

If you have personal or company private medical insurance, and would like to use your insurance to cover some or all of your consultation costs, check which doctors are covered by your insurance provider.  

When your pain doctor accepts your enquiry you can then schedule a consultation.

If your chosen pain doctor has Live Diary Access, you can simply book a slot directly in their diary, pay via the Script Assist App and then join via the App at the right time. You’re App will also notify you when it’s time to join.

When your pain doctor has written a prescription for medical cannabis for chronic pain, you can then pay via the App, and then track your medical cannabis prescription all the way to your doorstep.  

Pay before 3pm to guarantee next-day delivery by 1pm. 

Your App will let you know when you’re likely running low on medication, and prompt you to request a repeat prescription, although you can request a repeat at any time.

You can always request a repeat of any medication that you have previously been prescribed, and may be able to request a repeat of any equivalent medication, at the discretion of your pain doctor.  

With Script Assist you have access to live inventory levels at all times, meaning that you can only request repeat prescriptions of in-stock medical cannabis products.  

After your request has been accepted by your pain doctor, you can simply pay and track your prescription through the Script Assist App 

Understanding Chronic Pain and the Shortcomings of Traditional Medication 

So, what is chronic pain? Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts or recurs for more than three months. It can be caused by a myriad of different conditions including, but not limited to, arthritis, back problems, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, migraines, nerve damage amongst many other conditions.    

Chronic pain differs substantially from acute pain, which is a normal sensation altering us to possible injury, its persistence means that it becomes a health condition in its own right. 

Chronic pain is a truly debilitating condition for those that suffer from it. In addition to the often overwhelming and constant discomfort, chronic pain can destroy your quality of life given reduced mobility, heightened anxiety and impact on work, family, and social lives. 

Traditional medication for chronic pain consists of multiple different types of opioids. There is an increasing awareness within the clinical community that opioids, whilst certainly effective for reducing pain levels, can often have a negative side effects profile. These side effects can include nausea, weight loss, constipation, anxiety, and an inability to fall and stay asleep. Patients looking for an alternative to these traditional medications are more often now turning to medical cannabis as an alternative source of treatment.  

At Script Assist we help hundreds of chronic pain patients better manage their symptoms through connecting them with private doctors that can prescribe cannabis treatment for chronic pain using Script Assist, should patient and doctor believe that is the most appropriate treatment plan. 

If your chronic pain condition is covered under your private medical insurance, then you may be able to cover some or all of your consultation costs. Check our Find a Doctor page to see which doctors prescribe for your condition and are covered by your insurance company. Then check with your insurance company that they are included on your policy.   

A Short History of Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain 

The use of medical cannabis for chronic pain has seen several ups and down over the centuries. Until only a few years ago, this extremely complex and still often mis-understood plant, was totally maligned and shrouded in taboo and stigma. However, over the last decade or so, interest in the use of medical cannabis for pain has skyrocketed. So, what is medical cannabis and what journey has it been on regarding its use for chronic pain?  

Medical cannabis usage for chronic pain dates back thousands of years. There is extensive evidence that medical cannabis was cultivated and used for pain relief by numerous ancient civilisations in China, India, and Egypt. 

The 1950s was a difficult decade for those wishing to use medical cannabis for chronic pain. The US Government totally maligned cannabis, linking it to all sorts of social ills and generating a stigma and taboo around the plant that lasts until this very day in many countries. Cannabis and pain treatment fast fell out of usage.

The result of this campaign against cannabis resulted in the plant being made illegal in almost every country around the world, just at the time when scientific research into modern medicine was really taking off.  

Starting around 15 years ago however, things began to change. Patients in California, taking advantage of an increasingly liberal attitude towards personal freedom began widely using medical cannabis for chronic pain. By the time it was legalised in California, the law simply reflected the reality on the ground which was cannabis pain treatment was already being widely used.   

