Don’t Be Afraid to Ask About Medical Cannabis for Acute Pain

Don't Be Afraid to Ask About Medical Cannabis for Acute Pain

State lawmakers did Utah patients a big favor a few years ago when they added acute pain to the list of qualifying conditions for Medical Cannabis. If you did not hear about the addition, you’re not alone. We have talked to a lot of patients who still don’t know that Medical Cannabis is an appropriate treatment for some types of acute pain.

For purposes of clarification, here is language relating to acute pain taken directly from the Utah Department of Health & Human Services Center four Medical Cannabis. It describes when acute pain can be treated with Medical Cannabis:

“Acute pain that is expected to last for 2 weeks or longer for an acute condition, including a surgical procedure, for which a medical professional may generally prescribe opioids for a limited duration.”

What It Means in Simple English

Let us unpack the official language to learn what it means in simple English. First and foremost, acute pain is pain that is expected to last a short time. There is no black-and-white measurement of its duration. However, for the purposes of Utah’s Medical Cannabis law, chronic pain (a.k.a. persistent pain) is “pain lasting longer than two weeks.” Therefore, it is safe to assume that acute pain lasts for two weeks or less.

Next up is the qualification of an acute condition. The language specifically cites surgical procedures, which gives us a good idea of what an acute condition is. It is a temporary condition that is expected to resolve in a relatively short amount of time. That is generally the nature of surgical procedures.

Finally is the qualification of treating that temporary condition with prescription opioids. If a doctor would normally recommend prescription opioids as a pain treatment for the duration, Medical Cannabis is now an option.

Let’s say you were planning to undergo joint replacement surgery. Your doctor warns you that you are likely to experience significant pain for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. She also says that prescription opioids are usually offered in such situations. Under the law, you could probably choose Medical Cannabis instead.

You Would Need a Medical Provider’s Recommendation

Just as with using Medical Cannabis for chronic pain, using it to manage acute pain would still require a medical provider’s recommendation. In the case of the previously cited example, the surgeon would be the most likely medical provider to make the recommendation. But what if a surgeon isn’t comfortable doing so?

As a patient, you are not required to get a recommendation directly from your surgeon. Any Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) or Limited Medical Provider (LMP) with prescribing authority can recommend Medical Cannabis after reviewing your case and verifying your eligibility.

You would get your medical provider’s recommendation, submit your application through the state’s electronic verification system (EVS), and then wait for your Medical Cannabis Card to arrive via email. Processing can take up to 15 days, so it’s wise to apply for a card at least several weeks in advance of the need.

Happy to Answer Your Questions

Acute pain is now a qualifying condition for Medical Cannabis in Utah. If you plan to undergo an acute event for which you might otherwise be prescribed opioid medications, and you want to know more about Medical Cannabis, feel free to make an appointment at any one of our clinics in the state.

We are happy to answer any questions you might have about Medical Cannabis and its appropriateness for you. We help patients complete and submit their Medical Cannabis Card applications – both for new cards and annual renewals.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our newsletter below to keep the canna-education coming.
Published May 28, 2024

Stay Informed

Get the latest on KindlyMD clinic news, services & more.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram