|Publication Abstract Display
|Type: Published Manuscript
|Title: The Medicinal Cannabis Treatment Agreement: Providing information to chronic pain patients via a written document.
|Authors: Wilsey B, Atkinson JH, Marcotte TD, Grant I
|Publication: The Clinical Journal of Pain
|Volume: 31 Issue: 12 Pages: 1087-1096
|Abstract:Over 20 states now approve medical marijuana for a long list of "indications," and more states may well offer access in the near future. Surveys have demonstrated that pain is the most common indication for medical use of cannabis. As more individuals gain access to this botanical product through state ballot initiatives and legislative mandate, the pain specialist is likely to be confronted by patients either seeking such treatment where permitted, or otherwise inquiring about its potential benefits and harms, and alternative pharmaceuticals containing cannabinoids. Whether or not they are in the position to prescribe medical cannabis, pain physicians would seem to have an obligation to understand and inform their patients on key issues of the evidence base on cannabinoid therapeutics. One way to fulfill this obligation might be to borrow from concepts developed in the prescription of opioids: the use of a written agreement to describe and minimize risks. Regrettably, the widespread adoption of opioids was undertaken while harmful effects were minimized; obviously, no one wants to repeat this misstep. This article describes a method of educating patients in a manner analogous to other treatment agreements. Undoubtedly, the knowledge base concerning risks will be an iterative process as we learn more about the long-term use of medicinal cannabis. But we should start the process now so that patients may be instructed about our current conception of what the use of medicinal cannabis entails.