With the advent of legalisation in California came the ability to start conducting research on the plant again. With more and more patients choosing to use medical cannabis over opioids, and more and more emerging data supporting it as an alterative choice to opioids a swathe of legalisation has been seen around the world over the last decade. In many countries doctors now prescribe for a wide range of chronic conditions ranging from medical cannabis for lower back pain, medical cannabis for arthritis pain to medical cannabis for chronic back pain. 

Before 2019, patients had begun experimenting with CBD oil for pain relief in the UK, but the best consumer CBD oil for pain is not a medical product! Medical cannabis was legalised in 2019, recognising its therapeutic benefits and allowing any specialist being allowed to prescribe Script Assist was established in the same year, to provide private doctors with the training, support, tools, and infrastructure to enable them to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients.  

A Review of the Evidence of Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain

Given the increasing amount of interest from both doctors and patients in medical cannabis for chronic pain, there is a huge body of evidence emerging showing the link between cannabis and pain treatment. 

In this section we’ll review some of the more important pieces of research and dig further into the data and evidence that is emerging for medical cannabis for chronic pain 

In the paper entitled “Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines,” patients using medical cannabis reported a 30% decrease in average pain intensity, compared to traditional pain medication. The authors found that this significant decrease suggests that medical cannabis for chronic pain should be considered a viable alternative to traditional medications.

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In Marijuana as a Substitute for Prescription Medications: A Qualitative Study” around 48% of the study’s participants reported using medical cannabis as a substitute for prescription medications. The patients that were using medical cannabis for chronic pain indicated a strong preference for medical cannabis over more conventional treatments, due to the way that they perceived medical cannabis to be more effective, and significantly fewer side effects.

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In Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review,” patients using medical cannabis for migraine relief reported a 43.5% reduction in headache frequency, showing that medical cannabis may not only be effective for chronic pain medication but also for more specific conditions such as migraines. Many patients do indeed use cannabis for migraine treatment.

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In a paper entitled “Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,”  cannabinoids (the main compounds found in medical cannabis) were around 40% more likely to experience a 30% reduction in pain reduction versus the placebo group.

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There are also numerous published papers demonstrating that medical cannabis results in a reduction in opioid usage from chronic pain patients. For example, in a paper entitles “The Effectiveness of Self-Directed Medical Cannabis Treatment for Pain,” chronic pain patients reported a 64% decrease in opioid use after started with medical cannabis treatments.

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In Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients: A preliminary cohort study” the authors concludes that the clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between medical cannabis patients and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain.

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In “Medical Cannabis for the Management of Pain and Quality of Life in Chronic Pain Patients: A Prospective Observational Study,” the authors concluded that the findings of this study added to the cumulative evidence in support of plant-based medical cannabis as a safe and alternative treatment option and potential opioid medication substitute or augmentation therapy.

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Overall, the overwhelming body of evidence that medical cannabis for chronic pain has positive outcomes for patients, in addition to supporting a gradual decrease in opioid consumption is continuing to drive increases in the number of doctors prescribing medical cannabis for chronic pain, and the number of patients searching for this alternative therapy.  

Patient Experience of Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain

Here at Script Assist we’ve helped hundreds of patients with chronic pain connect with private doctors specialising in chronic pain management. Here are some stories from real-life Script Assist patients, whose lives have been transformed by medical cannabis.  

Jane, a 52-year-old with chronic arthritis, had tried various treatments with little success. She had found the side effects with opioids far too much for her to handle, and her quality of life had been declining for years. She turned to medical cannabis when she felt that she had no options left.

Michael, a veteran dealing with chronic back pain, was on a high dosage of opioids. The medication affected his mental clarity and personal relationships. Seeking an alternative, he consulted Script Assist.

Michael shares.

This story underscores the potential of chronic back pain and medical cannabis as part of a comprehensive pain management plan, especially for those looking to reduce reliance on opioids, and considering medical cannabis for chronic pain.