Chronic Pain Series: Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been approved for medicinal purposes under Pennsylvania state law since 2016. Chronic pain is one of the more than twenty-three approved conditions in the United States, allowed to benefit from the medicinal use of maijuana.   According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 50 million Americans are struggling with some form of chronic pain.

There are a wide array of conditions that can cause chronic pain and be treated by medical marijuana, including: Multiple Sclerosis, Terminal Illness/ Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, Crohn’s Disease, Neuropathies, Spinal Cord Injury and Neurodegenerative Disc Disease. If you suffer from any one of these conditions, medical marijuana may be an effective method to help you with your pain.

In recent years, medical marijuana has become an increasingly popular treatment option for pain management. Cannabis has been shown to provide many neurological and nervous system benefits such as reducing anxiety and inflammation.   Medical marijuana has also been shown to reduce the body’s ability to feel pain and process pain signals.

At the Pennsylvania Pain and Spine Institute our doctors will work closely with you to determine the best treatment approach. It is important to see your doctor every three months to make sure you are taking the right dosage and form of medical marijuana for your specific needs.

Unlike opiates, medical marijuana does not come with the same harmful side effects. Importantly, because the risk of overdose is minimal, medical marijuana is also considered a safe option for managing pain.  To date, there have been no reported overdoses from medical marijuana. Although it is considered a safe medical alternative, and as part of its safe application, marijuana should never be used while driving or operating heavy machinery.

A common misconception is that the only way of ingesting medical marijuana is to smoke it, but this is not true. There are many other forms of the cannabis plant available, that can help with pain management including: 

  1. Pill
  2. Oil
  3. Tincture
  4. Liquid
  5. Vaporizer

The physicians of the Pennsylvania Pain and Spine Institute are all fellowship trained in physical medicine, rehabilitation and medical marijuana application. Our doctors are skilled in a wide variety of advanced procedures to help patients in chronic pain. For more information on the specific treatments we offer, please visit:

For more detailed information on the Pennsylvania State Medical Marijuana Program please visit:

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