My patients frequently ask me whether medical marijuana is helpful for their pain issues. This is a controversial topic regarding many medical issues (such as anorexia), but in the realm of pain control and in the eyes of the law, the answer is clear.

There is no quality medical literature to support the use of marijuana for pain management.

Your well-meaning doctor may have recommended “medical” marijuana to you for pain control. Usually, such doctors are well-intentioned with very little, if any, training in the effective treatment of pain. This is usually a desperate, last-ditch effort to treat you when your physician has “run out” of options. Given that many physicians have very poor training in effective methods of managing pain, this happens far too often. I have seen time and again patients for whom there are very effective and legal pain treatments, whose doctors have placed on “medical” marijuana. This should not happen.

I have never seen marijuana prescribed by a board certified and fellowship trained Pain Medicine subspecialist physician in this state. Why? We know it does not work for pain.

Additionally, marijuana is illegal per the Federal government. Recently, the state of Washington has sadly confused both patients and physicians regarding the legality of this drug by legalizing it for both “medical” use as well as “recreational” use. However, federal law makes it very clear marijuana is illegal on a federal level regardless of state law.

Here is what the Obama administrations Office of National Drug Control Policy has to say: “Regardless of state laws to the contrary, there is no such thing as ‘medical’ marijuana under federal law.”

Given that there is no medically proven benefit from this federally illegal drug for pain control, I do not endorse nor recommend its use.

Furthermore, I strongly recommend against the use of schedule 2 controlled substances such as opioids and sedatives while a person is using any federally illegal drug, including “medical” or recreational marijuana.

I am happy to help you find many other methods of pain control that are both legal and much more effective.

Dr. Attaman is board certified and Anesthesiology-fellowship trained in the medical subspecialty of Pain Medicine and Interventional Pain Management. He is also residency trained and board certified in the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is one of only a few with such extensive qualifications in the state of Washington. Connect with Dr. Attaman on Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook If you are in pain, call Dr. Attaman's Seattle office (206-395-4422) or Bellevue, WA (425-247-3359) office.

One Comment

  1. David Marsh 10/12/2023 at 12:20 PM - Reply

    Great Post! while marijuana’s federal legality remains a barrier in some places, its potential role in pain management cannot be entirely dismissed. The conversation around medical marijuana is complex, involving considerations of legality, patient rights, scientific evidence, and the experiences of individuals managing chronic pain. As societal attitudes and laws continue to change, the role of marijuana in pain management is likely to remain a topic of ongoing debate and research.

Leave A Comment

Popular Posts